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BCCI invites applications for position of Head Coach for men's cricket team

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited applications from interested candidates for the position of Head Coach for the Senior India men's cricket team.
 
The process has been initiated because of the term of the current coach, Anil Kumble, will end with the Champions Trophy tournament. Kumble will be a direct entry for the process, BCCI sources said.
 
According to the BCCI, to ensure a fair and completely transparent process, a nominee of the Board's Committee of Administrators (CoA) will oversee the entire process along with the Cricket Advisory Committee. 
 
The BCCI's three-member Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising former players Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V V S Laxman, will conduct interviews and seek presentations to select the best possible candidate to guide the team and take Indian Cricket forward.
 
Interested candidates should send their applications by e-mail on or before the 31st of May 2017 to coachappointment@bcci.tv, BCCI Honorary Acting Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary said.
 
The BCCI said on its website that candidates applying for the position would have to meet the following conditions:
 
1. Should have successfully coached a cricket team of any of the member countries of the ICC, at the first class or at the International level. 
 
2. It is preferred that the candidate should be qualified through a certification/assessment program conducted by any of the full member countries and currently possess such a valid certification. 
 
3. Should be able to prepare and present a coaching plan elaborating the approach for 'Team India’ to attain leadership position in all formats of the game.
 
4. Demonstrate methods/tools to effectively measure individual player performance and present metrics to the Board, which will in turn measure the performance of the team, on a consistent and timely basis.
 
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5. Demonstrate an understanding and ability of employing a multi-disciplinary approach that will include sports psychology and sports medicine, and effectively manage the work load of the players, thereby enhancing their contribution to the cause of the team
 
6. Communication skills befitting the coach of an international team are mandatory along with the ability to effectively convey the right messages and must demonstrate proficiency in English. It is desirable to communicate in Hindi and other regional Indian languages.
 
7. Should be well versed with the latest technologies/trends in sports software and ability to utilise the same, which will assist in analysing/ improving the performance of the player and the team.
 
8. Mandatory that the candidate should have an impeccable personal record, devoid of any past or current disputes, with any of the member boards of the ICC or its affiliates.
 
9. Demonstrate plans and ability to contribute to the NCA Cricket Development Programmes and forecasting/planning to develop the next generation of cricketers and agree to make themselves available for the NCA, as and when they are not with the team.
 
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Tata Sons appoints Saurabh Agrawal as group chief financial officer

Saurabh Agrawal
Saurabh Agrawal
Tata Sons, the promoter of all key Tata companies, has announced the appointment of Mr. Saurabh Agrawal as the group chief financial officer of the company.
 
Mr Agrawal, among India’s most successful investment bankers, brings with him over two decades of rich experience in capital markets to the Tata group, a press release from the company said.
 
Mr. Agrawal, who was head of strategy in the Aditya Birla Group, will join the company with effect from July 2017, the release said.
 
Starting his career in 1995, Mr Agrawal has a sterling record in both strategy and execution, covering a wide range of industries, it said.
 
Before joining the Aditya Birla Group, he served as head of the corporate finance unit of Standard Chartered Bank in India and South Asia, and the head of the investment banking division in DSP Merrill Lynch.
 
The Chairman of Tata Sons, N Chandrasekaran, said, “He brings deep capital markets knowledge and valuable cross-industry experience to this critical leadership role in the Tata group. His expertise will help us in driving rigour and synergy in capital allocation decisions, investment management as well as consolidation and optimisation of the group’s business portfolio. We look forward to his contribution in driving financial performance of the group”.
 
Mr Agrawal said, “I am honoured to join the Tata group. It is an exciting time for the group under the leadership of Mr Chandrasekaran, and I look forward to contributing to the group’s profitable growth with my experience in corporate finance”.
 
Mr Agrawal is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology IIT), Roorkee, and has a post graduate management degree from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta.
 
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Eleven coaches of Mumbai-Lucknow AC Superfast Express derail in UP, no one injured

 
11 coaches of Lucknow-bound Superfast Express derail at Unnao
Eleven coaches of the Lucknow Air-conditioned Superfast Express from Mumbai derailed at Unnao railway station, about 20 km from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, today but none of the passengers suffered any serious injuries, official sources said.
 
Passengers of the affected coaches were cleared to their destinations in a relief train as well as in buses and cars, official sources said.
 
Senior railway officials, incuding the General Manager of Northern Railway and the Divisional Railway Manager, Lucknow, rushed to the spot to oversee relief efforts, they said.
 
The Up line was not affected by the mishap and normal train movement was restored on it soon, the sources said.
 
The Railways set up helplines on telephone numbers 0522-2234607, 9794830973 and 9794830975.
 
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Railways to introduce first Tejas Express between Mumbai, Karmali from Monday

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Indian Railways will introduce the semi-high speed air-conditioned Tejas Express (Train No 22119/ 22120) between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in  Mumbai and Karmali in Goa for the first time. 
 
Tejas Express is a state-of-the-art train capable of running at s speed of 200 kmph with ultra modern amenities.
 
An official press release said the train would run between Mumbai and Karmali five days a week during non-monsoon period and three days a week during the monsoon period.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu will flag off the inaugural service of the train 22119 Mumbai CST-Karmali Tejas Superfast as inaugural special 02119 from Mumbai CST at 1525 hours tomorrow via video conferencing from Swami Narayan Sabhagruh, Dadar. The train will reach Karmali at 0035 hours on the next day.
 
The regular service of 22120 from Karmali will start on May 23 and that of 22119 from Mumbai CST will start from May 24.
 
The train will have halts at Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Ratnagiri and Kudal. It will have a total of 15 LHB coaches, including one Executive Chair Car, 12 Chair Cars and two Generator-Cum-SLR coaches.
 
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L&T Power wins Rs. 300 crore export orders from Japan

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its Power Business had, through its venture company L&T-MHPS Boilers Private Limited (LMB),  secured export orders worth approximately Rs. 300 crore from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Limited (MHPS), Japan.
 
The LMB contracts include supply of pressure parts to 2x1000 MW and 1x650 MW power plants in Indonesia and Japan, respectively, for water wall panel, coils, piping and header, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said LMB is currently executing eight export orders for the supply of pulverisers and pressure parts to various MHPS projects in Japan and Indonesia. LMB has already executed 11 export orders for supply of pressure parts, pulverisers and engineering services to the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.
 
LMB’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Hazira, Gujarat, for manufacture of pressure parts and coal pulverisers for supercritical steam generators having capacity of 5000 MW per annum.
 
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Times Now files complaint against Arnab Goswami, accuses Republic TV of IPR violation

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Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL) has lodged a complaint against Arnab Goswami, the former Editor-in-Chief of its television news channel Times Now, and its former reporter Prema Sridevi alleging that they had committed offences of theft, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of property and infringement of BCCL’s intellectual property rights (IPR) by using material collected while they were in its employment on the new channel Republic TV on May 6 and 8.

In its complaint, filed at the Azad Maidan Police Station here, the company said it owned and operated various television channels in India with a substantial presence overseas. These include Times Now, an English news channel which, it claimed, was the market leader in the English News segment and “continues to create trends as the unbeatable leader in this space with path breaking stories and news coverage.”

BCCL said it owned several intellectual assets in the form of stories, audio-video content, documents, tapes, and so on, gathered by its team of reporters and journalists during its news gathering and broadcasting operations.

Mr. Goswami launched his English News channel Republic TV on May 6 and, on the first day, the channel carried an expose on former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav. The report included audio tapes containing telephone conversations between Mr. Yadav and former Siwan MP Mohammed Shahabuddin, while he was still in prison.

The complaint said Republic TV had, on May 8, in another report, carried audio tapes of telephone conversations between Ms. Prema, now with the new channel, and the late Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress MP and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, and their domestic help Narayan.

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BCCL contended that both these reports used material, in the form of audio tapes of telephone conversations, procured and accessed while Mr. Goswami and Ms. Prema were in the employment of Times Now. It said that an internal inquiry had established that the tapes were procured and in the possession of Mr. Goswami and Ms. Prema while they were in the service of BCCL.

The complaint noted that Mr. Goswami and Ms. Prema had, on Republic TV, said that the audio tape of the conversation in the Sunanda Pushkar case was in their possession for the last two years, that is when they were in their previous organisation Times Now.

“Mr. Goswami and Ms. Sridevi have wilfully, deliberately and with knowledge converted for their benefit and used the aforesaid intellectual property of Times Now and thereby dishonestly misappropriated the said intellectual property, thereby committing the offence of criminal misappropriation of property punishable U/Sec. 403 of I.P.C. and several other provisions under applicable laws,” the company said.

“BCCL has therefore taken steps to defend its rights and protect its intellectual property against such misuse,” it added.

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ICICI Bank slashes home loan rates by upto 30 basis points

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ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, today announced reduction of interest rates by upto 30 basis points for home loans upto Rs 30 lakh.
 
With this reduction, salaried borrowers can avail home loans at among the lowest rates in the industry, a press release from the bank said. 
 
Salaried women borrowers will get home loans at 8.35% and others at 8.40%, it said.
 
In both these cases, the reduction in interest rates is 30 basis points from the previous rates. Customers taking home loans in the affordable segment will also have the option to select the type of interest rate. They can enjoy the benefit of floating interest rate or a fixed interest rate for the initial two/three years followed by floating rate, it said.
 
Further, borrowers can also choose to link their home loans with I-MCLR-6 Months or I-MCLR-1 Year. The bank is the first to offer such flexibility to customers. The reduced rate will be effective from May 15, 2017 for new borrowers, the release said.
 
“ICICI Bank is committed to support the Government's vision to provide housing for all by 2022. In line with this commitment, we have reduced the home loan interest rates for the affordable housing segment," Ms. Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank, said.
 
"With this announcement, customers of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Low Income Group (LIG) can avail the dual benefit of low interest rates from us and the Credit Linked Subsidy under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. I believe that this initiative, along with the bank’s expansion of home loan business in tier II cities, will empower a larger section of customers to realise the dream of owning a new home," she added.
 
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India’s forex reserves soar by $ 2.985 billion to record $ 375.717 billion

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Maintaining an uptrend for the fourth consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves soared by $ 2.985 billion to a record $ 375.717 billion during the week ended May 5, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had gone up by $ 1.594 billion to $ 372.732 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 $ 2474 billion to $ 351.530 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 $ 569.9 million to $ 20.439 billion during the week, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went down $ 0.4 million to $ 1.459 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 58.4 million to $ 2.289 billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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GoAir launches monsoon campaign with fares starting at Rs 599 across all sectors

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Low-cost carrier GoAir today announced its monsoon campaign as part of which it is offering fares starting at Rs. 599 across all 23 sectors oeprated by it.
 
The offer, open for booking from May 12 to May 15, is for travel from July 1 to September 30, a press release from the airline said.
 
The offer is valid only for travel on non-stop and via flights on GoAir’s network, the release said.
 
"GoAir has initiated this lowest fare offer for their customers so that they can avail these attractive fares to plan their travel well in advance.  GoAir has been consistent in providing flexibility of choice to their customers along with convenient and affordable flying experience," it said.
 
The offer is available exclusively across GoAir networks (GoAir website, GoAir ticketing counters, GoAir Call Centre and travel agents). 
 
The offer is not valid on infant bookings. Group discount is not applicable on the offer and it cannot be clubbed with any other on-going promotional offer or in any form of cash. Fares are subjected to Standard Cancellation & Rebooking policies. Blackout dates are applicable, the release added.
 
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FSDL invites bids for new teams in Indian Super League

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Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), organisers of the Indian Super League, a city based football league established in India in 2014 under the sanction of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), plans to invite bids from interested parties to enrol and participate in the Indian Super League from its fourth edition to be staged in 2017-2018.
 
FSDL will be floating the tender through ‘Invitation To Bid’ (ITB) to be available on working days starting 12th May 2017 to 24th May 2017, a press release from FSDL said.
 
Bids are invited from prospective team owners in respect of 10-cities --  Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cuttack, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Siliguri and Thiruvananthapuram.
 
Under and subject to the ITB, one to three new winning bidders shall be enrolled and awarded the right to participate in the Indian Super League. 
 
The release clarified that in case of the city of Kolkata being awarded to the winning bidder, the respective team shall hold its home games outside Kolkata for the next two consecutive Indian Super League Seasons (2017/2018 and 2018/2019).
 
All bidding parties will need to fulfil the eligibility criteria and other requirements specified in the ITB including but not limited to summary of plans to operate their team in the league, including the business model and plan to develop the sport at the grassroots level. The bid documents must be submitted on Thursday, 25th May 2017.
 
Eight teams currently participate in the Indian Super League- Atletico de Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Goa, FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters FC, NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC.
 
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Ola ties up with cricket academies to offer scholarships to driver partners’ children

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Ola, one of India’s leading mobile apps for transportation, announced a tie-up with leading cricket academies in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Pune, including the Cricket Academy of Pathans (CAP), to provide three-month cricket scholarships to children of its driver partners. 
 
Children will be selected and given an opportunity to test and hone their skills under the guidance of professional cricket coaches, a press release from the company said.
 
The scholarships will help in unearthing new talent and give young children a platform to kick-start their budding cricketing careers, it said.
 
The release said the initiative was part of the ‘Ola Partners League’ (OPL) - a unique virtual cricket game for driver partners that was launched on April 24 and has seen an encouraging response from drivers across seven cities.
 
Trials to select the deserving children will be held at their academies and the participating children will be put through a selection process that will evaluate their batting, bowling, and fielding abilities. The selected children will undergo training by professional coaches who include former Ranji and national players, who will guide them on enhancing their game along with providing advice on physical fitness, sportsman spirit, and handling pressure, among others. All selected children will be given complete cricket kits, OPL jerseys as well as other goodies, the release said.
 
Vishal Kaul, COO at Ola, said, “Cricket is more than just a game in India and there are millions who wish to make it to the big league. There is immense talent across the country and we want to play a role in encouraging the 'cricket champions of tomorrow'. 
 
"While Ola Partners League (OPL) is being played virtually by lakhs of our driver partners, we also wanted to engage with their families. Scholarships at cricket academies are an excellent opportunity for the children of our driver partners to transform their cricketing dreams into a reality. The initial response around OPL across the seven cities has been very encouraging and we are expecting a similar response through this initiative as well. There is great anticipation across the organisation to see who these deserving kids will be and Ola is proud to play a significant role in creating such opportunities through OPL.”
 
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OPL has popular Indian all-rounder cricketer Irfan Pathan and famous TV personality Mandira Bedi as its ambassadors.  
 
“I am thrilled to be a part of Ola Partners League, a novel initiative undertaken by our home grown company - Ola. While OPL focuses on rewarding driver partners by allotting runs for rides they complete and tasks they fulfil through its digital platform, it is heartening to see that Ola is also supporting their children by offering scholarships across India through OPL. I personally believe that (Cricket Academy of Pathans) CAP is a ground to unearth the next-gen of talented cricketers and this initiative of Ola is indeed a remarkable step in that direction," Pathan said.
 
“It is very heartening to see companies like Ola coming to the forefront by creating engaging properties like OPL for their driver partners. Like the game of cricket brings the entire country together, I am confident that OPL will have many takers and will bring together the driver partner community to play together while representing their cities. I also applaud the initiative to identify bright young kids and give them access to cricket training at some of the best academies in the country," Bedi said.
 
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Harper’s Bazaar India launches coffee table book "Iconic"


 
Kajol launches Harper's Bazaar India's book 'Iconic'
Fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar India, in partnership with jewellery brand Tanishq, launched its first-ever coffee table book Iconic! Ideas & Inspirations Behind The World’s Biggest Brands here yesterday with actor Kajol, who completes 25 years in the film industry and graces Bazaar India’s May cover. 
 
The book traces the legacies of some of the biggest brands across fashion, jewellery, beauty and hospitality and looks at what it takes to be iconic, a press release from the magazine said.
 
This year, Harper’s Bazaar celebrates its 150th anniversary, making it the world’s oldest fashion magazine. The book, then, also pays homage to the brand’s own respected history.
 
The event had guests dance to music by Ukrainian DJ Teri Miko. It also offered guests an exclusive preview of Tanishq’s Red Carpet Collection with models like Sonalee Kumar, Vidushi Mehra, Ayesha Chenoy, Shabnam Singhal, Geetika Mittal Gulati, Kiran Lohia and Payal Sen wearing jewellery from the collection.
 
“Every piece is studded with precious gem stones which is further accentuated by the unrivalled splendor of luminescent diamonds. This collection will truly enable any woman to live the ‘red carpet moment’ of her dreams,” said Deepika Tewari – GM Marketing, Titan jewellery division. 
 
Later, models wearing gowns by Amit Aggarwal showcased select pieces from Tanishq’s red carpet collection while Mr. Sandeep Kulhallo, VP (R&M) of Tanishq addressed the guests.
 
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SBI reduces home loan rate by 25 bps to lowest in industry

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State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender and the largest home loan provider, has cut its home loan rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 8.35% per annum, the lowest in the market.
 
The new rate will be effective from May 9, 2017, a press release from the bank said here today.
 
The effective interest rate for all eligible salaried customers will be 8.35%p.a. for loans upto Rs. 30 lakh. Over and above, an eligible home loan customer can also avail of an interest subsidy of Rs. 2.67 lakh under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme, it said.
 
The release said the interest rates for customers availing a home loan above Rs. 30 lakh have also been reduced. To supplement the affordable housing push, SBI has also come out with special offerings for Construction Finance to the builders for affordable housing projects. This will give a dual push both for construction finance and also for home finance for affordable homes, it said.
 
Mr. Rajnish Kumar, Managing Director – NBG, SBI said, “We have seen a steep hike in the home loan enquiries recently and reduction in rates will further help millions of home buyers fulfill their dream of owning a home. Individuals can apply for Home Loans through multiple channels. SBI offers bouquet of home loan products catering to different sections of the society."
 
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Reliance and SAP launch Saral GST for innovative user solutions

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Reliance Corporate IT Park Limited (RCITPL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SAP SE to launch ‘Saral GST’ solution for taxpayers in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime.
 
A press release from Reliance said the offering would enable taxpayers to be GST compliant and smoothly access the Government’s GST System, once GST is rolled out from July 1, 2017. 
 
Saral GST will leverage the expertise of RCITPL as GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) and SAP as Application Service Provider (ASP), it said.
 
"Saral GST presents a value proposition for taxpayers focused around simplified operations, unified support and high quality of service, enhanced with scalability and security. As a GSP, RCITPL will connect ASPs to the Government’s GST system through Jio MPLS network. SAP, in its role as ASP, will enable taxpayers to effectively create, manage and file GST returns in a simple, safe and seamless environment. This collaboration of the two industry leaders thus offers the full potential of GST and boosts the success of Digital India initiative," the release said.
 
“GST is not just a tax reform but is an unprecedented opportunity for companies to improve functional efficiencies and realize increased profitability,” said Neeraj Athalye, Head, S/4HANA & GST Adoption Drive, SAP India. “Besides helping businesses get compliant with the new law seamlessly, Saral GST will also enable them to benefit from the GST vision.”
 
“We see GST as the next avenue to enrich and enhance the nation’s Digital Life experience,” said Rajkumar N. Pugalia, Head, Reliance GST Initiatives. “Saral GST represents the extension of the two-decade partnership between SAP and Reliance to help tax payers transform into a secure digital enterprise with end-to-end support.”
 
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L&T Infotech unveils new brand identity as LTI

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IT services major Larsen & Toubro Infotech has launched its new brand identity as LTI, which aims to position it as a leader partner solving challenges of convergence in the digital and physical world.
 
"Encapsulated in the tagline ‘Let’s Solve’, LTI looks to partnering with clients to help them compete better in a world where digital and physical are converging," a press release from the company said.
 
The core idea of the brand, ‘Pioneering Solutions in a Converging World’ drives the entire organization to design, innovate and invest in solutions that help clients accelerate digital transformation, it said.
 
"The new brand identity of LTI exemplifies the rapid progress made by the company across all dimensions during last several quarters. The company launched Mosaic platform with componentized solutions for digital, analytics, IoT, automation and cloud. It got listed in July 2016 unlocking stakeholder value and it acquired AugmentIQ in November 2016 to deepen its big data and analytics offerings. LTI continues to invest in building capabilities that its clients in various industries require to compete better," the release said.
 
According to it, the new visual language is designed around the concept of  ‘Mosaic’ – an imaginative representation of how LTI brings together the power of exponential technologies to deliver real business outcomes. 
 
"The colours blue and orange are derived from the horizon, the ultimate symbol of convergence where the blue ocean and amber sky meet. This dynamic, modern and agile visual language infuses renewed energy to every touchpoint symbolizing LTI’s passion for client success. LTI’s key beliefs drive all the actions of more than 20,000 LTItes, inspiring them to go the extra mile for clients, be agile, push the frontiers of innovation, keep learning in a changing world and to solve for the greater good of society," the release said.
 
Mr. Sanjay Jalona, CEO and Managing Director, LTI, said, “One of the fundamental shifts of this century is the blurring lines between digital and physical world. Our clients want us to enable them to stay competitive in a more dynamic world where bricks and bytes are seamlessly connected. The stunning and purposeful transformation of our brand reinforces our strategic intent to build these capabilities and our deep commitment to bring new ideas and approaches to every partnership.”
 
Founded as a subsidiary of the Larsen & Toubro group, LTI is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017.
 
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Global gold demand in Q1 slips 18% to 1034 tonnes in Q1 of 2017

 
Global gold demand in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 declined 18% to 1,034 tonnes (t) from the record level of 1,262t it had touched in the same period of last year, according to the World Gold Council's (WGC) latest Gold Demands Trend (GDT) report released here today.
 
The report said first quarter jewellery demand was 481t, 1% higher than 474t in Q1 2016, with gains in India being the main reason for the slight year-on-year increase.
 
But demand remained relatively weak in an historical context, 18% below the 5-year quarterly average, it said.
 
"Indian consumers enjoyed a period of relative stability in the domestic market, lifting demand 15% year-on-year to 124t. Continued remonetisation by the RBI buoyed consumer sentiment, which encouraged demand ahead of the auspicious wedding season, albeit from a low base," it said.
 
The report said inflows into gold-backed Exchange Traded Funds(ETFs) totalled 109t which, although solid, were nonetheless a fraction of last year’s near-record inflows. Slower central bank demand also contributed to the weakness. The inflows were largely concentrated in Europe. 
 
Although inflows were just one-third of the extraordinary levels seen in Q1 2016, demand was firm. European-listed products were the most popular, due to continued political fragility in the region, it said.
 
Bar and coin investment, however, was healthy, at 290t, an increase of 9% year-on-year, while demand firmed slightly in both the jewellery and technology sectors. Chinese investors were central to the increase, attracted by the momentum behind the price rise ahead of the seasonally-important Chinese New Year.
 
Central bank demand continued to slow, with 76t added to reserves. This was down 27% from 104t in Q1 2016. China’s purchasing programme was on pause during the quarter as its foreign exchange reserves remained under pressure.
 
The report said total supply reached 1,032t this quarter, a fall of 12% compared with 1,175t during the first quarter of 2016. This was predominantly a result of a 21% fall in recycling to 283t, from 360t during Q1 last year, and continued net de-hedging of a further 15t by producers. 
 
"The drop in recycling demonstrates a return to more normal levels, after sharp price movements drove exceptional levels in Q1 2016. Mine production of 764t was little changed from Q1 2016 (768t), and in line with the expectation that production will remain broadly steady before tailing off," it said.
 
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The report said total consumer demand increased by 4% to 771t from 739t in Q1 2016, while total investment demand fell 34% to 399t this quarter compared with 607t last year.
 
Demand in the technology sector increased by 3% year-on-year, to 78t, compared with 76t during Q1 2016.
 
Alistair Hewitt, Head of Market Intelligence at the World Gold Council, said: “Demand is down year-on-year, but that is largely because Q1 last year was exceptionally high. Although we did not see the record-breaking surges in ETF inflows experienced in Q1 2016, we have seen good inflows nonetheless this quarter, with strong interest from European investors ahead of the Dutch and French elections."
 
"Retail investment demand is strong too, up 9% year-on-year with demand worth over US$11bn in Q1. China led the way with bar and coin demand surging 30%, breaching 100t for only the fourth time on record, fuelled by concerns over potential currency weakness and a frothy property market.
 
“Elsewhere the picture was less rosy: central bank demand was down and jewellery demand is still in the doldrums, although there are signs of improvement, especially from India where the gradual remonetisation of the economy is supporting the jewellery market," he said.
 
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Virgin Atlantic launches ‘Brexit calculator’ to help work out savings on UK trip

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British airline Virgin Atlantic has introduced a "Brexit Calculator" to help travellers planning holidays in the United Kingdom to work out the savings they could make on the trip and on various activities in the country.
 
"Holidaymakers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this summer will be able to avail exciting travel choices as unveiled by the airline’s new Brexit Calculator campaign," a press release from the airline said.
 
"With an exchange rate of 1 Indian Rupee to 0.012 British Pound, the campaign draws attention to the bright side of Brexit and emphasises that there has never been a better time to book a trip to the UK. Virgin Atlantic offers a daily flight between Delhi and London Heathrow with return fares from INR 45,845," it said.
 
"With this campaign, Virgin Atlantic has introduced a fun ‘Brexit calculator’ application to help holidaymakers in India work out how much they could save on a trip to the UK. The calculator will compute the savings based on the pre-and post-Brexit prices and show how popular tourist attractions have become a bargain. With those savings, customers can save so much on popular tourist activities in London that it’ll cover the cost of their flight," it said.
 
Mr. Nick Parker, Head of India and Middle East, Virgin Atlantic Airways said, “Clearly there has never been a better time to travel to the UK. The Indian Rupee is at a record high against the pound which means you’ll save on literally everything when you visit the UK. Britain is emerging as an increasingly popular destination for Indians traveling for their holidays, adventures, and business trips. The Brexit calculator is a fun way to explore quintessential British tourist activities, and work out how much you could save in the UK at the same time.”
 
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“At Virgin Atlantic, we are always looking for ways to improve our customers experience and make flying that bit more special. We recently introduced live TV on our flights from India, and have extended our codeshare agreement with Jet Airways to offer even more flights between India, the UK, and the US. We also welcome the new e-Tourist visa guidelines introduced by the Indian Government which allows foreign tourists visiting India to stay in the country for up to two months and enjoy double-entry benefits," he added.
 
Using the new ‘Brexit Calculator’ players can select from a range of popular tourist activities in the UK, and calculate once they’ve saved enough money to pay for a flight to London.  Items include traditional activities such as afternoon tea, watching a football match or attending a Shakespearean play – as well as more cheeky suggestions such as getting a Union Jack tattoo or Cockney rhyming slang lessons. 
 
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Mahanagar Gas crosses 200th CNG station mark in Mumbai Metropolitan Region

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City gas distribution company Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) has crossed the 200th CNG station mark in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region when it commissioned a filling station in Badlapur recently.
 
With this, MGL has augmented its compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure in the Kalyan-Dombivili-Ambernath-Badlapur (KDAB) region, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said that, in the MMR, MGL caters to over five lakh vehicles plying on CNG through its network of CNG stations withmore than 1100 dispensing points and a compression capacity of more than 28 lakh kgs of CNG per day.
 
MGL Managing Director Rajeev Mathur said, “Mahanagar Gas has been meeting the demand for CNG efficiently and judiciously. Ease of access and accessibility of CNG stations across our operational areas is the driving force of our CNG network and with the 200th CNG station, MGL continues to fulfill its promise of providing safe, efficient and reliable energy. This is a step towards facilitating the increasing number of customers in the MMR”.
 
The average distance between CNG stations across MMR is 1.52 kms in Western suburbs, 1.47 kms in Central suburbs, 3.2 kms in Navi Mumbai and 4.5 kms in Kalyan, Dombivali, Ambernath and Badlapur (KDAB) region.
 
“To enhance the CNG infrastructure in KDAB region we appeal to the local people with appropriate land to come forward and offer them for setting up CNG stations. Lack of space within the city areas is a big hurdle in expanding the CNG network. People willing to offer land for setting up CNG stations will be a major boost for spreading the network of this eco-friendly fuel” Mr. Mathur added.
 
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Besides Badlapur, MGL is also spreading its network in the uncovered areas of Kalyan, Dombivali, Ambernath, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi Panvel, Taloja and Kharghar. To cater to the growing natural gas demand of existing and expansion areas, MGL sources gas from various existing suppliers through its four City Gate Stations in MMR.
 
“The metropolitan population is fast realizing the importance of converting their vehicles to CNG. The resulting demand is overwhelming which is encouraging and challenging at the same time. There’s no doubt that CNG is the fuel of the future and if we have to preserve our environment, we need less polluting fuels like CNG and PNG that also cost less. We continue to bring the uncovered population into the CNG fold,” added Mr. Mathur.
 
MGL is presently the sole authorised distributor of CNG and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in Mumbai and its adjoining areas and the Raigad district in the state of Maharashtra, India. MGL is a joint venture between GAIL (India) Ltd., the BGAPH Group (a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc) and the Government of Maharashtra.
 
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Actor-politician Vinod Khanna passes away after losing battle with cancer

Well-known Hindi film actor Vinod Khanna, who had a huge fan following for his many tough guy roles on screen as well as for his looks and who later became an active politician, died in Mumbai on Thursday morning after losing a long battle with cancer.

 
Actor Vinod Khanna passes away
Well-known Hindi film actor Vinod Khanna, who had a huge fan following for his many tough guy roles on screen as well as for his looks and who later became an active politician, died here this morning after losing a long battle with cancer.
 
He was 70. He is survived by his wife Kavita, three sons -- Rahul, Akshaye and Sakshi -- and a daughter, Shraddha.
 
The actor was admitted to the Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Center in Girgaon ,Mumbai in early April and breathed his last this morning, sources said.
 
His fans were shocked when they saw him in extremely frail health in a picture posted on social media while he was in hospital, and there were reports in the media then that he had been battling cancer for a long time.
 
His family, who were with him in his last days, did not give out any information about his health. The hospital, however, said today that he was suffering from cancer.
 
Khanna was a four-time member of Parliament, and represented the constituency of Gurdaspur in Punjab in the current Lok Sabha. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1998 as a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was re-elected in 1999, 2004 and 2014.
 
He served as Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture from July 1, 2002 to January 28, 2003 and as Minister of State for External Affairs from January 29, 2003 to May, 2004 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
 
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During his long career in Bollywood, he appeared in more than a hundred films, starting out with negative roles before graduating to lead roles in several successful movies. He made his debut in 1968 with Mann Ka Meet, and won popular and critical acclaim for his roles in films such as Mere Apne, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Achanak, Imtihan, Inkaar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Dayavaan, Jurm and Qurbani.
 
At the peak of his career, Khanna suddenly took a complete break from movies and joined spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh at his ashram. He returned to Bollywood after a five-year gap and starred in big hits such as Insaaf and Satyame Jayate. In recent years, he appeared in movies such as Dabangg, Players, Dabangg 2 and Dilwale.
 
Born on October 6, 1946, Khanna studied at St. Xavier's High School, Mumbai, Delhi Public School, Delhi, Lord Barnes High School, Devlali and Sydenham College, Mumbai.
 
He had served as the Chairman of the Film and Television Institute, Pune from 1998 to 2002. He was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
 
Khanna married Geetanjali in 1971 and had two sons with her, Rahul and Akshaye, before they divorced. He married Kavita in 1990 and the couple had a son, Sakshi and daughter Shraddha.
 
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UFO Moviez India announces strategic tie-up with United Media Works

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UFO Moviez India Limited (UFO) has announced a strategic tie-up with United Media Works Pvt. Limited (UMW), a digital cinema technology and service provider having more than 300 digitized cinema screens on its network in India. 
 
Under this tie up, UFO has acquired long term exclusive rights from UMW to monetize the advertising inventory on these screens, a press release from the company said.
 
In addition, UFO will share movie content to these screens in UFO M-4 format. However, existing commercial and service arrangement between UMW and its channel partners, exhibitors and distributors shall remain unchanged, it said.
 
Mr. Rajesh Mishra, CEO Indian Operations, UFO Moviez said, “This strategic move leverages the strengths of both the companies and will be mutually beneficial.”
 
 Mr. Ashish Bhandari and Mr. Sachin Bhandari, Joint Managing Directors, UMW said, “We are very happy to be associated with UFO, the market leader in the digital cinema space, and are confident that this co-operation will be fruitful to both the organizations."
 
UFO Moviez India Limited is India’s largest digital cinema distribution network and in-cinema advertising platform in terms of number of screens. It operates India’s largest satellite-based, digital cinema distribution network using its UFO-M4 platform, as well as India’s largest D-Cinema network. 
 
As on December 31, 2016, its global network, along with its subsidiaries and associates, spans 6,674 screens worldwide, including 5,052 screens across India and Nepal and 1,622 screens across the Middle East (UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan), Israel, Mexico and the USA serviced by its subsidiary Scrabble Entertainment Ltd.
 
The company has also created a pan India, high impact in-cinema advertising platform with generally long-term advertising rights to 3,737 screens, with an aggregate seating capacity of approximately 1.74 million viewers and a reach of 1,911 locations across India, as on December 31, 2016. 
 
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Godrej Properties partners with Taj for luxury hotel at The Trees, Mumbai

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Real estate developer Godrej Properties Limited (GPL) today said it had partnered with Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris to develop a world class Taj brand hotel at The Trees, its flagship project, at Vikhroli here.
 
The Taj at The Trees will offer approximately 150 guest rooms and suites along with world class dining, entertainment, and conferencing facilities, a press release from the company said.
 
Situated in the heart of the city, Vikhroli is well connected to all of Mumbai’s major transit points and business hubs, it said.
 
The Trees is located just off the Eastern Express Highway and offers connectivity to BKC through the Santa Cruz Link Road (SCLR) in just 15 minutes and to Fort through the Eastern Freeway in just 30 minutes, the release said.
 
According to it, the future planned infrastructure in the city, including the bridge from Nava Sheva to Sewri and the proposed new airport, will further transform Vikhroli and the eastern belt into the central destination for Mumbai.  
 
"The Godrej Group’s landholdings in Vikhroli include a privately controlled mangrove reserve that is five times the size of London’s famed Hyde Park offering residents the opportunity to live in the heart of the city while forever remaining deeply connected to nature and fresh air," it said.
 
The release said the Trees mixed-use development contains a commercial precinct spread across 9.4 acres, which houses Godrej One, the Godrej Group’s global headquarters, which is now complete.
 
The more private luxury residential precinct spread across 6.7 acres will house a community of residential buildings with private parks and an iconic clubhouse facility.  The central mixed use precinct, spread over 9.2 acres, will comprise a Taj hotel, a luxury residential project named Godrej Origins, cultural buildings, and a high street retail court, it said.
 
"Adaptive reuse of heritage industrial structures within the development creates a unique and distinctive design and cultural experience. The Trees was awarded the Mixed Use Development of the Year award at the Asian Customer Engagement Forum (ACEF) Property Awards and received an Honor Award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.  Godrej One, the first completed building within The Trees, received the Commercial building of the Year Award at the NDTV Property Awards 2015," it said.
 
The company said it had collaborated with several renowned architects and engineering consultants to design the project. Sasaki Architects, the master planners for The Trees, have developed several iconic projects including the Beijing Olympics Masterplan. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the lead architects for Godrej One, are well known for designing architectural icons such as the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
 
"Continuing with the Godrej Group’s legacy of environmental leadership, this development aspires to be among the most sustainable in the world. Cutting-edge engineering features appear throughout the master plan and building design to ensure that energy requirements are minimized and water is conserved. All structures within the development will be planned as LEED or IGBC Platinum rated, which are globally recognized as the highest rating of sustainable design. Godrej Origins, the residential development, that is now being opened for sale is IGBC Platinum pre-certified," it said.
 
Mr. Pirojsha Godrej, Executive Chairman, Godrej Properties said, “We are thrilled to partner with Taj to create a luxury hotel at our flagship project. Our endeavour is to make The Trees India’s most exciting mixed-use development and this partnership is an important milestone towards that goal.  We look forward to working closely with the Taj team to create a landmark hotel.”
 
Mr. Rakesh Sarna, MD and CEO, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris said, “We are very pleased to be associated with a group like Godrej, which is synonymous with trust, integrity and quality. We share their commitment of sustainable development and we look forward to bringing world-class hospitality to this great location.”
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 2694 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 2694 across various business segments.
 
A press release from the company said its Water & Effluent Treatment Business had received engineering, procurement & construction orders worth Rs. 2227 crore.
 
Orders have been secured from Narmada Water Resource Water Supply and Kalpsar Department, Government of Gujarat for Kakrapar - Gordha -Vad Lift Irrigation, Kadana - Patadungri Lift Irrigation and Sauni Yojana Link-2 Package 4 projects, it said.
 
The scope includes design and construction of pumping station with pumps, sub-stations, transformers along with MS pipeline rising mains, an underground pipeline distribution network and other allied electro-mechanical works.
 
Another order has been bagged from Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited, Karnataka for Nandawadagi Lift Irrigation project. The scope of work includes construction of approach channel, sump & pump house with pumps, switchyard, transmission line and allied electro-mechanical equipment along with MS pipeline rising mains, delivery chamber and other ancillary works.
 
The business has also received additional orders from its various ongoing projects, the release said.
 
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The company said its Smart World Communication Business had received an order worth Rs. 180 crore from Greater Vishakhapatnam Smart City Corporation Limited as System Integrator to implement smart city solutions for the city of Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh under the Smart City Mission.
 
The scope of work includes installation of citywide surveillance system, variable message boards, public address systems, wi-fi access points, data centre with disaster recovery, command control centre, collaborative monitoring and facility management system. The project also includes implementation of smart elements such as solid waste management system, smart transport, smart poles, smart lighting, environmental sensor and enterprise resource planning.
 
The company also said that its Transportation Infrastructure Business had bagged an engineering, procurement and construction order worth Rs. 287 crore from the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH) for two laning of the Helwak-Karad Section of NH-166E in Maharashtra. The scope of work includes construction of 48.4 km of two-lane carriageway with concrete pavement, one major bridge, 14 minor bridges and other associated works.
 
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Centre may revive option of sending Haj pilgrims to Jeddah via sea route: Naqvi

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Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that the Government was considering revival of the option of sending Haj pilgrims via sea route to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the coming days.
 
Addressing a training of trainers programme at Haj House here yesterday, Mr Naqvi said a high-level committee, formed by the government to frame the Haj Policy 2018 according to Supreme Court’s 2012 order, was exploring ways to revive the option of sending pilgrims via sea route to Jeddah.
 
Dispatching pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses by nearly half as compared to airfares. It will be a revolutionary, pilgrim-friendly decision, he said.
 
The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by sea was stopped in 1995. At present, devotees undertake the journey by air from 21 embarkation points across the country, he said.
 
Mr. Naqvi said another advantage with ships available these days is they are modern and well-equipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at a time. They can cover the 2,300-odd nautical miles distance from Mumbai to Jeddah within two or three days. Earlier, the old ships used to take 12 to 15 days to cover this distance. The high-level committee will soon submit its report, he said.
 
The Minister said the new Haj Policy is aimed at making entire Haj process easier and transparent. Haj pilgrims’ facilities will be in focus in the new policy.
 
The Minority Affairs Ministry, in coordination with other concerned agencies, had started preparations for Haj pilgrimage very early. The Ministry’s aim is to provide world class facilities to Haj pilgrims. The Minister said the measure to make Haj process online has produced good results. A total of 1,29,196 Haj applications were done online.
 
The increase in India’s annual Haj quota by Saudi Arabia Government has benefited all the states as quota of the states for Haj 2017 has also been increased significantly. Saudi Arabia has increased annual Haj quota of India by 34,005. The decision in this regard had been taken during signing of bilateral annual Haj agreement between India and Saudi Arabia at Jeddah on January 11 this year. It is the biggest increase in the quota of Haj pilgrims from India after several years.
 
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About 99,903 people went to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Haj from 21 embarkation points across India through Haj Committee of India during Haj 2016. Apart from this, about 36,000 Haj pilgrims had proceeded for Haj through the private tour operators.
 
For Haj 2017, a total of 1,70,025 people will go from India out of which 1,25,025 will go through Haj Committee of India while 45,000 people will go through Private Tour Operators.
 
In the three-day training programme, officials from Haj Committee of India; Consulate of Saudi Arabia; Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Saudi Airlines; Air India; Customs; Immigration and doctors are providing information about “Do’s and Don’ts” during Haj.
 
This includes information about transport, accommodation and laws of Saudi Arabia. More than 500 trainers from different states are participating in the programme. The trainers will now train the pilgrims in training camps.
 
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India’s forex reserves fall by $ 956.4 million to $ 368.998 billion

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Reversing a six-week uptrend, India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 956.4 million to $ 368.998 billion during the week ended April 7, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had risen by $ 2.022 billion to $ 369.954 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 down by $ 951 million to $ 345.367 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 $ 19.869 billion during the week, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went down by $ 3.1 million to $ 1.443 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 2.3 million to $ 2.318 billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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Telecom: Reliance Jio announces new Unlimited Plans

Telecom services provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) today announced new unlimited plans with special benefits, exclusively for members of its Jio Prime scheme, after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) advised it last week to withdraw its Summer Surprise scheme.
 
Under the Summer Surprise scheme, announced on March 31, the company had said that all Jio Prime members, when they make their first paid recharge prior to April 15 using its Rs 303 plan (or any higher value plan), would get services for the initial three months on a complimentary basis.  
 
A press release from RJIL said that the Summer Surprise had been fully withdrawn.
 
Under the new scheme, called Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan, plans start with a Rs. 309 Unlimited Plan,which provides unlimited SMS, caling and data (1GB per day at 4G speed) for three months on first recharge.
 
Under the Rs. 509 All Unlimited Plan for daily high data users will be offered unlimited SMS, calling and data (2GB per day at 4G speed) for three months on first recharge. Further details of all the plans are posted on the company website www.jio.com.
 
Considering the special benefits that are available to Jio Prime members, customers who were unable to subscribe to the scheme for any reason, can continue to do so by paying Rs. 408 or Rs. 608 (Jio Prime + recharge price) to avail these benefits, the release said.
 
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"These plans will be available starting today. Existing Jio customers who have not done their first recharge so far, need to do so by 15 April 2017 to avoid degradation and/or discontinuation of services," the release said.
 
The company, a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), said it was currently implementing the world’s largest migration from free to paid services in such a short period of time. 
 
"In order to smoothen the migration from free to paid services, Jio has implemented simple, affordable and regulatory compliant plans in customer interest. Jio looks forward to customers making full use of this opportunity to avail the most attractive tariff plans in the industry, which are unparalleled globally.
 
"With this, Jio extends the benefits of a superior and advanced technology to take India to global digital leadership. Jio’s unmatched data strong network is capable of meeting the burgeoning data requirements of hundreds of millions of Indians. The announcement also marks another step in Jio’s commitment to continuously delight its customers and enable them to live a fully digital life. Jio is thankful to the millions of customers who have taken up Jio services," the release added.
 
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