India's forex reserves swell by $ 4.076 billion to $ 350.864 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves rose by a whopping $ 4.076 billion to $ 350.864 bilion during the week ended March 4, reversing a two-week downtrend, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had fallen by $ 3.577 billion to $ 346.788 billion during the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 2.449 billion to $ 327.475 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 increased by  $ 1.628 billion to $ 19.325 billion, while its special drawing rights decreased by $ 0.5 million to $ 1.4779 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 0.6 million to $ 2.584 billion, the bulletin added.

HCC awarded Rs. 635 crore contract from NTPC

Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company Ltd (HCC) today said it had been awarded a Rs. 635 crore contract by the public sector NTPC to construct Head Race Tunnel (balance works) for Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro-electric Power Project on the river Dhauliganga in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
The project is to be completed in 34 months, a press release from the company said.
The release said the order was an item rate contract involving salvaging of Double Shield Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) stuck in the earlier operation by another contractor, refurbishing and putting it in operation to construct 2.84 km long Head Race Tunnel (HRT), with installation of segmental lining. The contract also involves construction of a 1.66 km long tunnel using drill and blast method and concrete lining.
Mr. Arun Karambelkar, President & CEO- E&C, HCC Ltd. said “We are pleased to secure this contract, which only manifests the expertise of HCC in managing complex work in difficult terrain. We are confident that our efficient and highly skilled team will not only salvage the stuck Tunnel Boring Machine but will complete the construction of Head Race Tunnel in the stipulated time frame”
With this, HCC’s order intake In FY 2015-16 has reached Rs. 5,155 crore. Besides, the company is lowest bidder in six projects worth Rs. 4,300 crore. The combined order backlog is likely to cross Rs. 21,000 crore in FY2015-16, the release added.

Projects worth Rs. 1,20,000 crore to be showcased at Maritime India Summit : Gadkari

Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari today said that projects in the ports and shipping sector, worth an  investment of Rs. 1,20,000 crore would be showcased before potential investors at the Maritime India Summit to be held in Mumbai from April 14-16.
Talking to journalists here today ahead of the summit, he said the focus of the government was on creating more jobs in the maritime sector.
He said one crore jobs -- 40 lakh direct and 60 lakh indirect -- had been identified to be created in 27 port-based industrial clusters, coastal shipping and inland waterways under theSagarmala project.
Pointing to the high cost of logistics, which, at 18%, was affecting the manufacturing sector, Mr. Gadkari said transportation costs could be reduced substantially by developing coastal shipping and inland waterways. This wold bring down the cost of logistics and make Indian products more cost-effective, he said.
He listed the major initiatives taken by the government in the maritime sector, including new ports at Wadhavan, Enayam (near Colachel) and Sagar with investment of Rs. 20,157 crore. 
In addition, 27 projects with investment of Rs. 12,696 crore, adding capacity of 116 MTPA have been awarded in 2015-16 which include JNPT road connectivity (Rs.2,787 crore) , Paradip mechanisation of coal berths (Rs. 1633 crore) , Mumbai 5th oil berth (Rs. 811 crore) , Kandla container terminal (Rs. 263 crore) , Kolkata FSRU (Rs. 3500 crore) , Ennore capital dredging (Rs. 425 crore), Paradip LPG Terminal (Rs. 690 crore) , New Mangalore mechanization (Rs. 470 crore) and Goa dredging (Rs. 194 crore).
Mr. Gadkari said 15 projects with investment of Rs. 6879 crore would be awarded before March 31, 2016 which include Goa conversion of iron ore berths to multipurpose berths in Mormugao Port (Rs. 1100 crore), Ennore oil terminal (Rs. 700 crore), Ennore capital dredging (Rs. 600 crore), Haldia floating POL facility (Rs.460 crore) and Mumbai FSRU (Rs. 2740 crore). 
He said 32 projects with investment of Rs. 4351 crore and capacity of 70 MTPA had been completed in 2015-16 while 46 projects with investment of Rs. 28,040 crore with capacity of 307 MTPA were under implementation.
South Korea will be the partner country at the Maritime India Summit, which is aimed at providing a platform for participants to explore potential business opportunities in the maritime sector.
It will showcase exciting investment opportunities in the sector including Shipbuilding, Ship Repair and Ship Recycling, Port Modernization and New Port Development, Port-based Industrial Development, Port-based Smart Cities and Maritime Cluster Development, Hinterland Connectivity Projects and Multi-Modal Logistics Hubs, Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping for Cargo and Passenger movement, Dredging, Lighthouse Tourism and Cruise Shipping and Renewable Energy Projects in Ports. 
An exhibition along with exclusive demo sessions will showcase the latest technology, products and services as well as help disseminate knowledge about the latest development in the maritime sector. The event will also provide a platform for leading global maritime organisations to explore business opportunities and create awareness amongst stakeholders about the emerging trends and opportunities in the maritime sector.
It is expected that a large number of foreign delegates especially from the maritime nations such as South Korea, Norway, Singapore, UAE, UK, France and EU will attend the summit.

Botswana's Okavango Diamond Company to host diamond viewings in India

Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) has announced plans to host diamond viewings at India Diamond Trading Centre (IDTC) from July 20-25 for members of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPCP) and the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB).
“We are very happy to know that Okavango Diamond Company is coming to India for displaying its diamonds. The endeavour is to make the rough diamonds available for small scale manufacturers here, and we appreciate the miners who have been showing interest and bringing their diamonds to India for display. I am sure ODC would appreciate the world class facility offered at IDTC and would also schedule its future viewing sessions with ITDC for our members," GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said.
A press release from GJEPC said the goods that will be shown at the IDTC would predominantly be a selection of the -2 carats size ranges that will be offered for sale at ODC's July online auction on July 28.
The viewings in India will take place in parallel to those in Gaborone, Botswana. ODC viewing appointments at the IDTC will be available to any GJEPC and BDB members who have completed ODC’s registration process.
Toby Frears, Managing Director of ODC, said, "We are delighted to be able to showcase ODC and Botswana’s diamonds in India and are grateful to the IDTC for presenting us with this opportunity. We recognise the importance of the Indian industry to ODC and we look forward to exposing new customers to the ODC brand and to promoting Botswana as a leading rough sourcing destination."
Representatives from ODC will be in Mumbai on March 14 to meet those interested in becoming an ODC customer and to answer any questions regarding ODC’s sales or registration process. 

GJEPC urges govt. to withdraw excise duty on jewellery

The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) today urged the government to withdraw the proposed 1 percent excise duty on jewellery (other than plain silver jewellery) in the Union Budget for 2016-17.
In a statement here, the GJEPC said the imposition of the duty was not in the interest of the industry.
It said GJEPC had sought meetings with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to persuade them to roll back the proposal.
“For 30 to 40 years, there was no excise on jewellery due to the small scale nature of manufacturing and sale of goods and the unique way the industry does its business. Also the industry also imports all its gold from outside after paying customs duty. Hence, the Council is of the opinion that it needs to be withdrawn by the government forthwith," GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said.
“Though we morally support the stand taken by GJF and other industry associations, we do not want to go on strike as a protest against this announcement as we believe in engaging with the government with constructive dialogue to persuade them to repeal the same,” he said.
The statement said the gems and jewellery industry had made several representations to the government to facilitate ease of doing business in the sector. 
"In India, jewellery is largely produced by the SMEs and they are not equipped to follow the rigid compliance of excise norms. The imposition of excise would severely impact jewellery production in India, resulting in loss of employment to the uneducated but skilled jewellery workers.
“We are distressed to find in the case of the gems & jewellery sector, no specific attention has been paid to address ease of doing business considering that exports of gems & jewellery account for a major share in the world market. We expected that the government would announce measures to facilitate the export-oriented industries and create an environment of ease of doing business. We find that our existing concerns have not been addressed in this Budget,” Mr. Pandya added.
"In the past, successive governments have considered this and not levied excise on jewellery. The Council strongly urges the Finance Minister to reconsider the levy of excise on jewellery products. GJEPC will continue to engage with the government on key issues and challenges faced by the Industry," the statement added.
GJEPC is one of the several Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) set up by the government. It represents over 6,000 exporters in the sector. 

Tata Motors ties up with Bharat Forge, General Dynamics Land Systems for FICV programme

Automobile manufacturers Tata Motors today said it had signed a strategic agreement with Bharat Forge and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) of the United States for the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD’s) prestigious Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme. 
Tata Motors will lead the consortium, with Bharat Forge as a partner, while General Dynamics Land Systems will bring in its much proven expertise in combat vehicle platforms, a press release from the company said.
According to it, Tata Motors will play on its strengths related to design, development and integration of mobility platforms, while Bharat Forge will bring on board its competence with fighting platforms and manufacturing strengths. 
General Dynamics’ proven expertise, as SOSI (a system of systems integrator) in various integrational programmes, will bring in the required competency enabling Tata Motors, the lead integrator, to offer a truly indigenous solution for this ‘Make’ programme, it said.
To be developed under the ‘Make category’, the FICV is a high mobility armoured battle vehicle, for infantry men to keep pace with new advancements in weaponry system. 
"The FICV needs to be compact, tracked and amphibious, no heavier than 18-20 tonnes, so that it can be air-portable and transportable by other means, onto combat zones. The vehicle must fire anti-tank guided missiles, to ranges beyond four kilometers, with a capability to carry a crew of three and eight combat-kitted infantrymen. The FICV will replace the Indian army's fleet of 2610 Russian-designed BMP (Sarath BMP-II) series armed vehicles, that are in operation since 1980," the release said.
Mr. Ravi Pisharody, executive director, commercial vehicles, Tata Motors, said, “Defence particularly needs partners with long-term commitments to see products and solutions through multiple generations of evolution, and we at Tata Motors are proud to have joined hands with Bharat Forge and General Dynamics Land Systems, for a complete FICV solution for the Indian armed forces. Through this partnership we will be better positioned to help the country realize its ‘Make in India’ vision, for the first completely indigenized combat vehicle, at the same time cater to the opportunities available right here in India.”
“Committed to the highest standards, we at Tata Motors have invested time and resources towards the indigenization of our products and solutions, and are proud to have made significant progress with a working example of a wheeled prototype of the ICV, called the ICV Kestrel, developed jointly with DRDO," he said.
Mr. Baba N Kalyani, chairman and MD, Bharat Forge, said, “Our proposed partnership will constitute an important milestone, to help meet the Indian Government’s objectives to strengthen indigenous defence capabilities, and particularly in land systems, with the FICV. Working with the country’s largest automotive manufacturer, will help us develop new directions for both companies and to address future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. We look forward to an exciting future.”
Mr. Donald Kotchman, vice-president, tracked combat vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems, said, “We are proud to have been selected by Tata Motors as a partner in order to meet the requirements of the Indian Ministry of Defence FICV programme. At General Dynamics Land Systems, we have established a track record of delivering and sustaining international programs, in a timely and cost-effective manner throughout the platform’s life. Led by Tata Motors, we look forward to working with our consortium partners in supporting the ‘Make in India’ initiative, developing the Indian FICV.”
The FICV is mobility oriented and is established by the fact that three of the five core technologies and 19 of the 34 critical technologies are mobility related, such as engines, transmission and running gear, which are core to Tata Motors, which as a lead of this consortium, has demonstrated years of experience of integrating key technologies needed in the armoured mobility segment. With around 14 Tata companies engaged in providing cutting edge solutions in the defence and aerospace sector, the group has the capability and ability to deliver on the FICV programme, hte release said.
The Tata Motors-led consortium’s response to the Indian Ministry of Defence EoI (expression of interest) commits to indigenisation, through various Tata group companies, that play a vital role in the defence and aerospace sector, also partnering with companies with most advanced competencies in the development of ICVs, for the global market. Some of the group companies involved in the Tata Motors-led FICV program are Tata Advanced Systems, Tata Advanced Materials, Tata Consultancy Services, TAL Manufacturing Solutions and Tata Technologies Limited.
"Given Tata Motors technical capabilities, R&D investments, fixed assets and relevant project experience, in the defence mobility space, has resulted in the development of an amphibious platform for a futuristic combat vehicle (the Wheeled ICV – KESTREL). Down selected as the development agency of the DRDO, the ICV Kestrel was jointly developed by Tata Motors with DRDO, in a competitive tender process, in a record period of 18 months. Both Tata Motors and DRDO are extremely pleased with results of the Wheeled ICV Kestrel, in internal trials for mobility, amphibious capability and gunnery. The Wheeled ICV Kestrel platform, will now be offered by the DRDO to the mechanized forces of the Indian army, for UATT (User assisted technical trials)," the release added.

India's forex reserves slide by $ 3.577 billion to $ 346.788 billion

Falling for the second consecutive week, India's foreign exchange reserves dipped by a whopping $ 3.577 billion to $ 346.788 billion during the week ended February 26, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had fallen by $ 1.466 billion during the previous week, reversing a four-week uptrend.
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had fallen by $3.556 billion to $ 325.026 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 $ 17.697 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 7.4 million to $ 1.48 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 13 million to $ 2.585 billion, the bulletin added.

Reliance Capital Asset Management gets all approvals for hike in Nippon state to 49%

Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM), a part of Reliance Capital, today said it had completed the regulatory approval process for increasing the stake of Nippon Life Insurance, a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest life insurers in the world, to 49 per cent.
In line with the new shareholding structure, the name of the company will also be changed from Reliance Capital Asset Management to Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management. Nippon Life Insurance would also become the co-sponsor in Reliance Mutual Fund, along with Reliance Capital, post the completion of stake sale, a press release from the company said.
According to the release, the company today received approval from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for increasing Nippon Life Insurance stake in RCAM from existing 35 per cent to 49 per cent. The company had already received approval from Competition Commission of India for this stake sale.
“We are thankful to the regulators for granting their approvals to this stake sale and will be completing the transaction in next few days,” said Mr. Sam Ghosh, ED and Group CEO, Reliance Capital.
The Boards of Directors of both the companies -- Nippon Life Insurance and Reliance Capital Asset Management -- had already approved the increase in stake by the Japanese partner, subject to regulatory approvals.
The release said RCAM is the largest asset manager in India, in terms of assets under management (AUM), managing Rs. 2,61,424 crore (US$ 39.6 billion) as on December 31, 2015, across mutual funds, pension funds, managed accounts and offshore funds.
Nippon Life Insurance is already a strategic partner in Reliance Capital Asset Management. The company acquired 26 per cent stake in Reliance Capital Asset Management at an aggregate value of Rs 1,450 crore (US$ 240 million) in 2012. The transaction pegged the total valuation of Reliance Capital Asset Management at approximately Rs 5,600 crore (US$ 920 million).
Subsequently, the Japanese company increased its stake by 9 per cent, to 35 per cent, in February this year at an aggregate value of Rs 657 crore (US$ 108 million) that pegged the valuation of Reliance Capital Asset Management at Rs 7,300 crore (US$ 1.2 billion). 
The Japanese company will now be investing an aggregate value of Rs 1,196 crore (US$ 184 million) to acquire an additional 14 per cent stake in Reliance Capital Asset Management, in tranches, to reach a 49 per cent stake. The transaction pegs Reliance Capital Asset Management’s valuation at Rs 8,542 crore (US$ 1.3 billion), the highest valuation till date for any asset management company in the country.
Nippon Life Insurance is an over 125 years old insurer and a Global Fortune 500 company that manages over US$ 520 billion (Rs 33.8 Lakh crore) in assets -- amongst the largest total assets in the world for any life insurer. 

Sanjiv Kapoor joins Vistara as chief strategy and commercial officer

Sanjiv Kapoor
Sanjiv Kapoor
Former SpiceJet chief operating office Sanjiv Kapoor has joined Vistara, the joint venture full-service airline launched by the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines (SIA), as its new chief strategy and commercial officer.
A press release from the airline said here yesterday that Mr. Kapoor would be responsible for managing a wide portfolio of Vistara’s commercial and planning functions, including strategy development, network planning, pricing and revenue management, sales and distribution, product development, branding, marketing and customer experience. 
Mr. Kapoor will also be responsible for in-flight services and ground operations. He succeeds Mr. Giam Ming Toh who is returning to Singapore Airlines on completion of his deputation with Vistara, the release said.
According to the release, Mr. Kapoor joins Vistara with more than 19 years of experience in the airline industry.
“I am very pleased and excited to join an airline that has the Tata group and Singapore Airlines as its parents – you simply cannot beat the pedigree. Vistara has already earned an enviable reputation in terms of customer experience, service, and operational excellence, and is well positioned to deliver on the proud legacy of the ‘father of Indian aviation’, Mr JRD Tata. I look forward to working with Phee Teik and the entire Vistara team with great confidence that together we will fulfill JRD's dream to create an airline that will make India proud," Mr. Kapoor said.
Mr. Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO, Vistara said, “We welcome Sanjiv into the Vistara family. We are entering into a new phase of growth and Sanjiv’s industry knowledge, backed by rich Indian and global experience will be valuable in propelling Vistara’s growth. We are keen to leverage his passion for the business and his understanding of India’s market dynamics to grow our presence and build on Vistara’s mission and promise.”
Mr. Kapoor, who hails from Kolkata, received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and his BA in Computer Science from Dartmouth College, USA. On the personal front, he is the co-founder of an NGO ‘A Garbage Free India’ that works with local municipalities and schools in India to change public attitudes and clean up India’s streets.
Giam Ming, who has been with the airline since inception and successfully created and established the Vistara brand promise, will work alongside Mr. Kapoor for a smooth transition until end-April 2016, the release added.

Jet Airways to relocate domestic flight operations in Mumbai to Terminal 2 from March 15

Jet Airways today said it would relocate its domestic operations to the state-of-the-art Terminal 2 (T2) at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Sahar on March 15, 2016.
Spread across 4.4 million square feet, the integrated Terminal 2 has 60 departure check-in counters and 80 arrival immigration counters capable of handling 40 million passengers annually. Terminal 2 is also well connected to the island city by public transport which includes the Mumbai Suburban Railway, Mumbai Metro Rail, public transport buses, taxis and auto rickshaws.
Jet Airways' migration of domestic operations to T2 will lead to the integration of domestic and international flight operations in one terminal, resulting in a significantly enhanced, seamless and hassle free transfer experience for guests, a press release from the airline said.
Flight 9W 484 from Mumbai to Kolkata departing at 02:25 hrs will be the first Jet Airways domestic flight to operate from T2 on March 15, 2016. The first arriving flight will be 9W 628 at 00:10 hrs from Kolkata.
The relocation of domestic operations to T2 is part of Jet Airways' strategic commitment to develop Indian airports as hubs, providing guests greater connectivity on its domestic and international networks. Jet Airways operates over 135 daily flights out of Mumbai to destinations in India and around the world.
"The move to Terminal 2 will significantly improve operational efficiencies, by allowing Jet Airways to transition a greater number of domestic flyers onto its international network and vice-versa," it said.
Passengers will now be able to transfer from domestic to international flights within 75 minutes compared to an hour and 45 minutes currently, while international to domestic transfers will take just 90 minutes compared to two hours currently, the release said.
Mr. Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice President - Commercial, Jet Airways, said: "The integration of domestic and international operations at Mumbai’s Terminal 2 will enable Jet Airways to transform Mumbai into a critical international transit hub. As one of the largest carriers operating out of Terminal 2, Jet Airways is best poised to offer its guests a superior travel experience together with seamless connectivity from India to the World."

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 2213 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs 2213 crore across its various businesses.
These include new contracts worth Rs. 1078 crore from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the construction of the Kerala/TamilNadu-Villikuri-Kanyakumari sections of national highway (NH)-47 and NH-47B under NHDP Phase-3 in the state of Tamil Nadu on EPC mode.
The projects are scheduled to be completed in 24 months and involve cumulative construction of 69.9 km of four-lane dual carriage way with concrete pavement, a press release from the company said.
The scope also involves 64 km bypass and realignment work, 51.7 km of service/slip roads, one major bridge, 33 minor bridges, three railway over bridges and 23 vehicular and cattle underpasses.
"The order is in keeping with the momentum witnessed recently in the area of roads and bridges and a reaffirmation of L&T’s credentials in this space through its well-established capabilities in design, engineering, project execution and construction, quality and safety standards and on-time delivery," the release said.
The company said its Power Transmission & Distribution Business had bagged new orders worth Rs. 1001 crore across domestic and international markets.
In the international market, the business has won a prestigious and strategic EPC order from Sarawak Energy in East Malaysia, of Samalaju-2 275/132/33kV substation establishment. The sub-station will supply power to industrial projects and factories under development in the Samalaju SCORE area. 
This is the largest ever GIS sub-station order win in Malaysia to be given by a power utility company along with the largest GIS to be commissioned in South East Asia (43 bays). The project has a demanding and one of the fastest ever commissioning schedules – essential parts commissioning in 15 months including 
construction of the GIS building and essential GIS bays.
L&T was shortlisted and awarded this project after a stringent capability evaluation and on the strength of its commendable past record for fast track project execution. L&T has secured the project in an established MNC sub-station market.
Adding to the list of international successes, a major order has been bagged by Larsen & Toubro (Oman) LLC, a subsidiary of L&T, for construction of 400kV underground cable lines and overhead lines from 400kV Sohar IPP-3 GS to 400kV Sohar free zone (SFZ) Grid station on EPC basis from Oman Electricity Transmission Company Limited.
On the domestic front, an order from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited has been secured for engineering, procurement and construction of +/- 100MVAR STATCOM Installation at 400/220 kV NP Kunta Substation under Transmission System for Ultra Mega Solar Park ( Part A) in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Besides this, another order has been bagged under the RAPDRP scheme for engineering, supply, erection and commissioning of new 33/11kV UG cables and lines with augmentation & network up gradation of existing power lines in Bhubaneswar town. 
The company's Buildings & Factories Business had secured an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) order worth Rs. 134 crore from the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority for the construction of interim government complex buildings.
The scope involves civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and finishes, the release added.

India's forex reserves dip by $ 1.466 billion to $ 350.365 billion

Reversing a four-week uptrend, India's foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 1.466 billion to $ 350.364 billion during the week ended February 19, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had risen by 347.2 millon to $ 351.832 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 fallen by $ 1.436 billion to $ 328.583 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 $ 17.697 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) dipped by $ 2.574 billion to $ 1.487 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by $ 2.544 billion to $ 2.598 billion, the bulletin added.

Reliance Capital Board okays transfer of commercial finance division into separate wholly owned subsidiary

The Board of Directors of Reliance Capital today approved the transfer of its commercial finance division into a separate wholly owned subsidiary. 
The transfer proposal of Reliance Commercial Finance (RCF), approved by the board today, aligns with the existing corporate structure of Reliance Capital wherein all operating business are held as wholly or majority owned subsidiaries, a press release from the company said.
RCF is amongst the leading SME lenders in the Indian non-banking finance space with a focus on asset backed lending and productive asset creation. The company has an aggregate asset under management (including securitized portfolio) portfolio of Rs 15,049 crore as on December 31, 2015.
"All operating businesses of Reliance Capital Ltd., except the Commercial Finance business, are held in its wholly or majority owned subsidiaries. Accordingly, to align the overall operating structure, it is proposed to transfer the Commercial Finance division of the Company into a Wholly Owned Subsidiary. 
"This will also facilitate the treatment of the Company as a Core Investment Company (CIC) in terms of applicable RBI regulations," said Mr Sam Ghosh, ED & Group CEO, Reliance Capital. 
The proposal will enhance management focus on Reliance Commercial Finance and also provide flexibility to the company to unlock value through stake sale. 
Reliance Life Insurance and Reliance Asset Management, both subsidiaries of Reliance Capital, already have a strategic partner --Nippon Life Insurance -- with 49% stake. 
“Reliance Commercial Finance has over 900 employees and the proposal will enhance employee engagement and retention through ability to grant ESOPs in the business,” said Mr Ghosh. 
The demerger will be soon filed for requisite approvals and would be effective from April 1, 2016, subject to necessary court and regulatory approvals. 
As per the scheme, the commercial finance division of Reliance Capital would be merged into Reliance Gilts Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital, and this merged entity would be renamed Reliance Commercial Finance Limited. 
Reliance Capital would be applying to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for registering itself as a CIC post the transfer and this move would also facilitate the application of banking licence, as and when RBI policy permits. 

L&T Hydrocarbon enters into agreement with McDermott for deepwater market in India

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its fully owned subsidiary L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering Limited (LTHE) had signed a long-term agreement with McDermott International focused on subsea projects in deepwater segment emerging on the east coast of India.
Under the agreement, LTHE and McDermott will develop a cost-effective approach which will utilize LTHE’s state-of-the-art, strategically located Kattupalli facility near Chennai. It will be used for fabrication and setting up of a local spool base in India. 
The versatile fleet and combination of reel lay and S lay methods for laying of subsea pipelines will be by McDermott.
"This offers a unique and compelling value proposition for future east coast India deepwater developments," a press release from the company said.
According to it, the two companies have successfully cooperated on several other projects in India previously and this agreement further strengthens the relationship between them.
"The agreement builds on successful collaboration between McDermott and LTHE which resulted in the recent Rs.2450 crore order to the consortium of McDermott and LTHE for Vashishta Deepwater Greenfield development," the release added.

India's forex reserves rise by $ 347.2 million to $ 351.832 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves have risen for the fourth consecutive week, going up by $ 347.2 million to $ 351.832 billion during the week ended February 12, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had risen by $ 2.332 billion to $ 351.484 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 $ 1.581 billion to $ 330.019 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 $ 17.697 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) increased by by $ 21.5 million to $ 4.061 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced by $ 1.255 bllion to $ $ 54.2 million, the bulletin added.

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 1404 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 1404 crore across various business verticals.
A press release from the company said these included orders valued at Rs 1014 crore bagged by its Power Transmission & Distribution business.
It said a major order had been received for an electrification upgradation work in the Middle East from a prestigious customer.
Another additional international order has also been bagged by Larsen & Toubro (Oman) LLC, a subsidiary of L&T, for an additional third and fourth transformer unit of 132/33kV, 125 MVA 
at Madinat Barka and Al Khadra Grid Stations from Oman Electricity Transmission Company Limited.
The company's Heavy Civil Infrastructure business secured an additional order worth Rs. 390 crore from an ongoing metro job in the international market, the release added.

Homi Bhabha National Institute gets nod for Off-Campus Centre in Bhubaneswar

The Central Government, on the advice of the University Grants Commission (UGC), has accorded its approval to the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai, Maharashtra to start an off-campus centre at Bhubaneswar in the name of National Institute of Science Education & Research (NISER) with prospective effect.  
An official press release said that the Central Government is empowered under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956 to declare, on the advice of the UGC, an institution of higher learning as a Deemed to be University;
The Act allows for conduct of academic course/programmes, subject to review of the off-campus centre by the UGC biennially for six years and subsequently after every five year subject to usual terms and conditions as prescribed under the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 and its amendments in 2014 and 2015.
HBNI had submitted a proposal to Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2010 for establishment of an off-campus centre at Bhubaneswar in the name of National Institute of Science Education & Research (NISER). The proposal was examined by the UGC with the help of an Expert Committee in terms of the provisions of UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 and its amendments.
The UGC, vide its communication dated 4th February, 2016 conveyed its approval for declaring National Institute of Science Education & Research(NISER), Bhubaneswar as an Off-Campus Centre of Homi Bhaba National Institute (HBNI) subject to concurrence of the Ministry on amendments in Clause 12.03A of the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 as amended in the year 2014 and 2015, which relaxes the restrictions of six off-campuses to the Institutions Deemed to be Universities which are established and managed by the Government.
HBNI was declared as an as Institution Deemed to be University on the advice of the UGC on 3rd July 2005 consisting of ten Constituent Units: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai; Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam; Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT), Indore; Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata; Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP), Kolkata; Institute of Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar; Institute of Physics (IOP), Bhubaneswar; Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI), Allahabad; Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai and Institute of Mathematical Science (IMSc), Chennai.

Energy sector to provide $1 trillion investment opportunity by 2030: Goyal

The coal, power and renewable energy sectors will provide an investment opportunity of $ 1 trillion by 2030, Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said here today.
Addressing a seminar on Power & Coal during the Make in India Week here, Mr Goyal said, “The efforts of Government have ushered the power sector in a new level of growth altogether which provides for the sector a possible investment opportunity, between 2015 & 2020, a five year period, of about $ 250 billion."
“When I extrapolate that to a 15-year programme until 2030 the coal, power and renewable sector alone provides $1 trillion opportunity. In fact, the ADB has calculated a $ 2.3 trillion opportunity by 2035,” he added.
“When I talk about $1trillion investment by 2030, it’s a well defined area wise plan -- what will go into transmission, what will go into opening of new mines, how will we bring technology into the coal sector and what will be our push towards energy efficiency,” the Minister said.
Factors like new coal generating plants which will be environmentally superior plants and ensuring that the distribution sector works as a vibrant profitable business for the state discoms have been drawn out in great details, he said. He said this provided a great opportunity for investors, both domestic and foreign.
Referring to the present availability of sufficient power and coal in the country, Mr Goyal said, “We have to look at the future and we are engaged in a massive roll out across the value chain of the power sector, be it the fuel availability, be it the expansion of our generating power, massive investment on the transmission side -- to ensure that the nation has a seamless grid across the length and breadth of this large country and adequate support to strengthen the distribution sector."
Efforts were also on to reduce losses at the distribution level and ensuring economies of scale with large scale roll out of these programmes would help us keep tariff low, competitive and affordable, he added.
Mr. Goyal said the government was also focusing on addressing the severe problem of losses, utilization of surplus labour, curbing losses in the transmission side and power thefts.
Thus a turnaround in the sector could be ensured without putting consumers under stress while ensuring “adequate power supply to every farmer, every citizen of this country,” the Minister said.
Referring to UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana), launched in November last year, to financially rejuvenate state electricity distribution boards, Mr Goyal said it was designed on the back of subsidies or government intervention.
It is a bottom up programme being conceptualised by the joint endeavours of all stakeholders of the power sector, he said.
Talking about rural electrification, he pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken up the task of rural electrification on mission mode and assured that in 1000 days (from August 15, 2015), there will be no village in this country without electricity access.
The ministry has taken the challenge to the next level and has committed to reach electricity to 18,452 villages even faster in 730 days. “Nearly one- third of the work is already done and as we speak, about 5279 villages have already been electrified in the last 10 months.
“By March 31, we expect over 6500 villages to be electrified and by  March 31, 2017, our efforts will be to cover 80 to 90% unelectrified  villages across the country. By 2019, the effort is to ensure that every home gets electricity connection, most of them through the grid, some of them through distributed energy and micro grids,” he added.
India’s share in LED consumption has gone up from 0.1% to 12% in just two years on the global scale. The LED programme will save 100 billion units of electricity and $ 6.5 billion every year for consumers, he added.

Sterlite Grid partners Sharper Shape for UAV technologies for power transmission industry

Independent transmission systems developer Sterlite Grid has entered into a strategic partnership with Finland's leading unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)solutions provider Sharper Shape to deliver cutting-edge UAV technologies for the power transmission industry in India.
The alliance will provide business solutions to transmission line operators and help them in reducing delivery time of projects, and increase the uptime of power systems, a press release from Sterlite Grid said.
The agreement was signed in Mumbai yesterday by Mr. Pravin Agarwal, Chairman, Sterlite Power Grid Ventures, and Mr. Samuel 
Salmenlinna, Chairman, Shaper Shape, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Finland, Juha Sipilä in Mumbai. 
“We are glad to have partnered with the company that has done 
pioneering work in utilizing drones for infrastructure projects. India has a tremendous requirement to improve the construction-speed, and operating-efficiency of transmission systems. This partnership will play a critical role towards meeting that need," Mr. Pratik Agarwal, Vice Chairman, Sterlite Power Grid Ventures said, 
Mr. Salmenlinna, said, “We are glad to have found a partner in Sterlite Grid that has been instrumental in bringing globally proven technologies to the field of transmission projects. We are confident that our partnership will add tremendous value to the Indian power sector and we will play our role in delivering 24X7 power for all.”
“I’m happy to see Finnish technology being applied in the Indian market,” said Juha Sipilä, the Prime Minister of Finland, “This agreement is a good example of the business activity between Finland and India."
The release said Sterlite Grid’s role in the alliance would involve setting up operations in India involving all customer-facing activities. Sharper Shape would offer software solutions, technical know-how and capabilities required to fulfill the scope of the work. 
"Today, Indian power transmission sector is facing serious challenges in terms of overburdened network, execution delays and high T&D losses. Sterlite has been at the forefront of introducing new technologies to the power delivery sector. It was the first to introduce helicopter-aided construction, LiDAR-based route inspection, and was also the first private company to commission a transmission project ahead of schedule. 
"This partnership would help by eliminating manual inspections which take a lot of time and offer very low accuracy. UAVs offer timely information from remote places which are inaccessible through manual methods, thereby making operations and 
maintenance more efficient and reducingtechnical losses. To ensure uninterrupted electricity for all, UAVs can play a critical role in preventing breakdowns by offering predictive analytics," the release added.
Sterlite Power Grid Ventures Limited is a subsidiary of Pune-headquartered Sterlite Technologies Limited.

Major fire breaks out on stage at Make in India Week cultural show in Mumbai

A major fire broke out during a cultural programme organized as part of the Make in India Week at Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai on Sunday evening, but no casualties were reported.

Major fire at Make in India event, no casualties
A major fire broke out during a cultural programme organized as part of the Make in India Week at Girgaum Chowpatty here this evening, but no casualties were reported.
The fire started while a group of dancers were performing on stage and, as soon as the gravity of the situation became apparent, the organisers moved in swifty to get all the performers off the stage and the audience, which included many prominent Bollywood personalities and other dignitaries, to safety.
The flames were noticed below the stage a little after megastar Amitabh Bachchan had addressed the gathering and quickly engulfed the entire stage, fanned by strong winds from the sea nearby.
Others present included actors Hema Malini, Aamir Khan and Vivek Oberoi. While Oberoi was about to go onto the stage from the wings for a performance, Khan was in his make-up van a little distance away. Both Oberoi and Khan were all praise for the swift and orderly manner in which the evacuation was handled without creating any panic.
Also present were Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, several ministers, foreign delegates and political leaders. The Chief Minister stayed back at the venue to oversee the rescue efforts. The programme was organized by the Government of Maharashtra.
The stage was completely gutted in the blaze and the rest of the programme was called off, official sources said. The fire brigade managed to contain the fire to the stage and prevented it from spreading to the rest of the venue, they added.
More than a dozen fire tenders and an equal number of water tankers and several senior fire officers rushed to the spot.
The exact cause of the fire could not be established immediately, and Mr. Fadnavis said a comprehensive inquiry owuld be conducted into the incident to ascertain the reasons.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had inaugurated the Make in India Week in Mumbai yesterday, spoke to Mr. Fadnavis over the telephone and extended all support from the Government of India.
The Chief Minister said a fire safety audit was conducted prior to the programme and all standard operating procedures were followed. He said several fire fighting equipment were stationed at the venue to deal with any eventuality.

Modi invites global investors to be part of India's unfolding story

Stating that it was the best time ever to be in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday invited global investors to be a part of the country's unfolding story and promised them cleaner, simpler, pro-active and business-friendly policies and procedures as well as a transparent, stable and predictable tax regime.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the inauguration of the Make in India Week, in Mumbai on February 13, 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the inauguration of the Make in India Week, in Mumbai on February 13, 2016.
Stating that it was the best time ever to be in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited global investors to be a part of the country's unfolding story and promised them cleaner, simpler, pro-active and business-friendly policies and procedures as well as a transparent, stable and predictable tax regime.
Inaugurating the Make in India Week here, he said his government was particularly keen to scale up investments in next generation infrastructure.
"This includes  roads,  ports,  railways,  airports,  telecom,  digital networks  and clean energy. We are also investing  in our social,  industrial  and agricultural infrastructure  to give better income  and quality of life  to our people," he said.
Mr. Modi said that, so far, was the government's implementation capacity that was the biggest bottleneck but it had now speeded up processes, leading to faster turnaround of projects.
Stressing that India's youth, who form 65 percent of its population, was its greatest strength, he said the Make in India campaign was launched to create employment and self-employment opportunities for them.
"We are working aggressively towards making India  a Global Manufacturing Hub.  We want  the share of manufacturing  in our GDP  to go up to 25 per cent  in the near future. We were also aware that under the pressure of this campaign, the government machinery will be required to make  a number of corrections  on the policy front. We are committed  to make India  an easy place to do business," he said.
Mr. Modi said the government wanted to present to the world the enormous opportunities that India offered as a base for manufacturing, design, research and development.
"Make in India Week  is an opportunity to take stock of how we have performed. And what could be the road ahead. This event will show-case different aspects of the progress that we have made. This is the biggest multi-sectoral event and exhibition ever held in India," he said.
"In a year’s time,  Make in India has become the biggest brand  that India has ever created. Both within and outside the country, it has captured the imagination of people, institutions, industries,  media and the political leadership," he said.
"This is because: it reflects our collective desire to engage in productive activities. It also reflects the global need to produce things at lower cost. It is forcing us to make corrections and increase efficiency. It has emboldened us  to integrate with the world on equal terms," he said.
The Prime Minister said India was today, perhaps, the most open country for foreign direct investment (FDI), with most sectors put on automatic approval route.
"Our FDI inflows have gone up by 48 per cent since the day my Government came into office.  In fact, FDI inflow in December, 2015 was the highest ever in this country. This is, at a time, when global FDI has fallen substantially," he said.
He reiterated the government's commitment not to resort to retrospective taxation and assured investors that it was swiftly working towards a transparent, stable and predictable tax regime.
He went on to list the steps taken by the government to improve Ease of Doing Business. He also mentioned various other measures, such as policy corrections in the defence sector, transparent allocation of natural resources and fast-tracking of arbitration proceedings. He said an effective IPR Policy and patent regime, as well as a bankruptcy law were on the anvil.
He said efforts were being made to remove the bottlenecks affecting investments and growth.
Mr. Modi said the results had been encouraging, with India becoming the fastest growing large economy. "We will end  this fiscal year with well over seven per cent growth in GDP. IMF,  World Bank, OECD, ADB and other institutions have projected  even better growth in the coming days," he said.
He said the country would, this year, record its highest ever coal production. He said 2015 saw India achieve its highest ever generation of electricity.
"India’s highest ever kilometers of new highway contracts awarded  was in 2015. Similarly, the increase in railway capital expenditure  was the highest this year," he said.
Mr. Modi spoke about the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), tax free infrastructure bonds, and other initiatives to enhance financing.
"India is a land of immense opportunities. Fifty of our cities are ready for setting up Metro Rail Systems. We have to build fifty million houses. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous. There is no time for incremental changes. We want a quantum jump. We have also decided to do this  in a cleaner and greener way. That is why we have made a commitment to the world community at the recent COP-21 meeting in Paris.  Hence,  we are going for renewable energy in a big way - 175 gigawatts," he said.
Mr. Modi said that, with its various strengths, India offered investors a solid platform to test and launch their making and designing capabilities. In addition, its maritime location made it easy to market products in several other continents, he said.
"Campaigns like Digital India and Skill India have been designed  to prepare people to take part in this process. We have launched  financing schemes which are dedicated to promote entrepreneurship," he said.
"We are soon going to strengthen this process further under the banner of Stand-up India. I feel that, today, our domestic industry and investors are feeling much more confident and optimistic  in spite of an uncertain global situation," he said.
"When we started the Make in India campaign, manufacturing growth in the country was 1.7 per cent. This year it has improved substantially. In the current quarter, manufacturing growth is expected be around 12.6 per cent," he said.
Mr. Modi gave figures about the increase in investment proposals and the growth in production in various sectors such as motor vehicles, mobile phones, electronics, software exports and so on.
He assured investors that, if they took one step, the government would walk two with them.

India's forex reserves rise by $ 2.332 billion to $ 351.484 billion

Continuing an uptrend for the third consecutive week, India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 2.332 billion to $ 351.484 billion during the week ended February 5, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had gone up by $ 1.589 billion to $ 349.152 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 $ 1.807 billion to $ 328.438 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 increased by $ 456.6 million to $ 17.697 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) increased by by $ 51.6 million to $ 4.04 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by $ 16.8 million to $ 1.31 billion, the bulletin added.

Founders increase stake in Arré, B. Saikumar takes controlling interest

Ahead of its launch, the founders of Arré, a content platform from UDigital Content, have realigned their shareholding in the company.
A press release from the company said that Mr. B Saikumar, Managing Director and co-founder has taken controlling interest in Arré, with Mr. Ajay Chacko continuing as CEO and Co-Founder. 
Mr. Sanjay Ray Chaudhuri (RayC), who was co-founder of TV18, has come in as co-founder in Arré.
Promoter Ronnie Screwvala said, “Arré is now all set to launch and all of us are tremendously excited about its potential and trajectory. I am pleased that Sai and team are taking a controlling shareholding in Arré and I will continue as an investor with a significant minority shareholding supporting the company and mentoring the leadership team."
Mr. Saikumar added, “I am thrilled to welcome RayC aboard as co-founder and we are delighted and honoured to have Ronnie continue to guide us. The trailer to our first show 'I Don’t Watch TV' is now out and we look forward to the launch of Arré in the next few weeks."  

BSE Institute Ltd. launches online platform

BSE Institute, a wholly owned subsidiary of BSE Limited, launched its online platform - - here yesterday.
“We have always aimed at spreading our wings across those regions and countries where there is a need and demand of financial markets education, but is not available," Mr. Ambarish Datta, MD & CEO of BSE Institute Ltd. said.
"Our government’s Digital India initiative movement has taken pace with more and more people becoming digitally savvy and well connected to the online world. 
"  is one such platform which offers finance courses and learning to anybody and everybody in this world on the click of a button, whether you are on your desktop/laptop or on your smartphone," he said.
A press release from BSE Institute said had the facility of online payment as well. 
"BSE Institute has a team of dedicated professionals working on the content of these courses offered, which are in line with the current industry requirements," it said.
According to it, the step had enabled BSE Institute Ltd to bring to learners across the globe the knowledge and insights into the capital markets industry, garnered by BSE over the past 140 years.
"BSE, the fastest stock exchange in the world, with a trading speed of 6 micro seconds has been enabling high speed trading. The launch of – 'the new way of high speed learning', will now enable learning at the speed of thought," it said.
The release said the platform would help BSE Institute to address the major challenge faced by students and professionals because the knowledge that they acquire from conventional sources is not only out dated but also not aligned to application in the workplace environment.  
"This is an even bigger challenge for students from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, who have almost no access to industry experts. A wide range of audiences will be addressed ranging from undergraduate programs, to post-graduate programs, to niche programs for senior professionals," it said.
The platform offers a wide range of courses in the areas of finance, capital markets, banking and insurance. The courses contain video lectures, live webinars, discussions, case studies and assignments leading to a certificate from BSE Institute. 
"The established strengths of the BSE Institute - industry aligned contemporary curriculum taught by leading market experts - will now be available to learners all over the world at the click of a mouse. In addition, students from the remotest parts of the country will now be able to learn global best practices and acquire global certifications and aspire for international jobs," the release added.

Citi Foundation grants Rs. 130 million to advance financial inclusion in India

The Citi Foundation has announced an investment of Rs. 130 million ($2 million) under the 2015 India Innovation Grant Program to support eight innovative programs that will accelerate and deepen financial inclusion in India.
Launched in 2014, the India Innovation Grant Program encourages local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop scalable and replicable programs that improve consumer financial decision making while utilizing technology and behavioral insights to lower the cost of delivery and expand financial inclusion in India, a press release from the foundation said.
The initiative is aligned with India's national financial inclusion agenda aimed at improving access to financial services and products for low income populations.
Mr. Pramit Jhaveri, Chief Executive Officer, Citi India, said, "The India Innovation Grant Program – now in its second year - is a pioneering approach by the Citi Foundation to source and scale innovative financial inclusion interventions. The 2015 initiative carries a strong focus on producing positive and measurable financial behavioral change among women and youth by encouraging the accumulation and preservation of financial assets."
The 2015 India Innovation Grant Program experienced an overwhelming response; of the 300 expressions of interest received, programs from eight NGOs were selected after a robust review and approval process.
The eight non-profit organizations that are part of the 2015 India Innovation Grant Program include: Navya Disha Trust, Swadhaar FinAccess, Anudip Foundation for Social Welfare, American India Foundation Trust, Pratham Education Foundation, MelJol, Kalighat Society for Development Facilitation, and Grameen Foundation.
The Citi Foundation's support in India helps to address socio-economic challenges with innovative and strategic grants, which will help enhance and facilitate financial inclusion, promote responsible financial behavior via increased financial literacy and create new income-generating opportunities for individuals from low income households.
Since 1999, the Citi Foundation has supported more than 35 non-profit organizations, benefiting an estimated 2.5 million individuals across India.
Digital Inclusion of Young Aspirants (DIYA) by Anudip Foundation for Social Welfare aims to provide a digital livelihood skills training program to 1,000 low-income youths in Vishakhapatnam and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. The 12-week training program is focused on IT, English, workplace readiness and financial literacy and aims to place at least 720 participants in jobs upon completion.
Livelihood Retention and Financial Sustainability Program for the Youth by Pratham Education Foundation aims to create a viable financing model to fund vocational skills for the underprivileged, equipping low-income students with the skills and knowledge required, enabling 7,000 participants to secure employment.
Technology-Enabled Financial Education in Schools (TEFES) by American India Foundation Trust will develop a standardized and measureable financial education model that can be scaled and institutionalized. It will deliver financial education to 12,000 children in Class 7 integrated with the school curriculum using technology and innovative teaching tools.
Scaling Digital Financial Services & Financial Education by Grameen Foundation will serve at least 27,000 low-income women in Uttar Pradesh who will be trained by 400 frontline workers to uptake the mobile channel for financial services. The program will also roll out relevant mobile financial services and develop e-learning solutions to adequately train frontline workers.
Ascent – Women-led Financial Inclusion by Kalighat Society for Development Facilitation aims to provide financial services to 50,000 urban low-income women in Kolkata by building the capacity of women self-help groups, their leaders and federation of slum and pavement dwellers. In doing so, the initiative will create an enabling environment in which community members will move towards financial inclusion by changing their behavior, using their own assets and engaging more confidently with formal financial services.
Expansion of Innovation in Aflateen Financial and Social Education Program via Aflatoun and Aflateen by MelJol aims to reach over 40,000 children and 160,000 adolescents. Teachers, facilitators, caregivers and self-help group leaders will be trained to deliver home, community and school-level lessons to enhance financial literacy and promote entrepreneurship. This year's program will also feature an entrepreneurship lab to help participants discuss and scale their ideas, develop proposals and start their businesses.
Buzz India by Navya Disha will be expanded to economically empower 6,000 rural women in Karnataka by providing them with tailor-made tools and solutions for business and financial growth. Last year, the program helped participants increase savings by 117% and drastically reduced their reliance on private money lenders. The 2015 grant will enable Navya Disha to deepen engagement, expand geographic coverage and leverage technology and program ambassadors.
‘Money Management Tool' app by Swadhaar FinAccess will encourage bank account usage amongst women in Mumbai. The app will capture the socio-economic information of households or individuals suggest appropriate financial products and will be linked to participants' bank accounts to enable transactions. The app will be piloted amongst 250 women with peer educators as coaches and will then be rolled out to 5,000 community members in Mumbai.
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