Nine persons, including five children, killed in Mumbai fire

Nine people, including five children, die in Mumbai fire
As many as nine members of a family, including five children, died when a fire broke out in a chemist's shop on the ground floor of a three-storeyed structure in Andheri here in which they lived in the early hours of today.
Mumbai Fire Service sources said the fire broke out in the shop, Wafa Medical Store located at Juhu Galli on Wireless Road in Andheri West, around 6.15 am and quickly spread to the upper floors. 
While the family living on the first floor managed to escape to safety, but the family on the second floor could not save themselves.
The victims included five children -- three girls and two boys -- aged between 10 years and three months, and three women, one of whom was seven months pregnant.
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, but sources indicated it could have been sparked off by an electrical short-circuit.
Fire Brigade officials said they received a call around 6.15 am and rushed three fire tenders, a water tanker and two ambulances to the spot. The victims were rushed to the nearby Cooper Hospital, where nine of them were pronounced dead.

IndiaFirst Life Insurance, Star Health Insurance join hands to offer combi plans

IndiaFirst Life Insurance, a joint venture between Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank and Legal & General (UK) have announced their collaboration with Star Health Insurance Ltd to introduceStar First Combi Plans – combination of health and life insurance plans.
The Star First Combi Plans are a suite of five plans that provide unique combined benefits of health and life cover under a single offering, a press release from the company said.
R M Vishakha, MD & CEO, IndiaFirst Life Insurance said, “We are pleased to partner with Star Health Insurance, to offer integrated health and life insurance solutions.Together, we intend creating value for the customer – for a lifetime and beyond - through a single offering.”
“We are happy to have launched this unique combi plan that, in simple words ensures a happy tomorrow. If somebody falls sick, health takes care and if somebody goes to the hospital and something goes wrong, life cover takes care,” said V Jagannathan, Chairman and Managing Director of Star Health Insurance.
Rushabh Gandhi, Director, Sales & Marketing said, “The launch of Star First marks a milestone in the Indian insurance industry. Protecting your family from any uncertainties of life has seen a shift from being an option to a basic need. Star First Combi Plan offers a combination of Life and Health cover under a single roof. Now, one can ensure that no untoward event upsets the well- being of their loved ones, not only in their absence but also in their presence.”
Anand Roy, Joint Executive Director, Star Health Insurance said, “We are pleased to launch Star First product and join hands with IndiaFirst Life Insurance. Both these entities will leverage their respective distribution strengths to ensure full protection to the insured.”
StarFirst Combi Plans will be available in five variants – Star First Comprehensive, Star First Classic, Star First Care, Star First Delite and Star First Optima.
The product offers life cover for the policyholder along with a health cover (for self as well as family). The sum assured ranges from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 15 lakhs for health cover and from Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 9 lakh for life cover.

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 2416 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders valued at Rs. 2416 crore across various business segments in June.
A press release from the company said that orders worth Rs. 1165 crore had been bagged by its Building & Factories Business, which included a contract for a prestigious high-rise residential project secured from a leading developer in Mumbai. 
The scope of work work involves civil and structural works for the construction of two residential towers, each having three basements, seven podiums, 66 floors and other ancillary buildings.
Another order has been bagged for the construction of a mixed use development (MUD) from a renowned customer in Kolkata. The scope involves civil and structural works for the construction of two towers of G+15 and G+7 floors respectively with two levels of common basement, it said.
The business also secured add-on orders from various ongoing jobs.
In the Power Transmission & Distribution Business, the company bagged orders worth Rs. 1120 crore in the domestic and international markets.
In the international market, a major engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) order has been bagged from a reputed customer in the Middle East. The scope includes construction of a medium voltage overhead line which will enhance the reliability of the existing network.
On the domestic front, orders have been received from Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) in Uttar Pradesh.
The first order involves the construction of 33kV substations and associated lines in Ghaziabad, which falls under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) while the second order involves rural electrification including feeder separation works in Meerut under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana scheme (DDUGJY). Additional orders have been also received as part of the contract variances, it said.
The release said the company's Smart World & Communication Business had won orders worth Rs. 131 crore, which includes a new order from RajCOMP Info Services Limited, a government of Rajasthan undertaking, for establishing and commissioning command & control centres at Bikaner, Bharatpur and Jodhpur cities under the Surveillance and Incident Response Project.

India's forex reserves rise by $ 592.1 million to $ 363.826 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 592.1 million to $ 363.826 billion in the week ended June 17, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had dipped by $231 million to $ 3,63,234 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 risen by $ 594.3 million to $ 339.574 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 $ 20.329 billion while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 1 million to $ 1.503 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 1.2 million to $ 2.420 billion, the bulletin added.

Sun Pharma announces buyback of equity shares at Rs. 900 each

Pharmaceuticals major Sun Pharma today said that its Board of Directors had, at its meeting earlier in the day, approved the buyback of a maximum of 7.5 million of its fully paid up equity shares at a price of Rs. 900 for each, payable in cash.
"The buyback is being undertaken by the company to return surplus funds to the equity shareholders and thereby, enhancing the overall returns to shareholders," a press release from the company said.
The buyback mechanism would be on a proportionate basis through a tender offer. As per SEBI guidelines, 15% of the buyback offer is reserved for shareholders holding equity shares having market value of not more than Rs. 2,00,000 as on the record date. 
Shareholders who hold equity shares as on the record date of July 15, 2016 will be eligible for the buyback, it said.
Promoters of the company have indicated their intention to participate in the proposed buyback in such a manner that their aggregate shareholding percentage in the company will not fall below their current aggregate percentage shareholding, the release said.
"The public announcement setting out the process, timelines and other requisite details will be released in due course in accordance with the Buyback Regulations," the release added.
Sun Pharma is the world's fifth largest specialty generic pharmaceutical company and India's top pharmaceutical company. 
It has 47 manufacturing facilities spread across six continents, R&D centres across the globe and a multi-cultural workforce comprising over 50 nationalities.
The consolidated revenues for the year ended March 2016 are approximately $ 4.3 billion, of which the United States contributes $ 2.1 billion. 

NHAI to spend Rs. 58 crore to mitigate impact on wildlife in Karnala Bird Sanctuary

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approved an estimated Rs. 58.16 crore to mitigate impacts on wildlife in the Karnala Bird Sanctuary (KBS) because of the widening of a part of the Panvel – Indapur section of national highway (NH)-17.
This stretch, which provides direct connectivity from Mumbai to Goa, passes for about 1.5 km length within the Karnala Bird Sanctuary under Thane wildlife division of West Mumbai Wildlife Circle. 
NHAI applied for wildlife clearance for the project which was granted in the 34th meeting of the standing committee of National Board of Wildlife. While recommending the NHAI proposal, the State Government also agreed that the stretch of 3.5 km within and outside sanctuary area (1.5 km within the sanctuary, and 1 km on either side) would be a permanent bottleneck and will hinder the traffic speed on the highway, if it is not widened.
The total length of the project is 84 km, and the total project cost is Rs 943 crore. The State Government endorsed the proposal of widening the highway within the sanctuary, saying that this may also smoothen the traffic and reduce the fuel emissions from recurring traffic jams that may be harmful to the birds and other wildlife.
The KBS is covered with moist mixed deciduous forest and falls in the Western Ghat bio-geographic zone. The sanctuary is particularly rich in climbers and as many as 11 species are recorded.
Among mammals, three species of primates (Common Langur, Bonnet Macaque and Rhesus macaque) are occurring in the sanctuary. Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Jackals, Hyaena, Jungle Cat, Squirrel, Porcupine and Indian Hare are also found.
The sanctuary is particularly known for its rich avifauna and is home to over 146 species of resident and 37 species of migratory birds that visit during winter.
Rare endemic birds of Western Ghats such as Malabar grey Hornbill, Ashy Minivet, three-toed Kingfisher and Malabar Trogon are reported from the sanctuary.
Among other significant bird species, the records of Malabar Whistling Thrush, long-billed Vulture, Indian Scimitar Babbler and Shaheen Falcon are significant.
The major mitigation measures being adopted by NHAI, as per the recommendations of the Wildlife Institute of India, include four wildlife passages (each 30 m wide and 3.5 m high) in the 1.5 km sanctuary stretch. Besides, seven box culverts (3m wide and 3m high) are also being provided. As there are no large animals in the KBS, box culverts may also create permeability for wildlife across habitat patches. In all, 27 structures shall be provided for total length of 3.5 km stretch -- 12 falling within 1.5 km length in protected area, and remaining 15 on the 1 km stretch on each side.
NHAI approval also includes other wildlife management measures like retaining wall, fencing, signages, watch towers, provision of water for wildlife. An additional amount of Rs 15 lakh will also be deposited in the fund of KBS for awareness raising among people through developing the nature interpretation centre.

Essar's Raniganj (East) CBM block crosses 1 million scmd production milestone

Business conglomerate Essar today said that its Raniganj (East) block in West Bengal had become India’s first coal bed methane (CBM) asset to cross the 1 million standard cubic metres per day (scmd) production milestone. 
This makes Essar the country’s largest unconventional gas player, a press release from the company said. The targeted plateau production from the block is 3 million scmd, it said.
As per  2016 NSAI (Netherland Sewell & Associates, Inc.) report, the proven, probable and possible gross CBM reserves in the Raniganj (East) block is estimated at 1.09 tcf (trillion cubic feet). The block is assessed to have additional resources in the ‘contingent’ category of around 270 bcf (billion cubic feet).
“We married talent with technology to transform reserves to production. In the last 12 months, the average well productivity has more than doubled, the gas break-out time in new wells has reduced to days instead of months, and the work-over cycle has reduced to a fifth. Our collaborative relationship with international service providers has resulted in win-win solutions,” said Mr Manish Maheshwari, CEO-E&P, Essar.
Essar has commenced supply to Matix Fertilisers for its pre-commissioning activities at the rate of 150,000 scmd. Besides Matix, the CBM gas is being supplied to industrial consumers in the catchment area of Durgapur. The gas pricing is in compliance with the government notified formula of October 2014, the release said.
“There are tremendous opportunities in the domestic unconventional hydrocarbon sector. The Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP), which was announced by the Government in March 2016, recognises this potential in contributing towards national energy security,” 
Mr. Maheshwari added. 
A study, which was undertaken with the support of USTDA (US Trade & Development Agency), by an independent US firm that has expertise in shale has made a preliminary assessment of original in-place shale gas resources of around 8 tcf underneath the CBM play in the Raniganj (East) block.
Besides Raniganj (East), Essar’s CBM portfolio includes more than 2,700 sq. km of high quality acreage, the release added.

Mumbai suburban train services disrupted due to waterlogging

The Central Railway's suburban train services in Mumbai were disrupted today following waterlogging at several places due to heavy rains which lashed the city this morning.
A press release from Central Railway said waterlogging was reported at Mazgaon, Vidyavihar, Vikhroli, Bhandup and Thane on the main line.
As a consequence, all Up and Down fast line services on the main line were suspended from 05.53 hrs to 07.03 hrs, it said.
The fast line services were diverted to the slow line between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Mulund stations in both diretctions.
Trains on the Harbour and Transharbour line trains were running late by 10-15 minutes while trains were running 30-40 minutes behind schedule on the main line, the release said.
"Continuous announcements were made about the delay in running of suburban services for the benefit of passengers," it added.

Mumbai Port reduces charges for coastal Ro-Ro services

The Mumbai Port Trust has reduced vessel related charges by about 10 percent on the applicable scale of rates for coastal vessels as well as wharfage charges on vehicles as part of efforts to encourage the coastal movement of cargo, specially automobiles by Ro-Ro ships and to meet the demand of auto original equipment manufacturers and roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) vessel operators.
An official press release said the wharfage rate per unit would be Rs. 500 for passenger cars upto 4000 mm length; Rs. 1000 for passenger cars from 4001 mm to 4700 mm length; Rs. 1500 for passenger cars above 4700 mm length & SUVs, MUVs; Rs. 2000 for heavy vehicles tare weight weighing upto 5 tonnes; and Rs. 450 per tonne or part thereof for heavy vehicles tare weight weighing above 5 tonnes.
The release said the reduction in wharfage and vessel related charges, which is to the tune of about 50% to 65%, will be applicable for one year from June 1 this year.
The decision is expected to encourage movement of domestic cars and trucks from manufacturing places such as Chennai and so on to Mumbai, and similarly from Pune and Nashik to southern and eastern parts of India. Presently these movements take place by road.
The move is also expected to reduce congestion on roads and would be not only a cheaper option but also environmentally preferred option as it would reduce the carbon footprint. This would also facilitate faster movement of vehicles meant for distribution and export, the release added.

Eros International signs television license deal with Zee Network

Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd has announced that it has signed a television syndication deal for its new and catalogue films with Zee Network, one of India's leading television media and entertainment companies. 
The films comprise a number of catalogue films from Eros’ vast library and also pre-sales for a few coming films, a press release from the company said.
Movies that will be showcased exclusively on Zee Network include Riteish Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri starrer Banjo, slated for a theatrical release on September 23, the much acclaimed family drama Nil Battey Sannata, and the widely appreciated Aligarh starring Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao.
Apart from the recent releases, the license deal will give the channel access to Eros’ blockbuster catalogue films like Housefull, Heyy Babyy, Cocktail, Vicky Donor and Omkara, among others.
Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd. said, “This deal signifies yet another step towards cementing our long association with Zee Network. We continue to exploit our significant library and the content licensing deal with Zee is consistent with our pre-sales strategy.  These tailor made packages from our broad film repertoire will suit audiences across networks and maximize the potential from the television broadcast."

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan bids adieu, rules out second term

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram G. Rajan said on Saturday that he would be returning to academia when his three-year term ends on September 4, setting at rest speculation about whether the Government would give him a second term or if he would accept it.

Raghuram G. Rajan
Raghuram G. Rajan
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram G. Rajan today said that he would be returning to academia when his three-year term ends on September 4, setting at rest speculation about whether the Government would give him a second term and whether he would accept it.
In a message to RBI staff, which was shared with the media by the RBI, he said that he had taken the decision after due reflection and after consultation with the Government.
"I will, of course, always be available to serve my country when needed," he said.
Dr. Rajan's announcement has come at a time when senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and nominated Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy has been writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his immediate removal as Governor of RBI for various reasons, including that he was "mentally not fully Indian".
In his message to the staff of RBI, Dr. Rajan, 53, a widely respected economist, recalled that he had taken office in September 2013 as the 23rd Governor of the RBi at a time when the currency was plunging daily, inflation was high, and growth was weak.
"India was then deemed one of the 'Fragile Five'. In my opening statement as Governor, I laid out an agenda for action that I had discussed with you, including a new monetary framework that focused on bringing inflation down, raising of Foreign Currency Non-Resident (B) deposits to bolster our foreign exchange reserves, transparent licensing of new universal and niche banks by committees of unimpeachable integrity, creating new institutions such as the Bharat Bill Payment System and the Trade Receivables Exchange, expanding payments to all via mobile phones, and developing a large loan data base to better map and resolve the extent of system-wide distress. By implementing these measures, I said we would 'build a bridge to the future, over the stormy waves produced by global financial markets'," he said.
"Today, I feel proud that we at the Reserve Bank have delivered on all these proposals. A new inflation-focused framework is in place that has helped halve inflation and allowed savers to earn positive real interest rates on deposits after a long time. We have also been able to cut interest rates by 150 basis points after raising them initially. This has reduced the nominal interest rate the government has to pay even while lengthening maturities it can issue – the government has been able to issue a 40 year bond for the first time. Finally, the currency stabilized after our actions, and our foreign exchange reserves are at a record high, even after we have fully provided for the outflow of foreign currency deposits we secured in 2013. Today, we are the fastest growing large economy in the world, having long exited the ranks of the Fragile Five," he said.
Dr. Rajan said the RBI had done far more than was laid out in that initial statement, including helping the government reform the process of appointing Public Sector Bank management through the creation of the Bank Board Bureau (based on the recommendation of the RBI-appointed Nayak Committee), creating a whole set of new structures to allow banks to recover payments from failing projects, and forcing timely bank recognition of their unacknowledged bad debts and provisioning under the Asset Quality Review (AQR). 
"We have worked on an enabling framework for National Payments Corporation of India to roll out the Universal Payment Interface, which will soon revolutionize mobile to mobile payments in the country. Internally, the RBI has gone through a restructuring and streamlining, designed and driven by our own senior staff. We are strengthening the specialization and skills of our employees so that they are second to none in the world. In everything we have done, we have been guided by the eminent public citizens on our Board such as Padma Vibhushan Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Padma Bhushan and Magsaysay award winner Ela Bhatt of the Self Employed Women’s Association. The integrity and capability of our people, and the transparency of our actions, is unparalleled, and I am proud to be a part of such a fine organization," he said.
"I am an academic and I have always made it clear that my ultimate home is in the realm of ideas. The approaching end of my three-year term, and of my leave at the University of Chicago, was therefore a good time to reflect on how much we had accomplished. 
"While all of what we laid out on that first day is done, two subsequent developments are yet to be completed. Inflation is in the target zone, but the monetary policy committee that will set policy has yet to be formed. Moreover, the bank clean up initiated under the Asset Quality Review, having already brought more credibility to bank balance sheets, is still ongoing. International developments also pose some risks in the short term.
"While I was open to seeing these developments through, on due reflection, and after consultation with the government, I want to share with you that I will be returning to academia when my term as Governor ends on September 4, 2016.  I will, of course, always be available to serve my country when needed.
"Colleagues, we have worked with the government over the last three years to create a platform of macroeconomic and institutional stability. I am sure the work we have done will enable us to ride out imminent sources of market volatility like the threat of Brexit. We have made adequate preparations for the repayment of Foreign Currency Non-Resident (B) deposits and their outflow, managed properly, should largely be a non-event. Morale at the Bank is high because of your accomplishments.  I am sure the reforms the government is undertaking, together with what will be done by you and other regulators, will build on this platform and reflect in greater job growth and prosperity for our people in the years to come. 
"I am confident my successor will take us to new heights with your help. I will still be working with you for the next couple of months, but let me thank all of you in the RBI family in advance for your dedicated work and unflinching support. It has been a fantastic journey together!" he added.
Dr. Rajan,  was appointed on August 22, 2013 as the Governor of RBI for a three-year term. He assumed office on September 4, 2013, succeeding Dr. D. Subbarao on his retirement.
Before that, he had served as Chief Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance and as Honorary Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister with the rank and status of Secretary to the Government of India.
Dr Rajan had earlier served as the Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Before that, between 2003 and 2007, Dr. Rajan was the Economic Counselor and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 
Later, he chaired the Indian government’s Committee on Financial Sector Reforms, which submitted its report in September 2008.
His papers have been published in all the top economics and finance journals, and he has served on the editorial boards of the American Economic Review and the Journal of Finance. 
Dr Rajan had earlier served as a senior advisor to BDT Capital, Booz and Co, and on the international advisory board of Bank Itau-Unibanco. 
In January 2003, the American Finance Association awarded Dr. Rajan the inaugural Fischer Black Prize, given every two years to the financial economist under age 40 who has made the most significant contribution to the theory and practice of finance.

MEP IDL declared successful bidder for NHAI highway project in Gujarat

MEP Infrastructure Developers Ltd today said its joint venture with its Spanish partner had been declared as the successful bidder for yet another project of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the hybrid annuity mode (HAM) in Gujarat.
A press release from the company said the scope of the project involves four-laning of the Mahuva-Kagavadar section of national highway (NH)-8E under the National Highway Development Programme Phase IV.
The release said the bid project cost is Rs. 604.68 crore and the first year O&M bid is for Rs. 8.46 crore. The construction period is of 2 years and 6 months from the appointed date and the concession period is 15 years, excluding the construction period.
Mr. Jayant D Mhaiskar, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, MEP Infrastructure Developers Ltd. said, “The company continues its winning run as it now has a basket of 6 HAM projects in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat totaling to Rs. 3836.99 crore.  This project is a continuation of the Talaja – Mahuva stretch awarded to us last month, thus enabling us to optimize our resources and complete these projects in a stipulated time frame.”
This project is under the new HAM, which is a mix of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and build operate transfer (BOT) systems. NHAI and the private companies share the total project cost in the ratio of 40: 60 respectively. 
MEP Infrastructure Developers Ltd has formed a joint venture with Sanjose India Infrastructure & Construction Pvt. Ltd with each holding 60% and 40%, respectively. 

HDFC Life, Max Life, Max Financial Services say evaluating merger

HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited, Max Life Insurance Company Limited and Max Financial Services today said they were in talks to evaluate a strategic combination of the three companies.
A press release from the three companies said their Boards of Directors, at their respective meetings held today, approved entering into a confidentiality, exclusivity and standstill agreement to evaluate a potential combination through a merger of Max Life
and Max Financial Services into HDFC Life by way of a scheme of arrangement. 
The agreement provides for a mutually agreed exclusivity period for due diligence and discussions between the parties in relation to a proposed transaction, it said.
The proposed arrangements would be subject to due diligence, definitive documentation and applicable board, shareholder, regulatory, respective High Courts/NCLT, and other third party 
approvals, as may be applicable, it said.
"Follow up announcements shall be made as necessary," the release added.
The merger, if it goes through, will create the largest life insurance player in the private sector in India.
HDFC Life is one of the leading life insurance companies in India offering a range of individual and group insurance solutions that meet various customer needs such as protection, pension, savings and investment, and health. The total premia for the year ending March 31, 2016 were Rs. 16,313 crore and total assets under management (AUM) as of that date were Rs. 74,247 crore.
Max Life, the leading non-bank promoted private life insurer, is a joint venture between Max Financial Services and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd. It offers long term savings, protection and retirement solutions through its agency distribution and multi-channel distribution partners. The total premia for the year ending March 31, 2016 were Rs. 9,216 crore and total AUM as of that date was Rs. 35,824 crore.
Max Financial Services, a part of the $ 2 billion Max Group, is the parent company of Max Life. It actively manages a 68% stake in Max Life, making it India’s first listed company focused exclusively on life insurance.

L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering wins orders valued at Rs. 1170 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its wholly owned subsidiary L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering Limited (LTHE) had won orders worth Rs. 1170 crore across various business segments.
A press release from the company said its Onshore Business had secured a lump-sum turnkey contract from Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), valued at over Rs. 355 crore for a Coke Drum System package of 1.7 MMTPA Delayed Coker Unit at IOCL’s Haldia Refinery, West Bengal.
Coke Drum System package is the most critical section of the Delayed Coker Unit and allied facilities being implemented by IOCL under the Distillate Yield Improvement Project, codenamed as ‘Aishwarya Project’, at Haldia.
"The project reinforces LTHE’s integrated execution capabilities and is bagged on the strength of its track record of having executed several complex projects covering almost the entire refinery value chain," the release said.
LTHE's Construction Services business is already rendering construction services for Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) refinery at Jamnagar, Gujarat for their petrochemical units – ROGC, PX04, PCG DTA and PCG SEZ in J3 expansion, and RIL has entrusted LTHE with an additional scope pertaining to their MEG, LDPE and CO shift & AGR shift of DTA units for a value of Rs. 500 crore.
The business has also secured an order worth over Rs. 200 crore from Hindustan Mittal Energy Limited (HMEL) for composite mechanical works of their Low Cost Expansion Project and services for capacity expansion, and turnaround during shutdown works at Guru Gobind Singh Refinery, Bathinda (Punjab). The scope of work includes structural fabrication and erection, piping for multiple process units, tankage works, equipment erection, E&I works and shutdown works.
LTHE's Modular Fabrication business has received an order valued at over Rs. 115 crore from a leading global EPC contractor for their ongoing project in Kuwait for the fabrication of piping spools which will be supplied from L&T’s Kattupalli Yard, located near Chennai and supply of static equipment to a leading Indian client from L&T’s Hazira Yard, located in Gujarat.

India's CAD narrows sharply to $ 0.3 billion in Q4 of 2015-16

India's current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to $ 0.3 billion, which is 0.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), in the fourth quarter (January-March) of 2015-16, significantly lower than $ 7.1 billion (1.3 percent of GDP) in the previous quater and marginally lower than $ 0.7 billion (0.1 percent of GDP) in the same quarter of 2014-15.
Relasing preliminary data on the country's balance of payments (BoP) for Q4, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said the contraction in CAD was primarily on account of a lower trade deficit ($ 24.8 billion) than in Q4 of the previous year ($ 31.6 billion) and $ 34.0 billion in the preceding quarter.
A press release from RBI, quoting the data, said net services receipts declined on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis largely due to fall in exports of transport, financial services and telecommunication, computer and information services.
Private transfer receipts, mainly representing remittances by Indians employed overseas, amounted to $ 15.7 billion, a decline from their level in the preceding quarter as well as from a year ago.
Net foreign direct investment moderated to $ 8.8 billion in Q4 of 2015-16 from $ 9.3 billion in Q4 of 2014-15, it said.
The release said portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of $ 1.5 billion in Q4 of 2015-16 as against a net inflow of $ 12.5 billion in the corresponding period of last year; primarily reflecting net outflow in the debt segment.
Non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits, however, increased in Q4 of 2015-16 over their level in Q4 last year as well as the preceding quarter.
Foreign exchange reserves (on a BoP basis) increased by $ 3.3 billion in Q4 of 2015-16.
For the year April-March 2015-16, the CAD narrowed to 1.1 per cent of GDP in 2015-16 from 1.3 per cent in 2014-15, on the back of contraction in the trade deficit.
India’s trade deficit narrowed to $ 130.1 billion in 2015-16 from $ 144.9 billion in 2014-15, the release said.
Net invisible receipts declined in 2015-16, primarily reflecting moderation in both net services earnings and private transfer receipts.
Net FDI inflows during 2015-16 ($ 36.0 billion) rose sharply by 15.3 per cent over the level in 2014-15. Portfolio investment, however, recorded a net outflow $ 4.5 billion in 2015-16 as against a net inflow of $ 40.9 billion last year.
In 2015-16, there was an accretion of $ 17.9 billion to foreign exchange reserves (on a BoP basis) as compared with $ 61.4 billion in 2014-15, the release added.

Rajnath says Centre will consider creation of Coastal Police as a CAPF

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chairing a meeting of Home Ministers, Chief Secretaries, DGPs of Coastal States and Union Territories on Coastal Security, in Mumbai on June 16, 2016.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chairing a meeting of Home Ministers, Chief Secretaries, DGPs of Coastal States and Union Territories on Coastal Security, in Mumbai on June 16, 2016.
Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh today said the Centre would seriously consider the creation of a coastal police force as a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), based on the suggestions made in this regard by coastal States and Union Territories (UTs).
The suggestion was made by, among others, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a meeting of Home Ministers, Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police (DGPs) of coastal States and UTs convened here today to review coastal security in the country.
Mr. Fadnavis said that, marine policing being a specialised job, such a force should be created to protect sea, coast, ports and vital installations. He also suggested that all landing points and non-major ports should be brought under tech based e-surveillance. Both these suggestions were supported by some States and UTs. 
The meeting also decided that, for tracking the movement of fishermen to sea and back, an integrated computerized system and tech based e-surveillance will be implemented with States and UTs and the Central Government will help in that direction. 
An official press release said that, during the meeting, Mr. Singh reviewed all aspects of security aong the country's 7516 km coastline. He stressed the need to safeguard not only industrial and commercial establishments and strategic installations but also the entire coastline from external threats through sea routes.
The issue of coastal security has acquired great significance after the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, in which ten Pakistani terrorists entered the city through the sea route and killed more than 166 people.
Mr. Singh said that, since then, various steps had been initiated and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) had been designated as the authority responsible for coastal security in territorial waters including areas to be patrolled by coastal police. The Indian Navy is responsible for overall maritime security, including coastal security and offshore security. Indian coasts are guarded by a three-tier system of State Marine Police, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy. 
The Minister said that the ICG conducts coastal security exercises involving all stakeholders in all coastal States and UTs biannually to validate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for functioning of coastal police stations. ICG also promulgates these SOPs for coordination among various agencies on coastal security issues. 
Mr. Singh said that the coastline had been further secured by the creation of a chain of static sensors and Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers along the Indian coast and radars operated by the ICG at 45 locations. As many as 38 more radars are planned to be installed for gapless surveillance of the coastline. 
He also said that his Ministry had issued guidelines to the coastal States/UTs regarding security of non-major ports. He said that, for training of coastal police, in-principle approval had been accorded for setting up National Marine Police Training Institute in Gujarat and State Marine Police Training Centres in the Police Training Academies of States and UTs.
In order to track illegal movement, registration of fishing vessels has been made compulsory and for sensitizing fishermen on safety issues, community interaction programmes are conducted by the ICG.
The Minister said that, consequent upon implementation of these important initiatives, the country'scoasts were far more secure now. To strengthen the monitoring and coordination mechanism for the entire gamut of coastal security, the Government has set up an institutional mechanism at the State and the District level, and has strengthened the MHA-level Steering Committee at the national level for review of coastal security, he added. 
Mr. Singh highlighted the issues of maritime terrorism and its economic implications. He also invited suggestions from the coastal States/UTs for the Phase-III of the Coastal Security Scheme to be implemented in the next five years. 
The Minister said that with the active cooperation of all the State Governments and UTs and with the efforts of the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and other Ministries as well as agencies like the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and the Coastal Police, coastal security would continue to improve and the entire coastline would be fully secured from any threat from the sea. 
During the meeting, the Coastal Security Scheme managed by the Government of India with an objective of strengthening the infrastructure of Coastal States and UTs for coastal patrolling and surveillance, was also discussed. Under the scheme, assistance is given to all Coastal States and UTs to set up coastal police stations, check posts, outposts and construction of jetties for berthing of police boats. Presently, Phase II of the scheme is in progress. 
There were discussions on expeditious implementation of coastal security scheme, institutional set-up in States/UTs to review coastal security, constitution of State Maritime Boards, security of non-major ports and single point mooring, coastal mapping, security of islands, distribution of Biometric Identity Cards and Card Readers, colour coding of boats, monitoring of fish landing points and crossing of International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) by fishermen. 
The ICG and the coastal States and UTs made presentations on the steps being taken by them for ensuring coastal security and their requirements as well as suggestions for strengthening it further. 

HDIL to issue Rs 150 crore of preferential allotment of shares

Real estate developer Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) today said it has planned for issue of share warrants up to Rs. 150 crore of Rs. 100 each on preferential basis to its promoter, Mr. Sarang Wadhawan. 
The share warrants will be convertible into equivalent number of equity shares of face value of Rs 10 each, a press release from the company said.
The warrants priced at Rs. 96.35 per warrant will be issued at a premium of 3.79% over the minimum price as per SEBI ICDR regulations.
The company reported a consolidated annual Income for FY2016 of Rs. 1192.47 crores. The annual profit after tax for the year was Rs. 266.13 crores.
The company has reduced its debt by 27% in the last three years, the release added.

24 award-winning movies to feature in EU film festival in Mumbai

The 21st edition of the European Union Film Festival (EUFF), to be held here from June 17-26, will feature 24 award-winning movies from as many countries.
The festival, organised by the Delegation of the European Union and embassies of EU member-states, will open with the screening of the German film "Jack" at the Little Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA).
Apart from the Little Theatre, the screenings will take place at two other venues, Alliance Française de Bombay and British Council.
This year's edition of the festival will feature films from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, CzechRepublic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
This yearthe festival will screen movies from varied genres ranging from thecomedy of the absurd to gripping drama,unexpected romance and heart-stopping action.
“Films have a universal appeal. The European Union Film Festival has won a special place in the Indian film calendar and in the hearts of viewers by showcasing the wry, the unexpected, the beautiful and even the tragic events of ordinary lives in unfamiliar settings," Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union, said.
Dr. Martin Wälde, Director - Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai said, “The European Union Film Festival is an exciting initiative that provides an annual platform for film enthusiasts in India to watch some of the best contemporary cinema coming out of Europe. At the Goethe-Institut, we look forward to co-hosting the festival in Mumbai, and furthering cultural exchange between India and Europe. We firmly believe in the power of the arts in bringing people and cultures together in a mutually enlightening and respectful manner. This forms the basis of our projects, and our continued association with the European Union Film Festival. Once again this year, we look forward to some wonderful stories told through the power of cinema."
Mr. Alain Zayan, Director, Alliance Française de Bombay, said, “European Union Film Festival is a great occasion, every year, for us to showcase European diversity and creativity to the Indian audience eager to discover the numerous films proposed during the festival. It's also a unique opportunity for Alliance Française de Bombay to reinforce its role as one of the principal actors of Indo-European cultural exchange and as a gateway to Europe and its cultures. In a few words, we are glad to be part of this festival in India and glad to help build bridges between our countries."
Highlights from the festival this year include the stories of a ten year old abandoned boy ‘Jack’ who picks up his six-year-old brother and finds his way to life on his own; a great soldier of Rome who is despised by his own people and forced to turn to his enemy to find acceptance and an out-of-work illusionist who has a life-changing experience when he meets a young woman in Scotland.
Jack, the inaugural movie, is a film about the development of a boy who learns to take responsibility from a young age. At the end of the film, he surprises the audience with the decision he makes and holds up a mirror to them with the courage he shows.
This film is produced by Jan Krüger, René Römert (2014) and has won international awards, including Silver Award for Best film in Lola  2015 (Deutscher Filmpreis 2015)
Entry at all venues will be on a first come, first served basis.However, for British movie 'Coriolanus' to be screened at the British Council, registration will be through their website, a press release from the organisers said.                               
The festival, currently running in Delhi, Chennai and Chandigarh, will traverse further through Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Jodhpur till August 14.
The films to be screened at the EUFF are: Austria–Jack; Belgium - Les Rayures du Zèbre |(Scouting for Zebras); Cyprus - Block 12; Czech Republic-Three Brothers; Denmark -StilleHjerte |Silent Heart;Finland - Ollaanvapaita|Urban Family; France-L'illusionniste, |(The Illusionist); Germany – Jack; Greece - Wild Duck; Hungary - Utóélet |(Afterlife); Ireland - The Irish Rebellion; Italy - Michiamo Maya (My Name Is Maya); Latvia - Mother, I love you; Lithuania -Edeno Sodas (The Garden of Eden); Luxembourg - Dead Man Talking; Malta-Simshar; Netherlands-Michiel De Ruyter|Admiral; Poland-Bogowie(Gods); Portugal - Cats Don't Have Vertigo; Slovakia-Rytmus – A Dream from the Block; Slovenia - Sailing to Paradise; Spain - Flamenco From The Roots; Sweden– Atertraffen (The Reunion); United Kingdom – Coriolanus.

RBI nod for decrease in foreign investment limit in IIFL Holdings to 80%

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has notified that Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and Registered Foreign Portfolios Investors (RFPIs) can now invest upto 80 percent of the paid-up capital of IIFL Holdings Limited under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS), down from the existing 100 percent.
A press release from RBI said the company had passed resolutions at its Board of Directors’ level and a special resolution by the shareholders, agreeing for decreasing the limit for the purchase of its equity shares by FIIs/RFPIs. 
The purchases could be made through primary market and stock exchanges.
The Reserve Bank has further notified that the investment limit for FII/RFPIs under PIS of the above company notified vide press release dated November 26, 2007 stood altered.
The Reserve Bank has notified this under FEMA 1999, the release added.

RBI okays increase in foreign investment limit in Yes Bank to 74%

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has notified that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and registered foreign portfolios investors (RFPIs) can now invest upto 74 percent of the paid-up capital of Yes Bank Limited under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS), from the exisiting limit of 60 percent.
The Reserve Bank further notified that the total foreign investment from all sources -- FIIS, RFPIs, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), non-resident Indians (NRIs), persons of Indian origin (PIOs), American Depository Receipts (ADR) and Global Depository Receipts -- in Yes Bank shall not exceed 74 percent.
A press release from RBI noted that Yes Bank Limited has passed resolutions at its Board of Directors’ level and a special resolution by the shareholders, agreeing for enhancing the limit for the purchase of its equity shares by FIIs/RFPIs.
The purchases could be made through primary market and stock exchanges.
The Reserve Bank has notified this under FEMA 1999, the release added.

India's forex reserves soar by $ 3.271 billion to $ 363.465 billion

Reversing a downtrend of the previous four weeks, India's foreign exchange reserves soared by $ 3.271 billion to $ 363.465 billion in the week ended June 3, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had dipped by $ 711.6 million to $ 360.194 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 risen by $ 2.995 billion to $ 339.222 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 $ 285.9 million to $ 20.329 billion while is special drawing rights (SDR) declined by $ 3.9 millin to $ 1.494 billion.
India's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 6.2 million to $ 2.419 billion, the bulletin added.

L&T signs contract to build stadium in Qatar for 2022 FIFA World Cup

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said that its construction arm, along with its joint venture partner in Qatar, Al Balagh Trading & Contracting, has signed a contract to build a 40,000-seat stadium, as part of the sports infrastructure being readied by the Emirate in preparation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 
The contract was announced by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy at a well-attended signing ceremony, a press release from the company said here today.
The contract for the project is for a combined value of $ 360 million for both JV partners and is slated to be completed by 2019. 
The scope for the stadium includes main works and construction of the site, following completion of the enabling works.
Dr. Jens Huckfeldt, Chief Executive, L&T Qatar, said, “It is a matter of immense pride for Larsen & Toubro along with its joint venture partner Al Balagh, to have been given the responsibility to design and build the Al Rayyan Stadium and Precinct in preparation of the historic first Middle Eastern FIFA World Cup in 2022. We are extremely mindful of the trust and confidence given by the Supreme Committee for constructing the stadium and we are committed to deliver a masterpiece.”
He added that executing a project of this importance and magnitude would reinforce the relationship between all stakeholders and pave the way for a long and mutually beneficial association.
Inspired by the local patterns and dune-like structures, the Al Rayyan stadium and its precinct design will resemble the sand dunes that surround the traditional desert tents.
"A landmark in the making, the Al Rayyan stadium will be one of the most significant stadiums slated to host games up to the quarter-finals in the muchawaited 2022 FIFA World Cup," the release added.

Nita Ambani becomes first Indian woman to be nominated to IOC

Nita Ambani becomes the first Indian woman to be nominated into the International Olympics Committee (IOC). Her roles as Reliance Foundation founder, FSDC founder, Mumbai Indians IPL team owner backs up her nod.

Nita Ambani
Nita Ambani
Nita Ambani, the Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, was on Friday nominated as a candidate to be a member of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), the supreme authority of the Olympic Games, by its Members Election Commission.
Part of a list of eight members who were selected by the Commission, she is the first Indian woman to be nominated to the IOC, and will go on to create history if she gets elected in August 2016 at the 129th IOC Session.
Reliance Foundation is the philanthropic arm of energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
Ms. Ambani, the wife of RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani, has been involved in promoting different sports in India with focus on young talent through her grassroots programs, which has reached over 3 million children around the country. 
This proved to be a defining point for the Commission to enlist Mrs. Ambani as an appropriate candidate and as India’s representative.
Her nomination comes at a time when a new procedure was followed to select the candidates. 
“It is recognition of India’s growing importance on world stage. I believe in the power of sports to shape the future of our youth. Sports bring communities and links cultures and generations together, so I’m really excited about this honour,” Ms. Ambani told a News18 correspondent.
The new approach also involved integrity checks by the IOC Ethics Commission which further strengthens the appeal of Ms. Ambani’s nomination. She was selected based on her illustrious career. 
Nita Ambani is also the Founder and Chairperson of India’s Football Sports Development Limited, through which she has shown extraordinary commitment to developing sports talent in India.
Led by Ms. Ambani, the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Programme has reached out to nearly 2 million children across 2,200 schools in India. She is also the owner of Mumbai Indians cricket team.
As a member of IOC, Ms. Ambani will participate in various sessions where the core elements of the Games will be discussed. Selecting the host city and discussing issues will be some of the responsibilities that Ms. Ambani will assist in as a member.
The IOC’s role is to supervise, support, and monitor the organization of the Games; ensure that they run smoothly; and make sure that the rules of the Olympic Charter are respected. 
As a member, Ms. Ambani will be at the forefront of this supervision for Indian players who will participate in the Games.
The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will propose in all eight new members, including Ms. Ambani of India, for election at the 129th IOC Session ahead of the Olympic Games 2016 this summer.
The addition of eight new members would bring the total number of Members to 99. The 129th IOC Session is scheduled to take place from 2 to 4 and on 21 August 2016.
Once elected, Ms. Ambani and the other new members will continue to be members until the age of 70.
"The list is the result of the first targeted recruitment process for IOC Membership as outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement," a press release from IOC said after a meeting of its EB at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday.
It said a new set of criteria was applied by the IOC Members Election Commission, which proposed the list of candidates to the EB. The Commission devised a procedure aimed at targeting new members with skills and experience needed by the IOC. The new approach includes integrity checks by the IOC Ethics Commission.
"The proposed candidatures represent a cross-section of expertise from the worlds of sport, culture, medicine, sociology, business, law and management. Gender equality is guaranteed with four women and four men on the list," the release said.
Apart from Ms. Ambani, the other candidates are athlete Sari Essayah of Finland, who is chairperson of the Finnish Christian Democratic Party; Italian bobsleigher Ivo Ferriani, president of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation; Luis Moreno of Colombia, President of the Inter-American Development Bank; Auvita Rapilla of Papua New Guinea, Secretary General of the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee, ANOC and ONOC Executive Committee Member; film producer Anant Singh of South Africa; Tricia Smith of Canada, Olympian, rower, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee; and Karl Stoss of Austria, Chairman of the Managing Board of Casinos Austria AG, President of the Austrian Olympic Committee.
“These eight candidates that we are proposing to the next IOC Session are a strong and varied group of individuals that are experts in their respective fields and will make great contributions,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “They have been vetted by new criteria in keeping with the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020. These candidates will add extra strength and diversity to our already universal orchestra of IOC Members.”
The International Olympic Committee is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement. It acts as a catalyst for collaboration between all parties of the Olympic family, from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the International Sports Federations (IFs), the athletes, the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), to partners and United Nations agencies. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) shepherds success through a wide range of programmes and projects. It ensures the regular celebration of the Olympic Games, supports all affiliated member organisations of the Olympic Movement and strongly encourages, by appropriate means, the promotion of the Olympic values.

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 6.5%, CRR at 4%

Citing uncertainties in the economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today kept its key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.5 percent and retained the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks at 4.0 percent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL).
In his Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17, RBI Governor Raghuram G. Rajan said this had been decided on the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation.
He said the RBI would continue to provide liquidity as required but progressively lower the average ex ante liquidity deficit in the system from one per cent of NDTL to a position closer to neutrality.
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 7.0 per cent.
Dr. Rajan recalled that in its bi-monthly monetary policy statement of April 2016, the Reserve Bank had stated that it would watch macroeconomic and financial developments in the months ahead with a view to responding as space opened up. 
"Incoming data since then show a sharper-than-anticipated upsurge in inflationary pressures emanating from a number of food items (beyond seasonal effects), as well as a reversal in commodity prices. A strong monsoon, continued astute food management, as well as steady expansion in supply capacity, especially in services, could help offset these upward pressures. 
"Given the uncertainties, the Reserve Bank will stay on hold, but the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative. The Reserve Bank will monitor macroeconomic and financial developments for any further scope for policy action," he said.
Dr. Rajan said more monetary transmission to support the revival of growth continued to be critical. 
"The government’s reform measures on small savings rates combined with the Reserve Bank’s refinements in the liquidity management framework should help the transmission of past policy rate reductions into lending rates of banks. The Reserve Bank will shortly review the implementation of the Marginal Cost Lending Rate framework by banks. Timely capital infusions into constrained public sector banks will also aid credit flow," he said.
Dr. Rajan said the inflation surprise in the April reading made the future trajectory of inflation somewhat more uncertain. 
"The expectations of a normal monsoon and a reasonable spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall, along with various supply management measures and the introduction of the electronic national agriculture market (e-NAM) trading portal, should moderate unanticipated flares of food inflation. In addition, capacity utilisation indicators suggest that the available headroom in industry could keep output prices subdued even as demand picks up. Nonetheless, there are upside risks – firming international commodity prices, particularly of crude oil; the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission awards which will have to be factored into projections as soon as clarity on implementation emerges; the upturn in inflation expectations of households and of corporates; and the stickiness in inflation excluding food and fuel. Taking these factors into account, the inflation projections given in the April policy statement are retained, though with an upside bias. Considerable uncertainty surrounds these projections, which should be clarified by incoming data in the next few months," he said.
"Domestic conditions for growth are improving gradually, mainly driven by consumption demand, which is expected to strengthen with a normal monsoon and the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission award. Higher public sector capital expenditure, led by roads and railways, should crowd in private investment, offsetting somewhat the subdued appetite for fresh private investment due to financial stress. Yet, business confidence will be restrained to an extent on account of unrelenting global factors. On a reassessment of balance of risks, therefore, the GVA growth projection for 2016-17 has been retained at 7.6 per cent with risks evenly balanced," he said.
In its assessment of the economic situation, the RBI said that, since the first bi-monthly statement of April 2016, global growth was uneven and struggling to gain traction. World trade remains muted in an environment of weak demand, it said.
The statement said global financial markets had recorded gains through Q2 of 2016, spurred by risk-on investor sentiment. 
"Portfolio flows are returning, albeit hesitantly, to EME debt and equity markets. The firmness in crude prices that set in around mid-March has been supported in subsequent weeks by some temporary reductions in global supply. Gold prices remain elevated on safe haven demand. Other non-energy commodity prices remain stable with a hint of upside, while steel prices have firmed appreciably. Bond market yields across AEs have eased steadily, reflecting strong appetite in primary auctions in the face of the growing universe of negative yielding bonds. 
"The US dollar continues to mirror changes in expectations of monetary policy action by the Fed. The yen and the euro have remained strong despite ultra-accommodative monetary policies. Among EMEs, some currencies are trading with an appreciating bias, with the biggest gains recorded by the currencies that had depreciated the most earlier," it said.
Dr. Rajan said that, on the domestic front, the recently released provisional estimate of gross value added (GVA) for 2015-16 marginally scaled down the annual growth rate to 7.2 per cent, on a deceleration of services sector activity in relation to the advance estimates. 
"There was, however, a sequential pickup in activity in Q4 in line with expectations. As regards the current financial year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast an above-normal and well-distributed south west monsoon as El Nino wanes – albeit with a slightly delayed onset. Realisation of this prediction is critical for the outlook for agriculture since reservoir levels have been depleted to 17 per cent of capacity – 40 per cent lower than the level a year ago. Even though rabi procurement was lower in April-May 2016 than a year ago, mid-May food stocks at 58 million tonnes were almost three times the norm for Q1.
"The index of industrial production decelerated in 2015-16, mainly pulled down by weak manufacturing in an environment of subdued investment demand and weak rural consumption. In May 2016, the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) remained subdued on account of slowing output and export orders. However, except for natural gas and crude oil, the core sector registered strong growth in April 2016 on account of a seasonal pick-up in industries like electricity, also supported by a low base. 
"There are signs that corporate performance is improving. Available information on Q4 earnings suggests double digit growth in EBITDA levels for non-financial corporates. The Reserve Bank’s latest rounds of forward looking surveys indicate an improvement in the overall business situation, driven by a pick-up in capacity utilisation and in order books – both domestic and external. These developments have improved the expectation of business conditions in the first half of 2016-17. Public investment, especially in roads and railways, is gaining strength, though the continuing weakness in private investment is of concern. Demand conditions are likely to improve going forward; consumer confidence is seen as rising on improving expectations of employment and spending, with rural demand aided by a stronger monsoon. Rising capacity utilisation should prompt private investment," he said.
The statement said some high frequency indicators for April pointed to a firming recovery, although it was still uneven.
"Leading the upturn are cargo traffic at major ports, automobile sales (especially two-wheelers and three-wheelers), commercial vehicle sales, passenger air and freight traffic, cement production and steel consumption. Abstracting from seasonal effects, this suggests that the expansion, especially in the service sector, is getting broad-based. On the other hand, railway freight traffic and passenger car sales have decelerated on sector-specific constraints. Purchasing managers in the services sector indicated slowing new business in May and subdued expectations of future activity.
"The ebbing of inflation pressures for two consecutive months to March, after a period of steady rise, was interrupted once again in April. Retail inflation measured by the consumer price index (CPI) rose more sharply than expected due to a more-than-seasonal jump in food prices. Within the food group, inflation in respect of vegetables, fruits, sugar, meat and fish rose sizably from their prints in the previous month. Inflation in respect of pulses remained elevated; the recent decline in prices of pulses reversed, yielding a sharp increase in April. Production of pulses has fallen for the second consecutive year, according to the third advance estimates for 2015-16. There was also a firming of inflation relating to edible oils, spices and non-alcoholic beverages. Cereal inflation, however, remained subdued, reflecting supply management efforts that expanded offtake from food stocks. Inflation in respect of the fuel group eased mainly due to firewood and stronger deflation in respect of LPG prices. Reflecting these recent inflation dynamics, three-months-ahead inflation expectations of households moved up marginally in May," he said.
The statement said CPI inflation, excluding food and fuel, edged up in April, driven by prices of petrol and diesel embedded in transport and communication.
"Clothing and footwear also registered moderate increases in inflation. Services inflation remained elevated on account of house rents, water charges, tuition fees and taxi/auto fares. Excluding petrol and diesel from this category, inflation was sticky and above 5 per cent. However, since growth in rural wages and corporate staff costs have been modest, cost-push factors may be subdued for the time being.
"Despite the waning of liquidity pressures in early April, stronger-than-usual currency demand during the first two months of the financial year and build-up of cash balances by the Government from the second week of May tightened liquidity conditions from mid-May. In order to mitigate these pressures, the Reserve Bank injected liquidity through purchases under open market operations (OMOs) of Rs. 700 billion during April-May in pursuance of the revised liquidity management framework outlined in the April bi-monthly policy statement. Additionally, liquidity was injected through variable rate repos of various tenors, in addition to the regular 14-day term repos and overnight fixed rate repo and MSF. The average daily net liquidity injection through the liquidity adjustment facility (including MSF) declined from Rs. 1935 billion in March 2016 to Rs. 1030 billion during April-May and further to Rs. 120 billion in June (up to June 5, 2016). The weighted average call money rate (WACR) remained closely anchored to the policy rate within a narrower corridor of +/- 50 basis points around the policy repo rate. Volatility also declined significantly. Interest rates on money market instruments such as certificates of deposit (CDs) and commercial paper (CPs) also eased through the quarter so far," it said.
The statement noted that exports had declined for the 17th consecutive month in April in US dollar terms in spite of a modest increase in volume. 
"The fall in crude oil prices led to lower export realisations from petroleum products (POL), although the volume of shipments of petroleum products is estimated to have picked up modestly. Among non-oil items, exports of gems and jewellery, drugs and pharmaceuticals, chemicals and electronic goods improved over their levels a year ago. By contrast, exports of engineering goods declined for the ninth straight month while readymade garments recorded a fall for the fourth successive month. Imports fell sharply and across constituents – 25 items accounting for a share of 87 per cent in total imports recorded a decline; POL imports also declined, essentially reflecting lower prices. Accordingly, the trade deficit narrowed sequentially and was less than half its level a year ago. Portfolio flows resumed in April and May. The level of foreign exchange reserves rose to US $ 360 billion by May 27, 2016," it said.

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 2161 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders valued at Rs. 2161 crore across various segments.
A press release from the company said these included a major design and build order worth Rs. 847 crore from the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) bagged by its Transportation Infrastructure Business.
The prestigious order has been secured by the consortium of L&T and Instalaciones Inabensa, S.A., Spain, it said. It involves electrification works for 417 km section of the Eastern DFC (Dedicated Freight Corridor) from Mughalsarai to New Bhaupur in Uttar Pradesh.
The scope of works includes construction of seven Traction Sub- Stations (TSS), 18 Switching Stations (SWS), 881 track km of Overhead Equipment (OHE), SCADA and electrical and mechanical works along with supply of all associated equipment. This section will be designed for 2x25 kV traction power system with OHE suitable for dedicated freight transport.
L&T Construction is already executing the electrification works for two similar packages of the Western DFC covering 1337 route km with over 3000 track km.
The project is planned to be executed using mechanized means of overhead equipment installation using the latest technology in railway construction. This would be a one-of-its-kind energy efficient system to be implemented in India’s rail sector, the release said.
This project is funded by World Bank and is part of the 1856 km Eastern DFC proposed between Sahnewal (Ludhiana) and Dankuni (Near Kolkata) via Mughalsarai.
The company said its Water & Effluent Treatment Business had won EPC orders worth Rs. 709 crore, including a contract from Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited, the scope of which involves design and construction of approximately 146 km of mild steel pipelines and 26 km of ductile iron pipelines.
Further, the business has also secured an order from Rajasthan Urban Drinking Water Sewerage & Infrastructure Corporation Limited (RUDSICO) for the design, construction and commissioning of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and Sewage Pumping Stations (SPS) along with sewer networks in Alwar, Sikar and Bhiwadi towns of Rajasthan. This project is funded under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Scheme.
The release said the company's Power Transmission & Distribution Business had won EPC orders worth Rs. 403 crore, incuding a contract from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited for the construction of a 400 kV double circuit transmission line package from Tumkur to Hiryur in Karnataka.
Another order has been bagged from Karnataka Solar Power Development Corporation Limited for the construction of 220/66 kV substations along with associated transmission line network. This project will be instrumental in power evacuation from the proposed 2000 MW Pavagada Solar Park in Tumkur district.
The company said its Metallurgical and Material Handling Business had won additional orders worth Rs. 202 crore from various ongoing jobs.
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