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Sun Pharma to acquire branded oncology product Odomzo for global markets

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Pharmaceuticals major Sun Pharma today announced its plans to acquire a branded oncology product, Odomzo, from Novartis.
 
"The agreement has been signed between subsidiaries of both the companies and will close following anti-trust clearance and further closing conditions. The agreement has been signed for an upfront payment of US$ 175 million and additional milestone payments," a press release said.
 
Odomzo (Sonidegib) was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2015. It is a hedgehog pathway inhibitor indicated for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma (laBCC) that has recurred following surgery or radiation therapy, or those who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy. 
 
Approximately 70% of the prescribers are dermatologists and rests are oncologists for this class of drug, the release said.
 
According to IMS Health, the hedgehog inhibitor class grew by 40% in the year to October 2016 as compared to the same period in the previous year.
 
"New data supporting the use of Odomzo were presented at ASCO in June 2016. Data from the BOLT trial showed continued antitumor activity for more than 26 months in patients treated with Odomzo with no new safety concerns.  At the 30-month follow-up, patients with locally advanced BCC had an overall response rate (ORR) as per central review of 56% with  Odomzo® 200 mg.1 The most frequent grade 3 and 4 adverse reactions occurring in more than 2% of patients were fatigue, decreased weight and muscle spasms," the release said.
 
Mr. Kirti Ganorkar, Global Head – Business Development – Sun Pharma, said, “Odomzo gives us an opportunity to meaningfully expand our already established branded dermatology business and support our expansion into Branded Oncology with a launched brand.  We see meaningful global potential for Odomzo by leveraging Sun Pharma’s existing dermatology and oncology infrastructure to provide an innovative product to BCC patients worldwide.”
 
Mr. Jesper Jensen, Head – Biologics and Dermatology, Sun Pharma, said, ”We look forward to collaborating with the medical community to bring this novel therapy to the market to patients suffering from locally advanced basal cell carcinoma.  Odomzo complements and enhances our existing dermatology franchise.  This acquisition has the potential to leverage and expand the relationships that our Levulan sales team have with the dermatologists that treat common pre-cancerous skin conditions.”
 
The release said non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of skin cancer globally. BCC accounts for approximately 80% of non-melanoma skin cancers, accounting for over 2 million estimated cases in the US alone. BCC consists of abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin's basal cells, which line the outermost layer of the skin. It occurs most frequently on the head and neck, with the nose being the most common site. BCC that spreads from where it started to nearby tissue is called locally advanced and can be highly disfiguring. Advanced BCC is thought to represent roughly 1-10% of all cases of BCC. Worldwide incidence of BCC is rising by 10% each year due to factors such as an aging population and increased ultraviolet exposure. 
 
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Deposits of old notes in excess of Rs. 5000 can be made only once till Dec. 30: RBI

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today modified the rules regarding deposit of demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 bank notes, specifying that deposits exceeding Rs. 5000 can only be made once before December 30, 2016.
 
In a notification sent to all banks, the RBI said that, on a review of the provisions ii, iii and iv at C of Para 3 dealing with credit of the value of specified bank notes (SBNs) into bank accounts, it has been decided to place certain restrictions on deposits of SBNs into bank accounts while encouraging the deposits of the same under the Taxation and Investment Regime for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016.
 
Tenders of such bank notes in excess of Rs. 5000 into a bank account will be received for credit only once during the remaining period till December 30. The credit in such cases shall be afforded only after questioning tenderer, on record, in the presence of at least two officials of the bank, as to why this could not be deposited earlier and receiving a satisfactory explanation.
 
The explanation should be kept on record to facilitate an audit trail at a later stage. An appropriate flag also should be raised in CBS to that effect so that no more tenders are allowed, it said.
 
Tenders of SBNs up to Rs. 5000 in value received across the counter will allowed to be credited to bank accounts in the normal course until December 30.
 
Even when tenders smaller than Rs. 5000 are made in an account and such tenders taken together on cumulative basis exceed Rs. 5000 they may be subject to the procedure to be followed in case of tenders above Rs. 5000, with no more tenders being allowed thereafter until December 30.
 
"It may also be ensured that full value of tenders of SBNs in excess of Rs. 5000 shall be credited to only KYC compliant accounts and if the accounts are not KYC compliant credits may be restricted up to Rs. 50,000 subject to the conditions governing the conduct of such accounts," the notification said.
 
The above restrictions shall not apply to tenders of SBNs for the purpose of deposits under the Taxation and Investment Regime for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016, it added.
 
The equivalent value of specified bank notes tendered may be credited to an account maintained by the tenderer at any bank in accordance with standard banking procedure and on production of valid proof of identity.
 
The equivalent value of specified bank notes tendered may be credited to a third party account, provided specific authorisation therefore accorded by the third party is presented to the bank, following standard banking procedure and on production of valid proof of identity of the person actually tendering.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Finance noted that more than five weeks had elapsed since the time of the November 8 announcement on demonetisation. 
 
"It is expected that, by now, most of the people would have deposited such old notes in their possession," it said.
 
"Further, an opportunity has been given to the public to make the payments towards tax, penalty, cess/surcharge and deposit under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) 2016 with the old bank notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denomination upto 30th December, 2016," it said.
 
The release also said that a number of representations had been received from District Cooperative Central Banks (DCCBs) to allow them to deposit with their linked currency chests the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes that had been collected by them between the 10th of November and 14th of November, 2016. An enabling notification to this effect has been issued. NABARD which supervises the DCCBs will conduct complete audit check of the Know Your Customer (KYC) documents of the individual customers who have deposited these notes or of the members of the Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) who have deposited these notes. The details in this regard will be notified by RBI, the release said.
 
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India’s forex reserves dip by $ 887.2 million to $ 362.987 billion

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Falling for the fifth consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 887.2 million to $ 362.987 billion in the week ended December 9, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had fallen by $ 1.431 billion to $ 363.874 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 down by $ 873 million to $339.258 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 $ 19.983 billion while its special drawing rights (SDRS) declined by $ 5.4 million to $ 1.438 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 8.8 million to $ 2.307 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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India’s forex reserves dip by $ 1.431 billion to $ 363.874 billion

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Declining for the fourth consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.431 billion to $ 363.874 billion in the week ended December 2, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had fallen by $ 193.8 million to $ 365.306 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 down by $ 957.9 million to $ 340.131 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 decreased by $ 477.9 million to $ 19.983 billion while its special drawing rights (SDRS) grew by $ 1.7 million to $ 1.444 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by $ 2.8 million to $ 2.316 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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SBI okays sale of 3.9% stake in SBI Life to KKR and Temasek for Rs. 1,794 crore

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State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, today said it had approved the sale of 3.9 crore shares of Rs. 10 each, equalling a 3.9% stake in its subsidiary SBI Life Insurance Company Limited (SBI Life) for Rs. 1,794 crore ($ 264 million). 
 
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Executive Committee of its Board and is subject to the regulatory approvals, a press release from the bank said.
 
 An investment vehicle affiliated with KKR-managed funds and an affiliate of Temasek, the Singapore based Investment Company, will each purchase 1.95 crore shares from SBI. The proposed transaction values SBI Life at Rs. 46,000 crores (at Rs. 460 per share). 
 
"The transaction completion is subject to regulatory approvals," the release said.
 
Upon completion of the transaction, SBI will hold 70.1% stake in SBI Life while its joint venture partner, BNP Paribas Cardif, will continue to hold 26.0%.
 
Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Limited and SBI Capital Markets Limited acted as the exclusive financial advisors for the transaction, the release said.
 
“State Bank of India is happy to welcome KKR and Temasek as our incoming partners in SBI Life. The partnership with KKR and Temasek is a recognition of the efforts of SBI Life’s commitment to create a high quality institution which is a leader in the private Indian Life Insurance space. Moreover, this transaction values SBI Life at Rs. 46,000 crores, reflecting significant value creation since its inception in 2001," SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said.
 
Mr. Arijit Basu, MD & CEO, SBI Life said, “SBI Life is a leader in an attractive industry with strong underlying growth drivers and this transaction particularly reflects investor conviction in the business strength of our franchise. We are delighted to partner with KKR and Temasek and look forward to an enriching association to support SBI Life’s continued growth, sustainable profitability and contribution to our policyholders’ progress.”
 
Mr. Sanjay Nayar, Member & CEO of KKR India, said, “We see exciting growth opportunities for Indian insurers stemming from increasing savings, a rising middle class and rapid urbanization. We look forward to supporting SBI Life’s long-term growth alongside these high-caliber partners, and are excited to enhance financial access for citizens across the country and promote the development of a more inclusive financial services industry.”
 
Mr. Rohit Sipahimalini, Joint Head, Temasek India, said, “We are positive on the long term potential of insurance in India which is a play on growing middle income, rising household financial savings and supportive demographics. SBI Life stands well-positioned to benefit from these long term trends and we look forward to supporting SBI Life in its growth plans.”
 
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RBI keeps key policy repo rate unchanged at 6.25%

 
In a surprise move, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today decided to keep the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.25 percent.
 
In the RBI's Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17, a resolution adopted by the MPC had taken the decision on the basis of its assessment of the current and evolving macro-economic situation at its meeting today.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF remains unchanged at 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.75 per cent, it said.
 
"The decision of the MPC is consistent with an accommodative stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving consumer price index (CPI) inflation at 5 per cent by Q4 of 2016-17 and the medium-term target of 4 percent within a band of +/- 2 percent, while supporting growth," it said.
 
The statement said the MPC took note of the upturn in the prices of several items that is masked by the easing of inflation on base effects during October.
 
Despite some supply disruptions, the abrupt compression of demand in November due to the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 100 banknotes (specified bank notes or SBN) could push down the prices of perishables in the reading that becomes available in December, it said.
 
On the other hand, prices of wheat, gram and sugar have been firming up. While discretionary spending on goods and services in the CPI excluding food and fuel – constituting 16 per cent of the CPI basket – could have been affected by restricted access to cash, the prices of these items may weather these transitory effects as they are normally revised according to pre-set cycles, it said.
 
The statement said pices of housing, fuel and light, health, transport and communication, pan, tobacco and intoxicants, and education – together accounting for 38 per cent of the CPI basket – may remain largely unaffected. Going forward, base effects are expected to reverse and turn unfavourable in December and February. If the usual winter moderation in food prices does not materialise due to the disruptions, food inflation pressures could re-emerge. Furthermore, CPI inflation excluding food and fuel has been resistant to downward impulses and could set a floor to headline inflation, it said.
 
"With the OPEC’s agreement to cut production, crude prices may firm up in the coming months. Global developments, especially as financial markets factor in the future stance of US monetary and fiscal policy, could impart volatility to the exchange rate thereby feeding into inflation. The withdrawal of SBNs could result in a possible temporary reduction in inflation of the order of 10-15 basis points in Q3. Taking these factors into account, headline inflation is projected at 5 per cent in Q4 of 2016-17 with risks tilted to the upside but lower than in the October policy review. The fuller effects of the house rent allowances under the 7th CPC award are yet to be assessed, pending implementation, and have not been reckoned in this baseline inflation path," it said.
 
The statement said the outlook for gross value added (GVA) growth for 2016-17 had turned uncertain after the unexpected loss of momentum by 50 basis points in Q2 and the effects of the withdrawal of SBNs which are still playing out.
 
The MPC revised downwards its estimate for GVA growth for 2016-17 from 7.6 percent to 7.1 percent.
 
"Downside risks in the near term could travel through two major channels: (a) short-run disruptions in economic activity in cash-intensive sectors such as retail trade, hotels & restaurants and transportation, and in the unorganised sector; (b) aggregate demand compression associated with adverse wealth effects. The impact of the first channel should, however, ebb with the progressive increase in the circulation of new currency notes and greater usage of non-cash based payment instruments in the economy, while the impact of the second channel is likely to be limited. In October 2016, GVA growth in H2 was projected at 7.7 per cent and for the full year at 7.6 per cent. Incorporating the expected loss of growth momentum in Q3 and waning effects in Q4 alongside the boost to consumption demand from higher agricultural output and the implementation of the 7th CPC award, GVA growth for 2016-17 is revised down from 7.6 per cent to 7.1 per cent, with evenly balanced risks," it said.
 
The statement said that, in Q3 upto early November, liquidity conditions remained in mild surplus mode. The Reserve Bank injected liquidity of Rs. 1.1 trillion through OMO purchases during the fiscal year so far, including an OMO purchase auction of Rs. 100 billion in October. 
 
"Although the replacement of SBNs has engendered large surplus liquidity warranting exceptional operations, this needs to be seen as transitory. The Reserve Bank is committed to conducting liquidity operations in pursuit of the objectives of the revised framework put in place in April to restore system level liquidity to a position of neutrality as the surplus liquidity pressures abate.
 
"In the view of the Committee, this bi-monthly review is set against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty. Globally, the imminent tightening of monetary policy in the US is triggering bouts of high volatility in financial markets, with the possibility of large spillovers that could have macroeconomic implications for EMEs. 
 
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"In India, while supply disruptions in the backwash of currency replacement may drag down growth this year, it is important to analyse more information and experience before judging their full effects and their persistence – short-term developments that influence the outlook disproportionately warrant caution with respect to setting the monetary policy stance. If the impact is transient as widely expected, growth should rebound strongly. 
 
"Turning to inflation, food prices other than vegetables are exhibiting sustained firmness and a pick-up in momentum. Another disconcerting feature of recent developments is the downward inflexibility in inflation excluding food and fuel which could set a resistance level for future downward movements in the headline.
 
"Moreover, volatility in crude prices and the surge in financial market turbulence could put the inflation target for Q4 of 2016-17 at some risk. Given these indicators of underlying inflation, it is appropriate to look through the transitory but unclear effects of the withdrawal of SBNs while setting the monetary policy stance. On balance, therefore, it is prudent to wait and watch how these factors play out and impinge upon the outlook. 
 
"Accordingly, the policy repo rate has been kept on hold in this review, while retaining an accommodative policy stance," the statement said.
 
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RBI to issue new Rs. 100 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said it would shortly issue new Rs. 100 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005, without inset letter in both the numbering panels, bearing the signature of Dr. Urjit R. Patel, Governor, RBI, and the year of printing '2016' printed on the reverse of the banknote.
 
A press release from the RBI said the design of these banknotes to be issued now is similar in all respects to the Rs. 100 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi Series- 2005 issued earlier, having ascending size of numerals in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark, on the obverse. 
 
Reserve Bank of India had also issued Rs. 100 denomination banknotes with the ascending size of numerals in the number panels but without bleed lines and enlarged identification mark. These banknotes will remain in circulation concomitantly with the banknotes being issued now, it said.
 
"All the banknotes in the denomination of Rs. 100 issued by the Bank in the past will continue to be legal tender," the release added.
 
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Exercise Konkan 16 between Indian Navy, Royal Navy begins

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Konkan 16, the 2016 edition of the annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy, is being held from today till December 16 in Mumbai and Goa as part of efforts to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and the United Kingdom.
 
The exercise will also enhance the capability of the two navies to work together to contribute towards maritime security in the global commons, an official press release said.
 
The exercise, named Konkan after the Western coastal region of India, was institutionalised in 2004. Since then, it has been hosted in rotation by both the navies and has grown in complexity, scale and intensity.
 
The release said the exercise would be conducted in two phases in Mumbai and Goa. The first phase from December 5-9 would be a Command Planning exercise involving the two navies in Mumbai, where planners from both sides will undertake planning for combined maritime operations. 
 
The second phase is a live exercise to be held from December 12-16 in Goa, which involves interaction between the IN Marine Commandos (MARCOs) and the Royal Marines.
 
Both phases will involve sharing of best practices and lessons learnt from recent operations, especially in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO).
 
"Konkan 16 will be an important chapter in the maritime interactions under the aegis of Konkan series as it will familiarise both forces with each other’s planning processes and further enhance synergy and inter-operability. In addition, participation of IN MARCOs and Royal Marines would add another dimension to this exercise and provide valuable opportunity for both navies to interact and cooperate in the field of Maritime Security Operations," the release said.
 
"Successive editions of Konkan have built on past experiences and have enhanced operational inter-operability between the two navies. This cooperation between the two navies is a positive and tangible symbol of commitment in ensuring a positive climate for maritime security and economic development," it added.
 
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RBI to issue new Rs. 50 and Rs. 20 banknotes, old ones will continue to be legal tender

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said it would shortly issue new Rs. 50 and Rs. 20 banknotes but made it clear that all the notes issued in these denominations in the past would continue to be legal tender.
 
The new Rs. 50 banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi series-2005 would be without inset letter in both the number panels, with numerals in ascending size in number panels, and without intaglio printing, a press release from the central bank said.
 
The new Rs. 20 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005 woud have inset letter ‘L’ in both the number panels, it said.
 
The notes will bear the signature of RBI Governor Urijit Patel and have the year of printing '2016' printed on the reverse, the release added.
 
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Govt. acts against 33 bank officials for irregular transactions after demonetisation

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The Government today said action had been taken against 33 officials of various public sector banks so far for carrying out irregular transactions in violation of the instructions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) following the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes with effect from the midnight of November 8.
 
An official press release said 27 bank officials had ben placed under suspension and six had been transferred to non-sensitite posts.
 
According to the release, pursuant to the demonetisation decision, banks had done commendable work by putting in long hours of untiring effort in managing banking transactions.
 
"Some cases have come to notice, however, of officials involved in carrying out transactions which were irregular and violative of RBI’s instructions," it said.
 
"While all efforts are being made to facilitate genuine transactions, illegalities will not be tolerated and appropriate action will be taken against individuals involved in irregular and unauthorised activities," the release added.
 
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India's forex reserves fall by $ 193.8 million to $ 365.306 billion

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Falling for the third consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 193.8 million to $ 365.306 billion in the week ended November 25, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had gone down by $ 1.542 billion to $ 365.5 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 down by $ 187.1 million to $ 341.089 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 $ 20.461 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) decreased by $ 2.7 million to $ 1.442 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 4 million to $ 2.314 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Reliance Jio extends free data, voice, video, content for another three months

Telecom services provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) on Thursday extended freebies such as free data, voice, video, applications and content to its subscribers for another three months upto March 31, 2017.

 
Reliance Jio to provide free services till March 2017: Mukesh Ambani
Telecom services provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) today extended freebies such as free data, voice, video, applications and content to its subscribers for another three months upto March 31, 2017.
 
RJIL is a subsidiary of energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and had launched its services on September 5 this year with a three-month Jio Wecome Offer with the free services for subscribers. During this period, the company has enrolled 52 million subscribers.
 
"The benefits will be available to all subscribers signing up for Jio services up to 3 March 2017. The existing Jio Welcome Offer users will continue to enjoy the unlimited benefits under JWO up to 31 December 2016, following which they would be automatically signed-up for the JNO as well," RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.
 
Mr. Ambani said that, considering 80% of Jio subscribers use upto 1 GB of data daily, while the remaining 20% use disproportionately more data, Jio has limited the high-speed-data quantity to 1 GB per day per user, following which the speed will be reduced to 128 Kbps. This step has been taken to ensure that all the Jio users get superior data experience, he said.
 
Attractive tariff options have been offered for subscribers wishing to consume additional data beyond 1 GB per day at regular speed as part of the JNO, he said.
 
Mr. Ambani said that, in the past three months, Reliance Jio had come the fastest growing technology company ever in the world.
 
"In the first three months since its birth, Jio has grown faster than Facebook, WhatsApp or Skype. In 83 days, Jio has crossed 50 million customers on its 4G LTE all-IP wireles broadband network," he said.
 
Mr. Ambani said that, on average, a Jio customer is using 25 times more data than the average Indian broadband user. "A Jio customer today is consuming data on par with, and in many cases more than, sophisticated users anywhere in the world," he said.
 
He said Jio had signed up more than six lakh customers every single day for the past three months. He said the company had fast-tracked Aadhaar-based e-KYC roll-out nationall, allowing SIM activation in under five minutes.
 
"Today, Jio has successfully rolled out eKYC across two lakh outlets in India. To put this in perspective, this is nearly equal to the total number of ATMs in India. We are in the process of doubling this network, to four lakh digitally enabled outlets, by March of 2017.
 
"Every Jio store and retailer in every neighborhood can not only activate Jio customers via eKYC, but is also equipped to provide unmatched customer service and new Aadhar-based services because of this digital infrastructure," he said.
 
On voice interconnection with existing telecom operators, Mr. Ambani said Jio had not received the required support from them.
 
"In the last 3 months, nearly 900 crore voice calls from Jio customers to the networks of our three largest competitors were blocked. The benefits of Jio's superior voice technology have been denied to Indian customers due to such anti-competitive behavior of incumbent operators.
 
"Given the gravity of the situation, the authorities have intervened and instructed all the operators to provide sufficient interconnection capacity. We thank the Government and the regulator for enforcing the licence conditions," he said.
 
"Over the past months, the call block rates has come down from over 90% to nearly 20% as of yesterday. We are working with all our fellow operators to ensure that in the coming weeks, this will come below the specified grade of service, which is 0.2%," he said.
 
Mr. Ambani said Jio now fully supported mobile number portability and customers can retain their existing number when they migrate to Jio.
 
He said the company had introduced home delivery of Jio SIMs, which can then be activated in five minutes through eKYC. "This feature is being progressively launched across India through the MyJio application and will be available in the top 100 cities by 31st December 2016," he said.
 
Mr. Ambani used the opportunity to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision to demonetise Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes.
 
"By doing this, our Prime Minister has given the strongest possible push to the growth of a digitally-enabled, optimal-cash economy in India. This decision is an important step in his ongoing efforts to change the mindset of the people of India. Digitally-enabling transactions will help to create a fair, just, transparent and strong India and Indian economy. It will bring unprecedented accountability at every level.
 
"I believe that the common people will be the biggest beneficiaries of this change. Every Indian will have a Digital ATM in their hands, which they can operate whenever and wherever they want. No more will they have to travel and stand in queue for train tickets, bus tickets, movie tickets, to pay bills for utilities, or to deposit and withdraw money from banks. Time saved is money earned.
 
"Therefore, I am absolutely confident that a digitally-enabled economy will help India become stronger – and every Indian becomes even stronger," he said.
 
Mr. Ambani sid that, with this one single step, Mr. Modi had brought all the unproductive money into productive use. 
 
"This will enhance credit flow in the economy and legitimate credit is the fuel that powers the engine of economic growth. So far, credit in our country has mostly been high value and low volume. Digital enablement has laid the groundwork for broad availability of low value, high volume credit. This will provide credit to our farmers, small shopkeepers, traders and daily wage earners. Again, the biggest benefit of this goes to the ordinary Indian.
 
"All of us at Jio are enthusiastically committed to making this transition smooth for every Indian across the country," he said, announcing the JioMoney application which will give customers access to a digital money wallet that is linked to their bank account.
 
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"One of the key drivers for adoption of digital money and the cashless way of living is people's ability to convert physical cash into digital gash and vice-versa. In order to make this possible, JioMoney is rapidly expanding its reach to millions of touch points where Aadhar based micro-ATMs will be deployed," he said.
 
Mr. Ambani said that, to enable digital transactions, merchants, especially small merchants, are an important component of the economy.
 
"To fuel their transactions, Jio is working to empower Indian merchants by building a digital retail ecosystem, which we are calling Jio-Money Merchant Soltions.
 
"This will enable digital transactions of all types, whether they be at mandis, small shops, restaurants, railway ticket counters, for bus and mass transit and even for person-to-person money transfers.
 
"Starting 5th of December, every merchant can download the Jio-Money Merchant Application. Customers use their JioMoney Wallets to pay merchants from their bank accounts, and merchants can use the JioMoney Merchant App to accept these payments directly into their bank accounts.
 
"Using the JioMoney Merchant App, merchants can also make supplier payments, transfer money between his bank account and use digital petty cash. JioMoney is focused on signing up over 10 million small merchant retailers in the coming weeks across 17,000 towns and 4 lakh villages," he added.
 
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Cabinet approves Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-Phase III

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The Union Cabinet today approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III with an estimated cost of Rs. 8,679 crore and a completion cost of Rs. 10,947 crore.
 
The project is expected to be completed in the next five years during the 13th Plan period, an official press release said.
 
Western Railway is running suburban services on the existing busy double line between Virar and Dahanu Road, which is a part of the main line Mumbai-Ahmedabad/Delhi route. 
 
The release said the main line is already saturated and there is no scope for supplementing suburban services on it. Construction of an additional double line between Virar and Dahanu Road will address the demand of commuters in this region. It will provide extension of suburban services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road. 
 
The Panvel-Karjat double line suburban corridor will cater to the significant urbanization and population growth in recent years in the area. It will also provide an alternate route from Karjat to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CSTM) via  Panvel, which will be shorter by 23 km than the existing route via Kalyan and will reduce travel time between CSTM and Karjat by 35 to 40 minutes by slow trains. 
 
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Presently, passengers commuting from Kalyan to Vashi/ Panvel or in reverse direction, have to get down at Thane and take Trans Harbour link. This results in congestion at Thane which is already a busy station on Central Railway. The Airoli-Kalwa corridor will reduce congestion at Thane station and will also save time as these passengers can travel bypassing Thane. Procurement of new coaches will enhance the quality of service and reduce congestion. The works proposed under trespass control at 22 locations shall significantly reduce trespass and will provide safer environment for the public, the release said.
 
The Mumbai suburban railway network on Central and Western Railways has 376 route kms. There are five corridors, two on Western Railway, two on Central Railway and one on Harbour Line of Central Railway. Everyday approximately 8 million people travel in suburban section in more than 2900 train services. There is severe overcrowding in the suburban trains specially during peak hours. Due to geographical constraints, spread of the population and location of business areas, the rail network will continue to be the principal mode of mass transport in Mumbai. To meet the demands of the ever growing commuter traffic, new suburban corridor between Panvel-Karjat (28 route km), new elevated corridor between Airoli-Kalwa( 3 route km ), quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu Road (63 route km), procurement of 565 new coaches and trespass control measures in mid sections have been included in Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)- Phase III.  
 
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RBI places cap of Rs. 10,000 a month on withdrawal from PMJDY accounts

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has placed a limit of Rs.10,000 on monthly withdrawals from the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) bank accounts in a move that it said was aimed at protecting "innocent farmers and rural account holders" of PMJDY from activities of money launders and legal consequences under the Benami Property Transaction & Money Laundering laws.
 
"...it has been decided to place certain limits, as a matter of precaution, on the operations in the PMJDY accounts funded through deposits of Specified Bank Notes (SBNs) after November 09, 2016," a circular from RBI to all banks said yesterday.
 
As a temporary measure, the banks have been advised that fully Know Your Customer (KYC)-compliant account holders may be allowed to withdraw Rs. 10,000 from their account in a month.
 
The circular said that branch managers may allow further withdrawals beyond Rs. 10,000 within the current applicable limits only after ascertaining the genuineness of such withdrawals and duly documenting the same on bank’s record.
 
Limited or non-KYC compliant account holders may be allowed to withdraw Rs. 5,000 per month from the amount deposited through SBNs after November 9, 2016 within the overall ceiling of Rs. 10,000, the circular added.
 
The Government had, in a sudden move, demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes from midnight of November 8-9 as part of its efforts to fight black money, corruption and terror financing.
 
People who held such notes are required to deposit them in their bank accounts before December 30. For some days, they were also allowed to exchange old notes worth Rs. 2000 and later Rs. 4000, across the counter at banks.
 
With new Rs. 2000 and Rs. 500 notes still being printed, people across the country have experienced  severe shortages of cash in hand and there have been long queues outside banks and ATMs everywhere. Most ATMs are not working because they are yet to be calibrated for the new notes, and the ones that are run out of cash quickly, given the huge demand. The Government has placed temporary restrictions on the total withdrawals of cash that can be made from ATMs and from bank accounts.
 
Meanwhile, there has been a sudden surge in deposits in thousands of PMJDY accounts, most of which were lying dormant with zero or low balances. The Government suspects that those with black money are making use of these accounts to launder unaccounted income.
 
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RBI announces measures to manage liquidity conditions

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said a part of the suprplus liquidity in the banking system, due to the surge in deposits in banks after the demonetisation of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes on November 8, wuld be absorbed by appying an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) as a purely temporary measure.
 
With the withdrawal of the legal tender status of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination bank notes (hereafter referred to as Specified Bank Notes - SBNs) beginning November 9, 2016, there has been a surge in deposits relative to the expansion in bank credit, leading to large excess liquidity in the system," a press release from the central bank said.
 
"The magnitude of surplus liquidity available with the banking system is expected to increase further in the fortnights ahead. In view of this, it has been decided to absorb a part of this surplus liquidity by applying an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) as a purely temporary measure...," it said.
 
The release said the CRR remained unchanged at 4 per cent of outstanding net demand and time liabilities (NDTL).
 
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On the increase in NDTL between September 16, 2016 and November 11, 2016, scheduled banks shall maintain an incremental CRR of 100 per cent, effective the fortnight beginning November 26, 2016. 
 
"This is intended to absorb a part of the surplus liquidity arising from the return of SBNs to the banking system, while leaving adequate liquidity with banks to meet the credit needs of the productive sectors of the economy. As the incremental CRR is intended to be a temporary measure within the Reserve Bank’s liquidity management framework to drain excess liquidity in the system, it shall be reviewed on December 9, 2016 or even earlier.
 
"The Reserve Bank has separately revived the Guarantee Scheme to enable deposit of SBN balances at the Reserve Bank or at currency chests and get immediate value. This measure should also facilitate banks’ compliance with the incremental CRR," the release added.
 
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India's forex reserves dip by $ 1.542 billion to $ 365.5 billion

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Falling for the second consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.542 billion to $ 365.5 billion in the week ended November 18, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had gone down by $ 1.19 billion to $ 367.042 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 down by $ 1.496 billion to $ 341.276 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 $ 20.461 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) decreased by $ 17.9 million to $ 1.445 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 28.5 million to $ 2.318 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Sun Pharma to acquire Biosintez in Russia

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Pharmaceuticals majorSun Pharma today said its wholly owned subsidiary had executed definitive agreements for the acquisition of 85.1% of JSC Biosintez, a Russian pharmaceutical company engaged in manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical products in Russia and CIS region. 
 
The equity consideration for the 85.1% stake is $ 24 million, a press release from the company said.
 
Sun Pharma would also assume a debt of approximately $ 36 million as part of this transaction, it said.
 
Biosintez is a Russian pharmaceutical company focusing on the hospital segment with annual revenues of approximately $ 52 million for 2015. It has a manufacturing facility in Penza region with capabilities to manufacture a wide variety of dosage forms including pharmaceuticals for injections, blood substitutes, blood preservatives, ampoules, tablets, ointment, creams, gels, suppositories, APIs, and so on.
 
Mr. Aalok Shanghvi, Head of Emerging Markets, Sun Pharma, said, “This acquisition is consistent with Sun Pharma’s philosophy to invest in strategic Emerging Markets. This transaction gives us access to local manufacturing capability across multiple dosage forms in Russia, enabling us to serve the Russia pharmaceutical market more effectively.”
 
“This is an important milestone for us” said Mr. Artur Valiev, Country Head – Sun Pharma, Russia. “The acquisition signifies Sun Pharma’s commitment to Russia and the Russian 2020 plan for localization.”
 
The transaction, expected to be completed by end of 2016, is subject to approval of the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and other closing conditions.
 
As per IMS (MAT September 2016), the Russian pharmaceutical market recorded sales of approximately $ 10 billion. The market recorded a growth of 7.4% in local currency terms as per IMS, the release added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 1926 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 1926 crore across its various business segments.
 
A press release from the company said these included orders worth Rs. 571 crore secured by its Power Transmission & Distribution Business.
 
Among these was electrification works orders under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) schemes of the Government of India.
 
It has also bagged a major order from Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (OPTCL) for turnkey electrification works in five circles of WESCO utility area in Odisha, the release said.
 
Another order from Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Ltd. (MVVNL), Lucknow, is for electrification works in three tehsils of Unnao district in  Uttar Pradesh.
 
Furthermore, the business has won orders from reputed customers for turnkey construction of solar PV plants in the states of Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.
 
The release said the Building & Factories Business had bagged an order worth Rs. 514 crore for the construction of a medical college and a 500-bed hospital from Bihar Medical Services & Infrastructure Corporation Limited, Bihar. The scope of the work includes civil, MEP, para medical equipment, furniture and external development.
 
The company said its Water & Effluent Treatment business had bagged orders worth Rs. 397 crores, including an engineering, procurement and construction contract from the Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Board, Government of Odisha, to provide piped water to the rural areas of Balasore, Bhadrak, Puri, Bolangir and Keonjhar districts. 
 
The scope of work includes design and construction of intake wells, water treatment plants, water storage structures and supply and laying of various pipelines.
 
The business has also secured additional orders from various ongoing projects.
 
The company's Metallurgical and Material Handling Business secured orders worth Rs. 298 crore. An engineering procurement construction order has been secured from Steel Authority of India Limited for integrated water circulation system of a Steel Melt Shop (SMS III) in the Bhilai Steel Plant.
 
An additional order has been received from another ongoing job, the release said.
 
According to the release, the company's Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business won an an engineering, procurement and construction order worth Rs. 146 crore in the special bridges sector from a prestigious client. The scope of work includes the construction of a 4-lane extradosed road bridge across the Durgam Cheruvu Lake including an approach viaduct and road embankment in the city of Hyderabad.
 
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Guided missile destroyer INS Chennai joins Indian Navy

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INS Chennai, a P 15A Guided Missile Destroyer, was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an impressive ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard here today.
 
The event marked the formal induction into the Navy of the third and the last of the three ‘Kolkata’ class destroyers, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai. 
 
On his arrival, Mr. Parrikar was received by Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff and was presented a guard of honour by the ship’s crew. The ceremony was witnessed by a large gathering which included several dignitaries and senior officials from the government and all three services. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Parrikar termed the commissioning of INS Chennai, last of the Project 15 A class Destroyers, as a historic day for the Indian Navy as it added another milestone in its relentless journey towards achieving self reliance in battle readiness. 
 
"The ship represents a significant ‘coming of age’ of our warship building capability and defence preparedness," he said.
 
He said that the Indian Navy, in addition to providing overall maritime security to our country, also plays a crucial role as the ‘net security provider’ in th adjoining seas. He also stressed that the Navy’s growth and development must keep pace with the nation’s growth and maritime security needs. 
 
Lauding the role played by the naval designers (DGND) and the ship builders, MDL Mumbai, the Minister said “with the induction of INS Chennai, a new benchmark has been achieved for our warship design and construction endeavours, with the sophistication of systems and equipment, and utilisation of advanced ship building techniques”. 
 
During his address, Admiral Lanba said that commissioning of INS Chennai marked another milestone in the Navy’s quest for self-reliance as it signified completion of the challenging Project P-15A and heralded a new era of advanced warships built indigenously by Indian shipyards. The Admiral also stated that indigenisation of platforms, weapons, sensors and equipment with participation of public as well as private sectors, will continue to remain a focus area of the Indian Navy, in line with the ‘Make in India’ policy enunciated by the Prime Minister. 
 
He emphasized that the roadmap for the Navy’s expansion and growth would continue to remain firmly anchored on self-reliance and indigenisation. 
 
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The Commanding Officer, Captain CR Praveen Nair, read out the Commissioning Warrant, which was followed by the hoisting of ‘Colours’ (ceremony of hoisting the National Flag and Naval Ensign) which marked the commencement of the ship’s service as a warship of the Navy. The commissioning event was characterised by a closely coordinated sequence of drills and events leading to formal unveiling of the ship’s name plaque by the chief guest. On completion of the ceremony, Mr. Parrikar also unveiled a special cover to commemorate the commissioning of INS Chennai and completion of the Project 15A class of stealth destroyers. 
 
Following her formal induction, INS Chennai will be placed under the operational and administrative control of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command. In due course, the ship will be assigned to the Western Fleet and would be base-ported at Mumbai. 
 
The ship measures 163m in length, 17.4m in breadth with a displacement of 7500 tonnes and can rightfully be regarded as one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in India. The ship is propelled by four powerful Gas Turbines, in a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration, capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots. The ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved through efficient shaping of hull, full beam superstructure design, plated masts and use of radar transparent materials on exposed decks. 
 
INS Chennai is packed with contemporary and sophisticated ‘state of the art’ weapons and sensors such as Surface to Surface Missile and Surface to Air Missiles. The ship is fitted with a modern Surveillance Radar which provides target data to the gunnery weapon systems of the ship. The ship’s Anti Submarine Warfare capabilities are provided by the indigenously developed Rocket Launchers and Torpedo Launchers. The ship is equipped to fight under Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions. 
 
A unique feature of the ship is the high level of indigenisation incorporated in the production. Some of the major indigenised equipment / systems onboard INS Chennai include Combat Management System, Rocket Launcher, Torpedo Tube Launcher, Automated Power Management System, Foldable Hangar Doors, Helo Traversing system, Auxiliary Control System and the Bow mounted SONAR. 
 
Named after the iconic port city of Chennai, the ship has a complement of about 45 officers and 395 personnel. Enhancement of crew comfort has been a significant feature of INS Chennai, which has been ensured through ergonomically designed accommodation based on ‘modular’ concepts. The ship will be under the command of Captain C R Praveen Nair, a Communication & Electronic Warfare specialist. 
 
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India becomes Associate Member of CERN, Geneva

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India and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) signed an agreement here today making India an Associate Member State of CERN. 
 
This follows CERN Council’s adoption of the resolution to this effect on September 15, 2016, an official press release said.
 
The agreement was signed by Dr. Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and CERN Director General Dr. Fabiola Gianotti.
 
CERN is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory, where scientists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the Universe by using the most sophisticated scientific instruments and advanced computing systems. CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border. Presently CERN has 22 member-states, four associate member-states, and the observer status is given to four states and three International Organizations.
 
An official press release said participation in CERN programmes is a success story of scientific collaborations and cooperation where researchers from large number of national Institutes and Universities from India work together in forming active collaborations in the pursuit of fundamental knowledge, achieving scientific and engineering breakthrough as well as training the next generation of scientists. 
 
In fact, the participation of Indian scientists dates back to early 1960s, which has become much stronger and closer for the last quarter of a century with the support of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST). 
 
In 1991, DAE had signed a formal agreement with CERN, which continues till today. In recognition of most significant contributions, in 2003, India was awarded the Observer status of CERN, and subsequently invited to join CERN as an Associate Member. Last year, the Indian Cabinet gave its approval following which the CERN Council has accepted India as an Associate member.
 
In recent years, Indian scientists have been involved in all pioneering activities at CERN. India has made significant contributions to the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in the areas of design, development and supply of hardware accelerator components/systems and its commissioning and software development and deployment in the machine. 
 
India is one of the leading partners in the ALICE experiment, which is on a quest to unearth the physics of quark-gluon plasma (QGP) and to get a glimpse of how matter behaved within a few microseconds after the birth of our Universe.
 
The discovery of the Higgs Boson at the LHC is the most talked about scientific discovery in recent memory. Indian scientists have played a significant role in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments, which is one of the two large experiments that have led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Indian scientists have been named as part of this historic discovery. This helps India in participating in the high end technology related to high energy accelerators. It is noteworthy to mention the involvement of Indian scientists in high-tech particle detectors and electronics research, ISOLDE and n-TOF experiments, and various application oriented programmes including medical imaging.
 
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In the field of large-scale computing, India has made major contributions in terms of designing, developing and deploying software for the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Grid (WLCG). The grid Tier2 centers established at Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai have provided the pledged resources and are operating with 96% uptime, thereby facilitating running of computational jobs by various CERN collaborations.
 
As an Associate Member of CERN, India will be a part of the huge scientific and technological endeavor. The India-CERN association as a whole is inter-disciplinary in nature and the involvement of physicists, electronics hardware and software engineers will pave the path for overall knowledge development in the best possible way. India has been putting efforts to design, develop and utilize various types of electron and proton accelerators for scientific, industrial and societal use. 
 
Becoming Associate Member of CERN will enhance participation of young scientists and engineers in various CERN projects and bring back knowledge for deployment in the domestic programmes. It will also open opportunities for Indian industries to participate directly in the CERN project. Through the Teachers programme, teachers teaching in the higher secondary schools would also be able to participate in the programme and pass on the knowledge and quest for high-end science to their students, thereby encouraging large number of students to pursue their career in science.
 
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India’s forex reserves dip by $ 1.19 billion to $ 367.042 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.19 billion to $ 367.042 billion in the week ended November 11, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had risen by $ 1.075 billion to $ 368.232 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 down by $ 1.155 billion to $ 342.772 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 $ 20.461 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) decreased by $ 13.4 million to $ 1.463 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 21.5 million to $ 2.346 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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RIL, GE sign partnership to provide IIOT solutions in oil, gas, power, other sectors

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani with GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immlet at the signing of an agreement in the IIOT space between the two companies.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani with GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immlet at the signing of an agreement in the IIOT space between the two companies.
Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and digital industrial company GE today said they had signed a global partnership agreement in the Industrial IOT (IIOT) space whereby they would work together to build out joint applications on GE’s Predix platform. 
 
The first-of-its-kind partnership marks the coming together of two of the world’s largest industrial conglomerates to provide Industrial IOT solutions to customers in oil & gas, fertilizer, power, healthcare, telecom and other industries, a press release from RIL said.
 
The agreement was signed in the presence of Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE and Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, RIL, it said.
 
The release said GE would provide its Predix cloud offering, Industrial Internet applications and data science expertise. RIL will develop solutions on Predix as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), bringing to bear its over 30 years of data, process and operational expertise. RIL will also offer nationwide connectivity infrastructure to customers through a 4G network powered by Jio. GE would offer the security, availability and monitoring aspects of the platform to RIL and its customers. The potential for other revenue streams includes telecom, healthcare and agriculture, it said.
 
According to the release, the benefits to customers include driving operational efficiencies, profitability and new revenue streams by making use of data and analytics. 
 
"A one per cent productivity gain for companies creates ~ USD 250 billion value over 15 years, across these key energy and infrastructure industries. The digital market is growing at a fast pace with IIOT contributing the highest degree of growth at over 10 per cent. According to Gartner, there exists a market opportunity of over USD 25 billion by 2022 for IIoT solutions across the four key industries of oil & gas, power, healthcare and transportation," it said.
 
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“India’s potential in driving the migration to digital is well appreciated. The partnership with Reliance Industries will shape the future of the Industrial Internet not just in India but globally. The possibilities that it opens to develop solutions on our Predix platform for the industrial sector are endless,” said Mr. Immelt.
 
“India needs to rapidly move to the next level of smart manufacturing which leverages big data, algorithms, and sensor technology. The presence of ubiquitous high bandwidth connectivity and cloud services enabled by Jio will be a key enabler for the rapid growth of IIOT within India. Indians have been in the forefront of creating smart and innovative solutions in a number of fields. It’s time we brought smart manufacturing capability into India by providing value added IIOT solutions for the industry that will enable India’s economic growth,” said Mr. Ambani.
 
The release said digital solutions have the potential to save billions of dollars each year. Use of data as the fuel and analytics as the growth engine promises to drive disruptive and positive changes across the industrial landscape, it added.
 
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RBI tells banks to waive ATM charges for all transactions till Dec 30

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided that banks shall waive levy of ATM charges for all transactions (inclusive of both financial and non-financial transactions) by savings bank customers done at their own banks’ ATMs as well as at other banks’ ATMs, irrespective of the number of transactions during the month.
 
The waiver of charges on ATM usage will be effective from November 10, 2016 till December 30, 2016, subject to review, a press release from RBI said here yesterday.
 
The decision has come in the wake of the difficulties being faced by people across the country in getting cash from banks and ATMs after the Government's sudden decision on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes.
 
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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 1.075 billion to $ 368.232 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 1.075 billion to $ 368.232 billion in the week ended November 4, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had increased by $ 16.6 million to $ 367.157 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 $ 1.982 billion to $ 343.927 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 reduced by $ 945.5 million to $ 20.461 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs)  increased by $ 14.4 million to $ 1.476 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 23.2 million to $ 2.368 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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HSBC, Reliance complete India's first digital export transaction

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Banking and financial services major HSBC and energy and petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) have announced that they have recently completed a landmark digital transaction, e-Presentation, involving the electronic presentation of export documents under a Letter of Credit. 
 
This paves the way for faster, cost-efficient settlement of cross-border trade, a press release from the bank said.
 
Instead of exchanging documents under a Letter of Credit through physical movement, as would be normal practice, the partners e-presented documents through a digital platform built by London-based Bolero, it said. 
 
In doing so, they were able to settle the trade in a single day thus improving the cash-to-cash cycle. A paper based documentary credit transaction typically takes upto 15 days to settle.
 
Aditya Gahlaut, Head of Global Trade and Receivables Finance for HSBC India, said: “This first step we’ve taken with e-Presentation has big implications for companies in India and elsewhere. It shows that the participants in a cross-border trade – from producers to banks and shippers – are willing to collaborate to achieve an end-to-end digital transaction. It also shows that collaboration is worthwhile, optimising companies’ working capital so they can move on to their next deal sooner.”
 
"The Indian government has been driving the ‘Make in India’ agenda and expects exports to fuel economic growth. Even though the export growth rate is expected to outrun the country’s GDP growth which is at approximately 7.5%, cross border trade is regulated by multiple government agencies and involves extensive procedural requirements, making it paper intensive. Technology is thus expected to play a critical role in transforming the paper based trade finance business into a digitally driven business; making the movement of documents faster, cutting costs and optimising working capital," he said.
 
Soumyo Dutta, Group Treasurer for Reliance Industries Limited said, “Reliance expects global trade to make a rapid shift to electronic platforms in the coming years. This transaction marks the first step in evolving the ecosystem where all the key players participate to drive efficiencies and lower costs.”
 
The release said digitisation of trade communication and documentation is imperative both as an enabler for the growth as well as a tool for all stakeholders to monitor and facilitate the same.
 
"HSBC and Reliance have taken a lead in this strategic initiative, which is an industry first for India. After the successful completion of the first e-Presentation transaction, HSBC India will make e-Presentation available to its other Global and Commercial Banking clients," it said.
 
Stuart P Milne, Group General Manager & CEO, HSBC India, said, “As the world’s leading international trade bank, we have the responsibility to play the lead in the digital transformation of the trade finance landscape.  This transaction is a significant move in that direction."
 
"We have built the required capability to support this industry-leading initiative and will continue to make investments in the digitisation of trade to support our customers and engage stakeholders in building a sustainable trade finance ecosystem," he added.
 
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