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Business & Economy

Jaitley inaugurates new office building of CCI

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Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley said on Thursday the function of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) would further expand as the size of the economy becomes larger.
 
Inaugurating the new office of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) here, Mr Jaitley said India has potential to be among top three economies of the world in the next 10-20 years.
 
“This year, by sheer size, we have overtaken France. Next year, we expect to overtake the size of Britain’s economy and will become the 5th largest economy in the world,” he said.
 
Other economies in the world are growing at a much lesser rate and India has the potential to be among top three economies of the world in the next 10-20 years, he added.
 
While speaking on the role of CCI in the fast-growing Indian economy, the Minister said India can already see the ripples of a consumption economy. The exponential growth taking place in several sectors will lead to a large number of domestic and international players.
 
The size of the economy is going to expand and some will not comply with fair market regulation, indulge in cartelisation, vertical or horizontal tie-ups and abuse dominant position to impact prices or dilute competition. Therefore, the regulatory mechanism to regulate all the Mergers & Acquisitions would be required. These changes will be extremely large and the impact on markets is going to be very large.
 
Mr Jaitely focused on the growth potential of the eastern region of India while speaking on the growth pattern pan-India. “Over the next 10-20 years, we still have a lot of avenues for pushing up our growth. India has seen growth more in the north, south and western parts of the country. The eastern side has to still grow faster. We are expecting to see growth there.”
 
Acting CCI Chairperson Sudhir Mital, Injeti Sriniwas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Members of the Commission, senior Government officials and advocates attended the inauguration ceremony.
 
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Rupee slides further; hits fresh low of 71

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The Indian rupee plunged to a fresh record low of just over 71 to a US dollar during the morning trade session on Friday.
 
Around 10 a.m. the Indian rupee was pegged at 70.97-98 to a US dollar after it touched 71 to a US dollar -- the lowest ever mark -- against the greenback.
 
It opened the day's trade at the Inter-Bank Foreign Exchange Market at over 70.90 to a USD which was even below its record low of 70.85 to a greenback.
 
On Thursday, the Indian rupee closed at 70.74-75 against the US dollar, weaker 15 by paise from Wednesday's close of 70.59-60 to a US dollar.
 
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Key equity indices open in green

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The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Friday after declining for the last two trading sessions.
 
At 9.38 a.m. the wider Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded 11,723.20 points, higher by 46.40 points or 0.40 per cent from its previous close.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex, which had opened at 38,704.84 points, traded at 38,822.70 points, higher by 132.60 points or 0.34 per cent from its previous close of 38,690.10 points.
 
It has touched an intra-day high of 38,838.45 points and a low of 38,611.46 in the trade so far.
 
IANS
 

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Centre instructs insurance companies to expedite claim settlements of Kerala flood victims

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Union Minister of State for Finance P Radhakrishnan has said that the Centre would provide all necessary assistance to flood-ravaged Kerala including instructing all public and private insurance companies to expedite settlement of all claims arising out of floods.
 
Inaugurating the State Level Bankers’ Committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, Mr Radhakrishnan said with the allocation of Rs 214 crore during 2018-19 to Kerala, the state government has a total amount of Rs 562.45 crore in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) under its disposal.
 
Further fund requirement will be decided after the submission of a memorandum by the state, he said.
 
As banking services were severely hit by the floods, immediate measures were taken by the Finance Ministry and nearly 191 bank branches and 179 ATMs were made functional. Measures are being taken to make the remaining functional as early as possible, he said.
 
The Minister said to give relief to the people in this hour of crisis the government has waived off the charges for issuing duplicate passbook, deposit receipt and charges for not maintaining a minimum balance and issuing fresh debit etc. Soiled and defective notes will be exchanged at all bank branches.
 
The government has also extended fresh consumption loan up to Rs 10,000 on a need basis and a moratorium on agricultural and MSME loans for one year.
 
Later replying to questions from the media, Mr Radhakrishnan said the demand of Kerala for enhancing 3% to 4.5 % of GSDP will be looked into by the Central government. He pointed out that under the Prime Minister’s direction, the Centre has given all possible assistance to Kerala.
 
It has provided the necessary food grains and medicines. More assistance will be given after a fresh memorandum is submitted on the loss and damage caused by the deluge. The Kerala government has already informed that they are preparing a new report. Based on that the Centre will send a team to study the situation before taking a decision, he added.
 
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Larger purpose of demonetisation was to make India a tax compliant society, says Jaitley

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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the larger purpose of demonetisation was to move India from a tax non-compliant society to a compliant one that necessarily involved the formalisation of the economy and a blow to black money. 
 
The Reserve Bank of India has twice released its reports stating that the demonetised currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 have been substantially deposited in the banks.  A widely stated comment has been that just because most of the currency came back into the banks, the object of demonetisation has not succeeded. 
 
“Was the invalidation of the non-deposited currency the only object of demonetisation? Certainly not,” Mr Jaitley said in a statement. 
 
"When cash is deposited in the banks, the anonymity of the owner of the cash disappears. The deposited cash is now identified with its owner giving rise to an inquiry, whether the amount deposited is in consonance with the depositor’s income. Accordingly, post-demonetisation about 1.8 million depositors have been identified for this enquiry. Many of them are being fastened with tax and penalties. Mere deposit of cash in a bank does not lead to a presumption that it is tax-paid money," he said.
 
"In March 2014, the number of Income Tax returns filed was 3.8 crore.  In 2017-18, this figure has grown to 6.86 crore. In the last two years, when the impact of demonetisation and other steps is analysed, the Income Tax returns have increased by 19% and 25%.  This is a phenomenal increase," Mr. Jaitley said.
 
He said the number of new returns filed post-demonetisation increased in the past two years by 85.51 lakh and 1.07 crore.
 
For 2018-19, advance tax in the first quarter has increased for personal Income Tax Assesses by 44.1% and in the Corporate Tax category by 17.4%, he said.
 
"The Income Tax collections have increased from the 2013-14 figure of Rs. 6.38 lakh crore to the 2017-18 figure of Rs. 10.02 lakh crore.
 
"The growth of Income Tax collections in the pre-demonetisation two years was 6.6% and 9%.  Post-demonetisation, the collections increased by 15% and 18% in the next two years.  The same trend is visible in the third year.
 
"The GST was implemented on July 1, 2017, post demonetisation.  In the very first year, the number of registered assesses has increased by 72.5%.  The original 66.17 lakh assesses has increased to 114.17 lakh.
 
"This is the positive impact of the demonetisation. More formalisation of the economy, more money in the system, higher tax revenue, higher expenditure and higher growth after the first two quarters," he added.
 
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Profit booking, rupee plunge pull equity indices lower

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Profit booking along with a slump in the rupee and weak global cues pulled the key Indian equity indices lower on Thursday.
 
Investors booked profits as the August series of futures and options contracts ended on Thursday, analysts said, adding that rise in global crude oil prices also eroded the investor sentiments.
 
Index-wise, the Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 11,676.80 points, lower 15.10 points or 0.13 per cent from its previous close of 11,691.90 points.
 
The barometer 30-scrip S&P BSE Sensex, which had opened at 38,796.98 points, closed at 38,690.10 points, lower 32.83 points or 0.08 per cent from the previous close of 38,722.93 points.
 
It touched an intra-day high of 38,819.06 points and low of 38,581.83 points.
 
However, in the broader markets, the S&P BSE Mid-cap gained by 0.43 per cent while the S&P BSE Small-cap ended 0.27 per cent higher than its previous close. The BSE market breadth was bullish with 1,459 advances and 1,256 declines.
 
"Stocks markets traded under pressure through the day, only to stage a smart recovery towards the end of the trading session and close near the flat line. Along with the US-Sino trade concerns, another bout of weakness in the Indian currency dampened investor sentiment," said Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager for Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.
 
Further, global markets traded lower and investors continued to monitor global trade talks which lent uncertainty to the immediate direction of the markets, he added. 
 
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On the currency front, the rupee settled at a record closing low of 70.74 per dollar, 15 paise weaker than its previous close of 70.59 per greenback.
 
Investment-wise, data from NSDL on Thursday showed that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold scrip worth Rs 1,379.34 crore. 
 
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE FMCG index rose 139.71 points, the healthcare index was up 132.15 points and the metal index rose by 108.21 points.
 
In contrast, the S&P BSE banking index index declined 122.88 points, the auto index fell by 82.77 points and consumer durables stocks ended 55.45 points lower than its previous close.
 
The top gainers at the Sensex were Sun Pharma, up 3.03 per cent at Rs 639.50; Tata Steel, up 2.40 per cent at Rs 608.30; ITC, up 2.08 per cent at Rs 319.20; Bharti Airtel, up 2.07 per cent at Rs 382.60; and NTPC, up 1.93 per cent at Rs 169.20 per share. 
 
The majors losers were IndusInd Bank, down 1.62 per cent at Rs 1,876.20; Maruti Suzuki, down 1.62 per cent at Rs 9,212.40; Reliance Industries, down 1.57 per cent at Rs 1,274.10; Tata Motors (DVR), down 1.28 per cent at Rs 138.55 per share; and Asian Paints, down 1.15 per cent at Rs 1,375.95 per share.
 
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Rupee hits fresh low; slips on crude oil prices

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High global crude oil prices, along with continuous outflow of foreign funds, pulled the Indian rupee to a fresh intra-day and closing low on Thursday.
 
Analysts pointed out that caution ahead of key macro-economic data, coupled with a rise in demand for US dollars also dragged the rupee lower.
 
"High crude oil prices have pulled the rupee lower," Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers' Research Analyst Rushabh Maru told IANS.
 
"Most emerging market (EM) currencies were down and this also pressurised the Indian rupee."
 
On an intra-day basis, the Indian rupee plunged to 70.85 -- the lowest ever mark -- against the greenback at the Interbank foreign exchange market. It surpassed the previous record low of 70.65-66 to a greenback made on Wednesday.
 
It settled at a record closing low of 70.74-75 against the US dollar, weaker 15 by paise from Wednesday's close of 70.59-60 to a US dollar.
 
According to Tradebulls' Director and Chief Operating Officer, Dhruv Desai: "Currently sensitivity of Indian rupee to crude oil prices is very high."
 
"In spite of weakening US Dollar since last week, Indian rupee struggled to gain against US dollar as market is pricing in higher current account deficit due to rise in crude prices."
 
Apart from high crude oil, outflow of foreign funds from the Indian equity and bond markets has had an adverse impact on the rupee.
 
Investment-wise, data from the NSDL on Thursday showed that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold scrip worth Rs 1,379.34 crore.
 
Besides, caution prevailed ahead of the release of India's GDP and fiscal deficit data. The key macro-economic data points will be released on Friday.
 
"Rupee needs more support from RBI or some big global positive news. The trend remains weak until some sizeable intervention by RBI verbal or actual. There is a lot of panic buying amongst importers and equity investors as well who want to hedge the currency risk now," said Sajal Gupta, Head Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities. 
 
"Our macros remain robust but panic is the key factor behind current volatility. Everyone is a buyer of dollars in current market."
 
The RBI is known to enter the markets via intermediaries to either sell or buy US dollars to keep the rupee in a stable orbit. 
 
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Equity indices in red on record-low rupee, profit booking

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The key equity indices traded in the red during the afternoon session on Thursday due to a weak rupee along with profit booking ahead of August futures and options expiry later in the day.
 
The indices had, however, opened on a positive note, but could not hold on to the gains.
 
The Indian currency earlier in the day touched its lowest-ever mark of 70.81-82 per US dollar, which dampened the market sentiments.
 
According to analysts, heavy selling pressure was witnessed in banking stocks, followed by finance and FMCG counters.
 
At 12.53 p.m., the wider Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,674.80 points, lower by 17.10 points or 0.15 per cent from its previous close of 11,691.90 points.
 
The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex, which had opened at 38,796.98 points, traded at 38,667.01 points, lower by 55.92 points or 0.14 per cent from its previous close of 38,722.93 points. 
 
So far, it has touched an intra-day high 38,819.06 points and a low of 38,624.23 points.
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were Tata Steel, Sun Pharma, ONGC, ITC and Bharti Airtel, while IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, Reliance Industries and Asian Paints were the major loser so far.
 
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Rupee hits fresh record low of 70.81

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The Indian rupee plunged to a fresh record low of 70.81 to a US dollar during the morning trade session on Thursday.
 
Around 10.00 a.m. the Indian rupee was pegged at 70.68 after it touched 70.81 to a US dollar -- the lowest ever mark -- against the greenback.
 
It opened the day's trade at the Interbank foreign exchange market at 70.58 to a US dollar and soon surpassed its record low of 70.65 to a greenback on Wednesday.
 
According to analysts, continuous outflow of foreign funds, along with caution ahead of key macro-economic data, coupled with volatile global crude oil prices pulled the Indian rupee to a fresh low.
 
"Importers month-end US dollar demand and high crude oil prices have pulled the rupee lower," Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers research analyst Rushabh Maru told IANS.
 
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Key Indian equity market indices open in green

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The key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened higher despite a muted trend in global markets.
 
The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 38,722.93 points on Wednesday, opened higher at 38.796.98 points.
 
Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 38,753.10 points, up by 30.17 points, or 0.08 per cent.
 
At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 50-scrip Nifty, which had closed at 11,691.90 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 11,693.15 points, up marginally by 1.25 points or 0.01 per cent.
 
The equity indices closed in the negative territory on Wednesday as the rupee slumped to an all-time low, while weak global cues further subdued the sentiments, according to analysts.
 
The rupee plunged to a fresh record low against the US dollar during the morning trade session on Thursday, again.
 
The Sensex was down by 173.70 points or 0.45 per cent at the Wednesday's closing. In the day's trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 38,989.65 points and a low of 38,679.57 points. The Nifty, was down by 46.60 points or 0.40 per cent.
 
On Thursday, Asian indices were showing a mixed trend. Japan's Nikkei 225 was quoting in green, up by 0.06 per cent while Hang Seng was down by 0.66 per cent, South Korea's Kospi was up 0.06 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite index was trading in red, down by 0.79 per cent.
 
Overnight, Nasdaq closed in green, up by 0.98 per cent while FTSE 100 was down by 0.71 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.
 
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Cabinet approves India-US MoU in insurance regulatory sector

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Federal Insurance Office, USA.
 
The MoU provides a framework for cooperation and coordination, including for the exchange of information and research assistance with respect to each Authority’s overview and other lawful responsibilities, an official press release said.
 
Under the agreement, both the countries intend to share their experiences on various regulatory functions and to provide mutual assistance including training activities. 
 
India and the USA have also agreed to continue to facilitate cooperation on international standard-setting activities, financial stability and the development and implementation of consumer protection through sound prudential regulation of the insurance sector.
 
IRDAI is a body set up under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance and reinsurance business in India. Similarly, in the USA, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) is vested with the authority to monitor all aspects of the insurance sector and to represent the country on prudential aspects of international insurance.
 
The USA is one of the major contributors of foreign direct investment in India and many Indian insurance companies have set up joint ventures with USA based insurance companies. With the increase in foreign investment cap to 49%, there is further scope for foreign investments in the Indian insurance sector, particularly from US-based companies, the release added.
 
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Cabinet apprised of India-UK MoU on Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries

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The Union Cabinet was on Wednesday apprised of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and United Kingdom (UK) and Northern Ireland for cooperation in the fields of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. 
 
The MoU, signed on April 17, 2018, aims to develop bilateral cooperation in the field of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries for the purpose of increasing production and productivity of Indian livestock and fisheries, an official press release said.
 
The partnership is expected to improve livestock health, livestock breeding and fisheries aiming at enhancing dairy, fisheries and animal products for domestic consumption and export.
 
The MoU would promote consultation and cooperation on livestock husbandry, fisheries and dairy through matters of mutual concern or interest in relation to livestock husbandry, fisheries and related matters; Collaboration in livestock health and husbandry, breeding dairying and fisheries; Management and mechanism to enrich feed & fodder nutritionally and its bulk transportation in deficit areas to realise higher productivity and production in livestock, the release said.
 
It will also deal with sanitary issues concerning the trade in livestock, animal husbandry and animal products; Development of high tech fodder tree species nurseries with fodder crops and promotion of agroforestry tor planting fodder tree species under integrated farming system including soil moisture conservation in drought-prone areas and areas of exchange of scientific personnel for study tour/training in mutually agreed areas.
 
The MoU would promote collaboration for joint research for cross-learning with regard to innovative Agriculture Extension approaches including the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and any other matter of joint interest.
 
A Joint Working Group (]WG) consisting of representatives of each party will be created to formulate joint programs and to facilitate cooperation and consultation, the release added.
 
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Cabinet apprised of India-Korea MoU on cooperation in the field of railways

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The Union Cabinet was on Wednesday apprised of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the cooperation between Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), India and Republic of Korea’s Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) to strengthen and promote scientific and technical cooperation in the field of railways. 
 
The MoU, signed on July 10, will provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector with its Korean counterpart, an official press release said.
 
"It will facilitate the exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/ workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.
 
"It will provide a framework of cooperation for a focused approach in key areas including planning and execution of Joint research for the mutual interests; Cooperation in setting up of latest railway R&D facilities in India; Planning and execution of Technical seminar or forum; Short Term Training Programme for RDSO personnel by KRRI," the release said.
 
The MoU would facilitate the Exchange Programme of Personnel between KRRI & RDSO for a limited period, for specific projects; Consultancy for the development of railway industry of both the countries and any other form of cooperative activities agreed upon by the Parties.
 
The Railways have signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways. The identified areas of cooperation include high-speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world-class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc.
 
The cooperation is achieved through the exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest, the release added.
 
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Over 99% of demonetised notes back with RBI

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Over 99 per cent of the Rs 15.3 lakh crore taken out of circulation through demonetisation in November 2016 has returned to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank announced on Wednesday.
 
The RBI's annual report 2017-18 said that on completion of the process of verification of the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, it is found that the total value of the demonetised currency returned to the banks now stands at Rs 15.3 lakh crore, which amounts to 99.3 per cent of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore worth of such notes in circulation on November 8, 2016.
 
"The total value of SBNs (specified banknotes) returned from circulation is Rs 15,310.73 billion," the report said.
 
"The total value of SBNs in circulation as on November 8, 2016, post verification and reconciliation, was Rs 15,417.93 billion."
 
The RBI also said the value of banknotes in circulation stands at 18 lakh crore till the end of the last fiscal. 
 
"The value of banknotes in circulation increased by 37.7 per cent over the year to Rs 18,037 billion at March-end 2018," it said. 
 
Besides, notes issued by the RBI in the one-year period between June 2017 and June 2018 increased by nearly 27 per cent.
 
"The notes issued increased by 26.93 per cent from Rs 15,063.31 billion as on June 30, 2017 to Rs 19,119.60 billion as on June 30, 2018," the report said.
 
"The increase is on account of the continued efforts of the Reserve Bank to supply adequate quantity of banknotes to meet the transactional needs of the public," it added.
 
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Equity indices end in red as rupee slumps to all-time low

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Key Indian equity indices closed in the negative territory on Wednesday as the rupee slumped to an all-time low, while weak global cues further subdued the sentiments, analysts said.
 
The Indian currency earlier in the day plunged to 70.55 per dollar, the lowest-ever level, which dampened the domestic investor sentiments.
 
Although the indices had opened on a positive note, with the S&P BSE Sensex opening at an all-time high of 38,989.65 points, they could not hold on to the gains. 
 
At 3.30 p.m, the Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) provisionally closed at 11,691.90 points, lower by 46.60 points or 0.40 per cent from its previous close.
 
The benchmark BSE Sensex, which had opened at 38,989.65 points, closed at 38,722.93 points, lower by 173.70 points or 0.45 per cent from the previous close of 38,896.63 points. It touched an intra-day low of 38,679.57 points.
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were ONGC, State Bank of India, Tata Motors (DVR), Tata Steel and Tata Motors, while Coal India, Reliance Industries, Power Grid, Yes Bank and IndusInd Bank lost the most.
 
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High crude oil prices dent rupee; touches record low

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High global crude oil prices and a rise in the demand for US dollar pulled the Indian rupee to a fresh low on Wednesday.
 
However, at 2.05 p.m., the rupee recovered to 70.50-51 after it had plunged to 70.55 -- the lowest ever mark -- against the greenback on the back of an apparent intervention by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
 
The Indian currency opened the day's trade at the Interbank foreign exchange market at 70.31-32 to a USD and soon surpassed its record low of 70.40 to a greenback made on August 16.
 
Around 12.30 p.m. the Indian rupee plunged to a fresh record low of 70.55 to a US dollar.
 
"There is some month-end US dollar demand from importers. Crude oil prices have also increased in last couple of sessions in the international market. These factors are pressuring the rupee," Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers research analyst Rushabh Maru told IANS.
 
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Equity indices flat on profit booking, mixed Asian cues

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The key Indian equity indices traded on a flat note on Wednesday tracking mixed Asian cues and profit booking by investors after the indices soared to record levels in the last two trading sessions.
 
Although, the trade started on a positive note with the S&P BSE Sensex opening at the day's high of 38,989.65 points, the indices could not hold on to the gains.
 
Buying activity in metal, oil and gas and auto stocks, however, supported the indices so far, analysts said.
 
At 11.05 a.m., the wider Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,735.80 points, lower by 2.70 points or 0.02 per cent from its previous close of 11,738.50 points.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex which had opened at 38,989.65 points, traded at 38,901.60 points, higher by 4.97 points or 0.01 per cent from its previous close of 38,896.63 points.
 
It touched an intra-day low of 38,842.79 points.
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were Vedanta, ONGC, State Bank of India, Tata Steel and Tata Motors (DVR), while Coal India, IndusInd Bank, HDFC Bank, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services lost the most so far.
 
On Tuesday, supported by firm global cues, both the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty50 touched their respective record intra-day highs of 38,938.91 points and 11,760.20 points, before ending the day's trade at record closing levels.
 
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Markets open on high 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 38,989.65 points which was also the high point, touched a low of 38,842.79 points.
 
On Tuesday the Sensex closed at 37,896.63 points.
 
The Sensex was trading at 38,948.05 points up by 51.42 points or 0.13 per cent.
 
On the other hand, the broader 51-scrip Nifty at National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 11,744.95 points after closing at 11,738.50 points.
 
The Nifty was trading at 11,734.35 points in the morning.
 
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MoU signed for new Indore-Manmad railway line project

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A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for implementation of the new 362 km Indore- Manmad railway line project was signed here on Tuesday between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Ministry of Railways and the State Governments of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
 
Containers and other rail traffic from Indore and other Central Indian locations earlier had to follow a circuitous route through Vadodara and Surat to reach Mumbai, Pune and ports like JNPT, travelling a distance of 815 km. 
 
The new project will reduce the distance from Mumbai/Pune to key central India locations by 171 km, resulting in lower logistics costs, an official press release said.
 
This is especially significant as the new railway line will pass through the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor nodes of Igatpuri, Nashik and Sinnar; Pune and Khed; and Dhule and Nardana, it said.
 
The MoU was signed in the presence of  Minister of  Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari,  Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, and Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Devendra Phadnavis (Maharashtra). 
 
The implementation of the project will be through the Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL) on Joint Venture  SPV model. A joint venture company will be formed between the Ministry of Shipping or its nominated PSUs/entity including JNPT (which will be the main promoter) with an equity share of 55%. The government of Maharashtra or its nominated PSUs/entity, Government of Madhya Pradesh or its nominated PSUs/entity, and others will have an equity share of 15% each.
 
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Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gadkari hailed the signing of the MoU as a major step towards the development of backward areas of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra through which the new railway line will pass.
 
The project is estimated to result in cumulative net economic benefits of Rs 15,000 crore in the first ten years of operations. The logistics advantages of the project include providing a shorter route for the passenger as well as the freight traffic originating from / terminating at/or crossing through the region.
 
It will reduce the logistics cost for the cargo centres located in Northern India such as Lucknow, Agra, Gwalior and Kanpur belt as well as Indore – Dhule – Bhopal region to the gateway ports JNPT and Mumbai. It will provide an alternate route to the existing central and western railway lines and reduce congestion on the over utilized existing railway network.
 
The Minister pointed out that the project, to be completed within six years, will help in employment generation, reduction in pollution, fuel consumption and vehicle operating costs.
 
NNN
 

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Equity indices climb new highs; Sensex nears 39,000 mark

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The record run continued in the Indian equity market on Tuesday with both the key indices posting intra-day and closing highs as the S&P BSE Sensex inched closer to the 39,000 mark.
 
Broadly firm global cues on the back of a trade deal between the US and Mexico and healthy buying in automobile stocks lifted the key indices.
 
Subsequently, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty50 touched their respective record intra-day highs of 38,938.91 points and 11,760.20 points, before ending the day's trade at record closing levels.
 
In a major stock-wise development, share prices of Reliance Industries on the BSE crossed Rs 1,300 for the first time and touched an all time high of Rs 1,323 during the day. 
 
Index-wise, the wider Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange closed at 11,738.50 points, higher by 46.55 points or 0.40 per cent from its previous close of 11,691.95 points.
 
The benchmark BSE Sensex, which had opened at 38,814.76 points, closed at 38,896.63 points, higher by 202.52 points or 0.52 per cent from its previous close of 38,694.11 points. It touched an intra-day low of 38,760.58 points.
 
In the broader markets, the S&P BSE Mid-cap declined by 0.35 per cent and the S&P BSE small-cap ended 0.36 per cent higher than its previous close. The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,542 declines and 1,157 advances.
 
"Gains came on the back of positive global cues after the United States and Mexico agreed to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities. 
 
The development comes as positive news in an environment where trade-war concerns have heightened investment risk across the globe, according to Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager-Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.
 
Major European and Asian markets, barring the Shanghai index, traded on a positive note.
 
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On the currency front, the Indian rupee settled at 70.10 per dollar, six paise stronger than its previous close of 70.16 per dollar.
 
Investment-wise, provisional data with exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 161.05 crore whereas domestic institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 199.28 crore.
 
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE metal index rose 252.88 points, the auto index was up 141.05 points and the FMCG index rose by 40.99 points.
 
In contrast, the S&P BSE consumer durable index declined 179.73 points, the oil and gas index fell 110.31 points and auto index ended 112.52 points lower from its previous close.
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were Vedanta, up 2.20 per cent at Rs 230.40; Adani Ports, up 2.20 per cent at Rs 387.30; Reliance Industries, up 2.06 at Rs 1,318.20; Maruti Suzuki, up 1.72 per cent at Rs 9,408; and Axis Bank, up 1.62 per cent at Rs 660.60 per share. 
 
The majors losers were Yes Bank, down 3.07 per cent at Rs 371.35; State Bank of India, down 1.07 per cent at Rs 304.95; Hindustan Uniliver, down 1.04 per cent at Rs 1,773; ONGC, down 0.94 per cent at Rs 174.55 per share; and Tata Motors (DVR), down 0.89 per cent at Rs 139.20 per share.
 
IANS
 

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Diesel prices hit all-time high; petrol Rs 78.05/litre in Delhi

File photo of a petrol pump
File photo of a petrol pump
Fuel prices continued to rise on Tuesday, with diesel prices rising to fresh record levels across metros and petrol crossing the Rs 78-per-litre mark in the national capital.
 
The surge in fuel prices is largely due to the rise in the cost of crude oil and high excise duty levied on transportation fuel in the country. The Brent crude oil is currently priced around $76.68 per barrel.
 
In Delhi, diesel was priced at Rs 69.61 per litre, against Rs 69.46 recorded on Monday.
 
In the other key metros of Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, the fuel was sold for Rs 72.46, Rs 73.90 and Rs 73.54, up from Rs 72.31, Rs 73.74 and Rs 73.38 per litre, respectively, on Monday.
 
Price in Mumbai hit a fresh high on Tuesday, surpassing the previous high of Rs 73.79 per litre on May 29. Diesel prices in the other three metros also climbed to new record levels for the third day in a row.
 
Rise in diesel prices gains significance as it is mostly used in vehicles for transportation of food and agricultural products, which could lead to higher inflation.
 
Tuesday also saw petrol prices rising further across the four metropolitan cities. In Delhi, the key transportation fuel was sold at Rs 78.05 per litre, up from Monday's Rs 77.91 per litre.
 
In Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, petrol prices stood at Rs 80.98, Rs 85.47, Rs 81.09 per litre, against Rs 80.84, Rs 85.33 and Rs 80.94 per litre, respectively, recorded on Monday.
 
The all-time high petrol prices recorded on May 29 in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai stood at Rs 78.43, Rs 81.06, Rs 86.24 and Rs 81.43 per litre, respectively.
 
IANS
 

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Indian govt, EESL, World Bank sign $ 300 million agreement to scale up India's Energy Efficiency Program

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The Government of India, the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL),  and the World Bank signed a $220 million loan agreement and a $80 million guarantee agreement for the India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program.
 
The program, to be implemented by EESL, will help scale up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectors, strengthen EESL’s institutional capacity, and enhance its access to commercial financing, a press release from the World Bank said.
 
The investments under the program are expected to avoid lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of 170 million tons of CO2, and contribute to avoiding an estimated 10 GW of additional generation capacity. This would be over 50 percent of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency target of 19.6 GW indicated in India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Accord.
 
“The program will help tackle the financing, awareness, technical and capacity barriers faced by new energy efficiency programs and support the UJALA program of the Government of India,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. 
 
“This is one of the several steps being taken by the Government of India to meet its climate change commitments to reduce carbon intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030,” he added.
 
The agreement for the project was signed by Mr. Khare  on behalf of the Government of India; S Gopal, Chief General Manager (Finance) EESL, on behalf of EESL; and Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
 
The key components of the operation include: creating sustainable markets for LED lights and energy efficient ceiling fans; facilitating well-structured and scalable investments in public street lighting; developing sustainable business models for emerging market segments such as super-efficient air conditioning and agricultural water pumping systems; and strengthening the institutional capacity of EESL. 
 
Moreover, the program will help to increase private sector participation in energy efficiency, including through private sector energy service companies, the release said.
 
Under the program, EESL will deploy 219 million LED bulbs and tube lights, 5.8 million ceiling fans, and 7.2 million street lights, which will be supplied by private sector manufacturers and suppliers.
 
As an integral part of the operation, the first-ever IBRD guarantee in India will help EESL access new markets for commercial financing in line with the Bank’s approach of maximizing finance for development. The guarantee is expected to leverage some $200 million in additional financing, to help EESL with its growing portfolio and future investment needs.
 
“This energy efficiency Program for Results will help India meet its NDC commitments and move further towards a more resource-efficient growth path,” said Hisham Abdo, Acting World Bank Country Director in India. “The additional guarantee from the World Bank will support EESL to access new sources of commercial funding, diversify its investor base, and establish a track record for future access to financial markets,” he added.
 
Demand for energy end-use appliances and equipment like lighting, ceiling fans, air conditioners, refrigerators, agricultural pumps, and industrial motors is projected to grow significantly in India. So far, through the “Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All” (UJALA) program, EESL has already deployed more than 295 million LED bulbs, resulting in avoiding over 7,500 MW of new electricity generation capacity and bringing a significant drop in retail prices of high quality LED lightbulbs.
 
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The India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program will help EESL expand UJALA’s deployment of efficient ceiling fans, LED street lights and LED tube lights, along with its already-successful LED bulbs procurement and distribution.
 
Under the Street Lighting National Program (SLNP) of EESL which has installed over 5.8 million LED street lights in three years across more than 500 municipalities, EESL enters into long-term annuity agreements with municipalities to retrofit existing streetlights with LED lamps and fixtures, and maintain them for up to seven years. The entire investment is made upfront by EESL and recovered from the energy savings of municipalities/cities. To realize the street lighting program’s full market potential and its growing program, EESL will leverage the capacity and resources of the private energy service companies (ESCOs) to a wider range of commercial financing sources.
 
“India’s energy efficiency market, estimated to be over $12 billion per year, continues to face implementation barriers, particularly in the residential and public sectors, which have some of the largest untapped potential for energy efficiency improvements.  Building upon its experience of UJALA and SLNP, EESL is now expanding its initiatives to other energy efficiency measures,” said Ashok Sarkar, Senior Energy Specialist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the Program. 
 
“The financing under the India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program will not only help EESL to continue achieving the results under its existing initiatives but also strengthen its institutional capacity and ability to meet its future expanding needs by leveraging private ESCO industry and increased access to a wider range of external commercial financing sources,” he added.
 
The $220 million loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to EESL, has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years.  
 
The $80 million IBRD guarantee will partially cover re-payment risks to commercial lenders or investors, to enable EESL to raise funds for its program.
 
NNN

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Equity indices close at record levels; Sensex inches closer to 39,000 points

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Continuing their bull run, key Indian equity indices set fresh benchmarks on Tuesday, with the S&P BSE Sensex inching closer to the landmark level of 39,000 points.
 
Both the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty50 touched their respective record intra-day highs of 38,938.91 points and 11,760.20 points, before ending the day's trade at record closing levels.
 
At 3.30 p.m, the broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 11,738.50 points -- higher by 46.55 points or 0.40 per cent -- from its previous close.
 
The barometer 30-scrip Sensex, which opened at 38,814.76 points, closed at 38,896.63 points -- higher by 202.52 points or 0.52 per cent -- from its previous session's close of 38,694.11 points.
 
The intra-day low on Sensex was 38,760.58 points. 
 
The top gainers during the day's trade were Vedanta, Adani Ports, Reliance Industries, Maruti Suzuki and Axis Bank. 
 
On the other hand, the major losers were Yes Bank, State Bank of India, Hindustan Uniliver, ONGC and Tata Motors (DVR). 
 
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Equity indices touch new highs; auto stocks zoom

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Positive global cues pushed the key domestic equity indices to new intra-day high levels on Tuesday.
 
Accordingly, the S&P BSE Sensex touched a fresh high of 38,920.14 points.
 
Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 reached a new record high of 11,760.20 points.
 
Market observers credited the easing of global trade tensions and healthy buying in metal, auto and IT stocks as factors which pushed the key indices higher.
 
Around 1.10 p.m., the broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded at 11,746.15 points -- higher by 54.20 points or 0.46 per cent -- from its previous close.
 
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), which opened at 38,814.76 points, traded at 38,907.35 points -- higher by 213.24 points or 0.55 per cent -- from its previous session's close of 38,694.11 points.
 
Sensex touched a low of 38,760.58 points during the intra-day trade.
 
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Equity indices touch new highs; Sensex crosses 38,900-points-mark

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Positive global cues pushed the key domestic equity indices to new intra-day high levels during the morning trade session on Tuesday.
 
Accordingly, the S&P BSE Sensex touched a fresh high of 38,920.14 points.
 
Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 reached a new record high of 11,760.20 points.
 
Market observers credited easing of global trade tensions and healthy buying in metal, healthcare and oil and gas stocks as factor which pushed the key indices higher.
 
Around 9.35 a.m., the broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded at 11,731.35 points - higher by 39.40 points or 0.34 per cent -- from its previous close.
 
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), which opened at 38,814.76 points, traded at 38,808.48 points -- higher by 114.37 points or 0.30 per cent -- from its previous session's close of 38,694.11 points.
 
Sensex touched a low of 38,793.31 points during the intra-day trade.
 
IANS
 

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