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India’s forex reserves dip by $1.415 billion to $ 314.181 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.415 billion to $ 314.181 billion in the week ended September 26, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, fell by $ 1.391 billion to $ 287.392 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 $ 20.933 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) fell by $ 17.4 million to $ 4.307  billion during the week.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $ 6.2 million to $ 1.549 billion during the period, the bulletin added.
 
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Jet Airways, Etihad offer special fares on their domestic, international networks

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Private sector carrier Jet Airways and the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, its strategic partner, have announced special fares in economy and premiere classes across their domestic and international network ahead of the festive season.
 
The five-day special fare offer will be available for sale from today till October 6 with travel validity from November 5, 2014 onwards on domestic and on international routes as well as on codeshare flights operated with Etihad Airways to destinations beyond Abu Dhabi.
 
"Guests can take advantage of attractive discounts of between 25 and 50 per cent on base fares and fuel surcharge, over the lowest available fares in Economy Class, across all destinations on the airline’s domestic network," a press release from Jet Airways said.
 
"Premiere and Economy guests travelling on international routes on airlines’ networks will enjoy discounts from 25 to50 per cent on base fares on the lowest Premiere and Economy fares available for travel," it said.
 
The offer is valid for travel on direct flights on the airline's domestic and international networks, and also on several flights operated in conjunction with Etihad Airways.
 
Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice President - Commercial, Jet Airways, said: "Our special festive seasons fares will offer guests the chance to experience our airlines' exceptional services, unmatched global network, flexible schedules and enhanced connectivity. I am confident that this promotion will be popular with our guests while they celebrate the festive season with family and friends."
 
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Dena Bank hikes interest rates on FCNR (B), RFC term deposits from Oct 1

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The public sector Dena Bank has announced higher rates of interest on Foreign Currency Non-Repatriable (FCNR) (B) and Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) term deposits with effect from October 1.
 
A press release from the bank said that for FCNR (B) deposits of 3 years to less than 4 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rate is 4.29% as compared to 4.14% earlier.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 4 years to less than 5 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rate is 4.69% as compared to the previous rate of 4.50%.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 5 years only, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rates are 4.96% as compared to 4.77% earlier, the release said.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 2 years to less than 3 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rates are 2.82% as compared to 2.71% previously.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 1 year to less than 2 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rates are 2.38% as compared to 2.34% earlier, the release added.
 
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Harish Manwani to retire as Unilever COO on December 31

Harish Manwani
Harish Manwani
Harish Manwani, currently Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Unilever, the world's second largest consumer goods company, will retire on December 31, 2014, after more than 38 years of service, a statement from the company said today.
 
Manwani will, however, continue in his capacity as the Non-Executive Chairman of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the Indian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch company.
 
Manwani, 62, joined Hindustan Unilever as a Management Trainee in 1976 and joined the HUL Board of Directors in 1995 as a Director responsible for the Personal Products business. 
 
"Under his able leadership the Personal Products business grew from a nascent business to one of the key growth engines of the company. Subsequently he enjoyed success in many roles, covering both Categories and Markets, and across many parts of the world. This included stints as SVP Global Hair Care & Oral Care; President, Home & Personal Care first of Latin America and later of North America," the statement said.
 
In 2005, he was appointed to the Unilever Executive as President, Asia, Africa, Middle East and the role later expanded to include Central and Eastern Europe. He also became the first Non-Executive Chairman of Hindustan Unilever and has overseen a period of sustained growth with the business more than doubling its size and reinforcing itself as one of India’s most admired companies.
 
As Chief Operating Officer of Unilever, Manwani's key achievement has been his leadership of the Global Markets where he established and aligned the market clusters across the world behind a clear agenda, creating a better and more integrated go-to-market organisation. It has also allowed the business to be managed more dynamically, resource allocation to be done more efficiently across markets and best practices to be transferred more seamlessly. 
 
"This has allowed Unilever to become increasingly more competitive in a tougher business environment," the statement said.
 
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Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, "Harish is an inspirational leader and leaves a remarkable legacy. He has been at my side in helping to drive the turnaround of Unilever, making this once again one of the most admired companies in the world. Over the last three years, especially as Chief Operating Officer, Harish has been instrumental in the transformation of the company. Under his leadership we have seen a step-change in our go-to-market organisation and there has been a relentless focus on flawless execution globally.  He has role-modelled the 4G sustainable growth model – Competitive, Consistent, Profitable and Responsible – which has become such a strong focal point for the Markets."
 
Paul added, "I would like to thank Harish once more for his enormous contribution.  He is both a friend and a much admired and respected business leader. In everything he has done, Harish has lived the values that make Unilever such a great company. Through his passion, commitment and endless energy, he leaves a lasting impact on the business he has served with such distinction. I will personally miss his friendship and wise counsel." 
 
Manwani said, "I am deeply grateful to all those colleagues who have helped to make the last 38 years at HUL and Unilever so memorable and fulfilling. It has been a privilege to serve such a great company. Today, Unilever is in a strong position with a clear strategy and capabilities to drive long-term responsible growth. This makes it a good time for me to make this personal transition. I look forward to working with Paul and the leadership team over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition and to further build our growth agenda."
 
Manwani was named Asian Business Leader of the Year in the prestigious CNBC Asian Leadership awards in 2008. Last year, the Singapore Government conferred the distinguished Public Service Award on him for his outstanding contribution to Singapore and building Unilever’s global presence there. 
 
Manwani is also a member of the Board of Directors of Whirlpool Corporation, Pearson and Qualcomm Incorporated. He also serves on the Board of the Indian School of Business and the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore.
 
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RBI keeps policy repo rate unchanged at 8%, CRR at 4%

RBI keeps interest rates unchanged
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today kept the kep policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8 per cent and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks at 4 per cent of net demand and time liabilities.
 
In its Fourth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2014-15, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said that, on the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macro-economic situation, it had been decided to reduce the liquidity provided under the export credit refinance (ECR) facility from 32 per cent of eligible export credit outstanding to 15 per cent with effect from October 10, 2014.
 
He said the RBI would continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 per cent of bank-wise NDTL at the LAF repo rate and liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of NDTL of the banking system through auctions.
 
It will also continue with daily one-day term repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity, he said.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 7 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 9 per cent.
 
The RBI said that, since June, headline inflation had ebbed to levels which are consistent with the desired near-term glide path of disinflation -- 8 per cent by January 2015. 
 
"The most heartening feature has been the steady decline in inflation excluding food and fuel, by a cumulative 111 basis points since January 2014, to a new low. With international crude prices softening and relative stability in the foreign exchange market, some upside risks to inflation are receding. Yet, there are risks from food price shocks as the full effects of the monsoon’s passage unfold, and from geo-political developments that could materialise rapidly," it said.
 
According to it, for the near-term objective, therefore, the risks around the baseline path of inflation are broadly balanced, though with a slant to the downside. 
 
"However, the undershooting of the objective may be temporary because of base effects. Turning to the medium-term objective (6 per cent by January 2016) the balance of risks is still to the upside, though somewhat lower than in the last policy statement. This continues to warrant policy preparedness to contain pressures if the risks materialise. Therefore, the future policy stance will be influenced by the Reserve Bank’s projections of inflation relative to the medium term objective (6 per cent by January 2016), while being contingent on incoming data," it said.
 
The statement said the momentum of activity in all sectors of the economy was yet to stabilize. 
 
"Agriculture should shed the effects of recent shocks and pick up in Q4 of 2014-15. Industrial activity will await improvement in the business environment and the resumption of consumption and investment demand before gaining sustained speed. Post-monsoon revival in construction activity and the likely strengthening of momentum in business and financial services should sustain the recent signs of expansion in the services sector.  The key to a turnaround in the growth path of the economy in the second half of the year is a revival in investment activity – in greenfield as well as brownfield stalled projects – supported by fiscal consolidation, stronger export performance and sustained disinflation. With expectations of these conditions remaining broadly unchanged, the projection of growth for 2014-15 is retained at 5.5 per cent within a range of 5 to 6 per cent around this central estimate. The quarterly growth path may slow mildly in Q2 and Q3 before recovering in Q4," it said.
 
"With liquidity conditions easing, the recourse to ECR has fallen off substantially to about 10 per cent of the outstanding export credit eligible for refinance. Accordingly, in pursuance of the Dr. Urjit R. Patel Committee’s recommendation to move away from sector-specific refinance, the access to the ECR is being brought down to 15 per cent of the eligible export credit, thus continuing to give banks room for manoeuvre. This will be in effect from October 10, 2014," it said.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1423 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction division had won new orders worth Rs 1423 crore across various business segments in September this year.
 
These include a Rs 631 crore order bagged by its Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business from the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the construction of the Lucknow Metro. 
 
L&T’s scope includes construction of the priority section in the North South Corridor - 8.5km elevated viaducts and 8 elevated stations. The project was won against stiff competition and is scheduled to be completed in 24 months, a press release from the company said.
 
Lucknow would be the eighth city in India in which L&T will execute a mass rail transit system after Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi metros and the Mumbai monorail. 
 
"The order reaffirms L&T’s leadership position in augmenting capabilities for metro and monorail transit systems," the release said.
 
The company said its Power Transmission & Distribution business had won three major orders including additional orders from on-going jobs worth Rs 792 crore.
 
A turnkey order has been received from the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) for the supply, erection, testing and commissioning of a 765 kV S/C transmission line from Lalitpur to Agra (Part – III) in Uttar Pradesh. The contract is for the supply of 765 kV EHV towers, insulator hardware materials and other transmission accessories. The order will be completed in 20 months.
 
Another order has been bagged from the Himachal Pradesh Transmission Corporation Limited for the design, engineering, supply and construction of a 400/220/33kV Gas Insulated Switchgear substation at Lahal in Chamba district. The contract involves commissioning of 400 kV & 220kV GIS switchgear, 220/400kV autotransformers, control relay panels, substation control system, fibre optic terminal equipment, auxiliary power system, construction of GIS and construction of the control room along with other associated civil works.
 
The business also received an order from the North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited for the supply, erection, testing and commissioning of 33/11kV power distribution network. The work, funded by the Rural Electricity Corporation Limited, is for augmenting rural electricity infrastructure and household electrification under the 12th Plan of RGGVY scheme for prospective consumers in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, the release added.
 
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64% of netizens have "Fear of Missing Out" when without internet access: report

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Internet use and dependence have risen to a point where the "Fear of Missing Out" or FOMO, often associated with modern technologies and social networking services, has become a global phenomenon.
 
According to a study conducted by Tata Communications, 64 per cent of netizens experience FOMO when they are without internet access.
 
The survey report titled, "Connected World II", reveals responses of more than 9,400 people across six countries: France, Germany, India, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom, and offers insights into people’s behavioural associations, technical understanding and emotional connections to the Internet.
 
The report said that more than 2.5 billion people are connected to the Internet today, that’s a third of the world’s population. By 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to rise to 26 billion]. 
 
A press release from Tata Communication said that some of the key findings include:
 
Emotional connections & preferences 
  • 64% of respondents admit to ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) when not connected to the Internet, with Asian respondents leading in displaying negative emotions at 80%.
  • Global users are willing to renounce different activities for an internet connection, but alcohol (28%) seems to be the top trade-off closely followed by television (26%).
Behaviour patterns & insights
  • The study shows that nearly a third of the world’s internet users spend six hours or more per day actively using the Internet
  • Regional differences point to a more active internet population in Asia, where 46% of Indian and 43% of Singaporean respondents spend more than six hours per day on the Internet - significantly more than the global average of 29%. Asian respondents also appear the most internet dependent with only 48% of Singaporeans and 44% of Indians capable of lasting up to 12 hours without internet access. Their European and U.S. counterparts can go much longer without getting online, with 86% of Germans, 77% of French, 75%  of U.S. and 70% of UK respondents managing up to 12 hours without internet access.
Technical knowledge & expectations 
  • When it comes to knowing how the Internet actually works, only half of the survey respondents accurately identified network connected data centres as the place where the Internet resides, while 82% do not know that the fastest mode of internet delivery to their devices is sub-sea cables.
  • 64% of global respondents incorrectly believe that the Internet is infinite, and 70% believe that everyone owns the Internet with only 16% actually indicating knowledge about geo-control.
  • Emerging markets and the developed economies are distinctly different in their vision of the most inspirational opportunity for change in the next three to five years that the Internet can enable. Respondents from Asian countries (Singapore 32% and India 27%) picked smart cities as the most inspirational opportunity, whereas respondents from the U.S. (29%), UK (35%), France (25%) and Germany (45%) view light speed connectivity as the most inspirational.
The release said that, while the average global respondent revealed he could only survive a maximum of 8.9 hours without the Internet on a daily basis, 25% of total respondents are unable to make an educated guess about where the Internet resides and 67% of respondents believe that the Internet and WWW are one and the same thing – indicating an opportunity for education on the understanding and knowledge about the Internet.
 
According to Andrew Blum, author of ‘Tubes: A Journey to the Centre of the Internet’, “There’s a tangible, physical reality to the Internet. Undersea cables are the ultimate totems of our physical connections. If the Internet is a global phenomenon, it’s because there are tubes underneath the ocean. They are the fundamental medium of the global village.” 
 
“The Internet has truly changed the way we function. As technologies evolve and adapt, there is a huge potential for the Internet to affect different aspects of life, economy and society. The use of these technologies will continue to expand in unexpected ways, and organisations will need to continuously explore, adapt and embrace new digital realities to thrive in,” says Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Marketing Officer and CEO of Tata Communications’ Nextgen Business. “A better understanding of the Internet is likely to improve the appreciation of the Internet and its capabilities leading to new and innovative ways to incorporate digital resources into daily activities.”
 
The survey results also found that 77% of respondents believe the most beneficial impact of the Internet is its ability to connect people globally with incredible speed. 
 
“This belief has been the guiding force of our business strategy in the past, and is the essence on which we have built our networks to support the present and the future. The fact that over 24% of the world’s internet routes use our network affords us a rare advantage and a perspective that helps connect with our customers globally across emerging markets and developed economies,” says Woods-Moss.
 
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"As more and more global consumers demand greater flexibility with regards to their digital footprint (connected devices, mobility, access to higher bandwidth speed and capacity), Tata Communications recognises the critical role that the Internet plays in facilitating and controlling seamless access between the IT user and service provider (internal or external). Private and business consumers are looking for that ‘just works’ internet experience that allows them to seamlessly switch their home technology to the work place and vice versa. Tata Communications is creating an open communications infrastructure ecosystem that makes the Internet Fit for Business, ensuring high quality and predictable internet that delivers a robust digital ecosystem that’s equipped for the future and that can cope with customers’ demands of intelligence, scalability and reliability," the release said.
 
"Tata Communications' global connectivity services are built on the world's largest and most advanced  global sub-sea cable network, which enables carriers and enterprises to connect almost anywhere in the world. The cable network boasts significant depth in the key emerging markets including Asia, Middle East and Africa. Over 24% of the world’s internet routes use Tata Communications’ network," it added.
 
A total of 9,417 respondents across six countries -- India, Singapore, UK, USA, Germany and France -- participated in the survey. Of them, 50% of them are women and 50% men. 33% of the respondents are from Asia (India and Singapore), 52% from Europe (UK, France and Germany) and 15% from North America with age ranges: 15-25=11%, 25-35=23%, 35-45=22%, 45-55=22%, 55-65=21%. The findings of this survey were then analysed as an aggregate of the responses and further based on age, gender and location to arrive at the insights.
 
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L&T wins orders valued at Rs 2030 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its Metallurgical and Material Handling (MMH) business had secured new orders worth Rs 2030 crore in the steel, port and bulk material handling sectors in the second quarter of FY 14-15.
 
A press release from L&T said the company's scope included construction and balance of plant of a coke oven battery as well as large capacity conveying system including yard machines at major ports.
 
The contract also includes a coal handling plant at the mine heads of the Northern coal fields and the Mahanadi coal fields.
 
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Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan resigns after NCP withdraws support

Prithviraj Chavan quits as Maharashtra CM
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan resigned from his position this evening, a day after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) withdrew support to the Congress-led government headed by him after breaking away from their 15-year-old alliance, barely three weeks ahead of the October 15 elections to the state legislative assembly.
 
Sources said Mr Chavan, 68, drove to Raj Bhavan this evening and submitted his resignation to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
 
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding immediate imposition of President's rule in the state, Mr Rao is learnt to be weighing the options before him. 
 
The Chavan government had been reduced to a minority in the 288-member assembly after the NCP withdrew its support to it.
 
The BJP had also broken off its 25-year-old alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra yesterday. The NCP announced its decision to part ways with the Congress about an hour later yesterday evening.
 
Both the alliances had crumbled after the failure of their seat-sharing talks between the partners. The differences were about the number of seats they would contest in the elections and also about the Chief Minister's position.
 
Soon after the NCP announced the end of the alliance, its senior leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar drove to Raj Bhavan and handed over a letter to the Governor informing him of their decision to withdraw support to the Democratic Front government.
 
Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Eknath Khadse also met Mr Rao and urged him to recommend imposition of President's rule in the state.
 
Tomorrow is the last date for filing of nominations for the Assembly elections.
 
Mr Chavan, who was Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office during the tenure of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, succeeded Mr Ashok Chavan as Chief Minister of the state on November 11, 2010 after the latter resigned in the wake of the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.
 
He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences (BITS), Pilani, Rajasthan and a Master's degree in Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in the United States.
 
He worked in the US aerospace industry as a research engineer for four years and founded a company in India to develop defence electronic equipment and special purpose computers. He has a special interest in the field of Indian language computing. He has been a visiting professor at BITS, Pilani.
 
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Congress-NCP, BJP-Shiv Sena alliances in Maharashtra split ahead of Assembly poll

BJP- Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra over
Just three weeks ahead of the elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Assemby, the electoral battle was thrown wide open today after the two major political alliances -- the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena announced their decisions to separate from their partners due to intractable differences over sharing of seats.
 
Barely an hour after the BJP announced its decision to part ways with its partner of 25 years, the Shiv Sena, the NCP said that it had ended its 15-year-old alliance with the Congress, leading to the possibility of multi-cornered contests for most of the 288 seats in the assembly.
 
Both the BJP and the NCP said they were forced into taking the decision because their talks on seat-sharing with their partners were going nowhere and that there was hardly any time left for the September 27 deadline for filing nominations.
 
All four parties are now expected to look for allies among like-minded smaller parties in the state.
 
The four parties blamed their partners for taking an inflexible stand in the seat-sharing talks. The differences related to the number of seats that the parties wanted to contest and about the Chief Minister's post.
 
The NCP has also decided to withdraw from the Congress-led Prithviraj Chavan government in the state. A letter conveying its decision to withdraw its support to the government will be handed over to the Governor tomorrow, Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said.
 
The withdrawal of support would reduce the Chavan government to a minority, and that opened up the possibility of the imposition of President's Rule in the state before the elections.
 
NCP leader Praful Patel said the party was justified in its demand for 144 of the 288 Assembly constituencies, given its much better performance than the Congress in the state in the recent elections to the Lok Sabha.
 
Congress leaders said they tried their best to save the alliance but it appeared that the NCP was working to a script.
 
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Blaming the Shiv Sena's "inflexibility" for the break-up, State BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis told a press conference, "We have conveyed our decision to snap ties to Shiv Sena. The decision was taken with a heavy heart."
 
Political observers said that today's developments did not preclude any post-poll arrangements that the parties might work out.
 
"Our aim is to prevent the corrupt Congress-NCP government from coming to power. We will not criticize Shiv Sena during the campaign, we don't want any bitterness with our ally of 25 years," Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Eknath Khadse said.
 
"We reiterate that Shiv Sena is still our friend. We will not criticize Sena and our target will be the corrupt Congress-NCP combine," Fadnavis said.
 
This will be the first time in many years that the four main parties in the state will be without a major ally in the elections, which will give each one of them a chance to validate their claims about their strength and their areas of influence.
 
In the case of the BJP, its poor performance in the bye-elections held in different states since the Lok Sabha elections had vastly reduced its bargaining power with the Shiv Sena.
 
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Reliance Jio raises $ 750 million, 12-year loan backed by K-Exim

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Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), today said it had signed a $ 750 million loan backed by Korea Exim Bank yesterday.
 
The loan is guaranteed by RIL and will be primarily used to finance goods and services procured from Samsung Electronics for the infrastructure rollout of RJIL.
 
This is the first loan between Reliance Group and Korea Exim Bank and has a door to door tenor of 12 years including a two-year availability period and repayable over 10 years thereafter.
 
"This deal is notably Korea Exim Bank’s largest telecom infrastructure financing till date. It is also Korea Exim Bank’s largest deal in India," a press release from Reliance said.
 
Korea Exim Bank is funding $ 440 million of the loan as a direct funding and the balance $ 310 nillion is being funded under the K-Exim covered guarantee by eleven of Reliance’s relationship banks including The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Banco Santander, S.A., The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Commerzbank AG, ING Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Mizuho Bank, Ltd, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and a new relationship NongHyup Bank.
 
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Jet Airways to launch new flights from Kerala, Mumbai to Gulf

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Private sector carrier Jet Airways today announced that it would introduce new flights from Kerala and Mumbai to the Gulf, including its first direct daily service from Kochi to Dubai effective November 5.
 
This new service from Kochi to Dubai will complement the currently operated daily direct flights from Kochi to Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Kuwait (via Abu Dhabi), Muscat and Sharjah, a press release from the airline said.
 
Jet Airways will also launch a second frequency between Mumbai and Doha effective November 5, as well as a new daily direct flight from Kohzikode and Thiruvananthapuram to Doha effective December 1.
 
"The addition of these new flights across the Gulf will further strengthen the airline's growing international network and significantly enhance flight connectivity in the region," the release said.
 
Kozhikode will be the second destination in Kerala after Kochi to have a daily service to Doha. Jet Airways currently operates a daily flight to Doha from Delhi, Kochi and Mumbai. 
 
Dubai is currently linked with four flights from Mumbai and two services from Delhi. Jet Airways will commence its fifth daily service between Mumbai and Dubai  by October 14.
 
"The introduction of these new flights to Doha and Dubai further strengthens the presence of Jet Airways in the Indo-Gulf sector, making it one of the region's leading carriers. These flights on these high demand routes will not only cater to the growing Indian expatriates but also boost tourism and trade between the these cities and will help in bringing in traffic to and from the Middle East. The airline will deploy its next - generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, offering twin class configuration of Premiere and Economy class," the release added.
 
Currently Jet Airways operates daily flights to Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Muscat and Sharjah from Kochi while Kuwait is connected via Abu Dhabi. Jet Airways currently operates a daily flight each from Delhi, Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and twice daily from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi.
 
The release said that, with these new flights, Jet Airways will achieve the milestone of becoming India’s first private airline to operate over 40 daily flights to multiple destinations in the Gulf. This includes daily departures to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Sharjah, Muscat, Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh, thus, making it the largest operator between India and the Gulf.
 
Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice-President - Commercial, Jet Airways said, “Jet Airways is delighted to introduce additional frequencies to Doha and Dubai that will afford its guests the convenience of seamless travel. This is truly an indication of the strong demand on this sector."
 
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State Bank of India approves 10-for-one stock split

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The State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, today said its Central Board had approved a proposal to reduce the face value of its equity shares from Rs 10 per share to Rs 1 per share and to increase the number of issued shares in proportion thereof.
 
SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said, “The decision to split stock will enhance broader investor participation specifically retail participation and increase in demand will enhance P/E ratio."
 
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HCC wins contracts worth Rs 208 crore, in L1 position in 9 tenders worth Rs 3092 crore

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company Limited (HCC) today said it had won new contracts worth Rs 208 crore.
 
These include a contract from the Brihanmumbai Municipall Corporation for laying a 1.765 km MS pipeline and anothr from a leading petrochemical company for construction of off-gas cracker and LLDPE process units, a press release from the company said.
 
Beside these orders, HCC has secured L1 positions in nine tenders aggregating to Rs 3,092 crore in which its share is pegged Rs 2,964 crore. These L1 positions include three in the hydropower segment and six in the road segment for which the final work orders are awaited, it said.
 
The company also said that the Delhi High Court had, on September 22, granted relief to it, directing payment of Rs 225 crore to it on its furnishing bank guarantee to the Delhi High Court to the extent of 50% of the value, in respect of the dispute arising out of extension of time claim in Allahabad Bypass Road project. Earlier, the Arbitral Tribunal and Single Judge of Delhi High Court upheld the said claim, the release said.
 
Mr. Praveen Sood, Group Chief Financial Officer said, “It has been the company’s endeavour in the last few quarters to procure more contracts and recover its outstanding dues with its clients. The latest order by the Honorable Delhi High Court vindicates HCC’s position in respect of awarded claims. This also paves the way for payment of concluded arbitral awards to the tune of about more than Rs.1,000 crore.”
 
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Mahindra to launch new global scooter called Gusto

Mahindra Two Wheelers Limited, a part of the $16.5 billion Mahindra Group, today announced that its new global scooter will be called Gusto.
 
“We are set to introduce our new global scooter, the GUSTO, created at our state-of-the-art R&D facility in Pune," Mr Rajesh Jejurikar, Chief Executive – Farm Equipment & Two Wheeler Division & Member of the Group Executive Board, said.
 
Mr Jejurikar said that, after rigorous testing and validation, the company was ready to launch the Gusto in the northern and western markets of India and Nepal on September 29
 
The scooter will be launched in the southern and eastern markets of the country as well as South Asia, Central America and Africa, in a few months," he said.
 
"Gusto comes with an all aluminium M-Tec engine with advanced features such as a stronger crankshaft and bearings, high inertia magneto, high energy HT coil and series regulator to deliver superior power, efficiency and reliability," he said.
 
"The Gusto’s distinctive, contemporary styling has its origins in Italy and it has been conceptualized based on extensive research and in-depth consumer insights," he added.
 
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Renowned cricket statistician Anandji Dossa passes away at 98

Anandji Dossa
Anandji Dossa
Well-known cricket statistician and historian Anandji Dossa passed away on Monday at the age of 98 in New York, reports reaching here said.
 
Dossa and his wife had shifted to New York last year to stay with their daughters.
 
Born on Septemer 15, 1916, Dossa played for his school and college in inter-school and inter-collegiate cricket tournaments and was a reserve for Bomay in the Ranji Trophy and for the Hindus in the Pentangular in the 1940s..
 
However, it was as a scorer and statistician that he made a name for himself. He was associated with public broadcaster All India Radio as cricket statistician from 1956-57 to 1972-73.
 
He was the cairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) statisticial committee in the mid-1970s. He served as the first president of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Scorers of India (ACSSI) in the 1980s.
 
The association has named its annual award for the best scorer after him. The CCI library at the Brabourne Stadium here is also named after him after he donated most of his books to it.
 
Dossa has also authored and edited many books and groomed many young scorers.
 
"An era has ended with the demise of Mr. Anandji Dossa. He was one of the game's unsung heroes. His contribution to the sport was extraordinary. He was among those who made cricket and cricketers immortal, by collating and preserving the accounts of their achievements for posterity," BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said.
 
"On behalf of the BCCI, I would like to condole his death, and pray that his soul rests in peace," he added.
 
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Manoj Tiwary to lead India 'A' in practice games against West Indies

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Manoj Tiwary will lead the India 'A' team in the two practice one-day games against the West indies, which will precede the one-day international (ODI) series.
 
The following is the team announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) here yesterday: Manoj Tiwary (Captain),Unmukt Chand, Murali Vijay, Karun Nair, Kedar Jadhav, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Parvez Rasool, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni, Rahul Shukla, Karn Sharma, Gurkeerat Singh Maan.
 
The first game will be played at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, on 3 October, and the second will be played at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, on 5 October, a press release from the BCCI added.
 
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Reliance Jio, Indus Towers ink infrastructure sharing deal

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Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), telecom tower infrastructure provider Indus Towers today said they had signed an agreement for tower infrastructure sharing.
 
Under the agreement, Reliance Jio would utilize the telecom tower infrastructure services being provided by Indus Towers to launch its services across the country, a press release from Reliance said. The pricing will be based on prevailing market rates.
 
The release said the agreement would help in avoiding duplication of infrastructure and preserving the environment. It will also ensure seamless services to Reliance Jio customers through Indus’ world class tower infrastructure, it said.
 
“We are continuing our effort to create a new age network which will provide innovative and empowering digital solutions to every Indian through our high speed 4G services. We are building our network through a combination of infrastructure network that we are creating on our own and those that we are renting from quality partners. We already have such tower sharing agreements with all the major players in India, and this relationship with Indus Towers will further accelerate the rollout of our services," Sanjay Mashruwala, Managing Director, Reliance Jio said.
 
Mr. B.S. Shantharaju, CEO, Indus Towers said, “We are delighted to partner Reliance Jio in their endeavor to roll-out next generation wireless broadband services. Our footprint in 15 circles in India coupled with high network uptime levels, cost effective solutions, faster access to market and lower operational costs will provide Reliance Jio a robust and seamless telecom infrastructure. Additionally, our agreement with Reliance Jio will also bring benefits to our existing customers in the form of lower rentals and energy costs. At the same time, the infrastructure sharing will help in avoiding duplication of towers and benefit the environment through lower power and fuel consumption. On this new partnership, we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Reliance Jio.”
 
Currently Indus Towers services 11 operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Uninor, Reliance Communications, Videocon, MTNL, BSNL and MTS.
 
RJIL is the first telecom operator to hold a pan India unified license, which authorises it to provide all telecommunication services except Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite Service.
 
RJIL holds spectrum in1800 MHz (across 14 circles) and 2300 MHz (across 22 circles) capable of offering fourth generation (4G) wireless services. It plans to provide seamless 4G services using FDD-LTE on 1800 MHz and TDD-LTE on 2300 MHz through an integrated ecosystem.
 
The company has, in recent months, signed similar agreements with other telecom infrastructure companies like Ascend Telecom, Tower Vision, ATC India and Viom Networks.
 
It also has an agreement with Bharti Airtel to share infrastructure and another with Reliance Communications Limited (RCom) for sharing of RCom’s extensive inter-city and intra-city optic fiber infrastructure.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1577 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won new orders worth Rs 1577 crore across various business segments in September this year.
 
A press release from the company said its Buildings & Factories business had bagged a major residential order worth Rs 1231 crore from a prestigious private developer for the construction of two residential towers (208 mtrs and 232 mtrs) in Mumbai. 
 
The towers comprise three basements, a ground and a podium each with 53 and 60 floors respectively. L&T’s scope includes civil, structural, finishing and MEP works.
 
In the Power Transmission & Distribution Business, the company has won orders worth Rs 346 crore.
 
A major turnkey order has been received from the Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited (TANTRANSCO) for the supply, erection, testing and commissioning of a 400 kV D/C transmission line between Korattur-Thervaikandikai-Manali in Chennai. Another EPC order has been received from a private power venture to establish a 400kV double circuit transmission line in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
 
The business also bagged a contract from the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited for executing 400/220 kV GIS Substation at Pandiabil in Odisha and is also associated with the eastern region transmission system strengthening scheme. The contract is for onshore supply, installation, construction of civil buildings, testing and commissioning of substation equipment, the release added.
 
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Exim Bank extends $ 62.95 m LOC to Senegal for rice self-sufficiency programme

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Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has, at the behest of the Government of India, extended an additional Line of Credit (LOC) of $ 62.95 million to Senegal for its rice self-sufficiency programme.
 
An agreement in this regard was signed earlier this week by Mr. David Rasquinha, Deputy Managing Director on behalf of Exim Bank and Mr. Amadou Moustapha Diouf, Ambassador of Senegal in India.
 
With this, Exim Bank has, till date, extended 12 LOCs to Senegal, totalling $ 269.36 million. These have supported export of items like agricultural machinery and equipment, buses and vans, medical equipments, and equipment for rural electrification, meat processing, fisheries, IT training and irrigation projects.
 
A press release from Exim Bank said that, under the LOC, it would reimburse 100% of contract value to the Indian exporters, upfront upon shipment of goods. The LOC will be used for sourcing of goods and services from India. 
 
Exim Bank has now in place 196 LOCs, covering over 75 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the CIS, with credit commitments of over $ 10.77 billion, available for financing exports from India. 
 
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Grover Zampa Vineyards launches Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection of wines

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Wines producer Grover Zampa Vineyards has launched the Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection of white and red wines branded after one of the world's most legendary tennis players.
 
The launch was announced by Sumedh Mandla, CEO Grover Zampa Vineyards and Amritraj at an exclusive wine evening at The Leela Mumbai here on Thursday.
 
Mandla introduced the collection, saying it was inspired by Amritraj's feats and style of play.
 
"The Grover Vijay Amritraj Reserve Collection exemplifies what the finest in India has to offer the world. As inspiring as the man himself, the wine is imitable in its diversity yet smooth to the palate. It is as gracefully well rounded to deliver a rich experience of Indian terroir. To create this special collection Grover Zampa Vineyards and Mr. Vijay Amritraj collaborated on this project for over two years to produce top quality white an red wines reflective of Indian terrier," he said.
 
The collection includes Vijay Amritraj Reserve Red and White Wines. The red reserve is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Viognier. The White reserve is a barrel Fermented and barrique aged Viognier. The Vijay Amritraj Collection wines will be distributed in India and key international markets like the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.
 
“Our brand is dedicated to express passion, elegance and success associated with the legend of Mr. Vijay Amritraj. We are very excited to launch these premium wines in India and in international markets. This brand will provide Indian wines an enviable international platform that can only lift its reputation across the world," he said.
 
Amritraj is among India’s best-known tennis players, reaching no. 16 on the world rankings in 1980 and beating many of the world’s leading players during his 20-year career, including John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. 
 
He also enjoyed a brief acting career, starring as M16 agent Vijay in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy and appearing as a starship captain in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. More recently Amritraj was a UN Messenger of Peace from 2001 until 2006 before setting up the Vijay Amritraj Foundation, supporting innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India.
 
“It gives me great pleasure to associate with Grover Zampa Vineyards on this special collection. Their wines made with absolute perfection bring together the element of passion and sophistication," Amritraj said.
 
Grover Zampa Vineyards owns vineyards in both the Nandi Hills in Karnataka and in the Nashik Valley in Maharashtra.
 
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Indian Super League to be telecast live on 8 TV channels in 5 languages

 
Atletico de Kolkata will take on Mumbai City FC in the opening game of the Hero Indian Super League’s first season at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on October 12.
 
The Hero Indian Super League, scheduled to kick off on October 12, wil be televised live on eight channels across five languages in the sports and general entertainment categories.
 
A press release from the organisers said the football league would be the first sporting event in the country to be backed by a "never seen before ubiquitous broadcast platform plan, with a potential to reach around 85 per cent of India’s television audience".
 
"This ambitious plan is expected to herald an unparalled reach for any content, in the history of Indian television," it said.
 
"In a pursuit to enthrall football purists as well as generate mass fan-following for Indian football, Hero Indian Super League will be telecast live on a range of Star India’s sports, movie and regional channels - a first in the history of broadcast in India," it said.
 
The channels are Star Sports 2 (English), Star Sports 3 (Hindi), Star Sports HD 2 (English), Star Gold (Hindi), Star Utsav (Hindi), Asianet Movies (Malayalam), Jalsha Movies (Bengali) and Suvarna Plus (Kannada). There will also be live streaming on www.starsports.com.
 
“We believe in the potential of football as a sport that cuts across culture, race, religion and economic might. The Hero Indian Super League heralds the birth of India as a footballing nation and as the leading sports broadcasting network in India, we plan to take the viewer experience to the next level. In order to take the game of football closer to its fans, we are providing a never-seen before plan, leveraging the strength of sports, entertainment, regional and multi-screen. The magnitude of what we are setting out to do has never been attempted.” said Mr. Sanjay Gupta, COO, Star India.
 
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The league will feature eight clubs and will 56 league matches followed by two-stage home and away knock-out leg and final on December 20.
 
The league is co-promoted by IMG-Reliance (the joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries), Star India and supported by All India Football Federation (AIFF). 
 
India’s leading industrialists and celebrities from sports as well as the film industry have invested in owning the eight clubs -- Club Chennai, Delhi Dynamos, FC Goa, NorthEast United FC, Kerala Blasters FC, Atletico de Kolkata, Mumbai City FC and FC Pune City. 
 
The league has a technical tie-up with English Premier League and has committed to investing in stadium refurbishment in the eight identified venues and also to a strong grassroots development programme that will create a platform to groom football talent in the country. 
 
For the first time in Indian football, globally renowned footballers will be playing alongside the best Indian footballers. 
 
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Ram Naik invokes spirit of Vivekananda as students take pledge for nation-building

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Led by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, hundreds of students took a pledge here on Thursday to contribute to nation-building by imbibing the spirit of Swami Vivekananda and following his values.
 
“Swami Vivekananda showed to the world the greatness and essence of Indian culture," Mr Naik said after unveiling a statue of the saint-philosopher at the Vivekanand Education Society (VES) campus at Chembur in the city.
 
Hundreds of students also formed a human chain while primary school students put up an exhibition and junior college students made a hand-written copy of the inspirational book "From Narendra to Vivekananda" to draw inspiration from his life and works.
 
These iactivities were held as part of campaign called `Yuva for Seva’ that was recently launched to engage students in welfare activities.
 
“Sacrifice and knowledge made Vivekananda a great saint. He contributed to nation-building by taking the greatness of Indian culture to the western world," Mr Naik said.
 
He urged them to "make use of every moment" to achieve knowledge and work hard by focusing on studies which is their primary responsibility, while at the same time engaging in activities for developing good personalities.
 
“There are four things that you can do. First, smile to make your personality attractive. Start appreciating the things and don’t belittle others. The fourth thing to remember is that there is always a better way of doing things,” he said.
 
He also recalled his long association with late Hanshu Advani, the founder of VES and the current president Ram Keswani, and said the two influenced and guided him a lot to reach the position where he is now.
 
Under Yuva for Seva, students will participate in activities like skin donation, blood donation, outreach programmes, adoption of the villages, visiting of orphanages, legal aid services, health camps, and awareness creation. 
 
The campaign was launched by Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani.
 
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Jet Airways introduces fifth daily flight between Mumbai and Dubai from Oct 14

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Private sector carrier Jet Airways today said it would introduce a fifth daily service between Mumbai and Dubai from October 14.
 
"The introduction of this new flight between Mumbai and Dubai further strengthens the presence of Jet Airways in the Indo-Gulf sector, making it one of the region's leading carriers," a press release from the airline said.
 
The airline will deploy its next-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, offering twin class configuration of Premiere and Economy class, it said.
 
From October 14 until October 25, flight 9W 580 will depart Mumbai at 0200hrs (local time) and arrive Dubai at 0340 hrs (LT). On the return leg, 9W 579 will depart Dubai at 0455 hrs (LT) and arrive in Mumbai at 0930 hrs.
 
From Otober 26, flight 9W 580 will depart Mumbai at 0140 hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0335 hrs. On the return leg, 9W 579 will depart Dubai at 0500 hrs and arrive in Mumbai at 0930 hrs.
 
Mr. Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice President, Commercial, Jet Airways, said, "We are happy to introduce a fifth service on the popular Mumbai-Dubai route, which has seen a steady growth in traffic be it tourists or business travellers. This flight would provide easy connectivity for guests, especially from western India, flying to and from the United Arab Emirates. This new service too is expected to be equally popular with travellers. Jet Airways has already established itself as a prestigious brand in the intensely competitive Indo-Gulf sector in a relatively short span of time, on accord of its globally acclaimed service excellence.”
 
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Reliance Jio, GTL Infra sign tower infrastructure sharing deal

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Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), and GTL Infrastructure Limited, which is engaged in the business of shared passive telecom infrastructure in India, today announced the signing of a Master Services Agreement (MSA) for tower infrastructure sharing.
 
RJIL is the only pan India operator with broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum and is preparing to launch 4G services in the country. GTL Infra is a part of the Global group.
 
A press release from RJIL said GTL Infra, together with Chennai Network Infrastructure Limited (CNIL), had a combined tower portfolio of more than 27,800 towers spread across 22 telecom circles in India, and serving all the major telecom operators. The company has a pan India tower portfolio that is balanced across key growth regions of Metros and B & C class circles.
 
Mr Sanjay Mashruwala, Managing Director, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited said, “Our mission is to launch a pan-India next-generation voice and data services. We will build the same through a judicious combination of own build and rented infrastructure. This agreement with GTL Infra is not only a step in that direction but will also help us accelerate our roll out.”
 
Mr. Charudatta Naik, Group CEO, Global Group said, “We are happy to be partnering with a leading 4G player like Rjio. The launch of 4G networks and the rise in the consumption of data services is a growth driver for tower companies, and we at GTL Infra are geared up to capture the opportunity.  Our portfolio will play an important role in rolling out broadband networks especially in regions like North East, and South where we hold a leadership position," he added.
 
RJIL holds spectrum in1800 MHz (across 14 circles) and 2300 MHz (across 22 circles) capable of offering fourth generation (4G) wireless services. RJIL plans to provide seamless 4G services using FDD-LTE on 1800 MHz and TDD-LTE on 2300 MHz through an integrated ecosystem.
 
RJIL has in recent months signed similar agreements with other telecom infrastructure companies like Ascend Telecom, Tower Vision, ATC India and Viom Networks.
 
It also has an agreement with Bharti Airtel to share infrastructure and another with Reliance Communications Limited (RCom) for sharing of RCom’s extensive inter-city and intra-city optic fiber infrastructure.
 
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