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Sensex down 63 pts, Nifty below 11,100

The Sensex and the Nifty opened on a dull note on Wednesday owing to a decline in metal, financial and banking stocks.
 
At 9.52 a.m., the Sensex was trading 62.53 points or 0.17 per cent lower at 37,578.74 while the Nifty was down 10.75 points or 0.10 per cent at 11,094.60.
 
Sensex opened at 37,655.77 from its previous close of 37,641.27.
 
On Tuesday's trade, Sameet Chavan of Angel Broking said: "Although the index traded in a narrow range yesterday, the broader markets witnessed good momentum as the market breadth was clearly in favour of the advances."
 
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) sold Rs 923.94 crore worth of stocks on Tuesday and the Domestic investor bought Rs 1,162.65 crore worth of stocks.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex ends 147 pts higher on RBI's surplus to govt

Easing US-China trade tensions and the RBI's decision to transfer Rs 1.76 lakh crore of surplus funds to the government aided the Indian equity indices to close higher on Tuesday.
 
The Reserve Bank of India decided it will transfer the funds as recommended by the Bimal Jalan committee on the Economic Capital Framework (ECF).
 
"Easing fiscal deficit worries after the RBI decided to transfer Rs 1.76 lakh crore to government helped sentiments," Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities said.
 
The Sensex closed at 37,641.27, higher by 147.15 points or 0.39 per cent while the Nifty settled at 47.50 points or 0.43 per cent higher at 11,105.35.
 
Asian stocks also rose in step with their global peers on Tuesday while safe-haven bonds retreated, after US President Donald Trump softened his tone against China and predicted the two countries would be able to reach a trade deal.
 
"Buying continued as hopes of economic recovery in H2FY20 picked up after the government's proactive measures and additional liquidity from RBI which will clear the near term hindrance in the market," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services. 
 
He added that any further shortfall in tax collection may influence the government to channelise the surplus fund on meeting the fiscal target. 
 
Further momentum, experts said, will be tested based on the outcome of Q1FY20 GDP during the week whereas the consensus is showing reduction in growth to 5.7 per cent due to weak investment and slowing consumption.
 
IANS
 

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India's first woman DGP passes away in Mumbai

Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya (File photo: IANS)
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya (File photo: IANS)
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, who created history as India's first woman Director General of Police (DGP), has died here after a brief illness, officials said here on Tuesday. She was 72.
 
Bhattacharya, who died on Monday night, had been hospitalized in Mumbai for over five months.
 
Also a former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member, she is survived by her husband and two daughters. and her last rites will be performed here later Tuesday.
 
The second woman IPS officer in the country after Kiran Bedi, Bhattacharya was a 1973 batch officer and created a record when she became the DGP, Uttarakhand in 2004 - the first female police officer in India to attain the position.
 
A native of Amritsar, Bhattacharya was keenly interested in joining the police force and went all out to achieve her ambition.
 
During her tenure as DGP of Uttarakhand, she supported the downtrodden, combated bias against women and implemented the policy of female home guards manning traffic.
 
After her retirement in October 2007, she took the political plunge and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls unsuccessfully as an AAP candidate from Haridwar.
 
Her life and struggles as a policewoman were brought in vivid details in a tele-serial, "Udaan" made by her younger sister Kavita Chaudhary, in which Bhattacharya made a guest appearance.
 
The Uttarakhand Police on Tuesday condoled Bhattacharya's death and also recalled her great contributions during her tenure as DGP.
 
In a statement, the IPS Association (IPSA) mourned the demise of "one of our icons, the first lady DGP and the second lady IPS officer of India".
 
"An officer with sterling qualities of head and heart, she had an illustrious career, adorned with many first and awards," the IPSA said.
 
AAP President and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also condoled the death, saying in a tweet: "Saddened to know about the passing away of the country's first woman DGP Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya. She remained active in public life after her retirement and wanted to serve the country till her very last. Will miss her."
 
During her 33-year-long police career, she was awarded the President's Police Medal in 1997, served with the CISF and represented India at an InterPol meet in Mexico in 2004.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex up 142 points, Nifty above 11,100

Indian equity markets opened higher for the second day on Tuesday after measures announced by the government last week to boost economic growth.
 
The benchmark Sensex opened at 37,658.48 from its Monday's close of 37,494.12.
 
At 9.29 a.m., it traded 142.22 points higher at 37,636.34 while the Nifty was 56.70 points up at 11,114.55. 
 
The Nifty PSU Bank index gained nearly 3 per cent in early trade.
 
Tata Motors and State Bank of Indian were the top gainers among the Nifty50 stocks. 
 
IANS
 

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RBI to transfer Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to Government

RBI logo
RBI logo
The Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today decided to transfer a sum of Rs. 1,76,051 crore to the Government of India, comprising Rs. 1,23,414 crore of surplus for the year 2018-19 and Rs. 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified as per the revised Economic Capital Framework (ECF) adopted at its meeting here earlier in the day.
 
The RBI had, in consultation with the Government of India, constituted an Expert Committee to review its Extant Economic Capital Framework of the Reserve Bank of India  with its former Governor Bimal Jalan as chairman.
 
The committee has since submitted its report to the Governor of the RBI. The committee’s recommendations were based on the consideration of the role of central banks’ financial resilience, cross-country practices, statutory provisions and the impact of the RBI’s public policy mandate and operating environment on its balance sheet and the risks involved, a press release from the RBI said.
 
"The committee’s recommendations were guided by the fact that the RBI forms the primary bulwark for monetary, financial and external stability. Hence, the resilience of the RBI needs to be commensurate with its public policy objectives and must be maintained above the level of peer central banks as would be expected of a central bank of one of the fastest-growing large economies of the world," it said.
 
According to the release, the following were the major recommendations of the committee with regard to risk provisioning and surplus distribution:
 
(i) RBI’s economic capital: The committee reviewed the status, need and justification of the various reserves, risk provisions and risk buffers maintained by the RBI and recommended their continuance. A clearer distinction between the two components of economic capital (realized equity and revaluation balances) was also recommended by the committee as realized equity could be used for meeting all risks/ losses as they were primarily built up from retained earnings, while revaluation balances could be reckoned only as risk buffers against market risks as they represented unrealized valuation gains and hence were not distributable. Further, there was only a one-way fungibility between them which implies that while a shortfall, if any, in revaluation balances vis-à-vis market risk provisioning requirements could be met through increased risk provisioning from net income, the reverse, i.e., the use of surplus in revaluation balances over market risk provisioning requirements for covering shortfall in provisions for other risks is not permitted. The committee recommended revising the presentation of the liabilities side of the RBI balance sheet to reflect this distinction.
 
(ii) Risk provisioning for market risk: The committee has recommended the adoption of Expected Shortfall (ES) methodology under stressed conditions (in place of the extant Stressed-Value at Risk) for measuring the RBI’s market risk on which there was a growing consensus among central banks as well as commercial banks over the recent years. While central banks are seen to be adopting ES at 99 per cent confidence level (CL), the committee has recommended the adoption of a target of ES 99.5 per cent CL keeping in view the macroeconomic stability requirements. In view of the cyclical volatility of the RBI’s revaluation balances, a downward risk tolerance limit (RTL) of 97.5 per cent CL has also been articulated. Both levels were stress-tested for their adequacy by the committee.
 
(iii) Size of Realized Equity: The committee recognized that the RBI’s provisioning for monetary, financial and external stability risks is the country’s savings for a ‘rainy day’ (a monetary/ financial stability crisis) which has been consciously maintained with the RBI in view of its role as the Monetary Authority and the Lender of Last Resort. Realized equity is also required to cover credit risk and operational risk. This risk provisioning made primarily from retained earnings is cumulatively referred to as the Contingent Risk Buffer (CRB) and has been recommended to be maintained within a range of 6.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent of the RBI’s balance sheet, comprising 5.5 to 4.5 per cent for monetary and financial stability risks and 1.0 per cent for credit and operational risks. Further, any shortfall in revaluation balances vis-à-vis the market risk RTL would add to the requirement for realized equity. The committee also recommended the development of methodologies for assessing the concentration risk of the forex portfolio as well as jointly assessing the RBI’s market-credit risk.
 
(iv) Surplus Distribution Policy: The committee has recommended a surplus distribution policy which targets the level of realized equity to be maintained by the RBI, within the overall level of its economic capital vis-à-vis the earlier policy which targeted total economic capital level alone. Only if realized equity is above its requirement, will the entire net income be transferable to the Government. If it is below the lower bound of requirement, risk provisioning will be made to the extent necessary and only the residual net income (if any) transferred to the Government. Within the range of CRB, i.e., 6.5 to 5.5 percent of the balance sheet, the Central Board will decide on the level of risk provisioning.
 
The release said the Central Board had accepted all the recommendations of the committee and finalized the RBI’s accounts for 2018-19 using the revised framework to determine risk provisioning and surplus transfer. 
 
According to it, the implications of this decision are:
 
(i) Realized Equity: Given that the available realized equity stood at 6.8 per cent of balance sheet, while the requirement recommended by the committee was 6.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent of balance sheet, there was excess of risk provisioning to the extent of Rs. 11,608 crore at the upper bound of CRB and Rs. 52,637 crore at the lower bound of CRB. The Central Board decided to maintain the realized equity level at 5.5 per cent of balance sheet and the resultant excess risk provisions of Rs. 52,637 crore were written back.
 
(ii) Economic capital levels: While the revised framework technically would allow the RBI’s economic capital levels as on June 30, 2019 to lie within the range of 24.5 per cent to 20.0 per cent of balance sheet (depending on the level of realized equity maintained and availability of revaluation balances), the economic capital as on June 30, 2019 stood at 23.3 per cent of balance sheet. As financial resilience was within the desired range, the entire net income of Rs. 1,23,414 crore for the year 2018-19, of which an amount of Rs. 28,000 crore has already been paid as interim dividend, will be transferred to the Government of India. This is in addition to the Rs. 52,637 crore of excess risk provisions which has been written back and consequently will be transferred to the Government.
 
"As on June 30, 2019, the RBI stands as a central bank with one of the highest levels of financial resilience globally.
 
"The Board also reviewed the current economic situation, global and domestic challenges and various areas of operations of the Reserve Bank. The Board, further, approved the Annual Report of the Reserve Bank for the year 2018-19," the release said.
 
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das chaired the meeting of the Central Board. Deputy Governors N. S. Vishwanathan and Mahesh Kumar Jain of the RBI, and other Directors of the Central Board of the Reserve Bank –  Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, Dilip S. Shanghvi, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Bharat Doshi, Sudhir Mankad, Manish Sabharwal, Swaminathan Gurumurthy, Revathy Iyer and Sachin Chaturvedi attended the meeting. The Government Directors Rajiv Kumar, Finance Secretary and Secretary, Department of Financial Services and Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, were also present.
 
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Sensex zooms 793 pts after Sitharaman's 'mini-budget'

Indian markets took in their stride the trade-related tensions troubling overseas markets and advanced sharply on Monday on the back of measures announced last week by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to combat slowdown and improve foreign investor confidence.
 
Both the Sensex and the Nifty surged over 2 per cent as investors rejoiced over what many analysts are dubbing as Sitharaman's "mini-budget". The single biggest push came via the roll-back of the much criticized tax surcharge on Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs).
 
The BSE Sensex jumped 792.96 points, or 2.16 per cent, to close on Monday at 37,494.12, while the Nifty gained 228.50 points, or 2.11 per cent, to 11,057.85.
 
The financial sector and public sectors banks (PSBs) led the charge on Monday. The Nifty Financial Service index closed 4 per cent higher, followed by the Nifty PSB index that was up 3.58 per cent. The Nifty Realty index surged by 3.74 per cent. 
 
"The initial set of actions, though small, has enhanced market sentiment and confidence," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
 
The market will trade in a positive bias awaiting further development regarding additional government measures and US-China trade talk, he added.
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were Yes Bank, up 6.33 per cent, followed by HDFC, up 5.24 per cent, Bajaj Finance up 4.66 per cent, HDFC Bank 4.29 per cent and ICICI Bank up 4.09 per cent.
 
Sitharaman on Friday announced the roll-back of the surcharge levied on capital gains on shares for both foreign and domestic investors, provided an upfront Rs 70,000-crore equity infusion into PSBs to boost lending, and measures to push automobile sales.
 
She also indicated more such measures would be soon announced which would focus on the real estate sector.
 
IANS
 

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Gold touches new high over Rs 40K per 10gm

A woman trying on jewellery at a store in New Delhi on the occasion of Dhanteras, on November 5, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
A woman trying on jewellery at a store in New Delhi on the occasion of Dhanteras, on November 5, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
Breaching a psychological barrier, gold prices in Mumbai touched a new high of a little over Rs 40,000 per 10 gm, on Monday, industry players said.
 
"This is indeed an unprecedented high, but lower by at least 20 per cent in US dollar terms. Presently, it is $1,545 on the Comex, lower than $1,920 in September 2011," expert and former All Indian Gems & Jewellery Federation Chairman Bachhraj Bamalwa told IANS.
 
According to Bamalwa, if the current global political crises and the trade wars continue to escalate, then the gold prices may shoot up further, crossing Rs 41,000 per 10 gms in the next few months.
 
However, he said optimistically that despite the zooming prices, demand for gold may be marginally affected, around 10 per cent or so, as the wedding and festival seasons begin next month, which are incomplete without gold in India.
 
"Instead of fresh purchases, people may opt for recycling of old gold, at least up to 25 per cent, in view of the higher prices," Bamalwa said.
 
Seconding this, Mumbai Jewellers' Federation President Rakesh Shetty said the incidence of recycling of old gold is actually as high as 70 per cent and sales have declined by over 65 per cent.
 
"People simply prefer to bring in their old gold and pay the making charges for their needs as the current rates are too high. If the current global crises continue, then we expect it to cross Rs 41,000/10 gram by Diwali, which is not a healthy sign for the industry," Shetty told IANS.
 
India consumes an average of 700-800 tonne of the yellow precious metal annually, said Bamalwa.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex opens 663 pts higher after govt boosters

After what experts termed as a mini-budget on Friday, the markets on expected lines opened on a strong note on Monday.
 
The benchmark Sensex on Monday opened 663 points higher.
 
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had come out with a slew of measures to revive economic growth on Friday and indicated more such steps next week.
 
However, the gains were capped over the escalation of the ongoing US-China trade war during the weekend, which saw yet another tit-for-tat tariff shots being fired by both the large economies embroiled in an expensive trade tussle.
 
At 9.24 a.m., the Sensex was trading 291.52 points higher at 36,992.68 after it touched an intraday high of 37,363.95.
 
The benchmark opened on a strong note at 37,363.95, higher from its Friday's close at 36,701.16.
 
Nifty after scaling 11,000 shed some of its gains to trade 71.85 points higher at 10,901.20.
 
Most important announcements among them was the rollback of the surcharge on foreign and domestic portfolio investors which had caused exodus of foreign funds.
 
IANS
 

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B-Town: First Day First Show At Home!

 File photo of Reliance Industries Limited Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani
File photo of Reliance Industries Limited Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani
Among a lot of things announced by Mukesh Ambani at the 42nd AGM of Reliance Industries, one particular announcement raises eyebrows!
 
Here are the excerpts of the said announcement:
 
"Today, I am announcing that JIOFIBER plans will come BUNDLED with subscriptions to most leading premium OTT applications. Also, for the first time in India, we are introducing a disruptive concept for watching NEW movies. Premium JIOFIBER customers will be able to watch movies in their living rooms the same day these movies are released in theatres!
 
"We call this Jio First-Day-First-Show."
 
The announcement, made a few days back, has raised eyebrows in various fields related to the film trade. Nobody seems sure of how to take this announcement. The film industry and its process of taking entertainment content to the ultimate consumer -- that is, the film viewer -- is well worked out. It has evolved over the period as and when.
 
A lot of new avenues came along over a period to enjoy content, starting with the television, but the main outlet for films remained the cinema screen. The cinema screen cast a spell on the viewer. In cities and towns, of course, there were cinema halls. But, in the mofussil India, where there were no pucca cinema houses, the screens travelled to them.
 
There was a concept of Touring Cinema in India where a cinema enclosure was set up in a huge tent or in the open space at a taluka, which then attracted filmlovers from surrounding villages. The open-air screenings could take place only after sunset but that helped, since by evening more people were free to watch a film. You may compare these to their elite version, the drive-in cinema.
 
With the advent of superior technologies in film production as well as exhibition, as well as the rising popularity of television, video format and mainly piracy, the single screen cinemas were forced to close down. This also sounded the death knell for Touring Cinema. Filmmaking had become costlier and the way to recovery seemed to be only through multi-screen releases in multiplexes.
 
Nobody, filmmaker or the film distributor, seemed interested in single screens or the masses that thronged the cinemas. Cinema was now accessible to fewer people, though this fact never reflects on the box-office figures of the many crores that roll out! If it is the 300-crore box office of a single screen now, imagine what the figure would read like if the audience that has been left out is brought back!
 
That brings one back to Jio's announcement of First Day First Show, the popular phrase that ruled many film buffs' Friday routines. People loved to be the first to catch a new movie on the day of release, Friday, in its very first show, which usually started at noon. (In some circuits like UP, CP, CI, films released on Thursday.)
 
Since the advent of the video format, there have been lots of disputes between the filmmakers and film distributors. After all, it is a film distributor who gambles on films he acquires for his circuit. The piracy of films on videos added to their risk factor, since there were times when the videos of a new film would hit the markets the same say a film released.
 
But, it was the mysticism and magnetism of watching a film on the silver screen in a dark hall that triumphed, eventually. People chose the cinema hall over pirated videos. The way devised by the filmmakers was to mete out video format rights within a stipulated period - a few months from theatrical release of a film. Distributors wanted at least 18 months from the date of first release. The respective trade bodies of the producers and the distributors sat across the table and it was resolved that the producer compensates his distributor pro rata according to the cost of his respective circuit price. A bit complicated but the good thing was that, the business continued!
 
Many new platforms for the delivery of film content have come up since the video days. It started with TV rights, followed by satellite rights and so on. (There was a phrase called Tunnel Rights, which meant that the person who bought your TV or satellite rights was also entitled to the yet-to-be-devised rights that may come up on the same format!)
 
The new platforms that have joined the business are online content providers such as Zee5, Amazon, Netflix, Shemaroo and many others. But, none of them promise a First Day First Show. They are an addendum to the cinema halls. Filmmakers had lost a lot of revenue to new formats because various categories of rights - such as 16mm, Touring, and re-issue rights - were wiped out. These online content providers were welcome because they were making up for lost revenue. They were not in conflict with theatrical recoveries in anyway.
 
The thing about all other formats of assigning film rights and viewing a film have been secondary to the theatrical rights, the bread-and-butter of the exhibition trade which, in today's time, means multiplex chains.
 
This is where the Jio claim comes in. Jio promises First Day First Show at home. How?
 
Film business has revolved around three sections - the filmmaker, the film distributor, and the exhibitor or cinema owner. One produces a film, the other stakes his money on it, and the third guarantees the generation of revenue or, to say, a recoup of the investment.
 
There is no room for another entrant here.
 
So how does Jio plan to achieve this First Day First Show feat? If possible, it would be another source of revenue for filmmakers but, at the same time, it would also eat into the business of cinema halls.
 
Now, that is where the Catch-22 situation comes in.
 
If you are streaming a new film First Day First Show at homes of people, you are cutting into the box-office revenue of a film. The catch here is multiplexes don't usually pay anything upfront to the filmmakers or the distributors, while Jio will hand that carrot, for sure!
 
The showdown will be between the multiplex chains and Jio. The producer, who actually provides the content, will have to remain a bystander!
 
@The Box Office
 
* A conflict of two films releasing simultaneously has been avoided for some time now, as both would eat into each other's box office. The multiplex chains would also prefer it that way. However, exceptions are made on release dates like the Independence Day weekend. Independence Day this year fell on a Thursday, and promised an extended weekend and two films - "Mission Mangala and "Batla House", were released opposite each other.
 
The recent ISRO feat of sending Chandrayan 2 to the moon boosted the prospects of "Mission Mangal" to a great extent, besides the four day extended weekend. The film collected a hefty Rs 96 crore in first four days and went on to add another Rs 30 crore taking its first week total to 126 crore.
 
"Batla House" enjoyed the benefit of the Independence Day holiday with an impressive first-0day figure tapering down thereafter, to collect Rs 42 crore in its extended opening weekend and finishing the week with about Rs 60 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Growth steps, oil prices set to boost equities

Indian equities along with the rupee which have lately faced headwinds of massive foreign fund outflows along with disappointing quarterly earning results will get a boost via Central government's policy measures to prop up growth along with falling crude oil prices, experts said.
 
However, the escalation in the US-China trade war and release of key macro-economic indicators are expected to induce some volatility in the stock markets.
 
Moreover, industry observers pointed out that the latest measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will assuage investors' nerves and bring back confidence in the Indian economy.
 
In one of the most important measures, the government has rolled back higher surcharge on foreign and domestic portfolio investors.
 
"The current announcements will have significant impact on the sentiments of both domestic and international investors and is likely to arrest the fall in equity and currency markets," Edelweiss Professional Investor Research Chief Market Strategist Sahil Kapoor told IANS.
 
"This coupled with fall in oil should lead to a significant bounce back in the coming days. Expect Nifty to find a base at recent lows and rally towards 11,400 to 11,600 range over the next few weeks."
 
According to Vinod Nair, Head Of Research at Geojit Financial Services: "FPIs were selling given the risk-off mode in the global market which had enhanced in India due to higher surcharge post budget.
 
"They have sold about Rs 28,000 crore since the date which can be reversed to a good level in culmination of other supportive measures like recapitalisation of PSBs, transmission of rate cut and auto. This is likely to restore some confidence in the market."
 
Besides, key macro-economic indicators such as June quarter GDP growth numbers, Index of Eight Core Industries (ECI) figures and the country's fiscal deficit data will be keenly watched by investors.
 
"India's GDP numbers for June quarter will be out on August 30. Expectations are GDP would have grown by 5.6-5.7 per cent," HDFC Securities' Research Head Deepak Jasani told IANS.
 
"Any data majorly deviant from expectations could create volatility in the markets."
 
In terms of currency, the Indian rupee is expected to range between 71.20 and Rs 72.50 to a USD. On a weekly basis, it weakened by 51 paise to close at 71.67 against the dollar, down on its previous week's close of 71.16 per greenback.
 
"Trade war between China and the US is getting worse... Domestic FPI roll back added to sentiment but global news shall keep rupee under pressure. We may see a range of 71.20 to 72.50 in coming week," said Sajal Gupta, Head, Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities.
 
"Rupee touched an 8-month low of 72.04 before closing at 71.66 on last Friday. Rupee is closely following cues from CNY which is weakening gradually and in such case RBI may not intervene except to prevent large bouts of volatility..."
 
On technical charts, Jasani said that any pullback rallies in the coming week could find resistances at 10,908-11,034 points level.
 
IANS
 

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Two killed in Maharashtra building collapse

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At least two people were killed and six others injured when a dilapidated four-storeyed building collapsed in Maharashtra's Bhiwandi city on Saturday, police said.
 
At least five to six persons were feared trapped in the rubble, said a police official. Rescue operations were underway.
 
The incident occurred on Friday night in the Shantinagar area when the residents of the building were being evacuated by the fire brigade and the municipal agencies. 
 
The residents had reported that the building was shaking. Eight families were living in the building.
 
At around 2.15 a.m., during the evacuation process, the structure completely collapsed.
 
IANS
 

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India’s forex reserves fall by $ 70.8 million to $ 430.501 billion

India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 70.8 million to $ 430.501 billion during the week ended August 16, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had gone up by $ 1.620 billion to $ 430.572 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the foreign exchange reserves, had dipped by $ 412.4 million to $ 398.327 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 went up by $ 355.9 million to $ 27.11 billion, while its special drawing rights decreased by $ 3.4 million to $ 1.438 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 10.9 million to $ 3.625 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Stimulus hopes drive markets higher

Gaining over 600 points from the day's low, the Sensex closed 228 points higher on Friday on renewed hopes of a stimulus hours ahead of an address by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
 
Heavily beaten down automobile and manufacturing companies on the bourses gained the most that came on the back of news that government may announce a rollback of higher taxes for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).
 
Analysts reiterated that there is a need to revive business confidence in the economy as the Indian financial markets and the economy is going through a rough patch.
 
The Sensex closed 228.23 points or 0.63 per cent higher at 36,701.16 while the broader Nifty jumped by 88 points to 10,829.35.
 
"Market reversed from six months low in expectation of supportive policies from the government. Change in scrappage policy to revive auto demand and roll back FPI surcharges can change the current sentiment," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services 
 
Nair added that the investors are having a muted expectation on Q1FY20 GDP data, improving business confidence is the need of the hour.
 
IANS
 

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After breach, Mumbai airport security to be tightened

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The CISF and Mumbai Police will further beef up security inside and outside the Mumbai airport after Thursday's mega-security breach when a "mentally-ill" person jumped over a wall to take a stroll beneath a Spicejet aircraft, official sources said here on Friday.
 
The incident has come as a huge embarrassment to the concerned agencies -- happening exactly two weeks after the Centre's stringent directives on security matters in the wake of the scrapping of Article 370, with many to remain in force till August 31.
 
On Thursday afternoon, as the Spicejet flight SG-634 Boeing 737 aircraft waited on the taxiway N1 to enter the runway for take-off to Bengaluru, passengers and crew of the aircraft and others were shocked to see an unauthorised person moving around on the ground below.
 
He had scaled the perimeter walls of the Mumbai airport which has slums on the northern and eastern sides, jumped down, strolled nonchalantly around 50 metres to the taxiway, gaped at the engine, touched the huge wheels and went around the undercarriage of the aircraft.
 
The man even expressed triumph over his feat by raising both his arms even as an airport jeep reached the place to keep an eye on him. But the security personnel did not step out of the vehicle to avoid getting too close to the aircraft engine.
 
Unhindered, the intruder then walked to the tail-end and came out where he was caught by the security team, barely minutes after he came on his adventure, even as his sojourn was recorded in CCTVs and some passenger mobile phones.
 
A thorough search on him revealed nothing including any identification, but he claimed to have entered the restricted security zone "only to see the airplane" at close quarters.
 
He was later identified as a 'mentally-ill', 24-year-old man from Sion, who recently even clambered atop a stationary BEST bus in his locality.
 
The family explained to the police that he indulged in such antics when he doesn't take his medicines on time. He is suspected to have entered the airport by climbing on the mobile toilets lining the airport wall.
 
IANS
 
 

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Equity indices pare initial losses to trade flat

The key Indian equity indices pared initial losses to trade flat during the Friday afternoon trade on hopes that the government may roll back the surcharge on foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).
 
At 12.47 p.m., the BSE Sensex traded at 36,479.75 points, higher by 6.82 or 0.02 per cent, over the previous close of 36,472.93 point.
 
Earlier in the day, it touched an intra-day low of 36,102.35 points and a high of 36,624.74.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 10,761.90 points, higher by 20.55 points, or 0.19 per cent
 
Around 9.40 a.m., the indices fell nearly 1 per cent, but recovered subsequently as reports suggested that the government is working on steps to arrest the slowdown which may include an exemption for FPIs from the tax surcharge on the super rich.
 
The government is also working on several measures to arrest the slowdown in the economy, including an exemption on the FPI tax surcharge, Bloomberg reported, quoting official sources.
 
IANS
 

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ED grills Raj Thackeray for over 8 hours

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) grilled Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray for over eight hours in a decade-old money-laundering case involving realty deals and IL&FS here on Thursday.
 
Thackeray, who stepped inside the ED offices at Ballard Pier in south Mumbai around 11.15 a.m., finally stepped out at 8.15 p.m., even as his wife Sharmila, daughter Urvashi, and son Amit waited outside to receive him.
 
Looking weary and grim, Thackeray calmly walked out of the ED, waved once to the crowds, stepped inside his car without interacting with anybody, and drove to his home near Shivaji Park.
 
Party office-bearers said it is not immediately clear whether he would be summoned again in the matter or this was the last meeting with the ED.
 
Thackeray was provided a police escort with tight security en route his home and the ED office.
 
While he was subjected to questioning by the ED, his family members waited at the nearby Grand Hotel.
 
Anticipating his release from the ED, around 6 p.m., his family members were permitted to wait with their vehicle opposite the ED building, though other relatives, party workers and media were kept at bay throughout the day by the police.
 
Among other things, the ED is probing alleged irregularities pertaining to loans and equity investments worth over Rs 450 crore in IL&FS in the Kohinoor CTNL, a realty company, which is developing the posh Kohinoor Square Towers in the prime Dadar area.
 
The ED had sent notices to Thackeray, his former business partners Unmesh Joshi - the son of ex-Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi, and Rajan Shirodkar, last Sunday, creating a flutter in political circles.
 
While Joshi and Shirodkar have been grilled repeatedly by the ED earlier this week, it was Thackeray's turn on Thursday.
 
The interrogation of Thackeray was reportedly to corroborate the statements and evidences provided by Joshi and Shirodkar, according to party leaders.
 
However, as a frenzy built up among MNS activists all over the state with apprehensions of a law and order problem, Thackeray on Tuesday declared that he would "honour the ED summons" as he had always done in the past to court notices.
 
A day later (on Wednesday), he again issued an appeal to his followers not to go to the ED office or create any law and order problems whatever be the provocations.
 
The ruling ally, Shiv Sena, and all Maharashtra opposition parties like Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Aam Aadmi Party and others have come out in support of Thackeray, terming the ED move as "vendetta and witch-hunting".
 
Both Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, estranged cousin of the MNS chief, and Sena MP Sanjay Raut have openly come out in support of Raj Thackeray.
 
"Uddhav Thackeray has already expressed his views on this. What is important is that Raj Thackeray has appeared before the authorities (ED). The Thackerays enjoy strong family bonding," Raut said.
 
On Wednesday, Uddhav said he didn't expect anything would come out of the ED questioning of his cousin.
 
Not taking chances, the Mumbai Police imposed prohibitory orders in some pockets in the city, road blocks, barricades, traffic diversions, along with a large number of personnel and a dog squad.
 
The day started with a crackdown on several MNS activists, including party spokesperson Sandip Deshpande who was detained and later taken to the Shivaji Park Police Station, other activists were not allowed to leave their homes.
 
Strongly protesting his detention, Deshpande termed it as "high-handed action" by the police.
 
Other activists protested silently by sporting black tee-shirts with the slogan "EDiot Hitler" and the 'Swastika' symbol painted on them, as thousands of supporters came to Mumbai from all over Maharashtra to express solidarity with their party chief.
 
Late on Wednesday, the MNS activists were served police notices warning them against creating any law and order issues before Thackeray's appearance before the ED.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex tanks 587 pts, as stimulus hopes fade

The Sensex and Nifty on Thursday came under heavy selling pressure over fading hopes of a stimulus to revive economic growth.
 
Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) K. Subramanian at a summit in New Delhi said the Indian economy does not need a fiscal stimulus to tackle the ongoing economic slowdown.
 
"We can't expect the government to intervene every time some sectors go through sunset. Not all sectors are doing bad, some are doing well," the CEA said.
 
The benchmark Sensex fell sharply by 587.44 points or 1.59 per cent to 36,472.93 while the Nifty declined by 177.35 points or 1.62 per cent at 10,741.35.
 
Subramanian said policymakers need to be careful while deciding on any fiscal stimulus as a way to boost economic growth.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex down 170 points, Yes Bank sheds 5%

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In the absence of any positive development and concerns over the damaging slowdown in the domestic economy, the markets continued to trade lower on Thursday.
 
Yes Bank fell over 5 per cent during the early trade as investors were worried about the corporate governance issues reported in CG Power. The private lender has significant stake in CG Power.
 
At 10.32 a.m., the Sensex was trading 169.34 points lower at 36,891.03 while the broader Nifty was down 62.20 points to 10,856.50.
 
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) on Wednesday sold scrips worth Rs 770.81 crore while the Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) offloaded stocks worth Rs 353.97 crore.
 
Analysts said that an extended slowdown in the domestic economy has increased the volume of stressed assets in segments like industrial, infrastructure and financials.
 
IANS
 

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Crackdown on MNS ahead of Thackeray's ED appearance

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Hours before Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray appears before the Enforcement Directorate, Mumbai Police launched a crackdown on key party functionaries to prevent them from creating any ruckus here on Thursday morning.
 
MNS spokesperson Sandip Deshpande and some others were picked up from Dadar and later whisked away to the nearby Shivaji Park Police Station.
 
Strongly protesting his detention, Deshpande termed it as "high-handed action" by the police.
 
The MNS activists were already served notices warning them against creating any law and order issues before Thackeray's appearance in the Enforcement Directorate office in South Mumbai.
 
Thackeray has issued at least two direct appeals to all his followers to remain calm despite any provocation, keep away from the ED office, and desist from any form of agitation or violence.
 
Thackeray is expected to reach the ED office around 11 a.m. to respond to the summons served on August 18.
 
His former business partners Unmesh Joshi -- son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi -- and Rajan Shirodkar, have already been grilled by the ED in a case pertaining to the IL&FS imbroglio.
 
Not taking any chances, the Mumbai Police have implemented tight security measures in the vicinity of the ED Offices in South Mumbai, with a huge force deployed, roadblocks, barricades, restricted entry of people, and so on.
 
On Wednesday, agitated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons to the MNS chief, a young party activist committed suicide by setting himself on fire. 
 
IANS
 

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Newbies, veterans own Day 1 of LFW 2019

Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar and singer Shibani Dandekar showcase creations of Payal Singhal at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019 in Mumbai on Aug 21, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar and singer Shibani Dandekar showcase creations of Payal Singhal at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019 in Mumbai on Aug 21, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
The Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019 on its Day 1 on Wednesday was owned by newbies as well as veterans. Many young designers debuted in the industry with this edition of LFW that completed 20 years, while others celebrated their years-long journey in the industry.
 
Six rising designers -- Sahib Bhatia, Gaurav Singh, Ankita Srivastava, Akanksha Aggarwal, Manjushree Saikia, Stanzin Palmo --  from different parts of the country showcased their contemporary collections inspired by regional traditional wears marked their debut on the LFW ramp with the Gen Next show. 
 
Fresh designers Him Kumari Gurung and Amandeep Singh Dhesi from Chandigarh, Deepali Jain from Hyderabad, Sangeeta Aidasani from Jodhpur, Chitra Singh from Kanpur and Rushikesh Bhivsane from Nasik also marked their entry into the fashion world with the show 'Launchpad' by Inter National Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD).
 
On the other hand, designer Payal Singhal marked 20 years in the fashion industry. Actors Shibani Dandekar and Farhan Akhtar turned showstoppers for the designer. She said: "I kind of grew on the runway. Lakme Fashion Week and I complete 20 years together. We have grown together. It's very nostalgic for me."
 
Designer Amit Aggarwal also launched his luxury pret collection called 'Flux' with cricketer Hardik Pandya and actress Lisa Haydon walking the ramp as showstoppers. Aggarwal, who is known for engineering recycled products in his designed garments, has this time tied up with R-Elan -- Reliance Industries' textile arm -- to create the grandeur pieces in fluid, free-flowing fabrics.
 
Actress Esha Gupta walked the runway for label 'Not So Serious' by designer Pallavi Mohan.
 
The day also saw labels "Half Full Curve" by Rixi and Tinka Bhatia, Vineet Rahul by Vineet Kataria and Rahul Arya and Saaksha & Kinni on the runway.
 
IANS

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Essar Ports says on course to achieving 60 MT cargo handling target

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Essar Ports today said higher capacity utilisation at its recently commissioned terminals at Salaya and Visakhapatnam, and an increase in third-party cargo, were the two key factors that will help the company achieve its target of handling 60 million tonnes (MT) of cargo by March 31, 2020.
 
A press release said the company’s first-quarter cargo handling performance has been very strong and brought it closer to achieving its target throughput by the end of the current financial year. 
 
For the quarter ended June 30, 2019, Essar Ports reported a 17.4% growth in cargo volumes across its four terminals. The combined throughput stood at 13.5 MT — up from 11.5 MT in the same period last year.
 
According to the release, among the company's four terminals, Hazira in Gujarat recorded a 2.9% growth to 7 MT in the first quarter; Paradip in Odisha recorded 2.0 MT, the same as in the corresponding period of the last year; Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh recorded 45.5% growth to 3.2 MT and Salaya in Gujarat grew by 160% to 1.3 MT.
 
All Essar terminals are focused on bulk and dry bulk cargoes that are primarily used as raw material in core sector industries, like steel and power, the release said.
 
“Our business is on a record growth trajectory with all terminals operating in full swing. Significant boost in third-party business and enhanced capacity utilisation of our anchor customers has been the key driver for the growth in volumes. We have consistently surpassed the average sectoral growth rate and are confident of achieving our target by March 2020,” said Mr Rajiv Agarwal, MD & CEO, Essar Ports Ltd. 
 
Essar Ports is one of India’s largest private sector port and terminal developers and operators. It has invested Rs 11,000 crore in developing world-class terminals in three Indian states. Its current operations span four terminals with a combined capacity of 110 MTPA, which is roughly 5 percent of India’s port capacity. The company is a leader in the non-containerized bulk cargo space
 
All Essar Ports terminals use advanced cargo handling infrastructure and are equipped to double capacity in the near to medium term. The company is focused on not only enhancing cargo throughput, but also on ramping up capacity and contributing meaningfully to the Government of India’s ambitious target of developing 3,130 MT of port capacity in the country by 2020.
 
Outside India, Essar’s port assets include a liquid terminal in the UK and a coal terminal which is in development stage at Mozambique’s Beira port, the release added.
 
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Sensex, Nifty flat, Yes Bank down 3%

The Sensex and the Nifty on Wednesday traded on a flat note awaiting a stimulus package from the Union government.
 
The Sensex opened slightly lower at 37,298.73 from its Tuesday's close of 37,328.01.
 
At 10.07 a.m., the Sensex traded 59.02 points higher at 37,387.03 while the Nifty was up 13.75 points at 11,030.75.
 
Yes Bank was trading 3.09 per cent lower during the early trade after latest worry originating from a disclosure regarding irregularities and unauthorised transactions at CG Power and Industrial Solution.
 
Yes Bank holds 12.8 per cent stake in CG Power, which hit lower circuit for the second straight day on Wednesday.
 
Besides, the rupee continue to trade with weakness against the US dollar. The rupee closed at over six-month low against the US dollar at 71.71 on Tuesday.
 
Foreign Institutional Investors bought stocks worth Rs 373.23 crore on Tuesday while Domestic Institutional Investors purchased scrips worth Rs 296.41 crore.
 
IANS
 
 

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Squash: Yoshna Singh in line for a double

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Yoshna Singh (Maharashtra) continued her fine run as she won the U-19 and Women’s Open semi-finals of the Western Slam (Junior) and 44th Maharashtra State Senior Open Squash Tournament played at the Bombay Gymkhana Squash Courts on Tuesday.
 
Yoshna, who is unseeded in the Girls U-19 category, faced a tough challenge from 3rd seed Amita Gondi of Telangana, who rallied from two games down to take the match into the decider. However, Yoshna kept her nerves and made no mistakes in the final game to take the match 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6. 
 
Later in the Women’s open tie, Yoshna made short work of her state mate Akanksha Rao, winning 11-3, 11-1, 11-6 to make it to the finals.
 
In the Boy’s U-19 tie, while Yash Fadte managed to edge past Prithivi Singh with ease, unseeded Neel Joshi had to fight hard to upset 2nd seed Rahul Baitha 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 to advance to the finals. 
 
In the Men’s Open, 2nd seed Abhishek Pradhan was stretched to his limits before he triumphed over Abhay Singh, winning  9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5 to set up a title clash with top seed Mahesh Mangaonkar, who was clinical in his 13-11, 11-6, 11-3 win over Abhishek Agarwal.
 
Girls U-19 Semi-Finals
Yoshna Singh bt Amita Gondi [3/4] 11-7 11-6 9-11 6-11 11-6; Amira Singh [2] bt Anannya Morey 11-4 11-2 11-7    
 
Boy’s U-19 Semi-Finals
Yash Fadte [1] bt Prithvi Singh [5/8] 11-3 11-7 11-8; Neel Joshi bt Rahul Baitha [2] 9-11 11-9 11-8 11-7                                                       
 
Women’s Open Semi-Finals      
Yoshna Singh [5/8] bt Aakanksha Rao [5/8] 11-3 11-1 11-6; Tanvi Khanna [2] bt Sachika Balvani [3/4] 11-2 11-2 11-3
 
Men’s Open Semi-Finals
Mahesh Mangaonkar [1] bt Abhishek Agarwal [3/4] 13-11 11-6 11-3; Abhishek Pradhan [2] bt Abhay Singh [3/4] 9-11 11-9 11-4 4-11 11-5
 
IANS
 

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Sensex down 74 points, Nifty closes at 11,017

Indian stock markets closed on a flat note for the second straight day on Tuesday, awaiting a stimulus package from the government. The Sensex closed 74.48 points or 0.20 per cent lower at 37,328.01, while the broader Nifty ended 36.90 points lower at 11,017.
 
State-run banks declined most on the NSE, followed by private banks and financial service stocks, while auto stocks gained.
 
According to analysts, the auto stocks gained investors' favour on a possible stimulus package and optimism over the upcoming festive season. Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors closed as the Nifty50 table toppers, gaining 4 per cent and 2.48 per cent, respectively.
 
IT stocks also edged higher after a relatively poor performance during the last month.
 
Private lender Yes Bank, which has a significant stake in CG Power, closed nearly 7 per cent lower at Rs 71.25 per share. 
 
Hit by major corporate governance issues involving unauthorised transactions and understatement of liabilities, Gautam Thapar-led CG Power's shares plunged nearly 20 per cent on the BSE.
 
Asian markets rose on Tuesday as stimulus hopes in major economies tempered anxiety about a global recession, boosting riskier assets and drawing money from safe-havens such as bonds and gold. 
 
European markets followed their Asian counterparts higher as investors bet that possible monetary and fiscal stimulus measures would help stave off a major global economic downturn.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex slips by 100 points, Nifty holds 11,000

The Sensex and Nifty fell after initial gains on Tuesday awaiting a stimulus package from the government.
 
According to reports, the Union government is working on a stimulus package to revive economic growth.
 
At 10.18 a.m., the Sensex was down 104.36 points or 0.28 per cent to 37,298.13.
 
The benchmark index opened at 37,441.75, slightly higher from its previous close of 37,402.49.
 
The broader Nifty was trading 48.05 points lower at 11,005.85.
 
Asian markets however, gained over hopes of a stimulus by governments to temper anxiety about a global recession.
 
Meanwhile, Foreign Institutional Investors sold stocks worth Rs 305 crore while domestic investors bought scrips of Rs 386 crore value.
 
IANS
 

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