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India's forex reserves rise by $ 1.35 billion to new high of $ 361.601 billion

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Continuing the uptrend of the past several weeks, India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 1.35 billion to a new all-time high of $ 361.601 billion in the week ended April 22, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had gone up by $ 333.7 million to $ 360.251 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 increased by $ 1.35 billion to $ 337.537 billion in 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 $ 20.115 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went up by $ 0.1 million to $ 1.498 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) remained unchanged at $ 2.450 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai to be closed for two nights for renewal works

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The Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai will be closed for traffic plying from Bandra to Worli from 10 pm on Monday, May 2 to 6 am on Tuesday, May 3 for carrying out renewal works and resurfacing by bituminous material.
 
Similarly, traffic in the opposite direction, from Worli to Bandra, will be closed from 10 pm on Tuesday, May 3 to 6 am on Wednesday, May 4, a press release from MEP RGSL Toll Bridge Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of MEP Infrastructure Developers Limited, said here today.
 
The company said that 80 percent of the work was already completed. But the sea link has only 2+2 lanes towards the Worli end and this narrow section made it difficult to carry out the renewal work, even at night, without closing the traffic.
 
"As such it is essential to close the traffic for execution of the work on any one side each day," it added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 1798 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 1798 crore across various business segments in April 2016.
 
These include an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) order worth Rs. 565 crore won by its Water and Effluent Treatment Business from a customer to provide complete sewer network systems and decentralized state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants with a total capacity 105 million litres per day, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said the company's Transportation Infrastructure Business had bagged a new order worth Rs. 497 crore from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for engineering, procurement and construction of four-laning of Mukkola junction to Kerala/Tamil Nadu border of NH-47 (new NH-66) under NHDP phase-III in the state of Kerala.
 
The company's Power Transmission & Distribution Business has won orders worth Rs. 407 crore in domestic and international markets.
 
Larsen & Toubro Saudi Arabia LLC, a fully owned subsidiary of L&T, has bagged a contract from Saudi Electricity Company for the engineering, procurement and construction of 132 kV overhead transmission lines and cabling works in Artawyah and Zulfi area in Central Operating Area (COA) in Saudi Arabia.
 
Further in the domestic market, the business has won an order from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) for engineering, procurement and construction of a new 400/220 kV AIS Sub-Station in Tumkur, Karnataka.
 
The company's Building & Factories Business has secured a midrise residential project worth Rs. 329 crore from a leading developer in Mumbai. The contract involves civil, structural and finishes for 15 towers each ranging from 10 to 21 floors, the release added.
 
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RIL reports net profit of Rs. 7,398 crore in Q4 -- highest in eight years

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today reported a net profit of Rs. 7,398 crore in the fourth quarter (Q4) of financial year 2015-16, ended March 31 -- its best quarterly performance in over eight years.
 
The Q4 net profit was 15.9 percent higher than the figure of Rs. 6381 crore in the same quarter of the previous financial year and 1.5 percent more than the Rs. 7,290 crore achieved in the previous quarter.
 
The company said it had notched up a record annual consolidated net profit of Rs. 27,630 crore for 2015-16, up 17.2 percent over the previous year.
 
In a press release, the company said its revenue (turnover) decreased by 8.2% to Rs. 54,189 crore during Q4, while exports decreased by 17.5% to Rs. 30,935 crore. The company achieved a gross refining margin (GRM) of $ 10.8 per barrel for the quarter.
 
RIL had declared an interim dividend of 105% in March this year, representing a payout of Rs. 3,717 crore. At its meeting here today, the company's Board did not recommend any final dividend. "The interim dividend declared is the dividend on equity shares for the financial year 2015-16," the company said.
 
RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh D. Ambani said, “FY 2015-16 has been a year of outstanding achievement for our downstream hydrocarbon businesses, notwithstanding persisting global economic uncertainty. Refining and petrochemicals delivered record operating and financial performances. Our refineries sustained double-digit GRMs and record levels of utilization through the year. Our balanced petrochemical portfolio, across products and feedstocks, helped capture the benefit of vastly improved naphtha cracking economics and favourable polymer markets."
 
"Reliance Retail continued its path of profitable expansion while maintaining a robust revenue growth of 23% during the year.
 
"Looking ahead, we are focused on ensuring a flawless start- up and stabilization of the new growth platforms across our hydrocarbon and consumer businesses. The commercial roll-out of our Jio services this year will digitally enable a billion Indians and propel growth for India and Reliance," he said.
 
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The release said RIL achieved a consolidated turnover of Rs. 296,091 crore ($ 44.7 billion) for the year ended 31st March 2016, a decrease of 23.8%, as compared to Rs. 388,494 crore in the previous year. The decline in turnover reflects sharp fall in feedstock and product prices during the year, partially offset by record crude throughput and higher petrochemicals volumes. Crude oil price averaged at $ 45.6/bbl in FY16, a fall of 45% on Y-o-Y basis. 
 
With decrease in oil and product prices, exports from India were lower by 35.8% at Rs. 146,855 crore ($ 22.2 billion) as against Rs. 28,651 crore in the previous year.
 
For the quarter ended 31st March 2016, RIL achieved a turnover of Rs. 64,569 crore, a decrease of 8.9%, as compared to Rs.  70,863 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
The decline in revenue was led by the 41.4% Y-o-Y decline in benchmark oil price which averaged at $ 30.4/bbl in 4Q FY16 as compared to $ 51.9/bbl in the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Cost of raw materials declined by 27.8% to Rs. 29,051 crore ($ 4.4 billion) from Rs. 40,220 crore on Y-o-Y basis primarily on account of sharp decline in feedstock prices, the release said.
 
For FY16, Reliance Retail reported a turnover of Rs. 21,612 crore against Rs. 17,640 crore during the same period last year, registering a growth of 22.5%. 
 
The release said Reliance Retail added 624 stores across various store concepts translating into a store opening rate of 12 stores per week. As on 31st March 2016, Reliance Retail operated 3,245 stores across 532 cities.
 
The company said its subsidiary Reliance Jio had successfully launched full scale service offerings for the RIL group employees, partners, vendors and associates on a trial basis on 28th December 2015.
 
"Over half a million users have been onboarded on the network. The initial feedback is very encouraging and has established smooth operations of all aspects of the network. All the digital applications have also been tested extensively as part of the employee launch program. The average monthly consumption per user is in excess of 18GB within the first month of service and is increasing rapidly. Average voice usage is over 250 minutes within the first month. The launch is now being expanded to others in the eco-system. This test program will be progressively upgraded into commercial operations in coming months," it said.
 
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India's forex reserves rise to new high of $ 360.251 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 333.7 million to a new all-time high of $ 360.251 billion in the week ended April 15, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had gone up by $ 157.4 million to $ 359.917 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 inceased by $ 341.4 million to $ 336.187 billion in 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 $ 20.115 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 2.9 million to $ 1.498 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 4.8 million to $ 2.450 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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GenNext Hub, Invest Ottawa tie up for building a bridge between the Indian, Canadian startup ecosystems

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GenNext Hub, a Reliance Industries Ltd. backed startup program headquartered in Mumbai, today entered into a partnership with Invest Ottawa for creating a bridge to engage innovative startups from India and Canada. 
 
The spirit of the partnership and collaboration is captured and signified through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which includes co-branding, events invitation and information sharing, a press release from GenNext Hub said.
 
The two-year MoU was signed here by Mr. Rajan Luthra on behalf of GenNext Investment Advisors LLP and Mr. Bruce Lazenby, President & CEO, Invest Ottawa, in the presence of Mayor of City of Ottawa  Jim Watson, Canadian Consul General in Mumbai Jordan Reeves, other guests and dignitaries.
 
The release said Invest Ottawa would scout, evaluate and nominate selected startups from Canada for:
 
·         Proof of Concept (PoC) focused programs with the Reliance Business Units across selected themes (Logistics, Security, Network)
·         To participate in the GenNext Hub Startup Accelerator Program
·         Connect with ecosystem partners in Canada and USA. This could include:
·         Incubators/Accelerators, Academia, Corporates, Investor Community, Industry Bodies, Mentors, Thought Leaders and Subject Matter Experts, etc.
·         Facilitate a startup exchange program taking the GIH startups to Canada
·         Startups selected by the Invest Ottawa with products/services relevant for the North American markets
·         Provide networking and logistical support for the startups
·         Enable travel for GenNext Hub startups and team members to Canada for developing in-roads into the Canadian ecosystem.
 
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BCCI appoints Rahul Johri as CEO

Rahul Johri
Rahul Johri
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today announced the appointment of Mr Rahul Johri as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 
 
Mr. Johri, who was serving as Discovery Networks Asia Pacific’s Executive Vice-President and General Manager for South Asia, will take on his new role starting June 1 onwards, reporting to the Honorary Secretary, BCCI and will be based at Mumbai office, a press release from the Board said.
 
The release said Mr. Johri would be responsible for the smooth functioning of operations, stakeholder management and building robust strategies for further promoting the sport.
 
“We are pleased to have Rahul with us and are sure his vast experience and knowledge will benefit the board. His vision, guidance and support will contribute towards the successful working of the BCCI," BCCI President Shashank Manohar said.
 
BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur said, “We welcome Rahul aboard and wish him luck for his new role at BCCI. In the past one year, BCCI has undertaken various initiatives aimed towards transforming the working of BCCI in order to make the functioning more robust. This endeavor is another initiative of the board aimed in the same direction and will mark as one more milestone towards strengthening the professional working of the BCCI.”
 
“I am honored at the opportunity to serve millions of Indian cricket fans. It will be my utmost endeavor to contribute to the Indian cricket. I am thankful to the President and Honorary Secretary of the BCCI for bestowing such faith in me. I look forward to everyone's support to fulfill this tremendous responsibility,"Mr. Johri said.
 
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NPCI extends insurance benefit to all RuPay cardholders

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National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments systems in the country, today  announced relaxation for claiming personal accident insurance for all RuPay cardholders in the country.
 
Earlier in November, this benefit was extended to RuPay Classic cardholders to avail accidental insurance benefit if the cardholder has performed minimum one transaction in 90 days. 
 
All RuPay cardholders (physical or virtual) have to perform one successful financial or non-financial transaction at ATM, MicroATM, ecommerce, Point of Sale terminal, Business Correspondent of the bank at locations by any payment instrument. 
 
Further, NPCI has now added the branch transactions performed by the customers as well.
 
“The main purpose is that account holders should keep their account active by initiating transactions - at ATM, POS, MicroATMs or at branch. Financial inclusion would be fruitful if the customer can stay engaged with the formal banking system,” said Mr. A P Hota, MD & CEO of NPCI.
 
NPCI has awarded New India Assurance for its RuPay Insurance Programme. Currently, there are over 260 Million RuPay debit cards in force.
 
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Actor Dilip Kumar stable, recovering well after being admitted to hospital

Renowned actor Dilip Kumar, who was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital here for treatment of high fever and chest infection late last night, is recovering well and is stable, his actress-wife Saira Banu said today.
 
In a statement, she said the 93-year-old actor was advised intravenous (IV) administration of antibiotics for speedy recovery because oral drugs would not act as fast as the IV injectons.
 
"Hence it became necessary to shift him to a hospital. He is recovering well and is stable by the grace of God and the care of the doctors treating him," Ms. Saira Banu said.
 
She also clarified that the actor was in a room in the hospital and not in the intensive care unit (ICU) as reported in some quarters.
 
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India's forex reserves rise to all-time high of $ 359.917 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 157.4 million to a new all-time high of $ 359.917 billion in the week ended April 8, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had gone up by a whopping $.4.2 billion to $ 359.759 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 inceased by $ 159.3 million to $ 335.846 billion in 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 $ 20.115 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 0.9 million to $ 1.501 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 1 million to $ 2.455 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Maritime Summit sees agrements entailing investments of Rs. 31,000 crore on day one

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As many as 22 agreements entailing investments of around Rs. 31,000 crore were signed on the first day of Maritime India Summit in the presence of Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
 
In all, nearly 140 MoUs/Business Agreements will be signed over two days by various players in maritime sector including Ports, Maritime States and PSUs like Shipping Corporation of India, Cochin Shipyard Limited and Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), an official press release said.
 
Collectively, these projects entail investments of more than $ 12 billion or Rs. 83,000 crore. The projects cover vast spectrum of activities including port development and modernisation, development of inland waterways, ship building, setting up of LNG terminals and power plants.
 
One significant MOU signed relates to establishment of a greenfield port at Vadhavan, Maharashtra. Phase I of the project will cost around Rs. 9,167 crore. Shareholders’ agreement for the project was signed between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Maharashtra Maritime Board. Once completed, the new port will allow large size ships to enter Indian waters and also help decongest JNPT and Mumbai Port. 
 
In another landmark development, Andhra Pradesh government entered into a MoU with IWAI for development of National Waterway 4 at an estimated cost of around Rs. 3,000 crore. The National Waterway 4 passes through Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Once developed, it will help take off the roads a significant portion of cargo traffic. 
 
Petronet LNG has signed a MoU with IWAI to facilitate greater use of LNG in inland water transport, thereby reducing carbon footprint. 
 
Cochin Shipyard Limited has entered into an agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries to formalise technical cooperation for building LNG ships in India. This will be a first of kind project in the country. 
 
Gujarat Maritime Board has collaborated with IL&FS to develop a Maritime Services Cluster at GIFT City, Gandhinagar. The proposed cluster will provide all services related to maritime sector and will be the first such initiative in the country. 
 
Adani group has announced plans to invest around Rs. 28,000 crore over the next five years in various projects. Representative of Adani Ports & SEZ said that the group would invest in new ports in Odisha and Gujarat.
 
JSW Group owned by the Jindals has also proposed to invest around Rs 10,000 crore over a span of five years, the release added.
 
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Sagarmala National Perspective Plan on port-led development released

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today released the National Perspective Plan detailing the contours of Sagarmala, the government’s flagship programme to promote port-led development in the country at the inauguration of the Maritime India Summit here.
 
The plan has been crafted after detailed consultations with key stakeholders in the central and state governments, public sector companies as well as private players from shipping, ports, ship-building, power, cement and steel sectors, an official press release said.
 
It takes forward Sagarmala’s vision of substantially reducing export-import and domestic trade costs with a minimal investment, it said.
 
Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari told newspersons later that promoting water transportation was a priority of the Government as it would considerably reduce the logistics cost which is very high in India compared to China and European nations.
 
The report estimates that the programme could lead to annual logistics cost savings of close to Rs 35,000 crore and boost India’s merchandise exports to $110 billion by 2025. About one crore new jobs are estimated to be created, of which 40 lakhs will be direct employment.
 
The plan is based on four strategic levers – optimizing multi-modal transport to reduce the cost of domestic cargo, minimizing the time and cost of export-import cargo logistics, lowering costs for bulk industries by locating them closer to the coast, and improving export competitiveness by locating discrete manufacturing clusters near ports.
 
With a coastline of about 7,500 km covering 13 states and Union Territories, India enjoys a strategic location on key international trade routes. Nations like the United States, Japan, Korea and more recently, China, have leveraged their coastline and waterways to drive industrial development. The Sagarmala programme, led by the Ministry of Shipping, aims to replicate these successes in India, the release said.
 
"The potential for port-led development has for long been constrained in India by high logistics cost, long lead-times and poor linkages between industrial and logistics infrastructure. Growth was hindered by inadequate and poor port capacity. Transportation by waterways has historically remained under utilised although waterways are significantly cheaper compared to road and railways," it said.
 
The plan identifies specific opportunities for transportation of commodities such as thermal coal, fertilisers, foodgrains, cement and steel by coastal shipping and inland waterways.
 
It aims to deliver impact through over 150 projects and initiatives in four broad areas. To modernize India’s port infrastructure, 5 to 6 new ports have been proposed to be built. Additionally over 40 port-capacity enhancement projects will be taken up. Besides increasing capacity, these projects will result in a more modern port infrastructure through the mechanization of berths and deepening of drafts to accommodate larger vessels.
 
The second focus area is port connectivity, where over 80 projects are being planned. These include connectivity infrastructure projects like a heavy-haul rail corridor to evacuate large volumes of coal in Odisha, freight-friendly expressways to enable efficient movement of containers on key routes, and the development of strategic inland waterways.
 
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The third set of projects aims to tap into the potential of port-led industrialization to boost industrial and export growth along the coastline. This will be realized through 14 Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) along the coastline, each of which will house a number of industrial clusters. The clusters will have industries from the energy, bulk materials as well as discrete manufacturing segments, all of which will be able to use high-quality infrastructure which is fully-integrated with the corresponding ports.
 
Finally, the potential of coastal communities will be harnessed by focused skill-development to support port-led industrialization. The set of initiatives under this head also includes developing opportunities for fishermen and other coastal communities as well as development of the numerous islands along India’s coastline. In terms of economic impact, the program envisages investments of close to Rs 4 lakh crore to flow into infrastructure.
 
"The Sagarmala program has taken shape using the government’s core philosophy of cooperative federalism. Keeping this in mind, the National Perspective Plan was drawn up with stakeholder consultations in parallel. Momentum on some key projects and initiatives has already picked up even as the plan is being released. Detailed project reports are being drafted for some of the new ports identified in the plan as well as for the connectivity projects like the heavy haul rail corridor. A separate perspective plan for the CEZs and a detailed master plan for major ports are also in the works," it added.
 
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Rohit Sharma's unbeaten 84 takes Mumbai Indians to six-wicket win over KKR

 
Powered by an unbeaten 84 by skipper Rohit Sharma and 41 by Jos Buttler, defending champions Mumbai Indians carved out a six wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens here tonight.
 
Put in to bat first, KKR made 187 for five from their 20 overs, thanks to a superb 64 by skipper Gautam Gambir and 52 by Manish Pandey. Andre Russell chipped in 36.
 
In response, Mumbai Indians, who had lost their opening match to debutants Rising Pune Supergiants by nine wickets last Sunday, made 188 for four to sail past with five balls to spare.
 
KKR had outplayed Delhi Daredevils by nine wickets with 35 balls to spare in their first outing in this edition of the tournament here on Monday night.
 
KKR began their innings with a steady start, as openers Robin Uthappa (8) and Gambhir added 21 for the first wicket in 3.4 overs before the skipper and Pandey were involved in a 100-run partnership for the second wicket in 10 overs.
 
Pandey's 52 came off just 29 balls and included three fours and an equal number of sixes.
 
Gambhir and Russell kept the scoreboard moving as they added 43 for the third wicket. Once that partnership was broken at 14 in the 18th over, KKR lost a bit of momentum and could add only 23 runs in the last 3.4 overs. Russell made his 36 off 17 balls with the help of one four and four sixes.
 
Gambhir left at the beginning of the 19th over, with the total at 170. His 64 was compiled off 52 balls and included four hits to the fence and one into the stands.
 
Colin Munro was run out after making 4, while Yusuf Pathan remained unbeaten with 9 and S A Yadav on 4.
 
For the Mumbai Indians, Mitchell McClenaghan picked up two wickets for 25 while Hardik Pandya and Harbhajan Singh got one apiece.
 
Chasing 188 for a win, Mumbai Indians set about their task in right earnest as Sharma and his opening partner Parthiv Patel (23) put on 53 for the first wicket in 5.5 overs.
 
Gambhir added 34 for the second wicket in the company of Pandya (9) and then took the score to 109 with McClenaghan (20) before he and Buttler added 66 for the fourth wicket.
 
Sharma's unbeaten 84 was made off 54 balls and included 10 fours and two sixes, while Buttler made his 41 off 22 balls with the help of three fours and three sixes. 
 
When Buttler left in the 19th over, Mumbai Indians still needed 13 runs from nine balls, but Sharma and Kieron Pollard (1 not out) ensured they reached the target with five balls remaining. Sharma slammed three consecutive fours off the last three balls in the 19th over sent down by Russell and Pollard then took a single off the last over bowled by Piyush Chawla to take them past the line.
 
Scorecard
Kolkata Knight Riders
RV Uthappa c Pollard b McClenaghan 8
G Gambhir          c Patel b Pandya 64
MK Pandey c & b Harbhajan Singh 52
AD Russell          b McClenaghan 36
YK Pathan not out 9
C Munro run out (Southee/Patel) 4
SA Yadav not out 4
Extras (lb 3, w 7) 10
Total (5 wickets; 20 overs) 187 (9.35 runs per over)
Did not bat: PP Chawla, JW Hastings, Kuldeep Yadav, GB Hogg
Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Uthappa, 3.4 ov), 2-121 (Pandey, 13.4 ov), 3-164 (Russell, 17.2 ov), 4-170 (Gambhir, 18.1 ov), 5-183 (Munro, 19.5 ov)
Bowling
TG Southee 4 0 43 0
JJ Bumrah 4 0 32 0
MJ McClenaghan 4 0 25 2
HH Pandya 2 0 22 1
Harbhajan Singh 4 0 31 1
J Suchith 2 0 31 0
 
Mumbai Indians 
RG Sharma not out 84
PA Patel run out (Hogg/Uthappa) 23
HH Pandya c Pandey b Chawla 9
MJ McClenaghan c Munro b Kuldeep Yadav 20
JC Buttler c Yadav b Russell 41
KA Pollard not out 1
Extras (b 1, lb 1, w 8) 10
Total (4 wickets; 19.1 overs) 188 (9.80 runs per over)
Did not bat: AT Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, J Suchith, TG Southee, JJ Bumrah
Fall of wickets: 1-53 (Patel, 5.5 ov), 2-87 (Pandya, 10.1 ov), 3-109 (McClenaghan, 11.5 ov), 4-175 (Buttler, 18.3 ov)
Bowling
AD Russell          4 0 52 1
JW Hastings 4 0 31 0
GB Hogg          4 0 37 0
PP Chawla         3.1 0 29 1
Kuldeep Yadav 4 0 37 1
 
Player of the match: Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)
 
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NPCI launches Unified Payments Interface system

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National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments system in the country, today launched a next generation online payments solution - Unified Payments Interface (UPI) -- which will leverage trends such as increasing smartphone adoption and deeper penetration of mobile data. 
 
UPI will empower users to perform instant push and pull transactions seamlessly which will transform the way people make payments, a press release from NPCI said.
 
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan launched the UPI along with Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Adviser to NPCI, Mr. Balachandran M., Chairman, Mr. A P Hota, MD & CEO and Mr. Dilip Asbe, COO, NPCI.
 
“Today a few banks have gone live with UPI out of 29 banks that had concurred to provide UPI service to their customers. We are confident that several banks will join UPI this year and the number will multiply further. Our focus is in line with RBI’s vision of migrating towards a ‘less-cash’ and more digital society. NPCI has always been at the forefront to innovate and introduce new products and services at par with global standards,” said Mr. Hota.
 
Mr. Nilekani explained a few UPI use cases and addressed the forum to show how could change the landscape of payments in the country. At the event, winners of UPI Hackathon were also felicitated. It was a platform provided for start-up/developer community to accelerate innovation in payments arena in association with Indian Software Product Industry Round Table (iSPIRT).
 
Vsoft Nerds, CPay, Fundu, Ultra Cash and Enablers emerged as top five winners of the UPI Hackathon.
 
The release said UPI empowers the recipient to initiate a payment request from a smartphone. It facilitates ‘virtual address’ as a payment identifier for sending and collecting money and works on single click two-factor authentication. It also provides an option for scheduling push and pull transactions for various purposes like sharing bills among peers. 
 
People can use UPI app instead of paying cash on delivery on receipt of product from online shopping websites and can perform miscellaneous expenses like paying utility bills, over the counter payments, barcode (scan and pay) based payments, donations, school fees and other such unique and innovative use cases.     
 
The interface is the advanced version of NPCI’s Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) which is a 24x7x365 funds transfer service. UPI will offer a facility to identify a bank customer with an email-like virtual address. It will allow a customer to have multiple virtual addresses for multiple accounts in various banks. In order to ensure privacy of customer’s data, there is no account number mapper anywhere other than the customer's own bank. This allows the customer to freely share the financial address with others. 
 
A customer can also decide to use the mobile number as the name instead of the short name for the virtual address like 1234567890@sbi, the release added.
 
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L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering secures two more orders from PDO Oman

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its wholly owned subsidiary L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE) had won two orders valued at approximately $ 370 million from Petroleum Development Oman LLC (PDO). 
 
The new order wins include engineering, procurement and construction of Saih Nihaydah Depletion Compression Phase 2 (SNDC2) and Kauther Depletion Compression Phase 2 (KDC2) Project, a press release from the company said.
 
PDO is the foremost exploration and production company in the Sultanate of Oman. It accounts for more than 70% of the country's crude-oil production and nearly all of its natural gas supply. The company is owned by the Government of Oman (which has a 60% interest), Royal Dutch Shell (34%), Total (4%) and Partex (2%).
 
Saih Nihaydah Field is located in the central Oman area. The field has been producing via the Saih Nihaydah Gas Plant (SNGP) which was commissioned in 2005. Kauther Gas Plant (KGP) is located approximately 120 Km from Saih Rawl-CPP, Oman.
 
The release said these projects were being implemented to overcome pressure depletion and maintain potential in order to sustain production. LTHE has already executed three projects for PDO -- the Lekhwair Gas Field Development Project ($ 150 million approximately); the Saih Rawl Depletion Compression Project (SRDC2) ($ 235 million approximately), and the Yibal 3rd Stage Depletion Compression (Y3DC) (USD 240 million approximately), the release added.
 
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Pune Supergiants drub Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets in IPL opener

Debutants Rising Pune Supergiants drubbed defending champions Mumbai Indians by nine wickets, with 32 balls to spare, in the opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 at the Wankhede Stadium here tonight.
 
Opting to bat first, the hosts were restricted to 121 for eight in their 20 overs, after struggling at 68 for seven at one stage.
 
In response, the Supergiants, led by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, reached 126 for one in 14.4 overs, powered by an unbeaten 66 by opener Ajinkya Rahane. His superb knocm came off 42 balls and was studded with seven fours and three sixes.
 
Opener Faf du Plessis made 34, while Kevin Pietersen remained unbeaten on 21. du Plessis faced 33 balls and struck one four and three sixes, while Pietersen's 21 not out was made off 14 balls and included two fours.
 
Mumbai Indians began their title defence on a dismal note, losing skipper Rohit Sharma (7) in the second over, with just 8 on the board. Lendl Simmons (8) and Hardik Pandya (9) added 21 for the second wicket before both batsmen made their exit at 29.
 
Jos Buttler (0) left a run later and Kieron Pollard (1) was back in the pavilion ten runs down the road to make it 40 four five. Shreyas Gopal (2) left with the total at 51. 
 
Harbhajan Singh, who topscored for the Mumbai Indians with an unbeaten 45, and Ambati Rayudu (22) added 17 for the seventh wicket before the former put on another 28 in the company of R. Vinay Kumar (12).
 
Harbhajan Singh's 45, made off 30 balls with seven fours and a six, made it possible for the Mumbai Indians to go past the hundred-mark as he let loose in the last three overs. But his efforts were not enough, given the poor show by the earlier batsmen, and their total was not something their bowlers could defend today.
 
For the Supergiants, Ishant Sharma and Mitchell Marsh picked up two wickets each, while R P Singh, Rajat Bhatia, M. Ashwin and R. Ashwin got one each.
 
Supergiants began the chase in style, with Rahane and du Plessis putting on 78 for the first wicket before the latter played Harbhajan Singh onto his wicket.
 
Rahane and Pietersen then saw their side through without any further loss of wickets to make it a perfect start for the Rising Pune Supergiants in the tournament.
 
Scoreboard:
Mumbai Indians 
LMP Simmons b Sharma 8
RG Sharma lbw b Sharma 7
HH Pandya c Dhoni b Marsh 9
JC Buttler c R Ashwin b Marsh 0
AT Rayudu c du Plessis b R Ashwin 22
KA Pollard lbw b Bhatia 1
S Gopal c Rahane b M Ashwin 2
Harbhajan Singh not out 45
R Vinay Kumar c Smith b Singh 12
MJ McClenaghan not out 2
Extras (lb 1, w 12) 13
  Total (8 wickets; 20 overs) 121 (6.05 runs per over)
Did not bat: J J Bumrah
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Sharma, 1.1 ov), 2-29 (Simmons, 3.5 ov), 3-29 (Pandya, 4.1 ov), 4-30 (Buttler, 4.6 ov), 5-40 (Pollard, 7.1 ov), 6-51 (Gopal, 10.6 ov), 7-68 (Rayudu, 15.1 ov), 8-96 (Vinay Kumar, 18.4 ov)
  Bowling
RP Singh 3 0 30 1
I Sharma 4 0 36 2
MR Marsh 4 0 21 2
R Bhatia 4 1 10 1
M Ashwin 4 0 16 1
R Ashwin 1 0 7 1
 
  Rising Pune Supergiants 
AM Rahane not out 66
F du Plessis b Harbhajan Singh 34
KP Pietersen not out 21
Extras (lb 1, w 3, nb 1) 5
  Total (1 wicket; 14.4 overs) 126 (8.59 runs per over)
Did not bat: MS Dhoni, SPD Smith, R Bhatia, MR Marsh, R Ashwin, I Sharma, M Ashwin, RP Singh
Fall of wickets: 1-78 (du Plessis, 9.4 ov)
  Bowling
  MJ McClenaghan 3 0 27 0
  JJ Bumrah 3 0 30 0
  R Vinay Kumar 2 0 14 0
  S Gopal 3 0 18 0
Harbhajan Singh 3 0 24 1
HH Pandya 0.4 0 12 0
 
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Thermoware, plastic moulded furniture major Cello launches designer air coolers

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Cello, the four-decade-old group which is a household name for its thermoware, fine quality pens and plastic moulded furniture, has ventured into the manufacturing of air coolers by leveraging its long background in high quality plastics and polymers.
 
The Cello air coolers are manufactured by Wim Plast Ltd., a subsidiary of Cello group.
 
The coolers have engineering quality polymer bodies, Turbo Cool power cooling and international design aesthetics, a press release from the company said.
 
"Cello air coolers have improved the traditional science of evaporative cooling into a cutting edge technology. Engineering quality polymer build and lightweight, powerful blowers and fans with improved cooling pads give you Turbo Cooling that no fan can offer, at low costs which no air conditioner can match. This new range of air coolers is designed by Italian and leading Indian designers to bring world-class products to the Indian consumers,” said Madhusudan Jangid, Chief Financial Officer, Wim Plast Ltd.
 
Cello's range includes all types of consumer coolers such as desert coolers, tower coolers, window coolers and personal coolers. The company has also created a new segment, mini desert coolers, the release said.
 
In all, the company has launched 23 models of designer coolers in these segments, with water storage capacity ranging from 22 litres to 60 litres. The company has appointed distributors across India and after-sales service centers with service engineers and technicians on the company's payroll to ensure reliable and timely service delivery. It has also set up a toll-free number for Customer Care.
 
The company has got certification of CE & Saso for these products and other certifications are in the process, the release said.
 
"Our coolers come with Turbo cooling system which combines powerful air circulation system with compact cooling pads to cool larger area in lesser time and also has other feature like digital model and convenient mobility," said Mr. Jangid.
 
"The initial response has been very encouraging. Both trade and consumers have appreciated the product and, as summer nears, the secondary sales have started and the company has also started receiving repeat orders from the network," he said.
 
Cello is planning to build one more dedicated factory for coolers in the next financial year and is looking at possibilities of backward integration, the release added.
 
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IDFC Bank partners with Uphold for instant cross-border remittances

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IDFC Bank has announced a partnership with Uphold, a cloud-based financial platform, for instant, easy and affordable inward remittances to India. 
 
The partnership is subject to approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), a press release from the bank said.
 
The release said the partnership would enable Uphold users across geographies, initially starting with the United States and the United Kingdom, to send money or make payments instantly to anyone in India, redeemable directly through any Indian bank. 
 
“IDFC Bank intends to simplify any form of transaction through digital innovation,” said Dr. Rajiv Lall, Founder MD & CEO, IDFC Bank. “We believe the benefits of today’s digital money ecosystem should be available to just about everyone, across geographies and customer segments. Our partnership with Uphold will help us achieve that. It enables customers of IDFC Bank, as well as non-customers, to receive funds in a secure and simple manner.”
 
“Receiving more than $72 billion in 2015, India is the largest remittance country. We are addressing common challenges that stem from a mobile-first population dispersed around the countryside that have had to rely on high-fee brick and mortar wire services far too long,” said Anthony Watson, President and CEO at Uphold. “Now, Uphold creates a safe, easy and more affordable way to send money to anyone in India, from any device, knowing it is redeemable through any bank.”
 
According to the release, through partnership with IDFC Bank, Uphold members can create a secure one-time use code to email or text to anyone in India. The receipt can then instantly redeem the full value by entering the secure code through IDFC Bank’s website and the funds will be transferable into any bank account in India.
 
Having started operations on October 1, 2015, IDFC Bank now has 48 branches across the country. The bank is focused on delivering a 24/7 service proposition, that is embedded in technology. Simultaneously, it is building a contiguous network in rural India and simplifying digital for customers in these locations. Its commercial and wholesale banking vertical provides services to the entire spectrum of the business world – from MNCs, large and medium corporates to SMEs, MSMEs and the government.
 
Uphold’s securecode program with IDFC Bank will be available across India, pending regulatory approvals. Any Uphold member can instantly convert any currency, in any amount of value into Indian Rupee for free.
 
IDFC Bank is a subsidiary of India’s leading integrated infrastructure finance company.
 
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L&T Construction bags orders valued at Rs. 2125 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 2125 crore across its various businesses.
 
A press release from the company said these included a new engineering, procurement and construction order worth Rs. 821 crore bagged by its Transportation Infrastructure Business from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for four-laning of the Addahole (Gundya)-Bantwal cross of national highway (NH)-75 (Old NH no. 48) in Karnataka.
 
The project is to be completed in 30 months and involves cumulative construction of 63 KMs of four-lane dual carriageway with concrete pavement in addition to the construction of 14.5 km of service roads, two flyovers, two major bridges, 14 minor bridges, nine underpasses and one toll plaza.
 
The release said the company's Smart World & Communication Business had secured orders worth Rs. 761 crore, which involve design and implementation of safe cities using integrated security systems and intelligent & integrated traffic management systems.
 
Additional orders worth Rs. 543 crore have also been received from various ongoing jobs of Power Transmission & Distribution and Buildings & Factories Businesses, the release added.
 
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RBI reduces key policy repo rate by 25 bps to 6.5%

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday, on the basis of its assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, decided to reduce the key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility by 25 basis points from 6.75 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

RBI logo
RBI logo
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today, on the basis of its assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, decided to reduce the key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points (bps) from 6.75 per cent to 6.5 per cent.
 
In his First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17, RBI Governor Raghuram G. Rajan said the central bank had also decided to reduce the minimum daily maintenance of the cash reserve ratio (CRR) from 95 per cent of the requirement to 90 per cent with effect from the fortnight beginning April 16, 2016, while keeping the CRR unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL).
 
He said the RBI would continue to provide liquidity as required but progressively lower the average ex ante liquidity deficit in the system from one per cent of NDTL to a position closer to neutrality.
 
It had also decided to narrow the policy rate corridor from +/-100 basis points (bps) to +/- 50 bps by reducing the MSF rate by 75 basis points and increasing the reverse repo rate by 25 basis points, with a view to ensuring finer alignment of the weighted average call rate (WACR) with the repo rate.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stood adjusted to 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate to 7.0 per cent. 
 
The Bank Rate, which is aligned to the MSF rate, also stood adjusted to 7.0 per cent, Dr. Rajan said.
 
The RBI said inflation had evolved along the projected trajectory and the target set for January 2016 was met with a marginal undershoot. Going forward, CPI inflation is expected to decelerate modestly and remain around 5 per cent during 2016-17 with small inter-quarter variations. 
 
"There are uncertainties surrounding this inflation path emanating from recent unseasonal rains, the likely spatial and temporal distribution of monsoon, the low reservoir levels by historical averages, and the strength of the recent upturn in commodity prices, especially oil. The persistence of inflation in certain services warrants watching, while the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission awards will impart an upside to the baseline through direct and indirect effects.
 
"On the other hand, there will be some offsetting downside pressures stemming from tepid demand in the global economy, Government’s effective supply side measures keeping a check on food prices, and the Central Government’s commendable commitment to fiscal consolidation," it said.
 
Dr. Rajan said the uneven recovery in growth in 2015-16 was likely to strengthen gradually into 2016-17, assuming a normal monsoon, the likely boost to consumption demand from the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations and OROP, and continuing monetary policy accommodation. 
 
"After two consecutive years of deficient monsoon, a normal monsoon would work as a favourable supply shock, strengthening rural demand and augmenting the supply of farm products that also influence inflation. On the other hand, the fading impact of lower input costs on value addition in manufacturing, persisting corporate sector stress and risk aversion in the banking system, and the weaker global growth and trade outlook could impart a downside to growth outcomes going forward. The GVA growth projection for 2016-17 is accordingly retained at 7.6 per cent, with risks evenly balanced around it," he said.
 
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The RBI recalled that, in its bi-monthly monetary policy statement of February 2, 2016, it had indicated that it awaited further data on inflation as well as on structural reforms in the Union Budget that boost growth while controlling spending. 
 
It said forecasts based on recent data indicated that inflation would trend towards the 5 per cent target in March 2017 under reasonable assumptions. The changes to the RBI Act to create a Monetary Policy Committee will further strengthen monetary policy credibility, it said.
 
It also noted that, in the Union Budget for 2016-17, the Government had adhered to the path of fiscal consolidation and this would support the disinflation process going forward. 
 
"The Government has also set out a comprehensive strategy for reinvigorating demand in the rural economy, enhancing the economy’s social and physical infrastructure, and improving the environment for doing business and deepening institutional reform. The implementation of these measures should improve supply conditions and allow efficiency and productivity gains to accrue.
 
"Given weak private investment in the face of low capacity utilisation, a reduction in the policy rate by 25 bps will help strengthen activity and aid the Government’s initiatives," it said.
 
"Perhaps more important at this juncture is to ensure that current and past policy rate cuts transmit to lending rates. The reduction in small savings rates announced in March 2016, the substantial refinements in the liquidity management framework announced in this policy review and the introduction of the marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) should improve transmission and magnify the effects of the current policy rate cut. The stance of monetary policy will remain accommodative. The Reserve Bank will continue to watch macroeconomic and financial developments in the months ahead with a view to responding with further policy action as space opens up," the statement added.
 
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SpiceJet adds new flight between Udaipur, Mumbai from April 16

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today said it would launch a new flight on the Udaipur-Mumbai route from April 16.
 
A press release from the airline said that, to cater to the peak summer rush, from March to October, SpiceJet had upgraded equpment and added three new flights and six new frequencies, offering more seats and connecting key metros and cities.
 
Ms Shilpa Bhatia, Sr. VP, Commercial, SpiceJet, said, “Our new summer schedule is an extension of our existing strategy that will cater to the robust market demand for the coming holiday season."
 
With the introduction of the summer schedule, the airline will increase its operation to 306 daily flights from 240 flights operated in last summer schedule, the release added.
 
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India to ratify COP 21 Global Climate Agreement on April 22: Javadekar

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Reasserting India’s commitment to carbon emission reduction and sustainable development, Union Environment, Forests & Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar today said India, along with 100 other nations, would ratify the COP 21 Global Climate Agreement on April 22.
 
COP 21 would be ratified at a high-level signing ceremony to be convened at the UN Headquarters in New York. 
 
The agreement, negotiated in Paris in December 2015, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track by limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. 
 
Speaking at a Symposium “COP 21 – Building Synergies, Shaping Actions” organized in the University of Mumbai, Mr Javadekar said “all countries have decided to walk the green path as per their common but differentiated responsibilities”. He described the Paris agreement as a victory of multilateralism and the one which helped correct image perception of India. 
 
“India was always perceived to be a naysayer and negative in its approach and took a corner seat in most of the international conferences. But in Paris, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the concept of climate justice driving home the message of sustainable development," he
 
Mr. Javadekar said climate change was a reality with 1 degree rise in temperature caused by 150 years of uncontrolled carbon emission by the developed world. He said while 30% of cumulative contribution was that of the United States, 50% by Europe, Canada and other developed world and 10% by China, India was responsible for only 3% carbon emission.
 
“Though India is not part of the problem, it wants to be part of the solution. Our commitment is reflected in every programme being pursued by the Government,” he added. 
 
He said India had taken pro-active measures to discourage use of fossil fuels in a bid to reduce carbon footprint by levying Rs 400 per tonne green cess on coal. “If the developed world followed India’s example and levied higher taxes on coal, billions of dollars would accrue to pursue clean energy programmes,” he added. 
 
Mr Javadekar said the proposed Compensatory Afforestation Funds Bill 2015, would unlock Rs 40,000 crores of funds for the ‘Green India’ initiative. The Bill, which was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee, is likely to be passed in the second half of the budget session. Under CAF, funds would be made available to states to take up afforestation programmes, and to increase density of existing forests to substantially boost tree cover in the country. 
 
The Minister also listed out plans to control vehicular pollution by moving to Bharat VI emission norms, policies on waste management, Swachch Bharat initiative, Ganga rejuvenation, and so on as other measures aimed at sustainable development and containing climate change. 
 
Union Minister of State for Coal, Power, New & Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal said his portfolios put him in an awkward situation. “I am a polluter as well as a pollution container,” he said. 
 
Mr. Goyal said India had launched the world’s largest renewable energy programme by scaling up the target for solar energy.
 
“The solar energy mission envisaged 20,000 Mw of solar electricity generation by 2022. But this target has been pushed ahead by the Prime Minister to 1,00,000 Mw (1Gw),” he said.
 
His Ministry has already bid out 19,000 MW of solar energy projects and the installed capacity of 20,000 MW would be achieved as early as 2017. He, however, cautioned that all renewable energy programmes will be sustainable only if they become economically viable. 
 
He said coal, available in abundance in India, had its own place in ensuring cheaper energy. “While one is aware of pollution caused by the thermal power plants, their importance cannot be overlooked. Therefore, our thrust is on adopting clean coal technologies,” he added. 
 
Mr Goyal lamented lack of commitment of the developed world in fulfilling their obligations. He however asserted that “India’s green energy programmes will be carried out whether we receive support of the western world or not”. 
 
Former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar, Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh and TERI Director General Ajay Mathur were also present. 
 
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I&B Ministry intensifying focus on ease of doing business: Sunil Arora

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Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Secretary Sunil Arora yesterday said I&B Ministry remained committed to promoting ease of doing business in the media and entertainment sector.
 
“One of our primary objectives is to bring down the number of visitors to Shastri Bhavan to a trickle, move towards less regulation and facilitate India to become the hub of media and entertainment industry,” he said while participating in a dialogue with Mr. Uday Shankar, CEO Star India and veteran film maker Ramesh Sippy at FICCI Frames 2016.
 
Mr Arora said clearance for new TV channels had been expedited over the past six months under a liberalized regime. The Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to most of the suggestions made by the  I&B Ministry about liberalizing several conditions.
 
Mr Arora said the government and ministry was totally committed to digitization programme, but expressed concern over less than 10% share of Indian made set top boxes. “We want the industry to look at this opportunity under the Make in India initiative and produce more STBs in India under the Electronics Manufacturing scheme,” he added.
 
The Ministry intended to play the role of a facilitator for the media and entertainment industry to flourish in the country, he added.
 
Mr Arora said a decision had been taken to set up the National Centre of Excellence in Animation, Gaming and Visual Effects in Mumbai.  Maharashtra Government would provide a 25 acre plot near Film City in Goregaon for the institute.
 
The Government has approved the Rs 598 crore National Film Heritage Mission to preserve and promote India’s rich film and cultural heritage, he added.
 
A National Museum of Indian Cinema is coming up in Films Division Complex on Pedder Road, Mumbai with several interactive exhibits. “Prime Minister has taken a keen interest in this museum which is being curated by the National Council of Science Museums, Kolkata,” he said. 
 
Focusing on ease of doing business, Mr Arora said a Film Facilitation Office has opened in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) to function as a single window service for film related clearances.  An award has been instituted as part of the National Film Awards, to honour the states that are most film friendly.  In 2016, Gujarat was adjudged the most film friendly state, followed by UP and Kerala.
 
Participating in the discussion, Mr. Shankar, who is also the Chairman of the FICCI Entertainment Panel, expressed concerns over the viability of stand alone news channels. Entry of fringe elements in the news broadcasting field for ‘ancillary facilities’ was affecting credibility, he added.  Mr Sippy expressed concern over low theatre density in India.
 
FICCI Frames is the annual conclave of media & entertainment industry attracting policy makers, producers, distributors, media and entertainment industry professionals in large numbers. The theme for 2016 is “Year of the Digital : Change or Perish”.
 
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Television actress Pratyusha Banerjee allegedly commits suicide

File photo of Pratyusha Banerjee
File photo of Pratyusha Banerjee
Young television actress Pratyusha Banerjee, who shot to fame with her debut role as Anandi in television serial Balika Vadhu, died this evening in an apparent case of suicide, police sources said.
 
According to them, the 24-year-old actress was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her residence in the Goregaon area of the city and was rushed to the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Andheri, where doctors pronounced her dead.
 
While police have registered a case of alleged suicide, they are looking at all other angles, the sources said.
 
"We are investigating all angles," a police officer said. Asked if the police had found any suicide note, he said they were still searching her apartment for clues to what could have happened.
 
Her body was sent for post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death.
 
Pratyusha, who hailed from Jamshedpur and had come to Mumbai to make a career for herself in the entertainment industry, had participated in reality shows such as Bigg Boss, Power Couple and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5. She had also acted in television serials such as Sasural Simar Ka, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and Hum Hain Naa.
 
Several of her friends from the industry and co-actors said she was a strong person who could not have taken her own life.
 
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Simmons slams unbeaten 82 as West Indies outplay India to reach final

 
Lendl Simmons slammed an unbeaten 82 and opener Johnson Charles made 52 as the West Indies outplayed India by seven wickets in emphatic fashion to storm into the final of the ICC World T20 tournament at the Wankhede Stadium here tonight.
 
Asked to bat first by West Indies skipper Darren Sammy, the hosts posted an imposing 192 for two from their 20 overs, powered by Virat Kohli's unbeaten 89 and breezy knocks of Rohit Sharma (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (40).
 
In response, the West Indies lost two of their top batsmen -- Chris Gayle (5) and Marlon Samuels (8) -- with just 19 on the board in three overs. Charles and Simmons then added 97 for the third wicket to put them back on course and Andre Russell came up with an unbeaten 43 to see them through at 196 for three with two balls to spare.
 
West Indies will now meet England in the final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday, April 3. England had beaten New Zealand in the first semi-final in Delhi yesterday.
 
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Charles and Simmons thrashed the Indian bowling, sending 11 balls into the stands and striking 20 fours.
 
Danger-man Gayle was removed by pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah with his very first ball in the second, a yorker on the off-stump which sent the stumps flying. The West Indies were 6 for 1 at that point.
 
Ashish Nehra dismissed Samuels in the next over when a thick edge looped straight into the hands of Rahane at cover to make it 19 for 2.
 
Simmons and Charles added 97 for the third wicket off 61 balls to resurrect the West Indians innings. Charles hit two massive sixes off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya.
 
He sent a short ball on middle stump into the crowd off the first ball of the ninth over bowled by the spinner and followed it up with a boundary past Pandya at wide-long on to bring up the 50 of the partnership.
 
The second ball of the next over by Pandya was a thick outside edge which flew past short-third man to hit the boundary cushions. He drilled the next ball which was short and on off-stump through square leg off his back foot for a boundary. 
 
Simmons attacked the next over by Jadeja, sending the first ball into the stands and following it up with a square drive which raced to the fence off the third ball. 
 
Charles brought up his half-century in the next over by smashing Pandya’s ball on his pads in front of square leg for a four. 
 
The runs kept flowing steadily for the West-Indies as the Indians failed to pick up wickets. The Indian bowling attack was having trouble containing the run flow once both the batsmen had adapted to the pitch. 
 
However, a bowling change introducing Virat Kohli worked out in favour of the Indians. Charles departed off the very first ball. A top-edge off the bat flew straight to Rohit Sharma’s hands at long-off, leaving the West Indies with the task of getting 77 from the remaining 41 balls.
 
Russell kept up the attack, scoring a boundary off the first ball of the 15th over sent down by Pandya and following it up with a massive 99-m six down the ground. 
 
There was more to come as Simmons smashed the last ball of the over, a free-hit, into the stands as well. Russell kept going, hitting Nehra’s fourth ball in the next over, which was short and outside the off-stump for a six wide away from long-on.
 
The West Indians required 32 runs from the last three overs. Simmons moved up to 75 when he smashed the fourth ball of the next over by Bumrah for a six that also brought up the 50 of the partnership.
 
Ravindra Jadeja managed to catch the ball at wide long-on, but stepped on the boundary rope to nullify the catch. The last ball, outside off-stump, was placed craftily between point and third man.
 
Simmons smashed the fifth ball of the penultimate over the sight screen to reduce the equation to 12 runs required off seven balls. A blistering drive through cover for four helped to reduce the margin further.
 
Russell smashed the last over from Kohli for 10 runs, hitting a boundary off the third ball and a huge six over mid-wicket to obtain a hard-won victory for his side.
 
Together, Russell and Simmons added 80 in their unfinished partnership for the fourth wicket, off 51 balls, to ensure that the West Indies prevailed today.
 
Simmons' 82 came off 51 balls and was studded with seven fours and five sixes. Russel faced 20 balls and struck three fours and four sixes in his unbeaten 43.
 
 
Earlier in the evening, India began their innings well, with Sharma and Rahane putting on 62 for the first wicket in 7.2 overs.
 
Sharma made 43 off 31 balls with the help of three fours and three sixes. He sent a short ball from Sulieman Benn in the fourth over racing through point for a boundary and followd it up with a classic and perfect sweep off his pads. The batsman who was clearly loving his home ground was raring to go. He dismissed a full-toss no-ball from Andre Russell over fine-leg into the stands. Making use of the free hit the next ball, he smashed a good length-off-stump delivery right back down the ground with a free-flow of the bat into the ropes. He followed it up with a boundary two balls later.
 
Sharma departed in the eighth over to a ball bowled good length on the leg by Samuel Badree. The ball sneaked through the batsman's defence, hitting him on the pad and trapping him leg before wicket.
 
Rahane, who made 40, and Kohli went on from there onwards to build up a superb second wicket partnership of 66 from 49 balls.
 
Kohli was in his zone, scoring 41 of the runs in the partnership while the opener rotated the strike and kept knocking away the singles to creep to his 40.
 
Rahane fell to Russell in the 16th over to make it 128 for two. A short ball on off-stump was improperly hooked and was caught at mid-wicket by Dwayne Bravo, who was thrilled and put on a small little dance for the crowd behind him.
 
Skipper MS Dhoni joined Kohli for the final four overs of their batting. Kohli reached his half-century off the ultimate ball of the 17th over, in which he struck two boundaries and Dhoni got a four off a paddle-sweep. Together they made 17 runs off that over by Brathwaite, taking the men in blue to 150/2.
 
Kohli smashed two more boundaries in the 18th over by Bravo. The fourth ball was dispatched wide of long-on and raced to the rope despite Brathwaite’s best efforts. The sixth ball raced off the blade through extra-cover beating Russell at the ropes.
 
Russell’s third ball the next over was a slower one which was dispatched downtown into the stands by an alert Kohli who pounced on the ball without second thought. The last two balls were dispatched for boundaries through a ripper-cover into extra-cover and an on-drive which there was no stopping, taking India to 180/2 with one more over to go.
 
They were able to obtain 12 runs off the last over, setting a target off 193 for a win for the West indies.
 
Kohli's brilliant knock came off 47 balls and included eleven boundaries and a six. Dhoni remained not out with 15, with one four. The two batsmen displayed perfect understanding and ran some quick singles and twos and ran a hard three runs in the final over.
 
Scorecard
India 
R Sharma lbw Badree 43
A Rahane c Bravo b Russell 40
V Kohli not out 89
M S Dhoni not out 15
Extras (2nb, 2w, 1lb) 5
Total (2 wickets, 20 overs) 192 (9.6 rpo)
Did not bat: S Raina, M Pandey, H Pandya, R Jadeja, R Ashwin, A Nehra, J Bumrah
Fall of wickets:1-62 (Sharma, 7.2 ov), 2-128 (Rahane, 15.3 ov)
Bowling:
A Russell 4 0 47 1
S Badree 4 0 26 1
C Brathwaite 4 0 38 0
S Benn 4 0 36 0
D Bravo 4 0 44 0
 
West Indies
J Charles c R Sharma b Kohli 52
C Gayle b Bumrah 5
M Samuels c Rahane b Nehra 8
L Simmons not out 82
A Russell not out 43
Extras (4lb, 2nb) 6
Total (3 wickets; 19.4 ov) 196 (9.96 rpo)
Did not bat: D Ramdin, D Bravo, D Sammy, C Brathwaite, S Badree, S Benn
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Gayle, 1.1 ov), 2-19 (Samuels, 2.6 ov),3-116 (Charles, 13.1 ov) 
Bowling: 
A Nehra 4 0 24 1
J Bumrah 4 0 42 2
R Ashwin 2 0 20 0
R Jadeja 4 0 48 0
H Pandya 4 0 43 0
V Kohli 1.4 0 15 1
 
Player of the Match: Lendl Simmons (West Indies).
 
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