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Cabinet okays transfer of AAI land at Dahisar to MMRDA for metro shed

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for the transfer of 40 acres of Airports Authority of India (AAI) land at RR station, Dahisar to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for its metro shed swapping with 40 acres of State Government land at Gorai, Mumbai.
 
The land transaction will enable MMRDA to complete the Metro rail project in Mumbai, an official press release said.
 
Under the modalities approved by the Cabinet, MMRDA will pay the difference in cost of land of 40 acres, as per the stamp duty ready reckoner rate based on 2016-17 arrived at Rs 472.70 crore or as per the ready reckoner rate at the time of final handing over of land, whichever is higher.
 
MMRDA will hand over the 40 acres of land at Gorai after levelling, grading and demarcating the boundary in all respects. It will also hand over all the land documents, revenue maps of Gorai land duly mutated in the Records of Rights in the name of AAI.
 
MMRDA will identify/demarcate 40 acres of land retaining 24 acres of land for AAI, with clear access/approach from the nearby city road. AAl will also hand over at least 2000 sqm. of land at Dahisar in advance on a temporary basis.
 
Maharashtra Government is implementing Mumbai Metro Rail Master Plan (146.50 Km) in phases to augment the overall public transport capacity of Mumbai. A special purpose vehicle, namely, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) under the MMRDA has been erected for implementing the Mumbai Metro project. MMRC has planned to construct a car shed on the Dahisar (E) to Andheri (E) metro corridor.
 
A portion of the identified land for car shed i.e. 17.47 hectares (approximately 44 acres) is owned by AAI. AAI owns a total land area of approximately 64 acres at Dahisar where Remote Receiving Station is located. Some part of the land is encroached upon, the release added.
 
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Essar Oil public shareholders to receive Rs 75.48 per share over delisting price

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Essar Energy Holdings Limited (EEHL) and Oil Bidco (Mauritius) Limited (OBML), the promoters of Essar Oil Ltd (EOL), today announced that they would pay to former minority shareholders, who tendered EOL shares in the Delisting Offer, an additional amount of Rs 75.48 per share, based on the current closing numbers, following the closure of the sale transaction with Rosneft and the Trafigura-UCP consortium.
 
The payment of around Rs 880 crore will be in addition to the Rs 3,064 crore that OBML had paid to the minority shareholders following EOL’s delisting in 2015, a press release from Essar said.
 
Essar founder Mr Shashi Ruia said: “We have always believed in creating value for all our shareholders. I am extremely happy with this outcome where we could maximise returns for our shareholders who had invested and believed in us. This transaction has created many records and the additional payout to shareholders over and above the delisting price is another first in the history of corporate India. This resonates with our philosophy of rewarding shareholders handsomely”.
 
EOL was valued at Rs 2,000 crore around the time of its listing in 1995, and has now been valued at about Rs 50,400 crore, a growth of 2420%. This value creation was made possible through continued strategic investments and growth of the businesses since commencement, the release said.
 
Mr Dhanpat Nahata, Director of EEHL said, “Essar Energy has created value not only for itself but also for the minority shareholders. The additional payment to minority shareholders is unprecedented as they got exit and liquidity upon delisting in December 2015, retained the upside from the transaction that has closed 20 months later, without carrying any downside risk.”
 
The promoters will shortly issue a public notice in this regard and as committed in the Delisting Offer of December 2015, the additional payout will be made within two months thereafter, the release said.
 
Of the 14.25 crore shares held by public shareholders, OBML acquired 11.66 crore shares through the delisting offer (including during the one year exit window) made to shareholders, as against the requirement of 9.26 crore shares for delisting. The shareholders tendered their shares through the reverse book building window made available to them under the delisting regulations. While the floor price for the delisting was set at Rs 146.05 per share in accordance with a SEBI-mandated formula, OBML agreed to pay Rs 262.80 per share, which was a premium of 80% over the SEBI mandated formula. Now, with the additional payout, the total price paid represents a premium of about 132%, the release added.
 
Russian oil giant Rosneft and the consortium of commodity and logistics major Trafigura and private investment group UCP have acquired 98.26% in Essar Oil Limited (EOL) for a total of $ 12.9 billion, making it India's largest inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) and Russia's largest ever foreign investment.
 
The transaction includes sale of includes sale of Essar Oil's refinery and retail assets ($10.9bn) together with Vadinar Port and related infrastructure assets ($2.0bn).
 
Rosneft (through its subsidiary, Petrol Complex Pte. Ltd) has acquired 49.13% stake, and Trafigura-UCP consortium (through Kesani Enterprises Company Limited) has acquired an equal stake. The remaining 1.74% stake continues to be held by retail shareholders.
 
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Essar Energy, Oil Bidco conclude sale of Essar Oil to Rosneft, Trafigura-UCP for $12.9 billion

A view of the Essar refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat
A view of the Essar refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat
Russian oil giant Rosneft and the consortium of commodity and logistics major Trafigura and private investment group UCP have acquired 98.26% in Essar Oil Limited (EOL) for a total of $ 12.9 billion, making it India's largest inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) and Russia's largest ever foreign investment.
 
The transaction includes sale of includes sale of Essar Oil's refinery and retail assets ($10.9bn) together with Vadinar Port and related infrastructure assets ($2.0bn), a press release from Essar said.
 
"The controlling shareholders of Essar Oil Limited (EOL)—Essar Energy Holdings Limited and Oil Bidco (Mauritius) Limited, both companies incorporated and managed under the laws of Mauritius—are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the sale of 98.26% of EOL," the release said.
 
Rosneft (through its subsidiary, Petrol Complex Pte. Ltd) has acquired 49.13% stake, and Trafigura-UCP consortium (through Kesani Enterprises Company Limited) has acquired an equal stake. The remaining 1.74% stake continues to be held by retail shareholders, it said.
 
The release noted that the transaction had been initiated in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Panaji, Goa on October 15, 2016.
 
"This investment, which represents Russia’s single largest foreign investment made anywhere in the world, will open a new chapter for Indo-Russian economic cooperation. The transaction is also the single largest foreign investment in India, and re-establishes the country’s image as an attractive destination for foreign investments," it said.
 
"Essar Energy would like to thank the Government of India and the respective regulatory bodies for their support and guidance," it said.
 
Following this transaction, Essar has now helped attract more than $30 billion of foreign investments into India. Previously, in 2007, Essar Group, together with Hutchison Whampoa, brought Vodafone into India in a $11.1 billion transaction, the release said.
 
"Essar Energy thanks VTB Capital, its investment banking partner on the deal; and its legal and other advisors for their invaluable role in bringing this marquee transaction to closure.
 
"Essar Energy would also like to specially thank EOL’s lenders—State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, and rest of the consortium—for supporting Essar Oil through its journey of over two decades that has now culminated in this value-accretive transaction," it said.
 
The deal includes EOL’s 20 MTPA Vadinar Refinery (one of the world’s largest, with a complexity index of 11.8), its pan-India network of over 3,500 retail outlets (representing India’s largest private sector retail network), as well as the associated refinery infrastructure. The transaction perimeter also includes the Vadinar Port (capacity of 58 million tonnes with world-class dispatch and storage facilities) and the Vadinar power plant (a 1,010 MW state-of-the art, multi-fuel unit that supplies both power and steam to the Vadinar refinery).
 
Essar founder Shashi Ruia said: “Today is a historic day for Indo-Russian economic ties. This transaction reflects the shared vision of two of the world’s most dynamic leaders. I congratulate Rosneft, Trafigura and UCP for investing in a world-class oil business, which we are proud to have built. For Essar, the closure of this landmark transaction ushers in a new phase of growth across our portfolio of businesses that hold great promise in India’s enduring development story.”
 
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Mr Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Capital, said: “With this deal, we have completed our monetisation and deleveraging programme, which is the largest undertaken by any corporate in recent years. We have substantially deleveraged our portfolio companies’ balance sheets, reducing debt by over $ 11 billion (Rs 70,000 crore). With the completion of our capex programme, we now look forward to a period of growth in our wider portfolio of businesses.”
 
Mr Dhanpat Nahata, Director, Essar Energy Holdings Limited said: “With the closure of this landmark transaction, Essar Energy has set a stellar example of conceiving, building and nurturing a world-class asset and then monetising it at the right time. I would like to welcome Rosneft, Trafigura and UCP as the new shareholders of EOL, and thank my colleagues, the deal team of Essar Energy and our advisors for this achievement.”
 
Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin stated: “This day marks the beginning of a new chapter for EOL. Together with our partners we intend to support the company to significantly improve its financial performance and, in the medium term, adopt an asset development strategy. The closing of the deal is a remarkable achievement for Rosneft too: the company has entered the high-potential and fast-growing Asia-Pacific market. The acquisition of the stake in the Vadinar refinery creates unique opportunities of synergies with existing Rosneft-owned assets and will help improve efficiency of supply to other countries within the region.”
 
Mr Jeremy Weir, CEO of Trafigura, commented: “Essar Oil will now be able to take advantage of the strengths of its international investors to further develop and enhance value to this world class asset.  Our stake in Essar Oil also complements Trafigura’s growing presence in India at a time when the country’s economic outlook is positive.”
 
Mr Ilya Sherbovich, Managing Partner of UCP Investment Group, commented: "Achieving a successful closing of the deal with a group of strong partners represents an important milestone for Essar Oil. We are confident that together with all the new shareholders - recognised leaders in their industries, we will oversee the growth potential of Essar Oil to increase the long-term value of the company."
 
Mr Yuri Soloviev, First Deputy President and Chairman of VTB Bank, said: “I would like to congratulate the parties on the successful completion of this important milestone transaction.  VTB Capital is pleased to have been able to act as financial adviser to Essar Energy on the sale of world-class assets to a strong consortium of investors.  India has become a core strategic market for the VTB Group and we look forward to working further with Essar and our broader Indian clients to further expand our franchise in the future.”
 
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RBI introduces Rs. 50 banknote in Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that it will shortly issue Rs. 50 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series.
 
The new banknotes, bearing signature of RBI Governor Urjit R. Patel, has motif of Hampi with Chariot on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage. The base colour of the note is fluorescent blue. The note has other designs, geometric patterns aligning with the overall colour scheme, both at the obverse and reverse, a press release from RBI said.
 
All the banknotes in the denomination of Rs. 50 issued by the Reserve Bank in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender, it said.
 
Some of the salient features of the new Rs. 50 banknote include see through register with denominational numeral 50; denomination number in Devnaari; portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the centre; micro letters RBI, Bharat (in Hindi), India and 50; windowed demetalised security thread with inscriptions Bharat (in  Hindi) and RBI; Guarantee Clause, Governor’s signature with Promise Clause and RBI emblem towards right of Mahatma Gandhi portrait; Ashoka Pillar emblem on the right; Mahatma Gandhi portrait and electrotype (50) watermarks; and number panel with numerals growing from small to big on the top left side and bottom right side.
 
On the reverse side, the banknote has year of printing of the note on the left; Swachh Bharat logo with slogan; Language panel; Motif of Hampi with Chariot; and denominational numeral 50 in Devnagari.
 
The dimension of the banknote will be 66 mm x 135 mm, the release added.
 
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BSE’s India INX to become first exchange to trade in Gold Options contracts at IFSC

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BSE’s India INX, the country’s first international exchange, today received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to commence trading in Gold Options contracts. 
 
The international exchange will be the first one in India and IFSC to commence trading from Wednesday, August 30, 2017, a press release from the exchange said.
 
INX Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, V. Balasubramaniam said, “We are extremely delighted to be the first one to launch Gold Options contracts and commence trade within this month. The launch will enhance the overall market participation and also complement the existing futures. It will give participants an opportunity to hedge their risk without worrying about daily volatility. This instrument will give the buyer a right to buy or sell an underlier at a preset price on a future date. Considering the other gold contracts on BSE’s India INX, we are clocking daily average turnover of $ 35 million”.
 
India Inx, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BSE Ltd, commenced its trading activities on January 16, 2017 and is India’s first International Exchange set up at GIFT City, Gandhinagar.
 
The release said that it is one of the world’s most advanced technology platforms with a turn-around time of 4 micro seconds and operates for 22 hours a day to allow international investors and non-resident Indians (NRIs) to trade from anywhere across the globe. The exchange provides a common platform for all asset classes - equities, currencies, commodities. The exchange proposes to commence offerings of depository receipts and bonds once the required infrastructure is in place.
 
"India INX offers a diversified portfolio of products and technology services at a cost which is far more competitive to Indian exchanges as well as other global exchanges like those in Hong Kong Singapore, Dubai, London and New York. The exchange being located in IFSC, GIFT City, provides competitive advantage in terms of tax structure and supportive regulatory framework. These include benefits in security transaction tax, commodity transaction tax, dividend distribution tax and long-term capital gain tax waivers and no income tax," the release  added.
 
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Delhi lad Kshitij Kumar joins Dutch Club NEC Nijmegen U15 squad

Kshitij Kumar (left) and Balaji of Reliance Foundation Young Champs with Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani.
Kshitij Kumar (left) and Balaji of Reliance Foundation Young Champs with Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani.
Thirteen-year-old Delhi lad Kshitij Kumar Singh, a prodigy of Reliance Foundation Young Champs, has join the Holland based NEC Nijmegen club for its Under-15 youth squad.
 
NEC Nijmegen is a professional football club which competes in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. Its youth teams features at the highest level in Dutch Youth Leagues and competes against top European clubs in international tournaments.
 
Kshitij, a second year batch student of Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) residential football program, had been to the Netherlands for two rounds of trials with PSV Eindhoven and NEC Nijmegen earlier this year before his selection in the NEC youth team.
 
He started playing football at the age of six initially with Bhaichung Bhutia Academy and then at FCB Escola. The forward was an early talent to be spotted by Piet Hubers, Technical Director of ISL Grassroots at the Delhi Dynamos Scouting Festival for RFYC scholarship in 2016. Since last June with RFYC, Kshitij has participated in 29 competitive and friendly games, scoring 31 goals and provided 25 assists.
 
Mrs. Nita Ambani, Founder Chairperson, Reliance Foundation termed Kshitij’s selection at NEC youth team to be a bench mark for more opportunities for India talents.
 
“We are extremely proud of the progress made by the 48 champions. Children like Kshitij Kumar are the future of Indian football. He is dedicated and disciplined at this young age which makes him a force to reckon with on the ground. We are sure he will pave a way for more scouting from foreign countries in India as well as increase the belief among players here to play in the best leagues in the world," she said.
 
RFYC, started in 2015 has amplified ISL clubs’ grassroots initiatives to spot talented children across the country between the ages of 11 and 14. Through robust talent scouting system, the deserving children are offered full-time residential scholarships by RFYC at Navi Mumbai. Today there are 48 scholars in the RFYC Programme.
 
Speaking on his selection, Kshitij said, “I’m very excited to join NEC Youth team. I want to thank all my coaches and fellow players at RF Young Champs who have motivated me to perform better continuously. I want to thank Mrs. Ambani especially for all her support, and for providing me the opportunity and belief to be the best. I would love to play for the Indian National Team in the future.”
 
Reliance Foundation is actively involved in promoting multiple sports in India through a number of largescale grassroots initiatives, with focus on developing young talent. Its initiatives such as Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS), Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) and the Reliance Foundation Junior NBA programme have together impacted the lives of more than 7 million children in India across multiple sports, a press release from the foundation said.
 
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India's forex reserves rise by $ 581.1 million to record $ 393.449 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 581.1 million to a new high of $ 393.449 billion during the week ended August 4, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had gone up by $ 1.536 billion to $ 392.868 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 964.4 million to $ 369.723 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 dipped by $ 405.7 million to $ 19.943 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went up by $ 8.9 million to $ 1.5045 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by $ 13.5 million to $ 2.2774 billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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HCC wins Rs. 810 crore contract from JKSPDCL for hydro power proejct

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it had won a contract worth Rs 810.37 crore from Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Limited (JKSPDCL) for construction of the 93 MW (3x31 MW) New Ganderbal Hydro Power Project on Sind river in Central Kashmir on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. 
 
The work is to be completed in 48 months, a press release from the company said here.
 
The New Ganderbal is a run off the river hydro power project on the Sind, a tributary of River Jhelum. The scope of work includes planning, design, engineering and execution of civil and infrastructure works as well as manufacturing, assembling, inspection, testing and commissioning of electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipments, the release said.
 
Mr. Arun Karambelkar, President & CEO, HCC Ltd. said “This prestigious contract demonstrates our EPC expertise in the hydro power sector. With a wide array of competencies for building various modules of hydroelectric projects, HCC has garnered expertise and distinction through complex project management in every step of engineering, procurement and construction.”
 
The release said that, over the last nine decades, HCC has constructed over 25 per cent of India’s installed hydroelectric power capacity with in-depth knowledge of the nation’s diverse terrain. In last 15 years, the company has completed 13 hydro power projects including two  projects in Bhutan and is currently engaged in construction of nine projects of which two are in Bhutan. 
 
In Jammu & Kashmir, HCC has been operating since over five decades and has built one-third of the hydro power capacity of the state, the release added.
 
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Govt. committed to provide enabling environment to promote cruise tourism: Gadkari

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Saying that the Government was committed to provide an enabling environment to promote cruise tourism, Union Shipping and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today unveiled the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) and Road Map for Cruise Operations.
 
Addressing an international conference organized by the Shipping Ministry at Mumbai Port, Mr Gadkari said India has a huge potential of hosting nearly 40 lakh cruise tourists. Given the right impetus, the number of tourist ships visiting India can go up from the present 158 to about 955 per year.
 
He expressed confidence that the cruise tourism sector would be a game-changer for domestic as well as international travellers. The sector is estimated to have a revenue potential close to Rs. 35,000 crore, and is expected to create over 2,50,000 jobs.
 
Mr Gadkari also released three reports: “Road Map for Sea Cruise Tourism”, “Mumbai Port SOP for Cruise Operations” and “Cruise Terminals in India.” These are aimed at bringing uniformity in procedural formalities to revolutionize the cruise tourism in India.
 
The Ministry has already embarked upon reforms to boost cruise tourism. Absence of world class infrastructure and lack of defined procedures for various government departments/agencies for dealing with cruise vessels and tourists have been identified as major hurdles in the growth of cruise tourism.
 
To address this, a task force comprising all relevant agencies like port, immigration, customs, port health authorities and security agencies was formed to study the present environment and procedures. A global consultant was hired to bring about a holistic approach and suggest the way forward.
 
The key items that the studies have identified for success of cruise tourism include creating and developing the right market atmosphere, easy immigration process , security procedures that do not impede movement, taxation regime that allows for a platform for growth, customs & duties procedures that do not tie the industry, internationally comparable tariffs, port and tourism infrastructure that meets the needs of the cruise lines and visitors today and tomorrow.
 
The studies have also recommended single window system for all pre cruise requirements for cruise operators to save time, separate dedicated approach road and entrance to the cruise terminals, uniform and consistent security procedures by CISF at all ports, coordination between immigration and CISF, training all departments dealing with cruise tourism with Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for better handling of passengers, use of technology in clearances, providing passenger manifest to CISF, implementation of green lane/red lane at existing terminals with random custom checking as is done in the airport, declaration of only limited items of inventory of the cruise ships in place of the existing requirement of having the complete inventory for all the stocks in the ship.
 
Various steps have already been taken for growth of cruise tourism. These include finalization of SoPs for handling cruise vessels and passengers, allowing foreign flag vessels carrying passengers to call at Indian ports without obtaining license from DG (Shipping), constitution of Port-level Committees to address manpower, coordination and logistics issues.
 
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A discount of 40% is being given at Major Ports in port charges. Additional rebate of 25% for home port cruise vessels in addition to 40% rebate for coastal cruise transportation. E-Visa facility and e- Landing card has been extended to five major ports. Uniformity in port charges for cruise vessels at all Major Ports- About Rs. 1,600 per person as against earlier practice of charging per tonnage of ship . The charges are now comparable to Singapore and other global ports for cruise tourism.
 
New infrastructure is being created at Mumbai at a cost of Rs. 300 crore. Tender has been awarded for civil construction of terminal building. There are plans to develop more port destinations other than the five ports of Mumbai, Goa, New Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai.
 
Mr. David Dingle, Chairman, Carnival, UK – the biggest cruise line in the world, which has started home port operations from Mumbai Port, presented Carnival’s plans for India. Mr Ravi Kant, Secretary, Shipping, highlighted India’s development initiatives for Cruise Tourism.
 
Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma spoke about the growth and future of India as an international tourism hub. Maharashtra Tourism Minister J Rawal, Arvind Sawant, MP, Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick and other senior officials were also present at the event.
 
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Schindler to invest Rs. 170 crore to expand its manufacturing facilities in India

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Schindler India, providers of escalators and elevators, a 100% owned subsidiary of Schindler Group, today said it would invest Rs. 170 crore to expand its manufacturing facilities by setting up India’s first escalator manufacturing line and towards improving its research and development facilities at its plant near Chakan in Pune. 
 
"These investments will give Schindler India a unique edge and propel them to further strengthen the market leadership position in the elevators and escalators industry in India," a press release from the company said. 
 
The release said the company was committed to growing the elevators business in India and planned to expand its elevator line to produce a capacity of around 17,500 units and its escalator line to 1,200 units per annum by 2019. 
 
Under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, Schindler has already made an investment of Rs. 430 crore towards setting up a factory, an R&D centre that boasts a 71 metre tall tower with eight shafts where each and every component of the elevator undergoes strenuous testing. 
 
"Schindler India’s Rs. 170 crore investment is part of the total Rs. 600 crore outlay over a period of six years which employs more than 1000 people at any point of time in Maharashtra," the release said.
 
Mr. Uday Kulkarni, President Schindler India and South East Asia said, “The elevator and escalator market is expected to grow at 8% in the current fiscal and at Schindler India it is our aim to grow faster than market. In the last 10 years our turnover has grown from Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 1,600 crore. With the Rs. 170crore investment we aim to further the quality of our services and work towards becoming a preferred vendor to our customers.”
 
The release said Schindler India is the preferred supplier to several leading builders & developers across the country. They have partnered several prestigious infrastructure projects in India, like the new Mumbai International Airport, Terminal-2, the Chennai International Airport, the Delhi Metro, the Delhi Airport Metro, the Mumbai Monorail, the Kolkata International Airport, as well as the Mumbai,Bengaluru, Greater Noida and Nagpur metros.
 
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HCC wins Rs 763.57 crore contract from IGCAR

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it had won a prestigious contract worth Rs. 763.57 crore from the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) for construction of a Fast Reactor Fuel Cycle facility in the coastal city of Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu.
 
The scope of work includes construction of Nuclear Safety Compliant Structures for fuel processing plant for Fast Breeder Reactors and allied facilities including civil, electrical and mechanical works, a press release from the company said. The project is to be completed in 48 months.
 
Mr. Arun Karambelkar, President & CEO- E&C, HCC Ltd said “We are happy to receive this contract for building Fast Reactor Fuel Cycle facility at Kalpakkam. With our well experience team, we are confident of delivering this job on time with precision in quality, safety and state-of-the-art technology.”
 
When completed, this would serve as fuel processing facility for Fast Breeder Reactors. This is the fourth contract awarded to HCC by IGCAR. Prior to this order, the company has received three contracts from IGCAR to build Administrative Blocks, Township and Metallic Fuel Plant. 
 
Some of the major work HCC is currently executing for Department of Atomic Energy includes the first phase of Integrated Nuclear Recycle Plant of BARC in Tarapur and PWHR Units 7 & 8 (2×700 MW) at Rawatbhata, Kota, Rajasthan for NPCIL, the release added.
 
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Reliance Industries wins DuPont Operational Excellence Award

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has been adjudged the Global Winner of ‘The DuPont Operational Excellence Award – 2017’.
 
The bi-annual DuPont Safety and Sustainability Awards recognise the most significant innovative projects delivering concrete results.
 
Mr. Hital Meswani, Executive Director of RIL, said: “This award is a global recognition of RIL’s demonstrated ability of unparalleled efficient operations and excellent project execution. It showcases RIL’s sustainable approach towards Operational Excellence.”
 
Recognising the digital foundation that was built during ‘Business Transformation’, a scalable model was shaped with formalized procedures, policies and practices, capturing and documenting knowledge which hitherto existed in minds. This was further codified and documented with a common language and definitions across the group with the introduction of Reliance Management System and, in particular, the Operating Management System, he said.
 
The DuPont Safety and Sustainability Awards recognise organizations which have found innovative ways of making an enduring difference to the safety and health of workers, to the environment, and to productivity. Since its launch in 2002, the bi-annual event has grown to become a prominent global fixture attracting entries from a wide range of industries and countries. 
 
Currently in its 13th edition, the DuPont Safety and Sustainability Awards comprise ‘The DuPont Safety Award’, ‘The DuPont Sustainability Award’, and ‘The DuPont Operations Excellence Award’, selected by an independent jury. 
 
RIL will be receiving the award on 4th September 2017, at a ceremony during the ‘XXI World Congress of Safety and Health at Work 2017’ in Singapore, a press release from the company added.
 
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India's forex reserves rise by $ 1.536 billion to record $ 392.868 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 1.536 billion to a new high of $ 392.868 billion during the week ended July 28, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had soared by $ 2.272 billion to $ 391.331 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 1.610 billion to $ 368.759 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 $ 20.349 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went up by $ 3.9 million to $ 1.4956 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 77.2 million to $ 2.264 billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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Gold demand in India grows 37% to 167.4 tonnes in Q2 of 2017: WGC

 
Demand for gold in India in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017 grew by 37 percent to 167.4 tonnes (t), as compared to overall Q2 demand for 2016 of 122.1t, while global gold demand fell by 10 percent to 953t from 1,056t in the same period.
 
India’s Q2 2017 gold demand value was Rs 43,600 crores, up by 32% in comparison to Rs. 33,090 crore in Q2 2016, according to the World Gold Council's (WGC) latest Gold Demand Trends report.
 
The report said total jewellery demand in India for Q2 2017 was up by 41% at 126.7t as compared to 89.8t in Q2 2016. The value of jewellery demand was Rs 33,000 crores, up by 36% from Rs. 24,350 crore in Q2 2016, it said.
 
Total investment demand for Q2 2017 in India was up by 26% at 40.7t in comparison to 32.3t in Q2 2016. In value terms, gold investment demand was Rs. 10,610 crores, up by 21% from Q2 2016 (Rs. 8,740 crores). Total gold recycled in India in Q2 2017 was 29.6t, as compared to 23.8t in Q2 2016. 
 
The full year market expectations of gold demand in 2017 were 650-750t, the report said.
 
Mr. Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council said: "India’s gold demand in Q2 2017 stood at 167.4 tonnes, a robust quarter, as seasonal demand and improved rural sentiment contributed to a 37% YoY increase. Both jewellery and investment demand saw a healthy rise of 41% and 26% respectively, albeit on a low base of Q2 2016."
 
"Though underlying concerns about GST and other transparency measures continue, predictably, positive sentiment returned with continued remonetisation and an expectation of good monsoons. This was evident in the sales momentum during Akshaya Tritiya supported by a relatively higher number of auspicious wedding days during the quarter. Towards the end of quarter, one of the biggest demand drivers was the GST rate on gold, which spurred consumers and traders to advance their gold purchases ahead of the GST rollout. 
 
"Looking ahead, in second half of year, as consumers and trade adapt to the new tax and compliance regime, growth will remain range bound even with good monsoons. Our full year demand estimate remains between 650 and 750 tonnes, the higher end of the range being more likely," he said.
 
On the global gold demand, the report said there was a 14% decline in demand for the first half of 2017, which slowed to 2004t.
 
After record levels of inflows into Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in H1 2016, a significant slowdown in the sector was the predominant factor behind the fall in overall demand so far this year, it said.
 
Net central bank purchases of 177t in the first half of 2017 were also slightly lower compared to the same period in 2016, down 3%. By contrast, H1 2017 saw bar and coin investment grow, as did both jewellery and technology demand, each making modest gains compared to 2016.
 
"ETF inflows slowed dramatically from last year’s record pace. Nevertheless holdings in the sector continued to grow, adding 56t in Q2, bringing total inflows in H1 to 168t. European ETFs saw the strongest H1 inflows, with holdings in these funds reaching a record 978t," the report said.
 
According to it, bar and coin investment rebounded from very low levels last year. Q2 demand gained 13% from Q2 2016 to 241t, while H1 demand rose 11% to 532t. India contributed strongly to the recovery, having been particularly weak last year. Turkey also saw a strong jump in demand, due to the country’s economic recovery, double-digit inflation and relative currency stability.
 
Jewellery demand also strengthened from a weak 2016 to 481t, but fell short of the long-term average. India was the main contributor to the 8% gain in Q2.
 
"Central banks continue to buy gold, but at a more modest pace than in recent years, totalling 94t, a 20% increase on the previous year. The most recent quarter saw Turkey’s central bank add to its gold reserves – its first significant purchase since the 1980s.
 
"Technology demand registered its third consecutive quarter of growth, up 2% to 81t. Increasing adoption of wireless charging and the development of features using LEDs has boosted demand. H2’s busy release schedule of new smartphone handsets also supported memory chip production.
 
Alistair Hewitt, Head of Market Intelligence at the World Gold Council, commented: “Demand for H1 2017 was down 14% compared to last year, but in some respects the market was in better shape. Last year’s growth was solely down to record ETF inflows, while consumer demand slumped. So far this year we have seen steady ETF inflows in Europe and the US, jewellery demand has recovered with good growth in India, while retail investment and technology demand is up too."
 
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“There are a few things to watch out for in the rest of the year. Inflation data out of the US looks soft and markets have pushed out their expectations for a rate rise. The monsoon is looking good in India and, providing the market adapts to the new GST, we may see solid demand around Diwali. And as the next generation of smartphones gets rolled out we may see good support for technology demand.”
 
The report said total supply fell 8% to 1,066t this quarter compared with the same period last year. This was largely led by a steep drop in recycling, down 18% to 280t, and a continuation of net de-hedging, albeit by a modest 5t, in the subdued Q2 price environment. Mine production remained virtually flat, falling just 3t to 791t.
 
"The year-on-year comparison for recycling was also affected by the elevated levels seen in the first three quarters of 2016, when the rapidly-increasing global gold price, along with a tax amnesty in Indonesia, enticed consumers to liquidate their assets. The first half of 2017 represents a continued ‘normalisation’ of recycling in most markets," it said.
 
The report said total consumer demand rose by 9% to 722t, from 660t in the same period last year, while total investment demand fell 34% to 297t compared with 450t in Q2 2016. Global jewellery demand grew 8% to 481t, from 447t in the same period last year. Central bank demand climbed 20% to 94t compared with 78t in Q2 2016. Demand in the technology sector increased 2% to 81t compared with 80t in Q2 2016. Total supply was down 8% to 1,066t, from 1,160t in the same period last year, while recycling fell 18% to 280t compared with 343t in Q2 2016, it added.
 
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Mahanagar Gas hikes CNG, domestic PNG prices to offset impact of GST

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Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) today increased the prices of compressed natural gas (CNG) and domestic piped natural gas (PNG) by Rs. 0.32 per kg and Rs. 0.19 per SCM, respectively, with effect from midnight tonight to offset the impact of the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) on its overall costs.
 
Accordingly, the revised retail selling price (RSP) of CNG will be Rs. 41.14 per kg and that of domestic PNG Slap-I will be Rs. 24.61 per SCM in Mumbai. An increase of Rs. 0.19/SCM is being effected in price of domestic PNG Slab-II, a press release from the company said.
 
Also, in view of removal of LBT and Octroi due to GST implementation, selling prices of CNG and domestic PNG in municipalities/areas outside Mumbai are rationalized and Mumbai prices of CNG and domestic PNG would be replicated in all the adjoining municipalities, the release said.
 
Accordingly, revised CNG RSP will be Rs. 41.14 per kg and revised domestic PNG Slab-I RSP will be Rs. 24.61 per SCM in Mumbai and in all adjoining municipalities from midnight tonight, the release added.
 
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Full Text: RBI's Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18

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Following is the text of the Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18 and Resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) here today: 
 
Resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Reserve Bank of India
 
On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation at
its meeting today, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to:
 
• reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis
points from 6.25 per cent to 6.0 per cent with immediate effect.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 per cent.
 
The decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth. The main considerations underlying the decision are set out in the statement below.
 
Assessment
 
2. Since the June 2017 meeting of the MPC, impulses of growth have spread across the
global economy albeit still lacking the strength of a self-sustaining recovery. Among the
advanced economies (AEs), the US has expanded at a faster pace in Q2 after a weak Q1, supported by steadily improving labour market conditions, increasing consumer spending, upbeat consumer confidence helped by softer than expected inflation, and improving industrial production. Policy and political risks, however, continue to cloud the outlook. In the Euro area, the recovery has broadened across constituent economies on the back of falling unemployment and a pickup in private consumption; political uncertainty has receded substantially. In Japan, a modest but steady expansion has been taking hold, underpinned by strengthening exports, accelerating industrial production and wage reflation.
 
3. Among emerging market economies (EMEs), growth has regained some lost ground in China in Q2, with retail sales and industrial production rising at a steady pace. Nonetheless, tightening financial conditions on account of deleveraging financial institutions and slowdown in real estate could weigh negatively. The Russian economy has emerged out of two years of recession, aided by falling unemployment, rising retail sales and strong industrial production. In Brazil, a fragile recovery remains vulnerable to political uncertainty and a still depressed labour market. Economic activity in South Africa continues to be beset by structural and institutional bottlenecks and is in a technical recession.
 
4. The modest firming up of global demand and stable commodity prices have supported
global trade volumes, reflected in rising exports and imports in key economies. In the second half of July, crude prices have risen modestly out of bearish territory on account of inventory drawdown in the US, but the supply overhang persists. Chinese demand has fuelled a recent rally in metal prices, particularly copper. Bullion prices fell to multi-month lows on improved risk appetite but remain vulnerable to shifts in the geopolitical environment. Notwithstanding these developments, inflation is well below target in most AEs and is subdued across most EMEs.
 
5. International financial markets have been resilient to political uncertainties and
volatility has declined, except for sporadic reactions to hints of balance sheet adjustments by systemic central banks. Equity markets in most AEs have registered gains, with indices crossing previous highs in the US, but European markets were weighed down by Brexit talks and the strengthening euro. In EMEs, equities have gained on surging global risk appetite underpinned by improving macroeconomic fundamentals that have been pulling in capital inflows. Bond yields in major AEs have hardened on expectations of monetary policy normalisation, with German bunds reaching an intra-year high. In EMEs, the situation has remained diverse, driven by domestic factors, and fixed-income markets have been generally insulated from the bond sell-off in AEs. In the currency markets, the US dollar weakened further and fell to a multi-month low in July on weak inflation and uncertainty around the policies of the US administration. The euro, which has remained bullish, rallied further on upbeat economic data. The Japanese yen has generally eased, interspersed by bouts of appreciation on safe haven demand. EME currencies largely remained stable and have traded
with an appreciating bias.
 
6. On the domestic front, a normal and well-distributed south-west monsoon for the
second consecutive year has brightened the prospects of agricultural and allied activities and rural demand. By August 1, rainfall was 1 per cent above the long period average (LPA) and 84 per cent of the country’s geographical area received excess to normal precipitation. Kharif sowing has progressed at a pace higher than last year’s, with full-season sowing nearly complete for sugarcane, jute and soyabean. The initial uncertainty surrounding sowing of pulses barring tur and rice in some regions has also largely dissipated. Sowing of cotton and coarse cereals has exceeded last year’s levels but for oilseeds, it is lagging. Overall, these developments should help achieve the crop production targets for 2017-18 set by the Ministry of Agriculture at a higher level than the peak attained in the previous year. Meanwhile, procurement operations in respect of rice and wheat during the rabi marketing season have been stepped up to record levels – 36.1 million tonnes in April-June 2017 – and stocks have risen to 1.5 times the buffer norm for the quarter ending September.
 
7. Industrial performance has weakened in April-May 2017. This mainly reflected a
broad-based loss of speed in manufacturing. Excess inventories of coal and near stagnant output of crude oil and refinery products combined to slow down mining activity. For electricity generation, deficiency of demand seems to remain a binding constraint. In terms of uses, the output of consumer non-durables accelerated and underlined the resilience of rural demand. It was overwhelmed, however, by contraction in consumer durables – indicative of still sluggish urban demand – and in capital goods, which points to continuing retrenchment of capital formation in the economy. The weakness in the capex cycle was also evident in the number of new investment announcements falling to a 12-year low in Q1, the lack of traction in the implementation of stalled projects, deceleration in the output of infrastructure goods, and the ongoing deleveraging in the corporate sector. The output of core industries was also
dragged down by contraction in electricity, coal and fertiliser production in June, owing to
excess inventory and tepid demand. On the positive side, natural gas recorded an uptick in production after a prolonged decline and steel output remained strong. The 78th round of the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey (IOS) revealed a waning of optimism in Q2 about demand conditions across parameters, and especially on capacity utilisation, profit margins and employment. The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) moderated sequentially to a four-month low in June and the future output index also eased marginally. In July, the PMI declined into the contraction zone with a decrease in new orders and a deterioration in business conditions, reflecting inter alia the roll out of the GST; however, both new export orders and the future output index rose, reflecting optimism in the outlook. 
 
8. In contrast to manufacturing, high frequency real indicators of services sector activity
point to a mixed picture in Q1. In the transportation sub-sector, freight carriage by air
registered a strong performance sequentially and on an annual basis. Commercial vehicle sales rose after two successive months of contraction in response to the Bharat Standard (BS)-IV emission compliance switchover. Sales of passenger cars and two-wheelers suffered temporary dislocation in June even as motorcycle sales continued to grow for the third consecutive month, reflecting the firmness of rural demand. Activity in the communication sub-sector accelerated in May on strong and sustained growth in the subscriber base of voice and data services. The hospitality sub-sector was supported by vigorous growth of foreign tourist arrivals and air passenger traffic. The acceleration in steel consumption in April-May may be a precursor to a pickup in construction activity in Q1, but cement production remains in contraction mode. The PMI for the services sector continued to remain in expansion mode in May-June on expectations of improvement in market conditions.
 
9. In June, retail inflation measured by year-on-year changes in the CPI plunged to its
lowest reading in the series based to 2011-12. This was mainly the outcome of large
favourable base effects which are slated to dissipate and reverse from August. Although
month-on-month increases in the price level have been picking up since April, they were
weak in relation to the typical food-price driven summer uptick. The delay in indirect tax
revisions and anecdotal evidence of clearance sales across commodities could have dampened the momentum.
 
10. Prices of food and beverages, which went into deflation in May 2017 for the first time
in the new CPI series, sank further in June as prices of pulses, vegetables, spices and eggs recorded year-on-year declines and inflation moderated across most other sub-groups. There are now visible signs, however, of the usual seasonal price spikes, even if with a delay and especially in respect of tomatoes, onions and milk.
 
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11. Fuel inflation declined for the second month in succession as international prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fell and price increases moderated in the case of coke, and firewood and chips. Administered prices of LPG and kerosene are set to rise with the calibrated reduction in subsidy. Households appear to have discounted the recent low inflation prints; their three month ahead and one year ahead inflation expectations polled in the June 2017 round of the Reserve Bank’s survey have somewhat hardened.
 
12. Excluding food and fuel, CPI inflation moderated for the third month in succession in June, falling to 4 per cent as price momentum moderated inter alia in respect of education due to delay in fee revision cycles, and also in respect of health, clothing and footwear. Inflation in transport and communication services was depressed by the pricing war in the telecommunication space. Input costs relating to both industry and farms remain benign tracking international prices. Pricing power polled in the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey and in manufacturing and services PMIs is still subdued.
 
13. Surplus liquidity conditions persisted in the system, exacerbated by front-loading of
budgetary spending by the Government. There was also some moderation in the pace of increase in currency in circulation (CiC) which is typical at this time of the year – as against the increase of Rs. 1.5 trillion in CiC during the first two months of 2017-18, it was Rs. 436 billion and Rs. 95 billon during June and July, respectively. Normally, currency returns to the banking system in these months and is reflected in a decline in CiC; consequently, the increase in CiC recorded this year reflects the sustained pace of remonetisation and the associated absorption of liquidity from the system. Surplus liquidity of Rs. 1 trillion was absorbed through issuance of treasury bills (TBs) under the market stabilisation scheme (MSS) and Rs. 1.3 trillion through cash management bills (CMBs) on a cumulative basis so far this financial year. Enduring surplus conditions warranted outright open market sales of Rs. 100 billion each on two occasions in June and July. Another auction of an equivalent amount has been announced and will be conducted on August 10, 2017. Apart from these operations, net average absorption of liquidity under the LAF was at Rs. 3.1 trillion in June and Rs. 3.0 trillion in July. Reflecting this active liquidity management, the weighted average call rate (WACR)
firmed up and traded about 17 bps below the repo rate on average during June and July – down from 29-32 basis points (bps) in March-April and 21 bps in May – within the LAF
corridor.
 
14. Turning to the external sector, merchandise export growth weakened in May and June from the April peak as the value of shipments across commodity groups either slowed or declined. By contrast, import growth remained in double digits, primarily due to a surge in oil imports and stockpiling of gold imports ahead of the implementation of the GST. Imports of coal, electronic goods, pearls and precious stones, vegetable oils and machinery also accelerated. As import growth continued to outpace export growth, the trade deficit at US$ 40.1 billion in Q1 was more than double its level a year ago. Net foreign direct investment doubled in April-May 2017 over its level a year ago, flowing mainly into manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade and business services. Foreign portfolio investors made net purchases of US$ 15.2 billion in domestic debt and equity markets so far (up to July 31), remaining bullish on the outlook for the Indian economy. The level of foreign exchange reserves was US$ 392.9 billion as on July 28, 2017.
 
Outlook
 
15. The second bi-monthly statement projected quarterly average headline inflation in the range of 2.0-3.5 per cent in the first half of the year and 3.5-4.5 per cent in the second half. The actual outcome for Q1 has tracked projections. Looking ahead, as base effects fade, the evolving momentum of inflation would be determined by (a) the impact on the CPI of the implementation of house rent allowances (HRA) under the 7th central pay commission (CPC); (b) the impact of the price revisions withheld ahead of the GST; and (c) the disentangling of the structural and transitory factors shaping food inflation. The inflation trajectory has been updated taking into account all these factors and incorporates the first round impact of the implementation of the HRA award by the Centre.
 
16. There are several factors contributing to uncertainty around this baseline inflation
trajectory. Implementation of farm loan waivers by States may result in possible fiscal
slippages and undermine the quality of public spending, entailing inflationary spillovers.
Moreover, the timing of the States’ implementation of the salary and allowances award is
critical – it is not factored into the baseline projection in view of lack of information on their plans. If States choose to implement salary and allowance increases similar to the Centre in the current financial year, headline inflation could rise by an additional estimated 100 basis points above the baseline over 18-24 months. Also, high frequency indicators suggest that price pressures are building up in vegetables and animal proteins in the near months. There are, however, some moderating forces at work. First, the second successive normal monsoon coupled with effective supply management measures may keep food inflation under check. Second, if the general moderation of price increases in CPI excluding food and fuel continues, it will contain upside pressures on headline inflation. Third, the international commodity price outlook is fairly stable at the current juncture.
 
17. Business sentiment polled in the manufacturing sector reflects expectations of
moderation of activity in Q2 of 2017-18 from the preceding quarter. Moreover, high levels of stress in twin balance sheets – banks and corporations – are likely to deter new investment. With the real estate sector coming under the regulatory umbrella, new project launches may involve extended gestations and, along with the anticipated consolidation in the sector, may restrain growth, with spillovers to construction and ancillary activities. Also, given the limits on raising market borrowings and taxes by States, farm loan waivers are likely to compel a cutback on capital expenditure, with adverse implications for the already damped capex cycle. At the same time, upsides to the baseline projections emanate from the rising probability of another good kharif harvest, the boost to rural demand from the higher budgetary allocation to
housing in rural areas, the significant step-up in the budgetary allocation for roads and 
bridges, and the growth-enhancing effects of the GST, viz., the shifting of trade from
unorganised to organised segments; the reduction of tax cascades; cost, efficiency and
competitiveness gains; and synergies in domestic supply chains. In turn, these virtuous forces may spur investment. External demand conditions are gradually improving and should support the domestic economy, although global political risks remain significant. Keeping in view these factors, the projection of real GVA growth for 2017-18 has been retained at the June 2017 projection of 7.3 per cent, with risks evenly balanced. 
 
18. The MPC observed that while inflation has fallen to a historic low, a conclusive
segregation of transitory and structural factors driving the disinflation is still elusive. In
respect of inflation-sensitive vegetables, prices are recording spikes. Excess supply conditions continue to push down prices of pulses and keep those of cereals in check. The MPC will continue monitoring movements in inflation to ascertain if recent soft readings are transient or if a more durable disinflation is underway. In its assessment of real activity, the MPC noted that while the outlook for agriculture appears robust, underlying growth impulses in industry and services are weakening, given corporate deleveraging and the retrenchment of investment demand.
 
19. The MPC noted that some of the upside risks to inflation have either reduced or not
materialised - (i) the baseline path of headline inflation excluding the HRA impact has fallen below the projection made in June to a little above 4 per cent by Q4; (ii) inflation excluding food and fuel has fallen significantly over the past three months; and, (iii) the roll-out of the GST has been smooth and the monsoon normal. Consequently, some space has opened up for monetary policy accommodation, given the dynamics of the output gap. Accordingly, the MPC decided to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points. Noting, however, that the trajectory of inflation in the baseline projection is expected to rise from current lows, the MPC decided to keep the policy stance neutral and to watch incoming data. The MPC remains focused on its commitment to keeping headline inflation close to 4 per cent on a durable basis.
 
20. On the state of the economy, the MPC is of the view that there is an urgent need to
reinvigorate private investment, remove infrastructure bottlenecks and provide a major thrust to the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for housing needs of all. This hinges on speedier clearance of projects by the States. On their part, the Government and the Reserve Bank are working in close coordination to resolve large stressed corporate borrowers and recapitalise public sector banks within the fiscal deficit target. These efforts should help restart credit flows to the productive sectors as demand revives. 
 
21. Dr. Chetan Ghate, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Viral V. Acharya and Dr. Urjit R. Patel were in
favour of the monetary policy decision, while Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia voted for a policy
rate reduction of 50 basis points and Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra voted for status quo. The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by August 16, 2017.
 
22. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled on October 3 and 4, 2017.
 
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RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps, says space has opened up for monetary policy accommodation

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today decided to reduce its key policy repo rate by under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points (bps) from 6.25% to 6.0% with immediate effect, saying that some space had opened up for monetary policy accommodation.
 
Accordingly, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75% and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate to 6.25%, the central bank said.
 
In its Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18 on the basis of the resolution of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the RBI said that the MPC had noted that some of the upside risks to inflation had either reduced or not materialised.
 
It said the baseline path of headline inflation excluding the HRA impact had fallen below the projection made in June to a little above 4% by Q4;  inflation excluding food and fuel had fallen significantly over the past three months; and, the roll-out of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) from July 1 had been smooth and the monsoon normal.
 
"Consequently, some space has opened up for monetary policy accommodation, given the dynamics of the output gap. Accordingly, the MPC decided to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points. Noting, however, that the trajectory of inflation in the baseline projection is expected to rise from current lows, the MPC decided to keep the policy stance neutral and to watch incoming data. 
 
"The MPC remains focused on its commitment to keeping headline inflation close to 4 per cent on a durable basis," the statement said. 
 
According to it, the decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2%, while supporting growth. 
 
On the state of the economy, the MPC was of the view that there was an urgent need to reinvigorate private investment, remove infrastructure bottlenecks and provide a major thrust to the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for housing needs of all. 
 
"This hinges on speedier clearance of projects by the States. On their part, the Government and the Reserve Bank are working in close coordination to resolve large stressed corporate borrowers and recapitalise public sector banks within the fiscal deficit target. These efforts should help restart credit flows to the productive sectors as demand revives," the statement said.
 
Among the MPC members,  Dr. Chetan Ghate, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Viral V. Acharya and RBI Governor Urjit R. Patel were in favour of the monetary policy decision, while Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia voted for a policy rate reduction of 50 basis points and Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra voted for status quo. The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by August 16, 2017.
 
Setting out the main considerations underlying the decision, the MPC noted that, since its June 2017 meeting, impulses of growth had spread across the global economy albeit still lacking the strength of a self-sustaining recovery. 
 
It said that the modest firming up of global demand and stable commodity prices had supported global trade volumes, reflected in rising exports and imports in key economies. In the second half of July, crude prices have risen modestly out of bearish territory on account of inventory drawdown in the US, but the supply overhang persists. 
 
On the domestic front, a normal and well-distributed south-west monsoon for the second consecutive year has brightened the prospects of agricultural and allied activities and rural demand, it said.
 
"Industrial performance has weakened in April-May 2017. This mainly reflected a broad-based loss of speed in manufacturing. Excess inventories of coal and near stagnant output of crude oil and refinery products combined to slow down mining activity. For electricity generation, deficiency of demand seems to remain a binding constraint. In terms of uses, the output of consumer non-durables accelerated and underlined the resilience of rural demand. It was overwhelmed, however, by contraction in consumer durables – indicative of still sluggish urban demand – and in capital goods, which points to continuing retrenchment of capital formation in the economy.
 
"The weakness in the capex cycle was also evident in the number of new investment announcements falling to a 12-year low in Q1, the lack of traction in the implementation of stalled projects, deceleration in the output of infrastructure goods, and the ongoing deleveraging in the corporate sector," it said.
 
The statement referred to the lower output of core industries, and noted that the 78th round of the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey (IOS) revealed a waning of optimism in Q2 about demand conditions across parameters, and especially on capacity utilisation, profit margins and employment. It also mentioned the moderation of manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) in June and its decline into contraction zone in July, following the roll-out of the GST.
 
The statement referred to strong performances by the transportation and hospitality sectors, acceleration in steel consumption in April-May, contraction in cement production and expansion of the PMI for the services sector.
 
It noted that, in June, retail inflation plunged to its lowest reading in the series based to 2011-12.
 
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"Turning to the external sector, merchandise export growth weakened in May and June from the April peak as the value of shipments across commodity groups either slowed or declined. By contrast, import growth remained in double digits, primarily due to a surge in oil imports and stockpiling of gold imports ahead of the implementation of the GST. Imports of coal, electronic goods, pearls and precious stones, vegetable oils and machinery also accelerated. As import growth continued to outpace export growth, the trade deficit at US$ 40.1 billion in Q1 was more than double its level a year ago. Net foreign direct investment doubled in April-May 2017 over its level a year ago, flowing mainly into manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade and business services. Foreign portfolio investors made net purchases of US$ 15.2 billion in domestic debt and equity markets so far (up to July 31), remaining bullish on the outlook for the Indian economy. The level of foreign exchange reserves was US$ 392.9 billion as on July 28, 2017," it said.
 
 
The statement noted that the second bi-monthly statement projected quarterly average headline inflation in the range of 2.0-3.5 per cent in the first half of the year and 3.5-4.5 per cent in the second half. The actual outcome for Q1 has tracked projections.
 
"Looking ahead, as base effects fade, the evolving momentum of inflation would be determined by (a) the impact on the CPI of the implementation of house rent allowances (HRA) under the 7th central pay commission (CPC); (b) the impact of the price revisions withheld ahead of the GST; and (c) the disentangling of the structural and transitory factors shaping food inflation. 
 
"The inflation trajectory has been updated taking into account all these factors and incorporates the first round impact of the implementation of the HRA award by the Centre.
 
"There are several factors contributing to uncertainty around this baseline inflation trajectory. Implementation of farm loan waivers by States may result in possible fiscal slippages and undermine the quality of public spending, entailing inflationary spillovers. Moreover, the timing of the States’ implementation of the salary and allowances award is critical – it is not factored into the baseline projection in view of lack of information on their plans. If States choose to implement salary and allowance increases similar to the Centre in the current financial year, headline inflation could rise by an additional estimated 100 basis points above the baseline over 18-24 months. Also, high frequency indicators suggest that price pressures are building up in vegetables and animal proteins in the near months. 
 
"There are, however, some moderating forces at work. First, the second successive normal monsoon coupled with effective supply management measures may keep food inflation under check. Second, if the general moderation of price increases in CPI excluding food and fuel continues, it will contain upside pressures on headline inflation. Third, the international commodity price outlook is fairly stable at the current juncture.
 
"Business sentiment polled in the manufacturing sector reflects expectations of moderation of activity in Q2 of 2017-18 from the preceding quarter. Moreover, high levels of stress in twin balance sheets – banks and corporations – are likely to deter new investment. 
 
"With the real estate sector coming under the regulatory umbrella, new project launches may involve extended gestations and, along with the anticipated consolidation in the sector, may restrain growth, with spillovers to construction and ancillary activities. Also, given the limits on raising market borrowings and taxes by States, farm loan waivers are likely to compel a cutback on capital expenditure, with adverse implications for the already damped capex cycle.
 
"At the same time, upsides to the baseline projections emanate from the rising probability of another good kharif harvest, the boost to rural demand from the higher budgetary allocation to housing in rural areas, the significant step-up in the budgetary allocation for roads and bridges, and the growth-enhancing effects of the GST, viz., the shifting of trade from unorganised to organised segments; the reduction of tax cascades; cost, efficiency and competitiveness gains; and synergies in domestic supply chains. In turn, these virtuous forces may spur investment. External demand conditions are gradually improving and should support the domestic economy, although global political risks remain significant," it said.
 
Keeping in view these factors, the RBI retained the projection of real GVA growth for 2017-18 at the June 2017 projection of 7.3 per cent, with risks evenly balanced.
 
The MPC observed that while inflation has fallen to a historic low, a conclusive segregation of transitory and structural factors driving the disinflation is still elusive. In respect of inflation-sensitive vegetables, prices are recording spikes. Excess supply conditions continue to push down prices of pulses and keep those of cereals in check. 
 
"The MPC will continue monitoring movements in inflation to ascertain if recent soft readings are transient or if a more durable disinflation is underway. In its assessment of real activity, the MPC noted that while the outlook for agriculture appears robust, underlying growth impulses in industry and services are weakening, given corporate deleveraging and the retrenchment of investment demand," the statement said.
 
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L&T wins Rs. 3375 crore contract for Light Rail System in Mauritius

An artist's impression of the proposed Light Rail-based Urban Transit System for Mauritius.
An artist's impression of the proposed Light Rail-based Urban Transit System for Mauritius.
Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had bagged a major Rs. 3375 crore breakthrough order from Metro Express Limited, owned by the Government of Mauritius, to design and build an Integrated Light Rail-based Urban Transit System in the African island nation.
 
The contract was signed on July 31 by Mr. S. Seebaluck, Chairman of Metro Express Limited in Ebene, the cyber city of Mauritius. 
 
The signing ceremony and press conference were attended by the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Ivan Collendavelloo, the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr. N. Bodha, the High Commissioner of India, Mr. Abhay Thakur, members of the Metro Express Board, project consultants and other dignitaries including senior management from L&T.
 
"The project that has been won against competition, will be fully funded through a Government of India grant and Line of Credit," a press release from L&T said.
 
The 26-km route will connect Curepipe to Immigration Square in Port Louis and will feature 19 stations, two of which will be state-of-the-art elevated stations. The alignment will connect three major bus interchanges enabling a multimodal urban transit solution.
 
Apart from stations, the scope of the project will include the construction of viaducts & bridges, track works (with substantial ballastless tracks including plinth, embedded and grass tracks), DC electric traction systems, ticketing and passenger information systems and integration with road traffic through advanced signaling systems, procurement of rolling stock from world majors in LRT (Light Rail Transit) and construction of depots along with maintenance equipment. 
 
Although the project is scheduled to be completed in 48 months, L&T has committed to complete and deliver a priority section of 13 km in 24 months, it said.
 
“We are delighted that we have been able to carry our credentials as the foremost builders of metro and light rail transport systems in India and the Middle East to Africa too,” said Mr. S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO & Managing Director, L&T.
 
"We are extremely grateful to the Government of Mauritius for having reposed faith in our expertise and we are confident of meeting their expectations and requirements. The new light rail system will significantly transform the way Mauritius will commute in the future and will also bring in economic benefits along the route," he said.
 
“This order is perfectly in sync with our strategy to expand L&T’s Railways business into markets beyond India and we are extremely happy to have found a foothold in the African continent,” said Mr. Rajeev Jyoti, CEO, Railways Strategic Business Unit that resides within the Transportation Infrastructure business vertical of L&T Construction, the construction arm of L&T. 
 
“We are already building the Riyadh and Doha metros apart from 17 other metros in India and with this project we are looking forward to spreading our influence in Africa too," he said.
 
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Falcons TTC beat Shaze Challengers to win Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis

Falcons TTC emerged champions won the inaugural Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, after beating Shazé Challengers 14-9 in the final at the NSCI here on Sunday.
 
According to the tournament rules, in the knockout stage the team that secures 14 points first is declared winner. 
 
Li Ping put Shazé Challengers ahead with a 2-1 win over Sanil Shetty in the men’s singles, the opening match of the tie.
 
However, in-form Wu Yang swept aside Mouma Das (Shazé Challengers) 3-0 in the women’s singles to hand the lead to Falcons TTC 4-2.
 
Next up was mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian) and Falcons TTC’s pair of Sanil Shetty and Lee Ho Ching brushed aside Soumyajit Ghosh and Petrissa Solja 3-0 to extend their team’s lead to 7-2.
 
Croatian Andrej Gacina of Shazé Challengers beat Briton  Liam Pitchford 2-1 in the men’s singles (Foreign player category).  Falcons TTC led 8-4 at this stage.
 
Wu Yang then recorded her second 3-0 win of the day to take Falcons TTC closer to victory at 11-4, as she beat China-born German world No 9 Han Ying 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign player category).
 
Liam Pitchford rallied to beat Soumyajit Ghosh (Shazé Challengers) 2-1 in men’s singles to place Falcons TTC at the doorstep of victory at 13-5.
 
However, Han Ying put it across Sutirtha Mukherjee 3-0 to lift Shazé Challengers to 8-13 before Par Gerell rallied to seal the title at 14-9 for Falcons after losing the opening game to Li Ping.
 
While the Mumbai audience turned up in huge numbers to cheer their favourite table tennis stars, the evening also saw an assemblage of celebrities, including Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and his actor-son Abhishek Bachchan, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Maharashtra Director General of Police Satish Mathur, industrialist Harsh Goenka, former India cricketer Farokh Engineer, actor Rahul Bose and Indian hockey player Yuvraj Walmiki.
 
Awards:
MVP Male - Liam Pitchford - Rs. 1 lakh
MVP Female - Wu Yang - Rs. 1 lakh
Ultimate One - Wu Yang (456 Points) - Rs. 1.5 lakh
 
Results:
Shaze Challengers 9-14 Falcons TTC
 
MS - Li Ping beat Sanil Shetty 2-1 (11-9, 11-10, 7-11)
WS - Mouma Das lost to Wu Yang 3-0 (6-11, 2-11, 3-11)
MD - Soumyajit Ghosh/ Petrissa Solja lost to Sanil Shetty/ Lee Ho Ching 0-3 (9-11, 3-11, 8-11)
MS - Andrej Gacina beat Liam Pitchford 2-1 (11-3, 10-11, 11-7)
WS - Han Ying lost to Wu Yang 0-3 (10-11, 4-11, 8-11)
MS - Soumyajit Ghosh lost to Liam Pitchford 1-2 (11-5, 10-11, 7-11)
WS - Han Ying beat Sutirtha Mukherjee 3-0 (11-4, 11-8, 11-7)
MS - Li Ping - Par Gerell 1-1 (11-8, 9-11)
 
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Naqvi launches “Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2” in Mumbai

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Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has lauded the Parsi community for its immense contribution to nation building and for being a role model for others.
 
Launching the second phase of Jiyo Parsi publicity campaign, initiated by the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MOMA), to reverse the decline in the Parsi population by adopting scientific medical protocols and structured interventions here yesterday, Mr Naqvi said even though the Parsi community is a very small minority, it is one of the most liberal and education oriented section of the population.
 
Be it industry, military service, legal service, architecture or civil services, the Parsi community has always shown its talent.
 
Jamshetji Tata had played a crucial role in industrial development of India Dadabhai Naoroji and Madam Bhikaji Cama played an important role in India’s freedom struggle, he added.
 
Homi J Bhabha is the father of the Indian nuclear program. Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw’s service to the nation will be remembered always, he added.
 
Mr Naqvi said the declining population of the Parsi community in India is a matter of concern. Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-1 was initiated in 2013 for containing the declining trend of the population of the Parsi community and reversing it to bring their population above the threshold level.
 
The scheme has two components: Medical Assistance and Advocacy/Counselling. It has met with success with the birth of 101 babies.
 
Mr Naqvi said the Parzor Foundation was an important link between the Parsi community and the government in the success of “Jiyo Parsi” scheme. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai; the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) and Federation of Zoroastrian Anjumans of India have also played a key role in this regard.
 
These organisations have been publicising the scheme through outreach programmes like seminars, workshops, publicity, brochures, Parsi journals and other advocacy programmes and awareness campaign.
 
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Table Tennis: It will be Shazé Challengers v Falcons TTC in Ceat UTT final

Han Ying won both her matches and Li Ping held his nerves when it mattered most as Shazé Challengers beat Dabang Smashers TTC 14-9 in the second semi-final of the inaugural Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, at the NSCI here yesterday evening.
 
Shazé Challengers will lock horns with Falcons TTC in the final of the tournament this evening.
 
The team that secures 14 points first is declared winner in the knockouts. Shazé Challengers had edged out Dabang Smashers 15-12 in the League phase.
 
Portuguese world No 14 Marcos Freitas, a southpaw, put Dabang Smashers ahead with a 2-1 win over attacking 85-ranked Soumyajit Ghosh, who pulled back the third game in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to hand Shazé Challengers one point.
 
In-form China-born German world No 9 Han Ying made it 4-2 for Shazé Challengers as she brushed aside Madhurika Patkar 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian).
 
Next up was mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian pair) and the clash saw Soumyajit Ghosh and his partner Petrissa Solja rally to beat A Amalraj and Tetyana Bilenko 2-1 to extend Shazé Challengers’ lead to 6-3.
 
Croatian Andrej Gacina then edged past China-born Ukraine Kou Lei 2-1 in a closely-fought men’s singles (Foreign player category) clash to further Shazé Challengers lead to 8-4.
 
The experienced Han Ying followed up it up by winning her second match of the day to strengthen Shazé Challengers’ grip on the tie at 10-5, as she rallied to beat North Korean world No 19 Kim Song I 2-1 in the women’s singles (Foreign player category).
 
G Sathiyan pulled off a surprise win over China-born Qatar Li Ping 2-1 in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to hand Dabang Smashers their second win of the day. Shazé Challengers, however, continued to lead at 11-7.
 
Kim Song I (Dabang Smashers) returned to table to thump Mouma Das 2-1 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian), but the 135-ranked Indian won the close third game to help Shazé Challengers take a step closer to victory at 12-9.
 
Li Ping closed it for Shazé Challengers 14-9 by winning the first two games against Freitas in the men’s singles (Foreign player category), the eighth and penultimate match.
 
Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi, Bajaj Group chairman Rahul Bajaj and former Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi were amongst those who attended the occasion.
 
Results: Dabang Smashers lost to Shaze Challengers 9-14
MS – Marcos Freitas beat Soumyajit Ghosh 2-1 (11-7, 11-6, 9-11)
WS – Madhurika Patkar lost to Han Ying 0-3 (4-11, 6-11, 7-11)
MD – Amalraj Anthony/ Tetyana Bilenko lost to Soumyajit Ghosh/ Petrissa Solja 1-2 (11-8, 7-11, 5-11), 
MS – Kou Lei lost to Andrej Gacina 2-1 (9-11, 11-6, 7-11)
WS  – Kim Song I lost to Han Ying 1-2 (11-6, 9-11, 10-11)
MS – Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beat Li Ping 2-1 (11-9, 5-11, 11-4)
WS – Kim Song I beat Mouma Das 2-1 (11-4, 11-4, 10-11)
MS  – Marcos Freitas lost to Li Ping 0-2 (9-11, 7-11)
 
 
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Tata Housing, Thane Municipal Corporation begin work on India's largest gymnastics centre

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Real estate developers Tata Housing and Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) launched the construction India's largest independent gymnastics centre in a ground-breaking ceremony in Thane near here today.
 
Situated on Pokhran Road II, the 1.2 lakh sq. ft. facility with international standards will share its address with Tata Housing's homes project Serein.
 
Those who attended the ceremony included Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackery and Maharashtra Public Works Minister Eknath Shinde.
 
A press release from Tata Housing said the gymnastics centre will be the largest such facility in India accommodating six disciplines of gymnastics designed on par with international standards. This will also be the country’s first and only centre dedicated to rhythmic gymnastics and is expected to nurture and propel the sport and young talented gymnasts in India into the international arena.
 
The ground-plus-two storey structure will comprise two team rooms with separate areas for players and coaches, a physiotherapy room, a music room, VIP rooms, a jury room, an administration area, a gymnasium, and a yoga room. It will also have a viewers' gallery that will seat up to 300 people.
 
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Renowned poet, educator Eunice de Souza passes away

Eunice de Souza
Eunice de Souza
Renowned poet, educator, novelist and columnist Eunice de Souza, who inspired generations of students as a teacher, passed away at her residence here today. She was 77.
 
Ms. de Souza served as Professor of English and later as the Head of the Department of English at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and was closely involved with its theatre activities as an actor and director and its literary festival before retiring from there some years ago.
 
Born in Pune in 1940, Ms. de Souza did her Master's in English literature from the Marquette University, Wisconsin in the United States and then completed her Ph. D. from the University of Mumbai.
 
She came to be widely recognized as one of the best Indian poets writing in English. She also used to write columns for newspapers and was involved in theatre as an actor and director.
 
She published her first collection of poems, Fix, in 1979 and the latest, Learn from the Almond Leaf, came out a year ago. She also wrote two novels, Dangerlok (2001) and Dev and Simran (2003). She also edited several anthologies of poems and essays. Several of her works have been translated into Portuguese, Italian, Finnish and Swedish. She also wrote four books for children.
 
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Table Tennis: Wu Yang and Liam Pitchford lead Falcons TTC into final

Wu Yang and Liam Pitchford won both their matches to help Falcons TTC beat DHFL Maharashtra United 14-5 in the first semi-final of the inaugural Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), the country’s newest franchise sports league, at the NSCI in Mumbai last night.
 
The team that secures 14 points first is declared winner in the knockouts. Falcons had won the League meeting between the two teams by 17-10. 
 
Shazé Challengers will meet Dabang Smashers TTC in the second semi-final on Saturday, with the final to be played on Sunday.
 
Hong Kong world No 8 Wong Chun Ting put Maharashtra United ahead with a 2-1 win over southpaw Sanil Shetty, ranked 201 in the world, in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian), the opening match of the tie.
 
However, Chinese world No 13 Wu Yang brushed aside 279-ranked Pooja Sahasrabudhe Koparkar (Maharashtra United) 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian) for Falcons TTC to move 4-2 ahead on points.
 
Up next was mixed doubles (Foreign/Indian pair) and DHFL Maharashtra United’s pair of Harmeet Desai  and the experienced Fu Yu edged out Sanil Shetty and his partner  Lee Ho Ching 2-1 to reduce their margin of deficit to 4-5.
 
Briton Pitchford pulled off an upset win over Wong Chun Ting 2-1 in the men’s singles (Foreign player category) to extend Falcons’ lead to 7-5.
 
Chinese ace Wu won her second outing of the day as she put it past China-born Austrian world No 22 Liu Jia 3-0 in the women’s singles (Foreign player category) to take Falcons a step closer to victory, at 10-5.
 
Pitchford then won his second match of the day, beating Harmeet Desai 3-0 in the men’s singles (Foreign v Indian) to move Falcons to 13-5, one point way from victory.
 
Sutirtha Mukherjee won the opening game against Liu Jia in the women’s singles (Foreign v Indian) 11-10 to seal the tie for Falcons TTC.
 
Earlier in the evening, Mrs Nita Mukesh Ambani, Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation and India’s only woman member in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) graced the semi-final.
 
Apart from watching the matches in the 1st Semi-Final, Mrs. Ambani also interacted with some of the Indian paddlers. She met with India's Olympian Sharath Kamal, four-time Paralympic Gold Medalist Natalia Partyka, Olympian Kim Song I and India's young sensation Archana Kamath. 
 
Results:
Falcons TTC lead DHFL Maharashtra United 14-5
 
MS – Sanil Shetty lost to Wong Chun Ting 1-2 (8-11, 11-5, 3-11)
WS – Wu Yang beat Pooja Sahasrabudhe Koparkar 3-0 (11-2, 11-4, 11-2)
MD – Sanil Shetty/ Lee Ho Ching lost to Harmeet Desai/ Fu Yu 1-2 (6-11, 11-5, 5-11), 
MS – Liam Pitchford beat Wong Chun Ting 2-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-4)
WS – Wu Yang beat bt Liu Jia 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-6)
MS - Liam Pitchford beat Harmeet Desai 3-0 (11-6, 11-10, 11-7)
WS - Sutirtha Mukherjee beat Liu Jia 1-0 (11-10)
 
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India's forex reserves rise by $ 2.272 billion to new high of $ 391.331 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 2.272 billion to a new high of $ 391.331 billion during the week ended July 21, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had gone up by $ 2.681 billion to $ 389.059 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 2.240 billion to $ 367.149 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves increased by $ 0.8 million to $ 20.349 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went up by $ 12.1 million to $ 1.4917 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by $ 19 million to $ 2.341 billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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