L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 2046 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders valued at Rs. 2046 crore across various business segments.
These include orders worth Rs. 826 crore bagged by its Power Transmission & Distribution Business,  a press release from the company said.
The scope of work includes construction of projects for rural electrification under the Integrated Power Development Scheme, extra high voltage substations and overhead transmission lines across various locations in India. 
The release said the company's Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business had secured a order worth Rs. 675 crore in the metro sector. The scope of the work primarily includes the construction of elevated viaducts and elevated stations.
The company's Building & Factories Business bagged a residential project worth Rs. 434 crore from a client. The scope of work includes engineering, procurement and construction of three towers each of G+30 floors, with 2 levels of common basement and other ancillary facilities.
The Transportation Infrastructure Business secured additional orders worth Rs. 111 crore in its various ongoing projects, the release added.

India's forex reserves dip by $ 1.679 billion to $ 369.6 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.679 bllion to $ 369.6 billion in the week ended September 16 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had soared by a whopping $ 3.514billion to a fresh all-time high of $ 371.28 billion in the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had fallen by $ 1.673 billion to $ 344.074 billion during the week.
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 21.643 bilion, while its special drawing rights went down by $ 2.3 million to $ 1.491 billion.
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 2.7 million to $ 2.392 billion, the bulletin added.

High alert in Uran near Mumbai after kids spot suspicious men

A high alert was sounded along India's western coastline near Mumbai on Thursday after two schoolchildren reported that they had seen a group of men moving in the area near their school in Uran, near the metropolis, in suspicious circumstances.

A high alert was sounded along India's western coastline near Mumbai today after two schoolchildren reported that they had seen a group of men moving in the area near their school in Uran, near the metropolis, in suspicious circumstances.
The students -- a girl and a boy in their early teens -- informed their teacher about what they had seen and heard, who in turn alerted the local police.
The police swung into action immediately and the Indian Navy's Western Naval Command, the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Air Force also launched a massive search operation for the men.
"IN's Western Naval Command today expeditiously reacted to a report of suspicious movement of some people in Uran area by initiating an alert & informing  all coastal security stakeholders. Searches& other actions as per SOP have been initiated. The situation is being closely monitored in liaison with the police," the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
"No person has been located or apprehended till now," he added.
Senior police officers rushed to the school and talked to the students, who reportedly told them that the men -- four or five in number -- appeared to be strangers, were dresssed in "Pathani suits",  carrying backpacks and weapons and speaking in a strange language. 
While there was no independent corroboration of the children's version, the authorities were, nonetheless, taking the information seriously and carrying out a thorough check of the area to ensure that there was no cause for concern.
The alert came just four days after the terror attack on an Army administrative base at Uri in Jammu & Kashmir.
Apart from the increased police presence in Uran, the police also stepped up security in Mumbai.
The authorities are not taking any chances in their efforts to ensure that there is no repeat of the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, in which ten terrorists sneaked into the city through the sea route and killed more than 160 people.
Officials urged people to report anything suspicious to the authorities and not to spread rumours.
Uran is close to many vital installations and just 40 minutes across the sea from South Mumbai.

GoAir increases flights to North East for Durga Puja

Low-cost carrier GoAir today said it would launch additional flights  and feeder connections to deal with the growing demand for flights into Kolkata and Bagdogra during the busy Durga Puja period.
The additional flights will now ensure that GoAir flies Delhi to Bagdogra twice daily commencing on October 3 and Delhi to Kolkata thrice daily commencing from October 4, a press release from the airline said.
GoAir will also introduce its first ever direct flight from Chennai to Kolkata effective October 12, it said.
Bookings can be availed through the company website, or online travel portals, GoAir Call Centre, airport ticketing offices, through travel agents, and the GoAir App that is available on both Apple iOS and Google Android. Passengers will be required to download the latest version of the Apps to be able to make the bookings.
The airline had recently announced Hyderabad as its 23rd destination and will be adding to its existing tally of 144 daily flights and approximately 975 weekly flights across 22 destinations. 
The airline operates on these routes with its Airbus A320 fleet, the release added.

L&T wins order from Vietnam Border Guard for high speed patrol vessels

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had signed a contract, valued at $ 99.7 million, with Vietnam Border Guard for design and construction of high speed patrol vessels in India as well as for transfer of design and technology along with supply of equipment and material kits for construction of follow-on vessels at a Vietnam shipyard.
This is the biggest export order won by a private Indian shipyard till date, a press release from the company said.
The high-speed patrol vessels are purpose-built for controlling and protecting sea security and sovereignty, detecting illegal activities such as smuggling, and undertaking search and rescue missions. 
Constructed of aluminium alloy, the vessels are about 35 metres long and can clock a speed of 35 knots with a state-of-the-art navigation and surveillance equipment and self-defence capabilities on board.
A press release from the company said that, in keeping with the Government of India’s Make in India policy, complete design and engineering of these vessels will be undertaken at L&T’s dedicated Warship Design Centre with the vessels being built at L&T’s state-of-the-art Kattupalli Shipyard, off Chennai.
Mr. S.N. Subrahmanyan, President and Deputy Managing Director of L&T, said that the contract was testimony to L&T’s world-class technological capabilities. He also hoped the contract would pave the way for stronger bilateral ties between India and Vietnam.
Earlier in 2015, a tender was floated by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the patrol boats and six shipyards (L&T, MDL, GRSE, erstwhile Pipavav, ABG and PEC) from India participated in the bid. The MoD-Vietnam shortlisted three shipyards and undertook an extensive assessment of their design and engineering capabilities, yard infrastructure, track record and financial health. 
"L&T qualified on all the parameters and was selected from among the six for the prestigious export contract," the release said.
According to it, L&T is presently executing Indian MoD contracts for design and construction of 54 Interceptor Boats (IBs) for Indian Coast Guard, out of which 28 IBs have already been delivered with the last boat having been delivered two years ahead of schedule. L&T is also executing orders for design and construction of seven Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard against a contract of Rs.1432 crore and a Floating Dock for the Indian Navy with a contract value of Rs.468 crore.

Essel Propack to acquire 100% stake in joint venture Essel Deutschland Germany

Specialty packaging major Essel Propack, part of the $ 2.4 billion Essel Group, today announced a complete buyout of its joint venture Essel Deutschland Germany (EDG).
Following this transaction, EDG will be a 100% subsidiary of Essel Propack.  Until now, Essel has been a JV partner with 24.9% share in EDG. The enterprise value of EDG stands at $ 32 million, a press release from Essel said.
"The acquisition will help Essel  unlock synergies such as enhanced cross selling opportunity in the German markets, sourcing flexibility and  better capacity utilization at all of its Europe plants," it said.
According to it, Essel now can deploy its proven capability to offer high decoration laminated tube solutions for the premium non-oral care brands across Europe, including Germany.  Essel will also have the benefit of a long term supply agreement which EDG has recently signed with a local oral care company, it said.
The EDG revenue of approximately $40 million will now be consolidated in Essel’s global revenue and will boost consolidated revenue by 11%.
In FY16, Essel Propack’s consolidated revenue stood at Rs. 2,184 crore.
Mr. Ashok Goel, Vice-Chairman & the Managing Director of Essel Propack said, “The acquisition of EDG will further enhance our position in the non-oral care category. This move is in keeping with our overall plans for achieving revenue growth of 15% and PAT growth of 20% and achieving our Mission 20:20:20.”
The company has embarked on a mission  20:20:20 – EBITDA margin of 20%, Return on Equity (ROE) at 20% and Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) at 20% within next two years.
Mr. Ram Ramasamy, Global COO, Essel Propack, said, “The complete buyout will enable us to step up productivity and efficiencies to those of other Essel Propack plants and improve overall profits.”
Mr. Alan Conner, European Business Vice-President of Essel Propack, said, “This move will help us to creating a strong platform for growth in Europe especially in the non-oral care category.  As we have a ready customer base, this will help improve our revenue growth through synergies.  The acquisition will add 63% to our Europe revenue on an annualized basis.” 
Essel Propack manufactures laminated plastic tubes catering to the FMCG and Pharma space. It has 21 facilities in 11 countries and sells more than six billion tubes every year.

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 1726 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders valued at Rs. 1726 crore across various business segments.
These include an order worth Rs. 687 crore bagged by its Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business in the defence sector, a press release from the company said.
The company said its Smart World & Communication Business had secured an order worth Rs. 421 crore from public sector telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for engineering, supply, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of wi-fi hotspots and wi-fi offload systems on turnkey basis for the Southern and Western States of India.
The scope of work includes installation of Wi-Fi Access Points (AP), provisioning of bandwidth connectivity to the Access Points (AP) and integration with the existing network.
The release said the company's Water & Effluent Treatment Business had won an engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) order worth Rs. 245 crore from Pune Municipal Corporation. The project scope involves design, procurement and construction of 63 RCC elevated storage reservoirs ranging from 0.5 ML to 4.5 ML, 19 RCC ground level storage reservoirs ranging from 0.5 ML to 17.0 ML and related infrastructure works for Pune city.
The company's Power Transmission & Distribution business has  bagged EPC orders worth Rs. 373 crore.
The release said the company had secured an order under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) from Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (OPTCL). The scope includes electrification works in the WESCO utility areas of Odisha.
Another order has been received from Power Grid Corporation of India for the construction of 400 kV Double Circuit Mundra – Bhuj Transmission Line in Gujarat, the release added.

Guided missile destroyer Mormugao launched at Mazagaon Docks

Navy launches warship Mormugao
India's guided missile destroyer Mormugao, the second ship of Project 15B, ws launched at Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) here today.
The launch is seen as a significant milestone in the annals of the country's indigenous warship design and construction programme.
With a launch weight of 2844 tonnes, the vessel made its first contact with water at 11:58 am with full fanfare during the launching ceremony graced at which Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, was the chief guest. 
In keeping with maritime traditions, his wife Reena Lanba, President, Navy Wives Welfare Association (NWWA), broke a coconut on the ship’s bow and launched the ship, as invocation from the Atharva Veda was being rendered. 
Admiral Lanba said the event was yet another moment of truth for the Indian Navy and India's quest for self-reliance and indigenisation. 
"The Indian Navy stands fully committed to the call of ‘Make in India’ and we are extremely proud of the fact that all of our warships and submarines on order today are being constructed within the country," he said.
He said the event was also an affirmation of the government's resolve that the Indian Navy should attain a size and capability that is commensurate with the country's growing stature in the world, its national maritime interests, and its commitment to cooperation and collaboration towards ensuring secure seas for shaping a favourable and positive maritime environment. 
The Admiral also commended the partnership of MDL, Indian Navy, DRDO, OFB, BEL, other public sector enterprises and the private industry in ensuring that force levels are made available to meet India’s national strategic objectives. He also congratulated DGND and his team at Directorate of Naval Design for designing state-of-the-art warships and contributing towards achieving Indian Navy’s dream of transforming from a “Buyers” to a “Builders” Navy. 
An official press rlease said Project 15B ships feature cutting edge advanced technology and are comparable to the best ships of similar class anywhere in the world. These ships have been designed indigenously by the Directorate of Naval Design, New Delhi. Each ship spans 163 metres in length and 17.4 metres at beam and displaces 7300 tonnes. They will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. 
The P15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and ship manoeuvrability. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. P 15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters, the release said.
These ships are packed with an array of state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including vertically launched missile system, for long distance engagement of shore, sea-based and air targets. 
"With significant indigenous content, these ships are a true hall-mark of self reliance attained by our country in warship design and ship building," the release said.
The P15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and ship maneuverability. These ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multi-role helicopters. State of art rail less helo traversing system is being introduced on these ships for efficient helicopter handling onboard. 
The release said the ships could be classified as possessing a Network of Networks, as they are equipped with Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Ship Data Network (SDN), Automatic Power Management System (APMS) and Combat Management System (CMS). 
While control and monitoring of machinery and auxiliaries is achieved through the IPMS, power management is done using the APMS. The CMS performs threat evaluation and resource allocation based on the tactical picture compiled and ammunition available onboard. The SDN is the information highway on which data from all the sensors and weapons ride. 
Stealth has been a major thrust area in P15B design. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. The ship embodies features such as Multiple Fire Zones, Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS) for Air Conditioning, Battle Damage Control Systems (BDCS), Distributional Power Systems and Emergency DA to enhance survivability and reliability in emergent scenarios. 
These ships have been designed for a complement of 50 officers and 250 sailors. The accommodation and working spaces have been designed with special emphasis on ergonomics and habitability. 
The ship’s “fire power” consists of sophisticated weapons-sensor suite including vertically launched Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) and Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSM) for long distance engagement of shore and sea based targets. It is also noteworthy that this ship has significantly high indigenous content, in the form of weapons, machinery and material. 
P15B Yard 12705, christened Mormugao, will be the fifth frontline warship, including the indigenous aircraft carrier, launched in the last six years, in addition to the delivery of three frigates, three destroyers and two corvettes during the same period. 

India's forex reserves soar by $ 3.514 billion to all-time high of $ 371.28 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves soared by a whopping $ 3.514 billion to a fresh all-time high of $ 371.28 billion in the week ended September 9, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had risen by $ 989.5 million to $ 367.766 billion in the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central banksaid that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 3.51 billion to $ 345.747 billion during the week.
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 21.643 bilion, while its special drawing rights went up by $ 5.3 million to $ 1.494 billion.
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 1.3 million to $ 2.396 billion, the bulletin added.

Vodafone says will triple points of interconnect with Reliance Jio

Telecom services provider Vodafone today said it would triple its points of interconnect (PoIs) with Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subdiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), which launched its 4G services in the country on September 5.
A press release from the company said that it was committed to "continue playing its responsible role in further developing the Indian telecom sector and in creating value for the consumer, the industry and the country".
"Vodafone India has always provided Points of Interconnect to other operators for all their fair, reasonable and legitimate requirements and will continue to do so. Following guidance from TRAI and clarifications from Jio regarding its commercial launch, Vodafone India has decided to increase the points of interconnect between the two operators by thrice and accordingly increase the capacity to connect. Vodafone is hopeful that all issues that it has raised with TRAI and Jio will be duly considered and resolved at the earliest," it said.
The release said that, to create a truly connected, inclusive and Digital India, it was vital to have a level playing field between providers offering the same service, encourage innovations and judiciously use a portfolio of technologies - 2G, 3G & 4G to service the evolving needs of consumers across the country.
Reacting to the announcement, Reliance Jio said it welcomed Vodafone's decision of providing more PoIs but felt that the quantum proposed to be released by it was substantially less than the requirement estimated based on transparent workings shared with Vodafone.
"RJIL has been writing regularly to Vodafone regarding its requirement for interconnection capacity over the last few months. Necessary details have been provided from time to time, highlighting the urgency of the requirement and the impact on Quality of Service parameters. However, no action was taken for the last several weeks, resulting in non-compliance of TRAI regulation on quality of service which mandates that POI congestion should not affect more than 1 call in every 200 calls made.
"The situation has deteriorated significantly in the last few weeks, with over 80 calls failing out of every 100 call attempts. In the last 10 days alone, over 15 crore RJIL calls have failed on the Vodafone network. While RJIL has rolled out a state-of-the-art network, the benefits of superior voice technology have been denied to Indian customers due to the POI congestion. Indian customers have not been able to enjoy RJIL's free voice offer as a result of such anti-competitive behaviour of incumbent operators," a release from RJIL said.
RJIL said it had been raising the issue of insufficient POIs as anti-competitive aimed at hindering the entry of a new operator. 
"Such hurdles result in poor experience for RJIL customers who are trying to make calls to incumbent operators' networks.It is unfortunate that TRAI’s intervention was required for Vodafone to resume augmentation of POIs as admitted in its press release. Vodafone ought to have augmented POIs by itself in compliance with its license terms.
"Furthermore, Vodafone and the other incumbent operators have also been blocking the mobile number portability (MNP) facility for their subscribers who wish to subscribe to Jio serviceson baseless and unsubstantiated grounds. This is another example of disregard of license terms and their obligations under the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009 (“MNP Regulations”) and TRAI directions. This is again an anti-competitive move aimed at stifling a new operator, denying the Indian customers the benefit of choice of service provider. This is against public interest and fair play.
"RJIL hopes that Vodafone will enhance the PoI's sufficiently to meet their license obligation of QoS with immediate effect and maintain these parameters on an ongoing basis. Vodafone must also immediately make available MNP to all its subscribers opting to port to RJIL in accordance with the license terms and MNP regulations," a release from Reliance Jio added.

RIL retains position as most profitable company among Nifty 50

A view of RIL's petroleum refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat
A view of RIL's petroleum refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat
At the close of the extended results season for the April-June 2016 quarter, energy and petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has retained its position as the most profitable company among the Nifty 50 – a widely followed benchmark in the Indian stock market. 
The Mukesh Ambani-led company, which now also has a major presence in the retail and telecom sectors, continues to remain the single largest contributor to the aggregate net profit of the Nifty 50.
RIL’s consolidated net profit of Rs. 7113 crore for the April-June 2016 quarter was 12.6% higher than the Rs. 6318 crore reported by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the second best performer in the Nifty.
And, compared to the net profit of Rs. 4232.5 crore posted by the public sector Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), RIL’s largest energy sector peer among the Nifty 50, it is 68.1% higher.
The aggregate net profit of the Nifty 50 for the quarter stood at Rs. 69,793 crore, which means RIL has alone contributed 10.2% of it – rising from the 8.1% for the corresponding period a year ago. 
This high level of contribution is expected to continue as several of RIL’s large scale projects are set to become operational in near future.
At Wednesday’s close of 8762.6, the Nifty is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 23.9, with an EPS of 364.8.
Every additional rupee in the aggregate net profit of the Nifty improves the index’s EPS, and thereby justifies its level. The Nifty’s current valuation is considered excessive by many experts, and they anticipate a correction. Unless the earnings growth of the Nifty 50 companies picks up fast, the current level of the Nifty index might become unsustainable.
RIL’s scrip has gone up over 21% in the past one year, outperforming the benchmark index that climbed 10.8%. This helped the company improve its weightage in the Nifty from 5% in September 2015 to the current 5.4%. (An individual stock’s weightage in the Nifty is decided not just by its market capitalisation, but also by free float.)
The Nifty index, which was trading at a price-earnings ratio (P/E) of 21.8 a year ago, now stands at 23.9. In comparison, RIL’s valuation has barely increased from a P/E of 11.7 to 11.9 over the same period. Due to this, most of the brokerage houses are bullish on the RIL scrip. A leading foreign brokerage CLSA, in its July 2016 report, has iterated its conviction on RIL, stating, “Start of projects worth $35 billion in the next six months could be a key catalyst; conviction BUY stays.”
The April-June 2016 results season had been extended by a month by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI), allowing India Inc. extra time to adopt the new Ind AS accounting standards.
Coal India’s results on September 13 was the last from the Nifty 50 companies. 

SBI raises $300 million through overseas bonds

State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, today said it had raised $ 300 million through bonds from overseas investors, marking the first foreign currency Additional Tier 1 (AT1) issuance ever by an Indian bank.
A press release from the bank said that it had today, acting through its Dubai IFC Branch, successfully priced the inaugural $ 300 million fixed rate perpetual AT1 Notes under its $ 10 Billion Reg S MTN programme.
The perpetual non call 5 year deal was priced at a fixed coupon of 5.50% payable semi-annually. The first reset of the bond will be on the 6th anniversary date, the release said.
This followed the successful placement of the domestic AT1 of Rs. 2100 crore ($ 300 million approximately) in the domestic market at 9% p.a., the release said.
The bonds are rated B1 by Moody’s and B+ by Standard & Poor's.
SBI is India’s largest bank, with a total asset size of $ 339 billion, with 16,288 branches in India, 200 international offices in 37 countries and more than 370 million customer accounts as of 30th June, 2016.
SBI's Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said, "We are pleased to set a benchmark for US Dollar AT1bonds by an Indian bank. This successful benchmark size deal opens the USD AT1 market for Indian banks."
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi Bank, J.P. Morgan, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, SBI Capital Markets and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers for the offering, the release added.

Reliance Capital to independently list Home Finance business on stock exchanges

Reliance Capital Ltd., a part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, today said its Board of Directors had approved a proposal to independently list its home finance business – Reliance Home Finance Ltd (RHF) -  on the stock exchanges.
The independent listing of Reliance Home Finance is expected to unlock substantial value for existing shareholders of Reliance Capital, a press release from the company said.
The listing of Reliance Home Finance will also lead to increased management focus and accelerated growth in the home finance business, it said.
The release recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set a goal of affordable housing for all by 2022 and noted that there was presently an estimated shortage of 100 million residential units in India. 
"To address the needs of this sector, Reliance Home Finance has charted an aggressive growth plan in this space, and aims to increase its book size to over Rs. 50,000 crore in the next few years,” said Mr. Anmol A. Ambani, Director, Reliance Capital Ltd. 
“We expect the listing and allotment of shares in Reliance Home Finance, free of cost, to unlock significant value for our almost one million strong shareholder family,” he added.
As per the proposal, 49 per cent stake in Reliance Home Finance Limited will be allotted to all shareholders of Reliance Capital, in the ratio of one share free of cost in Reliance Home Finance Limited for every one share held in Reliance Capital.
Reliance Capital will hold a 51 per cent stake in Reliance Home Finance, and the company will be adequately capitalised to grow the lending book to over Rs. 20,000 crore in the next 18 months.
The proposal is subject to necessary shareholder and other approvals, the release said.
The release said Reliance Home Finance, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Reliance Capital, provides a wide range of loan solutions like home loan, LAP, construction finance and affordable housing loans. The company reported an AUM of Rs. 8,259 crore ($ 1.2 billion) during the quarter ended June 30, 2016.

HCC awarded Rs 181 crore contract from Department of Atomic Energy

Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it had been awarded a Rs. 181.65 crore contract by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to build premium high rise residential towers at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu. 
This is an item rate contract to be completed in 30 months, a press release from the company said.
The release said the scope of the project included construction of five high rise residential towers of ground plus 15 floors, housing 600 apartments. The total built up area for the entire construction will be 7.5 lakh sq.ft. This facility would provide accommodation to DAE officers working at IGCAR, Kalpakkam.
This is the second order that HCC has received from DAE for construction of residential towers for its officers. HCC is also currently constructing the six high rise residential towers of ground plus 18 floors housing 312 residential apartments for Senior Officers working at BARC Anushaktinagar.
HCC has constructed 65% of the country’s installed nuclear power capacity and is currently constructing the first phase of Integrated Nuclear Recycle Plant of BARC in Tarapur and Units 7 & 8 (2×700 MW) PWHR at Rawatbhata, Kota, Rajasthan, the release added.

Minor earthquake shakes Koyna region of Maharashtra

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Koyna region of Maharashtra this afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 17.4°N and longitude 73.8°E, occurred at 1330 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.

India's forex reserves rise by $ 989.5 million to $ 367.766 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 989.5 million to $ 367.766 billion in the week ended September 2, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had dipped by $ 392.6 million to $ 366.776 billion in the pevious week.
 In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 952.2 million to $ 342.237 billion during the week.
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves increased by $ 58.1 million to $ 21.643 bilion, while its special drawing rights went down by $ 8 million to $ 1.488 billion.
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 12.8 million to $ 2.397 billion, the bulletin added.

Two injured in jostling during Navy recruitment drive in Mumbai

Two persons suffered minor injuries in jostling during a special recruitment drive conducted by the Indian Navy for Senior Secondary Recruits (SSR) at INS Hamla at Malad here today.
The injured were treated at the Naval Hospital at INS Hamla, a press release from the Navy said.
According to it, due to the overwhelming response, a very large number of candidates had reported for the said drive. 
"Adequate arrangements for crowd control have also been made in liaison with Mumbai Police. However, due to some over-enthusiastic candidates desiring to enter the premises before the others, crowding resulted at the main gate of INS Hamla, which was controlled by Civil and Naval Police present at the site," it said.
"The examination is currently in progress in shifts, and will continue till all eligible candidates with valid documents have been examined. It is clarified that there has been no change in the minimum educational qualifications etc, and all the volunteers (with valid documents) will get a chance to appear for the recruitment opportunity, the release added.

Mahindra, Ola in alliance, to target $ 400 million of vehicle sales, financing in two years

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., part of the $ 17.8 billion Mahindra Group, today said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enter into a strategic alliance with shared transportation platform Ola to empower 40,000 driver partners across India by 2018.
Through this strategic alliance, they aim overall vehicle sales and financing of over $ 400 million (Rs. 2,600 crores), a press release from the company said.
According to it, Ola's driver partners can now avail of an integrated and attractive 'Mahindra-Ola' package which will include Mahindra cars at special prices, attractive financing with zero down payment, and the best NBFC interest rates, subsidized insurance premiums, comprehensive maintenance packages, as well as exclusive benefits on the Ola platform.
The release said the alliance sought to encourage micro-entrepreneurship amongst drivers to address India's growing mobility needs. Mahindra and Ola will also explore other areas of joint collaboration to build the next generation of mobility solutions including those for unique transportation use cases, it said.
Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, said, "This is an initiative whose time has come, one that meets the current and future needs of Indian consumers, particularly younger ones who prefer shared mobility solutions. It also has a positive social impact on the lives and prospects of at least 40,000 driver owners, and their families. To me, this is an important strategic alliance for the Mahindra Group, one that I believe will change the contours of our industry, while giving us the first mover advantage in the fast growing Sharing Economy of India."
Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO, Ola said, "We are delighted to work with an iconic Indian brand like Mahindra to further our mission of building mobility for a billion Indians. As part of the strategic alliance between the two companies, we have created a unique solution to help tens of thousands of aspiring driver-entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Our alliance with Mahindra will help build significant scale by innovatively building more mobility options and newer use cases in the time to come."
The release said the Mahindra-Ola package focuses on financial inclusion by empowering driver partners who otherwise may not be able to invest in a car, to purchase one at a highly affordable price, and at upto zero down payment. It will also support drivers with accident insurance and scholarships for their children. 
"This aligns with Mahindra's Rise philosophy of empowering people with the right products and services to enhance the quality of their lives, and Ola's focus on building an ecosystem that supports the entrepreneurial growth of driver-partners across the country.
"Amidst the rapidly growing sharing economy, this strategic alliance will create immense synergies and address the country's growing need for mobility offerings, which will play a key role in the realization of India's socio-economic development agenda," the release added.

Reliance Capital raises Rs. 2000 crore through private placement

Reliance Capital, a part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, today announced completion of a fund raising exercise of Rs. 2,000 crore ($ 300 million) through private placement of secured redeemable non-convertible debentures (NCD) for a period of 5 years and 10 years, respectively.
The issue size offered was Rs 1,000 crore ($ 150 million) with an option to retain oversubscription, by way of greenshoe option, of upto Rs 1,000 crore ($ 150 million), a press release from the company said.
The issue was fully subscribed, including the greenshoe option, and will be listed on BSE, it said.
“The funds will be used to refinance our existing debt and also grow our lending businesses. Our debt equity remains at a conservative 1.7, amongst the lowest in the NBFC sector. We will continue to maintain a healthy asset liability mix, and provide optimally priced funds for our high growth lending businesses,” said Mr. Sam Ghosh, ED and Group CEO, Reliance Capital.
The secured redeemable NCDs offer an annual coupon rate of 8.9 per cent for 5 years, and 9 per cent for 10 years.
The issue was rated AAA by two rating agencies – Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE) and Brickwork Ratings India Private Limited.

Sun Pharma announces distribution alliance with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation in Japan

Pharmaceuticals major Sun Pharma today said it had initiated a  phased transfer of manufacturing and marketing rights in Japan for the 14 long-listed/established prescription brands acquired from Novartis. 
These 14 prescription brands acquired by the company earlier this year will be transferred from Novartis Pharma K.K. to Sun Pharma’s subsidiary in Japan beginning October 2016, a press release from the company said.
Sun Pharma has also signed a strategic distribution alliance with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation for these 14 prescription brands, the release said.
Under this alliance, following the transfer of manufacturing & marketing rights to Sun Pharma’s subsidiary in Japan, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation will market and distribute all the 14 brands as well as  provide information on their proper use  to healthcare professionals.
Mr. Isao Muramatsu, President & Representative Director, Sun Pharma Japan Ltd, said, “Through this alliance we have the opportunity to leverage Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation’s specialized expertise to create a strong business foundation for us in Japan. Sun Pharma will focus on expanding its sales channels in Japan’s pharmaceutical market while continuing to ensure a stable supply of medicines  and healthcare information.”

Urjit Patel assumes charge as 24th Governor of Reserve Bank of India

Dr. Urjit R. Patel has assumed charge as the 24th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, effective September 4, after serving as Deputy Governor since January 2013.

Urjit Patel
Urjit Patel
Dr. Urjit R. Patel has assumed charge as the 24th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), effective September 4, after serving as Deputy Governor since January 2013.
He was re-appointed as Deputy Governor on January 11 this year after completion of his first three-year term of office. On August 20, he was named as the new Governor of the RBI for a three-year term.
Dr. Patel, an economist, has succeeded Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, whose three-year term ended yesterday.
Among his assignments as Deputy Governor, Dr. Patel chaired the Expert Committee to Revise and Strengthen the Monetary Policy Framework. Representing India, he actively participated in steering the signing into force of the inter-governmental treaty and the Inter-Central Bank Agreement (ICBA) among the BRICS nations, which led to the establishment of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), a swap line framework among the central banks of these countries.
Prior to joining the RBI as Deputy Governor, Dr. Patel was Adviser (Energy & Infrastructure), The Boston Consulting Group.
Born on October 28, 1963, he is a Ph.D. (Economics) from Yale University (1990) and M. Phil. from Oxford (1986). He has been a non-resident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution since 2009.
Dr. Patel was with International Monetary Fund (IMF) between 1990 and 1995 and worked on the U.S., India, Bahamas and Myanmar desks. He was on deputation (1996-1997) from the IMF to the Reserve Bank of India and provided advice on development of the debt market, banking sector reforms, pension fund reforms, real exchange rate targeting and evolution of the foreign exchange market. 
He was a consultant (1998-2001) to the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs, New Delhi.
Some of his previous assignments include as President (Business Development), Reliance Industries Limited, Executive Director and Member of the Management Committee, Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited (IDFC) (1997-2006), Member of the Integrated Energy Policy Committee of the Government of India (2004-2006), and Member of the Board, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Limited.
Between 2000 and 2004, Dr. Patel worked closely with several central and state government high level committees, such as, Task Force on Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Advisory Committee (on Research Projects and Market Studies), Competition Commission of India, secretariat for the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Infrastructure, Group of Ministers on Telecom Matters, Committee on Civil Aviation Reforms, Ministry of Power’s Expert Group on State Electricity Boards and High Level Expert Group for Reviewing the Civil & Defence Services Pension System, Government of India.
Dr. Patel has authored technical publications, papers and comments in the areas of Indian macroeconomics, public finance, infrastructure, financial intermediation, international trade and the economics of climate change.

Growth rate should be high for benefits to percolate down: Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the growth rate should be high if benefits of growth are to percolate down to all, especially the minorities.
Addressing a conference on Empowerment through Education – ‘Taalim-o-Tarbiyat’ here, Mr Jaitley said post 1991 economic liberalization, the acceleration of growth rate has led to substantial reduction in poverty. 
"All communities have shown reduction in poverty levels, but it is uneven.  While higher growth rate impacts all, by way of offering economic opportunities, certain minorities have lagged behind and those areas need to be addressed," he said.
While poverty rate among Muslim community has gone down from 52% in 1991 to about 27% in 2011, some communities like Jains and Parsis have overcome the challenge of poverty, he said.
Mr Jaitley said education was the key to improving the conditions faster which would aid conversion of skills into opportunities. Madarasa is an important institution in imparting education for children of Muslim community he said and complimented the efforts of leaders like Zafar Sareshwala, for blending technology and traditional teachings.
The Finance Minister said the world was facing two kinds of challenges – political and economic. He asserted that India was on a better wicket on both the fronts. 
“Barring occasional skirmishes, often magnified by media, there are no major incidents in our country. Our society continues to speak in one voice,” he added. 
Mr  Jaitley asserted that the framers of the Constitution, recognizing the diversity of India, had provided for minority protection and affirmed that the government remained committed to the welfare of the minorities.
Speaking about economic challenges, Mr Jaitley said that, amidst the global slowdown, the Indian economy had managed to register 7 to 7.5 % growth, which he felt was commendable.
He called upon the members of the minority community to empower themselves through education, acquire skills and tap opportunities availing of benefits like MUDRA Scheme and other programmes.
Mr. Sareshwala, Vice Chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, and organizer of the ‘Taleem-o-Tarbiyat’ Conference appealed to youth and women of Muslim community to engage with the government and take benefits of diverse welfare schemes.
An MoU was signed on the occasion between Maulana Azad National Urdu University and UFO Digital Cinema for imparting English, Mathematics and Science education through satellite.

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs.1458 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders valued at Rs. 1458 crore across various business segments.
These included orders worth Rs. 654 crore bagged by its Power Transmission & Distribution Business in the international and domestic markets, a press release from the company said.
The release said that, in the international market, the company ahd secured a contract from National Grid Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of Saudi Electricity Company, for the construction of a 132 kV double circuit transmission line and 132 kV cabling in the Rafah, Arar, and Sakaka areas of the kingdom.
On the domestic front, an order, under Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), has been bagged from Kanpur Electricity Supply Co. Ltd. (KESCo), it said.
The urban electrification project involves design and construction of new substations, feeders and upgradation of electricity network of Kanpur city in Uttar Pradesh. The project is expected to improve availability, reliability and quality of power supply in the district.
Another order has been received from Power Grid Corporation of India for the construction of gas insulated substations in Vadodara, Navasari, Pune, and Gwalior cities. An additional order has also been bagged in an ongoing project of the business.
The release said the company's Building & Factories Business had bagged projects worth Rs. 518 crore in the domestic market. It said a breakthrough order had been secured from a reputed paint manufacturing company for the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Karnataka. The project scope includes civil and allied structural works.
The business has bagged a residential project at Bengaluru from a renowned customer, it said. The order involves civil and structural works for the construction of seven towers of G+14 and 11 towers of G+15 with two levels of common basement.
The company said its Smart World & Communication Business had secured an order worth Rs. 200 crore from Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation (BSEDC) for the implementation of a wi-fi project in the campuses of government universities, constituent colleges and other premier academic institutions in Bihar.
Additional orders worth Rs. 86 crore have been bagged by other businesses from various ongoing projects, the release added.

GoAir announces discount for defence, paramilitary, police personnel

Low-cost carrier GoAir today said it would extend a 10 percent discount on base fares for serving and retired personnel of defence, paramilitary and police and their dependents.
The offer is available across the GoAir network, a press release from the airline said.
“This is a gesture in recognizing their services to the country and extending gratitude to our forces and their families. We believe that these fares will help our security forces plan their personal travel in advance and help them re-connect with their friends and families easily," said Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, CEO, GoAir.
The offer is available through the GoAir website, GoAir ticketing counters, GoAir Call Centre and travel agents.
Under the scheme, the defence, paramilitary and police personnel and their families will have to carry valid identification proof while travelling. Rebooking or rescheduling of tickets can be done at the current existing fare, the release added.

Mukesh Ambani launches Reliance Jio, offers free voice calls, lowest data rates

Reliance Jio, the subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited, on Thursday announced the launch of its services with free voice calling across India and the lowest data rates anywhere in the world through an all-IP, made-for-mobile video, 4G LTE, future-ready network.

Reliance Jio launched, free domestic calls, no roaming charges
Reliance Jio, the subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), today announced the launch of its services with free voice calling across India and the lowest data rates anywhere in the world through an all-IP, made-for-mobile video, 4G LTE, future-ready network.
The company's offerings were unveiled by Mr. Ambani at RIL's 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) here with a series of announcements that have the potential to completely disrupt the market and pose major challenges for incumbents in the sector.
Among other things, Mr. Ambani announced that 4G LTE smart phones would be available at prices starting from Rs. 2,999 and Jio-Fi, a router for those with 2G and 3G devices, for Rs. 1999 to offer an incentive for "all Indians" to migrate to the company's "data strong network".
He said customers would get Jio Apps subscription worth Rs. 15,000 complimentary until December 31, 2017.
He said there would be instant eKYC (Know Your Customer) digital activations, in stores and at home, using the Aadhaar document. Customers would ahve MyJio, a digital companion app for every stage of their "digita life".
Among other things, he also announced a special offer for students with 25 percent more data and incentives to use more and Jio services for enterprises to transform them to digital businesses.
The company is also offering  white-glove, exclusive services and features for its platinum customers.
"We are announcing today, that starting coming Monday, the 5th of September 2016, Jio's Data, Voice, Video and the full bouquet of Jio applications and content will be available for everyone, absolutely free, till 31st December 2016," he said. "We are calling this the Jio Welcome Offer."
Mr. Ambani said Jio's pricing principles were about "solving customer pain points".
"We have always put the customer first. And if this means changing the industry, then we are prepared to do so," he said.
He said all voice calls for Jio customers would be absolutey free, across the country, to any network and always, without any roaming charges. "Jio will put an end to voice call charges in India. No Jio customer will ever have to pay for voice calls again," he said.
Noting that current market practice is to charge a base rate of Rs 4,000 – 10,000 per GB of data, he said Jio would have a base rate which is more than at a 90% discount over the industry.
"Our data plans go even further, with an effective rate for data of only 5p/ MB, or Rs 50/ GB. And the more data you use, the lower the rate. I believe that these are the absolute lowest data rates anywhere in the world. Jio makes India the highest quality, most affordable data market in the world," he said.
Mr. Ambani noted that, today, there were more than 22,000 telecom tariffs across the country.
"Jio's pricing structure has 10 main plans. These plans are created to ensure that every user can easily find a plan that fits their budget and their data usage needs. Without getting lost in a forest of false choices. Today Indian citizens pay a low rate for voice services, and very high rates for data," he said.
He said there would be no "blackout days", no "bill shocks" and no "non-transparent, difficult to understand bills".
Jio will have price points starting from Rs 19 for the occasional data user, to a monthly Rs 149 plan for the light data user, upto a monthly Rs. 4,999 plan for the heaviest data user.
He said that in these plans Jio had provided the lowest LTE data rates in the world, with no separate upfront commitment to get these rates.
"Data packs available in the market have an effective rate of about Rs 250/ GB. With Jio, you pay 5 to 10 times lower – Rs 25-50/ GB depending on your data usage.
"Another highlight is unlimited night LTE data. This is designed to pass on the idle network capacity at night to our customers. We are also designing Jio applications in such a way that our customers can program their downloads to happen during night-time, when they have unlimited data. So, even when you are sleeping, the network is working for you to reduce your data cost," he said.
"We are at the beginning of a new era for humanity. In this era, if you are not digital, and if you don't have globally competitive digital tools and skills, you simply will not survive. You will get disrupted. You will be outcompeted. You will be left behind. You will become irrelevant. India and Indians cannot afford to be left behind," Mr. Ambani said.
"Today, India is ranked 155th in the world for mobile broadband Internet access, out of 230 countries. Jio is conceived to change this. I have no doubt that with the launch of Jio, India's rank will go up to among the top ten. 1.2 Billion Indians cannot be left behind as the world enters a new era. 
"We have the youngest population in the world. Give them affordable digital tools. Give them the skills. Give them the environment. They will surprise us," he said.
Mr. Ambani said mst legacy telecom providers hadnot built their networks for data or the Internet, but to support voice and SMS.
"As the Internet revolution caught on, they have had to retrofit their legacy networks to deal with data and IP as an afterthought," he said, adding that Jio, on the other hand, had ceated an all-IP network.
"The all-IP design also makes Jio's network the most extensive and future-proof network in the world. It is a network built for ever increasing volumes of data and the best that the Internet has to offer," he said.
He said Jio's 4G network already covers 18,000 cities and towns and more than two lakh villages. It would cover 90% of India's population by March 2017, he said.
He said Jio was the largest only-4G LTE network in the world, which had also deplyed the largest 100% voice over LTE (VoLTE) network for "crystal clear voice and video quality, instant call connectivity, the least call drops and a unique ability to use data and voice simultaneously".
Mr. Ambani also said that Jio had the only network conceived and born as a mobile video network from the ground up. "As we progress, the Internet could offer even more compelling content than video, things like virtual reality and augmented reality. Jio has the necessary foundation to be a leader in these areas as well," he said.
He said the network was future ready and could be easily upgraded to support even more data, as technologies advance on to 5G, 6G and beyond.
"Because of this, we will be able to provide an abundance of high quality, high speed data. And to transform India from a highly priced data market to one with the lowest data rates anywhere in the world," he said.
Mr. Ambani said that, as a result of the pro-active work done by Jio and Reliance Digital teams with all leading device manufacturers, more than 70% of all smartphones sold in the country are 4G LTE smartphones.
He went on to announce a line-up of "super-affordable" 4G LTE smartphones under its LYF brand, starting at Rs 2,999.
More feature-rich models are available for progessively higher price points like Rs. 3999, Rs. 4999 and Rs. 5999, he said.
"And for those users who want to hold on to their 2G/3G smartphones or Wi-Fi capable feature phones, we are 
introducing our 4G LTE personal router, called Jio-Fi, for Rs 1,999," he said.
Mr. Ambani said Jio offered a suite of applications that would bring to customers a suite of applications that will provide them the best across the categories of media, entertainment, money and essential utilities.
He said that, with the JioTV entertainment app, customers can watch more than 300 live TV channels including 40 HD channels with access to all of the previous week's programming.
With the JioCinema app, they can watch ad-free, HD movies from a library of 6,000 movies, more than 60,000 music videos and 1 lakh episodes of TV shows in 10 languages. 
The JioMusic app, offering ultra-HD music, has a library of 10 million songs in more than 10 languages.
JioMagazine and JioNews will give access to thousands of magazines and daily newspaper updates.
JioMoney is a personal wallet that will allow customers to go cashless.
"I believe that these apps will really showcase the capabilities of Jio's powerful network, and create a magical experience for Jio customers," he said, announcing the bouquet of appls would be available free for all active Jio customers upto December 2017.
He said the revamped activation process provided the company with the capacity to acquire a million customers a day.
Mr. Ambani said Jio was rolling out wi-fi hotspots across India, and that, by the middle of next year, the company planned to deploy nearly 1 million wi-fi hotspots.
"So we have added additional Wi-Fi data in our plans so that our users have another way to use broadband data in colleges, schools and public places.
"Let me assure you that our Jio voice calls, across India, will never be charged to you on any plan. The Industry today charges an average of about 60p/ minute for domestic calls. With Jio you pay 0p/ minute. For international calling, Jio plans give you the best-ever International calling rates. And each of these plans come with an unlimited subscription to every Jio app," he said.
He also said that Jio was in the process of connecting the majority of India's schools and colleges with Wi-Fi to provide broadband wireless data access to students in their classrooms.
Mr. Ambani said Jio would partner with all segments of enterprises and offer them competitive and unique customized solutions. "For our platinum customers, Jio is working to raise the bar when it comes to Digital Life experiences," he said.
"Jio is partnering with a number of premium technology brands to create a set of unique solutions that combine these partners' products with the power of Jio's network and digital services. Further, we have high-end tariff plans that are especially suited for these global citizens with features like the best international roaming rates, and access to the most exclusive international content. We even ensure that they have the best coverage in their homes by installing tiny 4G LTE boxes, called femto-cells, within their premises.
"On top of all this, we will also provide our platinum customers with a series of specialized, white-glove services, such as concierge services and video call centers. We will be announcing more details of these partnerships, tariffs and services in the coming months," he said.
Mr. Ambani said that, with the Jio Welcome Offer, every Indian would get to enjoy Jio Digital Life.
"We Indians have come to appreciate and applaud Gandhigiri. Now we can all do “Data-giri”, which is an opportunity for every Indian to do unlimited good things, with unlimited data," he said.
He said the offer would enable users to experience Jio's digital services and personalise the offerings, even as the company would get to test and stabilize its interconnect with other operators and to ensure superior voice qualityfor calls to other networks.
"We will use the free welcome offer period to get valuable feedback from our customers and to iron out all the defects that we jointly discover," he said.
He said Jio was rolling out a fiber to home wireline network. "This initiative will push the power of data even further, and will offer data speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second. Again, this is on par with the most advanced wireline offerings anywhere in the world. Our plan is to progressively extend this network to more and more cities.
"At the same time, Jio will also be extending this optical fiber network to enterprise locations. We intend to provide multi-gigabit per second enterprise-grade wireline data connections that are on par with those in the developed world.
"Next, Jio is also partnering with some of the leading digital and Internet players in the world. Together with Jio, these partners are keen to showcase the full power and range of their offerings to Indian customers. In many cases, we are working jointly to create first-of-its-kind solutions that are unique to the Indian market.
"We also have plans to partner with thousands of Indian entrepreneurs, whose digital ventures can bloom in the ground that Jio is preparing. For this purpose, we have created a Jio Digital India Startup Fund and are also working to create Digital 
Entrepreneurship Hubs in key cities and towns of India. Our aim is to build a platform for young Indians who want to create digital businesses of the future. The Jio Digital India Startup fund has set aside Rs 5,000 crores to be invested over the next 5 years," he said.
Mr. Ambanisaid Jio was working closely with Reliance Retail in the area of e-commerce.
"In the coming months, we also plan to introduce apps around Education, Health, Rural Livelihood, Agriculture and many more categories because we truly believe it is time for Digital Life to reach the remotest corners of India," he said.
Mr. Ambani used the opportunity to highlight the contribution of his son, Akash, and daughter, Isha, to Jio, a company with 60,000 employees with an average age of 30 years.
"Jio is a creation of the young, by the young, and for the young. 
Akash, and Isha – both 24 – our directors at Jio, have been hands on leaders. They represent the large contingent of less than 30 year olds at Jio. I want to tell all our young people at Jio – Jio is what it is because of your passion, ownership, and an attitude of 'can do'.
"You have proved, that given an opportunity, Indian youth can achieve the impossible and be better than anybody in the world," he said.
Describing Jio as a "customer obsessed organisation", he said he had set the company a target to acquire 100 million customers on its network "in the shortest possible time".
"This translates to a data usage of 250 crore GBs a month, and I am counting on the Jio network team to ensure that Jio's all-IP, only-LTE network delivers flawlessly with the highest quality in the world.
Addrssing existing Indian telecom operators, Mr. Ambani said healthy competition was the lifeblood of a vibrant economy and the entine that drives innovation and customer value.
"No doubt, all of us operators will compete vigorously in the marketplace. I am also sure that, while doing so, we will inspire each other to rise to even greater heights in our quest to serve Indian customers.
"However, Incumbent operators have significant advantages over new entrants, since incumbents have well-established networks and existing customers. New entrants require fair access to both.
"Therefore, the onus is rightly on the incumbent operators not to misuse their market power by creating unfair hurdles, when it comes to providing points of interconnect between their networks and Jio's network. Such hurdles will serve only to create a poor experience for Jio customers who are trying to make calls to incumbent operators' networks.
"In fact, in the last week alone, Jio customers suffered over 5 crores call failures to other networks because of insufficient interconnect capacity provided by incumbents. Giving the impression to common Jio customers that voice is not working, when actually the incumbent operators are deliberately dropping calls.
"This is the reason why telecom operators have legal obligations, as part of their license conditions, to provide Points of Interconnect to other operators. Likewise, they have an obligation to also not to limit customers' right to migrate to Jio using Mobile Number Portability.
"I appeal to my fellow operators to do their part, both in letter and spirit, to create a fair and reciprocal framework of co-operation that is good for India and good for Indian customers," he said.
"With great humility and great love, I present Jio Digital Life to the nation, and invite each and every one of you to sign up and experience Jio services first-hand. And to all my fellow Indians, I have a promise and an appeal. From September 5, India will change forever. I invite you to come and participate in this change. 
Let us be this change together, and Jio together," he added.
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