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Perth incident: BCCI asks Kohli to avoid such behaviour in future

Virat Kohli
File photo of Virat Kohli.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today sought to lay to rest the controversy arising out of cricketer Virat Kohli's alleged abusive outburst against a journalist of the Hindustan Times in Perth, Australia earlier this week and said it had told the player to maintain the dignity of the Indian team and avoid any such behaviour in the future.
 
The journalist, Jasvinder Sidhu, said in a compaint to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that Kohli had abused him without provocation when the team was training at Murdoch Universty in Perth on Tuesday.
 
Later, according to him, Kohli came out of the dressing room and waved and smilled at him. He also conveyed an apology through another journalist, who told him that Kohli had told him that it was a case of mistaken identity.
 
"The BCCI has taken note of the incident that occurred at Perth a couple of days ago," Board Secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement today.
 
"The BCCI has been in touch with the Indian team management on this issue, and has advised that this kind of incident should not be repeated.
 
"The BCCI respects the role played by the media in covering and popularizing the game of cricket, and acknowledges the support of the media, in its mission to administer and promote the game of cricket in India. 
 
"The player in question has been told to maintain the dignity of the Indian team at all times, and avoid any such behaviour in the future. 
 
"The BCCI would like to request the concerned parties to move on, and focus on the Indian cricket team’s campaign in the ongoing ICC CWC 2015," Thakur added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders worth Rs 2215 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its Construction Division had won orders valued at Rs 2215 crore, including international contracts worth $ 143 million.
 
A press release from the company said the new orders included contracts valued at Rs 1137 crore secured by its Power Transmission & Distribution Business from both the domestic and international markets.
 
Major turnkey orders were received from Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited and Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited to improve the power distribution systems at Ghaziabad and Varanasi, respectively, in Uttar Pradesh.
 
Developed under the R-APDRP schemes, L&T’s scope of work involves system improvements, strengthening and augmentation of power distribution system to reduce ATC losses and improve consumer supply with SCADA compatibility.
 
Larsen & Toubro Oman LLC (LTO), a subsidiary of L&T, has bagged an order from Oman Electricity Transmission Company S.A.O.C for the turnkey construction of a 132/33 kV substation at Izki Phase III. The 400 kV phase is being executed by the subsidiary.
 
Additional orders have also been received from various ongoing jobs of the business. 
 
The company said its Buildings & Factories Business had secured a new international order including add-ons in the domestic market worth Rs 962 crores.
 
LTO has won a repeat order worth Rs 732 crores ($ 119 million) from a client for the construction of a commercial project and its site-wide infrastructure in Oman. The scope involves civil, structural, architectural, electro-mechanical, finishes, specialty lighting, lifts, ICT systems, landscaping, water features, swimming pools and car parking. The project is scheduled to be completed in 25 months.
 
Additional orders worth Rs 116 crores have also been received from other businesses of L&T Construction, the release added.
 
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Three coaches of Mangala Express derail at Pen in Maharashtra

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Three coaches of the 12617 Ernakulam-Hazrat Nizamuddin Mangala Express derailed at Pen railway station, about 130 km from Mumbai, this evening, official sources said.
 
A press release from the Central Railway said no one was injured in the mishap, which occurred at about 1810 hours.
 
The three derailed coaches were S-9, S-10 and the pantry car, it said.
 
A breakdown train, which was at Pen station, was rushed to the spot along with railway officials and efforts have begun to restore operations on the line, it said.
 
Rail traffic will be diverted via loop line at Pen railway station, the release added.
 
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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 1.023 billion to all-time high of $ 334.193 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 1.023 billion to touch a new all-time high of $ 334.193 billion in the week ended February 20, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had soared by $ 2.956 billion to a record of $ 333.169  billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 1.040 billion to $ 308.298 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 20.183 billion during the week while its special drawing rights fell by $ 12 million to $ 4.077 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 4.8 million to $ 1.635 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Bharat Puri appointed as MD of Pidilite

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The Board of Directors of Pidilite Industries Limited, manufacturer of industrial & specialty chemicals, today approved the appointment of Mr Bharat Puri as Managing Director of the company, effective April 10.
 
A press release from the company said this was part of the efforts made by the company over the last seven years to induct senior professionals to strengthen its management structure and reduce the operational responsibilities of promoter family members.
 
Mr. M B Parekh, Chairman and Managing Director, will step down from position of Managing Director on April 10 and will become Executive Chairman, while Mr N K Parekh, Joint Managing Director, will step down from the position on April 1 and become Non-Executive Vice Chairman.
 
Mr. Ajay Parekh, Executive Director, and Mr. Apurva Parekh, Executive Director, will continue to play a significant role in the company and will work with Mr Puri on key strategic matters and also help oversee and strengthen various business divisions and functions.
 
Mr. Puri has been closely associated with the company since his appointment as an Independent Director in 2008.
 
In his previous assignment, Mr Puri was President - Global Chocolate, Gum and Candy Categories at Mondel?z International, based in Zurich and with worldwide responsibilities for these categories
 
He started his career with Asian Paints in 1982 and rose to the position of General Manager - Sales & Marketing. He then moved to Cadbury in 1998 as Director of Sales and Marketing for Cadbury India. In 2002, he was appointed as Managing Director South Asia for Cadbury. Later, he moved to Singapore in 2006 where he was responsible for Strategy, Marketing and Sales for the Asia Pacific region. 
 
Mr Puri has a post-graduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.
 
“It is indeed an honour to lead Pidilite, an iconic home grown Indian multinational in its next phase of growth. I look forward to working with and learning from the talented and committed team at Pidilite, Mr M B Parekh and the Board," Mr Puri said.
 
Mr. M B Parekh said, “I am delighted with appointment of Mr. Bharat Puri as Managing Director. There is a strong familiarity between Bharat and the company as he has been an Independent Director of the company since 2008. Bharat has outstanding local and global experience and a great track record. His vision and value system closely matches that of the company. We are confident that Bharat will build on Pidilite’s strong foundations and steer it to its next phase of growth and development."
 
A Rs 4500 crore company, Pidilite has leading brands like Fevicol, Fevikwik, Dr. Fixit and M-Seal.
 
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SBI launches State Bank Mumbai Metro Combo Card

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State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, in association with Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd. (MMOPL), has launched the State Bank Mumbai Metro Combo Card, which offers a host of benefits to Mumbai metro riders. 
 
The card acts as a payment-cum-access card at Mumbai Metro stations and also as a standard shopping-cum-ATM debit card,  a press release from the bank said.
 
Customers can get immediate access to the entry gate for travel on Mumbai Metro by just tapping the combo card at the AFC gates, it said.
 
Mr. Neeraj Vyas Chief General Manager (Corporate Strategy and New Business) State Bank of India said, “State Bank is constantly in the endeavor of enhancing the customer experience, providing them added benefits and facilitating cash-less payments. State Bank Mumbai Metro Card is a combo card which offers the convenience of travelling on Mumbai Metro, shopping at merchant locations across India and making bill payments all bundled into a single card.” 
 
The card has an issuance charge of Rs 100, of which Rs 50 will be given back pre-loaded in it for travel on the Mumbai Metro. It will have an in-built functionality of auto reload, wherein as soon as the AFC system reads that the balance in the card is equal to or less than Rs 50, it will reload the card automatically with Rs. 200. The amount reloaded will be deducted from the bank account linked with the debit card at the back end, the release added.
 
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Nippon acquires additional 9% in Reliance Capital Asset Management for Rs 657 crore

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Nippon Life Insurance (NLI) of Japan, a Fortune 100 company and the seventh largest life insurer in the world, has completed acquisition of 9 per cent additional stake in Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM), a part of Reliance Capital.
 
The entire transaction proceeds of Rs 657 crore ($ 108 million) for this additional 9 per cent stake has been duly received from NLI, RCAM said in a press release here today.
 
The transaction pegs the valuation of Reliance Capital Asset Management at approximately Rs 7300 crore ($ 1.2 billion), it said.
 
With this transaction NLI has increased its stake in RCAM from the existing 26 per cent to 35 per cent. NLI had agreed to increase its stake in the company from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in two or more tranches, eliance Capital Asset Management from the existing 26 per cent to 49 per cent in two or more tranches, subject the regulatory approvals, which have since been received.
 
“We are happy to strengthen our partnership with Nippon as they increase their stake in RCAM from existing 26 to 35 per cent in first tranche. We believe their expanded role in the company will accelerate our growth, reach and performance in India and also help us in our global presence”, said Mr. Sam Ghosh, CEO, Reliance Capital.
 
Nippon Life Insurance has an option to increase its stake further in Reliance Capital Asset Management by acquiring upto 14 per cent additional stake, to reach 49 per cent, in tranches.
 
According to the release, RCAM is the largest asset manager in India managing Rs. 2,29,060 crore  ($ 36.9 billion) as on December 31, 2014, 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 ($ 240 million) in 2012. That transaction had pegged the total valuation of Reliance Capital Asset Management at approximately Rs 5,600 crore ($ 920 million).
 
Nippon Life is a 125-year-old global Fortune 100 company and manages nearly $ 500 billion (Rs 30 lakh crore) in assets, amongst the largest total assets in the world for any life insurer. The company is the 7th largest life insurer in the world and the number 1 private life insurer in Asia and Japan.
 
RCAM managed Rs. 2,29,060 crore ($ 36.9 billion) as on December 31, 2014, across mutual funds, pension funds, managed accounts and offshore funds.
 
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Jet Airways announces special offer on its international network

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Private sector carrier Jet Airways today announced a seven-day special offer with discounts ranging from 5% to 35% on base fares for return journeys in Première and Economy class on its international flights.
 
This offer is also valid on Etihad Airways international flights from Abu Dhabi which are aligned with Jet Airways flights from India, a press release from the airline said.
 
The special fare offer will be available for sale from February 25 until March 3, 2015, with travel validity from February 25 to Dec 12, 2015, it said.
 
Passengers taking advantage of this promotion will enjoy substantial savings over lowest published fares on the combined network of the two airlines across 135 destinations worldwide, it added.
 
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Tata Power signs MoU with Siberian Coal Energy Company for cooperation in energy sector

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Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, today said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK) to develop opportunities in the energy sector.
 
As part of the agreement, the two companies will cooperate on identifying and targeting opportunities in the energy sector in Russia and other geographies of common interest in order to develop mutually beneficial transactions, a press release from Tata Power said.
 
"It gives us immense pride to announce our association with Siberian Coal Energy Company. SUEK is known to be reliable and world class player in the mining business and Tata Power looks forward to working with them on identifying opportunities across the energy chain. The signing of this MoU is a major milestone for Tata Power and we endeavour to be a significant player in the international energy market," a spokesperson for the company, a part of the Tata Group, added.
 
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Eros launches motion pictures production company Trinity Pictures

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Film entertainment major Eros International has announced the appointment of Ajit Thakur as CEO to spearhead the company’s motion pictures production division, Trinity Pictures.
 
Thakur has joined the leadership team at Eros and will lead Trinity Pictures’ endeavour to invest in developing intellectual property in-house, a press release from the company said.
 
“We are excited about taking a big creative initiative with Trinity and warmly welcome Ajit to join the Eros family to drive this initiative with his wealth of experience and successful track record," Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO, Eros International said.
 
"While our acquisition and co-production model is all about scale, portfolio and market share, the Trinity label will be all about quality, success rate and building franchises with lasting value which perfectly complements our overall content strategy. We are fortunate to have David Maisel, the founder of Marvel Studios on the board of Eros International plc and are hopeful of recreating some of that franchise magic for Trinity," she said.
 
"It has been a dream to build a franchise based motion picture label and in Eros I have found a perfect home to my dreams. I am happy to be a part of the Eros family, India’s biggest film studio and hoping to create at Trinity something meaningful and of lasting value," Thakur said.
 
Before joining Eros, Thakur has held a number of key positions for companies such as Coca Cola and Unilever, UTV, Sony Television and most recently Star TV.
 
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CPI leader Govind Pansare dies, four days after being shot at in Kolhapur

 
CPI leader Govind Pansare succumbs to bullet injuries
Veteran Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and anti-road toll activist Govind Pansare, who was shot at and injured by unidentified assailants in Kolhapur on February 16, succumbed to his injuries at the Breach Candy Hospital here late last night, sources said.
 
Pansare, 82, who had suffered serious injuries in the attack, was earlier in the day yesterday flown in an air ambulance from the Kolhapur hospital where he was being treated.
 
Sources said he breathed his last around 10 pm yesterday. Hospital sources said hehad suffered heavy bleeding in the lungs.
 
Pansare and his wife Uma were shot at by the assailants, who came on a motorcycle, near their house in Kolhapur when they were returning from their morning walk. Both were immediately rushed to a local hospital.
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had arranged for an air ambulance to bring Pansare to Mumbai on a request from his relatives.
 
Mr Fadnavis, who visited the hospital late yesterday, said on microblogging site Twitter, "Maharashtra has lost a progressive leader. The state will always remember his contribution for giving justice to the poor and depressed classes."
 
Pansare's body was taken back to Kolhapur today for his funeral today after the autopsy.
 
The police are, meanwhile, preparing sketches of the suspects on the basis of information provided to them by Mrs Pansare, who is recovering from her injuries.
 
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Govt. refutes reports that INO Project will be used for storing nuclear waste

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The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) today strongly refuted recent media reports which suggsted that the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project's underground laboratory and tunnels would be used for storing nuclear waste.
 
"Such reports are not factual and are baseless. Department of Atomic Energy strongly refutes such erroneous and malicious reports. It categorically states that no nuclear waste will be stored there at any time and INO laboratory will be used only for the purpose of basic science research in the field of neutrino physics," a statement from DAE said here.
 
"The operation of INO will have no release of radioactive or toxic substances. It is not a weapons laboratory and will have no strategic or defence applications," it said.
 
According to the statement, the INO Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 meter.
 
The underground laboratory, consisting of a large cavern of size 132m × 26m × 20m and several smaller caverns, will be accessed by a 1900 m long and 7.5 m wide tunnel. 
 
The project is jointly supported by the DAE and the Department of Science & Technology (DST), with DAE acting as the nodal agency.
 
The objective of INO is to conduct basic research on the elementary particle called neutrino.  Presently 21 research institutes, universities and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) from all over the country are involved in this project. 
 
"INO is expected to galvanise interest in basic science research in the whole country and particularly in and around Theni and Madurai districts of Tamil Nadu.  Science students across the country will have opportunity to pursue cutting edge research in the field of particle physics while being located in India.
 
"The observatory will be located underground so as to provide adequate shielding to the neutrino detector from cosmic background radiation. Tunnel construction is very common and will not have any impact on environment, water sources or dams in the region. The project has all the required clearances from various Central and State Government authorities. A detailed geotechnical studies was also carried out by the Geological Survey of India (GSI)," the statement added.
 
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India’s forex reserves soar by $ 2.956 billion to new high of $333.169 billion

India’s foreign exchange reserves soared by $ 2.956 billion to a new all-time high of $ 333.169  billion in the week ended February 13, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had risen by $ 2.33 billion to a previous high of $ 330.213 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 2.299 billion to $ 307.257 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 20.183 billion during the week while its special drawing rights fell by $ 5.1 million to $ 4.089 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went up by $ 661.9 million to $ 1.64 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Anil Kumble to be inducted into ICC Cricket Hall of Fame

Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble
Former India captain Anil Kumble will be inducted into the International Cricket Council (ICC) Hall of Fame, along with the late Betty Wilson of Australia, one of the greatest women cricketers of all time, during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 match between India and South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 22.
 
Two more former legends of the game will be inducted during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, a press release from ICC said.
 
One of the most versatile wrist-spinners to ever play the game, Kumble, with 619 Test wickets, is the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket after Muttiah Muralidaran (800) and Shane Warne (708).
 
His 337 wickets in one-day internationals (ODIs) ranks him in ninth position on the all-time list of most successful bowlers in that format. 
 
Kumble captained India in 14 Tests between 2007 and 2008, winning three and losing five.
 
In the 138-year history of Test cricket during which 2,156 Tests have been played to date, Kumble is one of only two bowlers after England’s Jim Laker to have taken all 10 wickets in an innings. He achieved this feat against traditional rival Pakistan in New Delhi in February 1999.
 
Kumble made his Test debut in 1990 in Manchester and his final appearance was in New Delhi in October-November 2008. During his career, Kumble played 132 Tests and 271 One-Day Internationals. Apart from his 619 Test and 337 ODI wickets, Kumble also scored 2,506 runs in Tests and 938 runs in ODIs.
 
Wilson, a former Australia batter, played 11 Tests between 1947 and 1958 in which she scored 862 runs at average of 57.4 and took 68 wickets at 11.8 per wicket.
 
On her debut against New Zealand at the age of 26 in 1948, she scored 90 and took four for 37 and six for 28. In her second Test, she scored 111 against England, becoming the first Australia woman to score a Test century against England, and took nine more wickets. Against England in 1957-58, she became the first cricketer, male or female, to score a century and take 10 wickets in a Test.
 
Wilson passed away on 22 January 2010, aged 88.
 
Kumble and Wilson will be formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame during the innings break in the India versus South Africa match at the MCG..
 
ICC Director and Chairman of Cricket Australia Wally Edwards will present Kumble with his commemorative cap, while Wilson’s commemorative cap will be received by her nephew, Ken Wilson, from ICC Chief Executive David Richardson.
 
“It’s an honour to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Indeed, it will be a great moment of pride to receive it during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. I deem it as a great privilege to join the list of great cricketing luminaries.”
 
“Anil was an outstanding international cricketer, a very well-respected opponent, a great statesman for his country and a role model for millions of aspiring cricketers. He played hard but within the spirit of the game. His performance and record speak volumes for his tenacity, commitment, endurance and service to the game," Richardson said.
 
Richardson said of Betty Wilson: “History shows that Betty was an inspiring cricketer, one of the pioneers of women’s cricket and immensely respected because she always put cricket first. Had her debut not been delayed by World War II, I am sure she would have scored lot more runs and taken many more wickets.”
 
Kumble, who is now the Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee, is the fourth India cricketer to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame after fellow former captains Bishen Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar were inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.
 
Overall, Kumble and Wilson are the 77th and 78th inductees while two more former icons of the game will be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, details of which will be announced in due course, the release said.
 
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The process for the selection of players into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame started last year when the ICC Chairman invited all the living ICC Cricket Hall of Famers to send their nominations. The ICC Nominations Committee reduced the long-list to 10 men’s and three women’s cricketers. The short-list was then sent to the Voting Academy, which included representatives of all the 10 Full Members, media representatives from all the 10 Full Members, Associate & Affiliate Member, women’s cricket and FICA representatives as well as living ICC Hall of Famers. The ICC collated the nominations and forwarded the ballot papers to the auditors who provided the final results.
 
The following are the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame:
 
Initial Inductees (55):
Sydney Barnes, Bishan Bedi, Alec Bedser, Richie Benaud, Allan Border, Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Donald Bradman, Greg Chappell, Ian Chappell, Denis Compton, Colin Cowdrey, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Lance Gibbs, Graham Gooch, David Gower, WG Grace, Tom Graveney, Gordon Greenidge, Richard Hadlee, Walter Hammond, Neil Harvey, George Headley, Jack Hobbs, Michael Holding, Leonard Hutton, Rohan Kanhai, Imran Khan, Alan Knott, Jim Laker, Harold Larwood, Dennis Lillee, Ray Lindwall, Clive Lloyd, Hanif Mohammad, Rodney Marsh, Malcolm Marshall, Peter May, Javed Miandad, Keith Miller, Bill O’Reilly, Graeme Pollock, Wilfred Rhodes, Barry Richards, Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, Garfield Sobers, Brian Statham, Fred Trueman, Derek Underwood, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes, Frank Woolley, Frank Worrell
 
2009-10 Inductees:
Herbert Sutcliffe, Steve Waugh, Wasim Akram, Victor Trumper and Clarrie Grimmett
 
2010-11 Inductees:
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Ken Barrington, Courtney Walsh and Joel Garner
 
2011-12 Inductees:
Belinda Clark, Frederick Spofforth, Curtly Ambrose and Alan Davidson
 
2012-13 Inductees:
Enid Bakewell, Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne
 
2013-14 Inductees:
Adam Gilchrist, Debbie Hockley, Bob Simpson and Waqar Younis
 
2014-15 Inductees:
Anil Kumble and Betty Wilson. Two more to be announced in due course
 
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NPCI initiates ecosystem for Unified Payments Interface

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National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organization for all retail payment systems in India, has taken up a new initiative of implementing a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) to simplify and provide a single interface across all systems. 
 
The new interface is designed to enable all account holders to send and receive money from their smartphones with a single identifier – Aadhaar number, mobile number, virtual payments address – without entering any bank account information.
 
A press release from NPCI said the UPI would make possible paying and receiving payments as easy as swiping a phone book entry and making a call on mobile phone.
 
"Everyone who has an account should be able to send and receive money from their mobile phone with just an identifier without having any other bank/account details," it said.
 
The unified layer should allow application providers to take advantage of enhancements in mobile devices, provide integrated payments on new consumer devices, provide innovative user interface features, take advantage of newer authentication services, and so on, the release said.
 
It would allow banks and other payment players to focus on their core business and allow half a billion phones to be the primary payment device in conjunction with other third party authentication.
 
“This unified layer, which offers next generation peer-to-peer immediate payment just by using personal phone, uses existing systems such as IMPS, AEPS, to ensure settlement across accounts. The usages of existing systems ensure reliability of payment transactions across various channels,” Mr A P Hota, MD & CEO, NPCI, aid.
 
NPCI presented a live demonstration of transactions involving a few select banks during the event yesterday, which was inaugurated by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram G. Rajan.
 
Others present included former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Chairman Nandan Nilekani, Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director V R Iyer and NPCI Chairman Balachandran M.
 
The release said UPI is a standardized, innovative, adoptable, secure and cost-effective interface. Once formulated, the standardized API, designed for enabling different forms of payment beneficial for mobile application, and other channels, can be integrated into the NPCI infrastructure.
 
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UPI will make payments possible only by providing an address with others without having ever provided account details or credentials on third party applications or websites. It also has ability for sending collect requests to others (person to person or entity to person) with "pay by" date to allow payment requests to be “snoozed” and paid later before expiry date without having to block the money in the account until customer is ready to pay.
 
UPI has the ability to use personal mobile to "pay" someone (push) as well as "collect" from someone (pull). User can pre-authorize multiple recurring payments similar to ECS (utilities, school fees, subscriptions, etc.) with a one-time secure authentication and rule based access. 
 
All payment system players will use a standard set of APIs for any-to-any push and pull payments.
 
In addition, it has the ability to pay and collect using "virtual payment addresses" that are "aliases" to accounts that may be payee/amount/time limited, providing further security features. It has ability to have PSP provided mobile applications that allow paying from any account using any number of virtual addresses using credentials such as passwords, PINs, or biometrics (on phone), the release said.
 
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RBI issues clarifications on import of gold by nominated banks, agencies

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today clarified that the obligation to export under the 20:80 gold import scheme, which it had scrapped on November 28, 2014, would continue to apply in respect of unutilised gold imported before the date of abolition of the scheme.
 
In a circular to authorised dealer banks, the central bank said it had been receiving requests for clarification on some of the operational aspects of the guidelines on import of gold consequent upon the withdrawal of the 20:80 scheme.
 
The circular said nominated banks were now permitted to import gold on consignment basis. All sale of gold domestically will, however, be against upfront payments. Banks are free to grant gold metal loans.
 
Star and Premier Trading Houses (STH/PTH) can import gold on DP basis as per entitlement without any end use restrictions, it said.
 
"While the import of gold coins and medallions will no longer be prohibited, pending further review, the restrictions on banks in selling gold coins and medallions are not being removed," the circular said.
 
The RBI had on November 28 last year scrapped the 20:80 scheme which required traders to export 20 per cent of the gold imported by them.
 
The government had on July 22 last year imposed some restrictions on the import of various forms of gold by nominated banks and agencies, premier and star trading houses, special economic zone (SEZ) units and export-oriented units (EOUs) which are permitted to import gold for use in the domestic sector.
 
Through a circular of August 14, 2013, the government prohibited the import of gold in the form of coins and medallions.
 
Welcoming the clarifications, Mr Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council, said they were in the right direction following the removal of the 20:80 import restriction and definitely positive for the industry, restoring the previous position.
 
"It is the right time to look at all aspects of Gold Policy with a longer term perspective, going beyond just import policy and incremental changes. The focus of government must be on making gold a smoothly fungible asset in the hands of the millions of households," he added.
 
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RCom partners with Twitter to bring cricket World Cup action to customers

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Telecom services provider Reliance Communications (RCom) the global telecom sponsor of the ICC World Cup 2015, today said it had partnered with micro-blogging site Twitter to bring to its customers a comprehensive platform to follow the ongoing 14-nation tournament.
 
"By allowing its users new ways to connect and engage on Twitter and follow the six-week tournament, Reliance Communications will look to drive Internet adoption and usage during this iconic event, and help drive greater recharges and create stickiness around data usage," a press release from the company said.
 
The release said customers who do not have a Twitter account can also access cricket-related Tweets by logging on to www.rcom.co.in/cricket on their mobile phones throughout the duration of the event, which began on February 13 and will end on March 31.
 
"Here, RCOM customers can engage with players, commentators and celebrities, watch exclusive pictures and videos and of course remain updated with all the latest scores without incurring any data charges," it said.
 
Customers will also be able to follow their favorite accounts and get updates without any data charges from Team India, @BCCI and its players, including skipper MS Dhoni (@msdhoni) or vice-captain Virat Kohli (imvkohli), commentator Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha), as well as former players like Viv Richards (@vivrichards56) and Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne), amongst many others. 
 
Reliance will also encourage users outside the Reliance network to participate in various interactive contests on Twitter on its account @RelianceMobile. Participants could win miniature bats as souvenirs, it said.
 
“We are delighted to partner with Twitter to offer this unique service to all cricket fans for a unique World Cup experience,” Gurdeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Business, Reliance Communications, said. “Cricket is best enjoyed with friends and the fun doubles when you can share exchange with all friends instantly. It is with this thought  that  Reliance has made Twitter free and inclusive, so that our customers can get the most of this World Cup,” he added.
 
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Arvinder Gujral, Director of Business Development, India and SE Asia, Twitter, said: “As a platform for live, public conversations, Twitter has changed the way people connect with sporting & global events including cricket tournaments. All the exciting action on and off the pitch as well as the roar of the Indian cricket fans from Jamagar to Itanagar, and Srinagar to Coimbatore, will be heard on Twitter. Through this partnership, Reliance Communications will enable millions of subscribers across the country to join this cricket party for free and in real-time via Twitter.”
 
In addition to this, Reliance has launched an exclusive cricket portal wherein its customers can download content related to the event like match highlights, commentary, and behind the scenes images. All a customer has to do is go to ICCCWC2015.rcom.co.in.
 
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Former Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil passes away

 
Former Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil dies
Former Maharashtra Home Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader R R Patil passed away at a private hospital here today after a prolonged illness.
 
He was 57. His funeral will be held at his village in Sangli district tomorrow, sources said.
 
Mr Patil was undergoing treatment at the hospital at the Lilavati Hospital for oral cancer for some time.
 
Raosaheb Ramrao Patil was born on August 16, 1957 in Sangli district of Maharashtra, he did his B.A. and LL.B. He started out in his political career as a member of the Sangli district panchayat from 1979 to 1990 before being elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 1990 from Tasgaon. He was re-elected four times in 1995,, 1999, 2004 and 2009.
 
He was appointed Minister for Rural Development in 1999. He was given the Home portfolio in 2004 and again in 2009. In his first stint as Home Minister, he had to quit in December 2008 after some controversial remarks on the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. 
 
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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 2.33 billion to new high of $330.213 billion

 
India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 2.33 billion to a new all-time high of $ 330.213  billion in the week ended February 6, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had soared by a whopping $ 5.846 billion to a previous high of $ 327.883 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 1.633 billion to $ 304..958 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 $ 805.3 million to $ 20.183 million, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) rose by $ 21.8 million to $ 4.094 bilion during the period.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 130.3 million to $ 977.8 million during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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Gold jewellery demand in India up 8% to record 662 tonnes in 2014

India – one of the two largest gold markets in the world – had its strongest year for jewellery demand since the World Gold Council’s (WGC) records began in 1995, up 8% on a year ago to 662 tonnes (t) in 2014.
 
Overall, 2014 saw a stabilisation of the gold market as it pulled back from the extremes of 2013, according to the latest Gold Demand Trends full year report from the WGC.
 
Annual gold demand was 3,924t, 4% lower than 2013. The year ended strongly, with gold demand in Q4 2014 up 6% year on year to 987t, driven by demand for jewellery and central bank buying, the report said.
 
It said jewellery remained the biggest source of demand for gold. Total jewellery demand for the year was 2,153t, down 10% compared to the previous year, which is not surprising given the price-driven jewellery demand surge in 2013. 
 
The report said that demand in India was driven by wedding and festival buying despite the presence of government restrictions on gold imports for most of the year. 
 
Although China saw demand decline 33% year on year, it still represented the second best year for jewellery demand in China since WGC records began, it said.
 
The report said there was also strong jewellery demand in the United Kingdom and the United States, driven by improved economic performance, up 18% to 28t and 9% to 132t respectively.
 
Investment demand, the other big driver of the gold market, was up 2% in 2014, from 885t in 2013 to 905t last year. Total bar and coin investment was down 40% as investors who had made major purchases in 2013 held back from further purchases. This was offset by a dramatic slowdown in outflows from exchange traded funds (ETFs), from 880t in 2013 to 159t in 2014.
 
Central banks continued to see the value of gold as a reserve asset in 2014. Annual central bank demand was up 17% to 477t.  This was particularly evident in the last quarter of 2014, when demand was up 40% year on year to 119t, making Q4 2014 the 16th consecutive quarter and 2014, the fifth consecutive year that central banks were net purchasers of gold.
 
Total supply in 2014 was virtually unchanged compared to 2013 at 4,278t, as recycling contracted to a seven year low, offsetting annual mine production growth, which was up 2% to a record 3,114t.
 
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Marcus Grubb, Managing Director, Investment Strategy at the World Gold Council said: “2014 was a year of stabilisation and innovation in the gold market, with annual gold demand down by just 4% after the record-breaking level of buying seen in 2013. It was a standout year for Indian jewellery, despite government restrictions on gold imports, reinforcing the nation’s affinity with gold. Meanwhile Chinese gold demand returned to those last seen in 2011/2012 as consumers and investors took time to digest the substantial volumes accumulated in 2013."
 
“What’s particularly notable about 2014 is that the striking shift in physical gold demand from West to East is now being followed by gold infrastructure development in Asia. New products and trading platforms were introduced like the Shanghai Gold Exchange International Board, the 'Gold Send' mobile app in Turkey and the new kilobar contracts in Singapore and Hong Kong  - all designed to make gold more accessible to greater numbers of buyers in the East," he added.
 
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EXIM Bank signs MOC with All India Artisans and Craft Workers Welfare Association

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The Export-Import Bank of India signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) here today with All India Artisans and Craft Workers Welfare Association (AIACA), a non-profit organization based in New Delhi, which works on increasing incomes and standard of living of crafts producers by enhancing market opportunities and providing various business development services to them. 
 
The purpose of the MOC is to identify areas and means of cooperation through which Indian grassroots/social enterprises could be supported to enable them reach international markets, a press release from Exim Bank said.
 
Under the MOC, both Exim Bank and AIACA will share their knowledge and connect each other to promising social enterprises for further support, including financial and advisory.
 
The MOC was signed by Mr. Debasish Mallick, Deputy Managing Director, Exim Bank and Ms. Madhura Dutta, Executive Director, AIACA.
 
Mr Mallick said EXIM Bank had been striving towards promotion of exports of products from rural grassroots business enterprises by providing them with an array of services including those related to financial support, capacity building, and export marketing. 
 
The underlying objective is to augment sustainable employment opportunities and exports from the disadvantaged sections of rural India.
 
Mr. Mallick emphasized that this partnership with AIACA was a part of Exim Bank's outreach strategy to target a wider spectrum of grassroots organizations and would supplement the bank's efforts towards boosting exports from rural India.
 
Ms. Dutta said the synergy between the two institutions would improve the quality of business of social enterprises and make them more sustainable in the long run.
 
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SpiceJet resumes service to Hubli from Bengaluru, Mumbai

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today said it would resume flights to Hubli in Karnataka from March 1 with daily flights connecting the city with state capital Bengaluru and Mumbai.
 
The airline will operate 78-seater Bombardier Q-400 aircraft on these routes, a press release from the company said.
 
SpiceJet had earlier suspended its Hubli operations as the runway there was under maintenance since October 2014. The runway has since been declared to be completely functional.
 
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Actress Sonam Kapoor hospitalised due to respiratory infection

Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor has been hospitalised because of a reported respiratory infection.
 
"Hate being sick... Oowie," the actress said on micro-blogging site Twitter and also posted a picture of her hand, with a drip tube stuck to it for intravenous fluids.
 
Media reports said the actress had got the infection while shooting for Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, in which she is paired with Salman Khan.
 
Sonam also said that she used the opportunity to finish reading Gautam Chintamani's biography of late actor Rajesh Khanna. "Very well and fairly written for fans, sceptics and cinephiles," she said.
 
She also thanked chef Kelvin Cheung for sending her protein cookies. "Thank you @chefkelvincheung for the care package.. Feeling better already!!" she said.
 
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India’s forex reserves soar by $ 5.846 billion to all-time high of $ 327.883 billion

 
India’’s foreign exchange reserves soared by a whopping $ 5.846 billion to an all-time high of $ 327.883 billion in the week ended January 30, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had fallen by $ 97.9 million to $ 322.037 billion in the week ended January 23 after rising by $ 2.66 billion to a previous high of $ 322.135 billion in the week before that.
 
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 $ 5.814 billion to $ 303. 325 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 $ 19.378 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went up by $  24.6 million to $ 4.072 billion during the period.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went up by $ 6.8 million to $ 1.108  billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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NPCI proposes Unified Payment Architecture for all retail payments in India

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National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organization for all retail payments in India, has released a document containing the technical specifications that corporates, merchants, banks and other institutional players can adopt to send and receive payments in an inter-operable way. 
 
The thrust would be on optimum utilization of smart phones and biometric authentication from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a press release from NPCI said.
 
"The significance of this development is that merchants would not have to struggle as to how they themselves link with their banks. Software development task would be easier and payment can happen on a real-time, on a 'Request Response' basis," it said.
 
The security layer as at present remains unchanged. This would also facilitate innovations in a big way within the overall ambit of payments system regulations of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it said.
 
“When implemented fully, India can be one of the leading countries in the world on such initiatives,” NPCI Managing Director and CEO A P Hota said.
 
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