Global gold demand declines 16% to 964 tonnes in Q2 of 2014

Global gold demand touched 964 tonnes (t) in the second quarter (Q2) of 2014 (April-June), 16 per cent lower than the same period last year, as consumers and investors pulled back and consolidated their activity, according to the latest World Gold Council (WGC) Gold Demand Trends report.
The report said gold demand continued to demonstrate a return to long-term trends after an exceptional year in 2013. 
Global jewellery demand, which represents more than half of total global demand, was unsurprisingly down 30% year-on-year to 510t.
In comparison, Q2 2014 was 11% higher than Q2 2012, extending the broad upward trend evident since 2009, it said.
The report said India and China remained significant drivers of the global jewellery market, purchasing 154t and 143t, respectively. 
"In what is traditionally a quieter quarter for jewellery, consumers continued to digest opportunistic purchases made in 2013 and adopted a more 'needs' based approach to their jewellery buying.  Indian jewellery buying was also affected by high value purchases being restricted in the run up to the election and the continued impact of import restrictions on gold," the report said.
Meanwhile, there were continued signs of recovery in some Western markets as jewellery demand in the United States rose by 15% to 26t and the United Kingdom rose 21% to 4t as consumer confidence continued to grow in line with the economy and yellow gold came back into fashion, it said.
According to the bank, central banks bought 118t of gold in Q2 2014, a rise of 28% versus the same period last year. It was the 14th consecutive quarter in which central banks were net purchasers of gold driven by a number of factors, including a continued diversification away from the US dollar and the backdrop of ongoing geopolitical tensions in Iraq and Ukraine.
Total investment demand (investment in bars and coins combined with exchange-traded funds (ETF) investment) was up 4% to 235t. Investment in bars and coins stood at 275t for Q2 2014, a fall of 56%, following unprecedented levels of buying during the same period last year. 
"In Q2 2014, many investors were uncertain about the direction and momentum of the gold price, while traders in price sensitive markets were far less active due to low volatility. The quarter did see an improvement in investor sentiment towards ETFs compared to last year. Outflows stood at 40t for the quarter, a tenth of the redemptions seen in the same quarter a year ago. The bulk of these outflows occurred at the beginning of the quarter, turning to marginal inflows by the end," it said.
Mr Marcus Grubb, Managing Director of Investment Strategy at the World Gold Council said: “In the context of an exceptional year last year where we saw record consumer buying and investor sell-offs, this quarter’s demand continues to demonstrate a return to long-term trends, illustrating the uniquely balanced nature of the gold market. Jewellery consumers continued to digest the exceptional purchases of 2013 and investors also rebalanced, pulling back from the extremes we saw last year. Overall the gold market is stabilising following the extraordinary conditions we saw in 2013.”
In value terms, gold demand in Q2 2014 was US$40bn, down 24% compared to Q2 2013. The average gold price of US$1,288/oz was down 9% on the average Q2 2013 price."

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Modi to lay foundation of SEZ at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust on August 16

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of a port-based multi-product Special Economic Zone at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) at Sheva in Navi Mumbai on August 16.
The industrial infrastructure project will be established on 277 hectares with a total public and private investment of about Rs 4,000 crore.
An official press release said it was being planned as a self-sustainable integrated development project having a potential of generating over 1.5 lakh direct and indirect jobs. 
The project, which will be developed through a JNPT-Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode, is scheduled to be completed within three years.
The SEZ will develop Free Trade Warehousing Zone, Engineering Goods Sector, Electronics and Hardware Sectors, Non- Conventional Energy Sector, Multi Services (IT and Healthcare) Sectors and Apparel and Textiles Sectors, the release said.
Mr Modi is also slated to lay the foundation stone of a port connectivity highway project at JNPT and allot land to JNPT Project Affected Persons (PAPs) under the 12.5% scheme fo the Maharashtra government implemented by the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharastra Ltd (CIDCO).
The Port Connectivity Highway Project with a cost of about Rs.1927 crores is to be completed by December 2017. 

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India’s forex reserves decline by $ 573.5 million to $ 319.99 billion

India’s foreign exchange reserves declined by $ 573.5 million to $ 319.99 billion in the week ended August 1 after rising for the previous eight consecutive weeks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.
The forex reserves had grown by $ 2.714 billion to $ 320.564 billion in the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here yesterday, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, declined by $ 1.091 billion to $ 292.693 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 grew by $ 538.9 million to $ 21.174 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 15.5 million to $ 4.422 billion during the week.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 5.9 million  to $ 1.701 billion during the period, the bulletin added.

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Sanju Samson, Karn Sharma included in ODI squad against England

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson
Kerala's young batting star Sanju Samson and Railways' leg-spinner Karn Sharma were today included in India's 17-member squad for the one-day international (ODI) and T20 International series against England from August 25 to September 7.
India are scheduled to play five ODIs and one T20 International against England.
Others who have found a place in the squad include pace bowlers Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma. Batsman Suresh Raina is also back in the squad, as is pace bowler Umesh Yadav.
The following is the squad announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI):
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Virat Kohli (Vice-Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sanju Samson, and Karn Sharma.

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RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 8%, reduces SLR by 50 bps to 22%

Citing upside risks to the target of ensuring consumer inflation at or below 8% January 2015, the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday kept its key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility unchanged at 8.0 per cent.

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Citing upside risks to the target of ensuring consumer inflation at or below 8% January 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today kept its key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8.0 per cent.
In its Third Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2014-15, the RBI, however, reduced the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) of scheduled commercial banks by 50 basis points from 22.5 per cent to 22.0 per cent of the net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) with effect from August 9.
On the  basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the central bank also decided to keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent of NDTL.
RBI Governor Raghuram G. Rajan said in the statement that the central bank would continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 per cent of bank-wise NDTL  and liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of NDTL of the banking system.
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 7.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 9.0 per cent, he said.
Dr Rajan said that, since the second bi-monthly monetary policy statement of June 2014, global economic activity had been picking up at a modest space from a sharp slowdown in Q1.
"Investor risk appetite has buoyed financial markets, partly drawing strength from assurances of continuing monetary policy support in industrial countries. Portfolio flows to emerging market economies (EMEs) have risen strongly. This implies, however, that EMEs remain vulnerable to changes in investor risk appetite driven by any reassessment of the future path of US monetary policy or possible escalation of geopolitical tensions," he said.
According to him, sentiment on domestic economic activity appears to be reviving, with incoming data suggesting a firming up of industrial growth and exports. The June round of the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey also points to improvement in business expectations in Q2, he said.
"Leading indicators of the services sector are mixed, although there are early signs of modest strengthening of corporate sales and business flows. While the initial slow progress of the monsoon and its uneven spatial distribution raised serious concerns regarding agricultural production, these have been mitigated, though not entirely dispelled, by the pick-up in the monsoon through much of the country in July. The implementation of government policy actions that have been announced should create a congenial setting for a steady improvement in domestic demand and supply conditions," he said.
The statement noted that retail inflation measured by the consumer price index (CPI) had eased for the second consecutive month in June, with a broad-based moderation accompanied by deceleration in momentum. Higher prices of vegetables, fruits and protein-based food items were offset by the muted increase in the prices of non-food items, particularly those of household requisites and transport and communication. CPI inflation excluding food and fuel decelerated further, extending the decline that began in September 2013. 
"However, with some continuing uncertainty about the path of the monsoon, it would be premature to conclude that future food inflation, and its spill-over to broader inflation, can be discounted," it said.
The statement said liquidity conditions had remained broadly stable, barring episodic tightness on account of movements in the cash balances of the Government maintained with the Reserve Bank. 
"While the system’s recourse to liquidity from the LAF, and regular and additional term repos has been around 1.0 per cent of the NDTL of banks, access to the MSF has been minimal and temporary. In order to manage transient liquidity pressures associated with tax outflows and sluggish spending by the Government, the Reserve Bank injected additional liquidity aggregating over Rs 940 billion through nine special term repos of varying maturities during the months of June and July. Despite the reduction in the export credit refinance effected in early June, average utilisation of the facility has only been around 70 per cent of the available limit. The Reserve Bank will review existing liquidity arrangements and continue to monitor and manage liquidity to ensure adequate flow of credit to the productive sectors," it said.
"With the buoyancy in export performance sustained through Q1, the trade deficit has narrowed from its level a year ago. While oil imports rose in June partly on higher international crude prices, gold import growth picked up in response to some liberalization of import restrictions, and non-oil non-gold import growth has turned positive since May. Turning to external financing, all categories of capital flows have been buoyant. Surges in capital inflows in excess of the current account financing requirement and the repayment of swaps by oil marketing companies have bolstered international reserves," it said.
The RBI said that the moderation in CPI headline inflation for two consecutive months, despite the seasonal firming up of prices of fruits and vegetables since March, was due to both base effects and the steady deceleration in CPI inflation excluding food and fuel. 
"The recent fall in international crude prices, the benign outlook on global non-oil commodity prices and still-subdued corporate pricing power should all support continued disinflation, as should measures undertaken to improve food management. There are, however, upside risks also, in the form of the pass-through of administered price increases, continuing uncertainty over monsoon conditions and their impact on food production, possibly higher oil prices stemming from geo-political concerns and exchange rate movement, and strengthening growth in the face of continuing supply constraints," it said.
"Accordingly, the upside risks to the target of ensuring CPI inflation at or below 8 per cent by January 2015 remain, although overall risks are more balanced than in June. It is, therefore, appropriate to continue maintaining a vigilant monetary policy stance as in June, while leaving the policy rate unchanged," it said.
Dr Rajan said prospects for reinvigoration of growth had improved modestly. The firming  up of export growth should support manufacturing and service sector activity, he said.
"If the recent pick-up in industrial activity is sustained in an environment conducive to the revival of investment and unlocking of stalled projects, with ongoing fiscal consolidation releasing resources for private enterprise, external demand picking up and international crude prices stabilising, the central estimate of real GDP growth of 5.5 per cent within a likely range of 5 to 6 per cent that was set out in the April projection for 2014-15 can be sustained. On the other hand, if risks relating to the global recovery, the monsoon and geo-political tensions intensify, the balance of risks could tilt to the downside," he said.
"The Reserve Bank will continue to monitor inflation developments closely, and remains committed to the disinflationary path of taking CPI inflation to 8 per cent by January 2015 and 6 per cent by January 2016. While inflation at around 8 per cent in early 2015 seems likely, it is critical that the disinflationary process is sustained over the medium-term," he said.
The statement said the balance of risks around the medium-term inflation path, and especially the target of 6 per cent by January 2016, were still to the upside, warranting a heightened state of policy preparedness to contain these risks if they materialise.
"In the months ahead, government actions on food management and to facilitate project completion should improve supply, but as consumer and business confidence pick up, aggregate demand will also strengthen. The Reserve Bank will act as necessary to ensure sustained disinflation," he said.
In the second bi-monthly monetary policy statement of June 2014, the Reserve Bank had reduced the SLR to 22.5 per cent of NDTL in anticipation of recovery in economic activity.
"With the Union Budget for 2014-15 renewing commitment to the medium-term fiscal consolidation roadmap and budgeting 4.1 per cent of GDP as the fiscal deficit for the year, space has opened up further for banks to expand credit to the productive sectors in response to its financing needs as growth picks up. Accordingly, the SLR is reduced by a further 0.5 per cent of NDTL," the statement said.
"In consonance with the calibrated reduction in the SLR, it is necessary to enhance liquidity in the money and debt markets so that financial intermediation expands apace with a growing economy. Currently, banks are permitted to exceed the limit of 25 per cent of total investments under the held to maturity (HTM) category provided the excess comprises only SLR securities, and banks’ total holdings of SLR securities in the HTM category is not more than  24.5 per cent of their NDTL as on the last Friday of the second preceding fortnight. In order to enable banks greater participation in financial markets, this ceiling is being brought down to 24 per cent of NDTL with effect from the fortnight beginning August 9, 2014.
"The Reserve Bank has taken a number of steps to enhance efficiency, increase entry, speed up resolution, and improve access to financial services, such as modified regulations on long term lending and borrowing, proposals for licensing payment banks and small banks, a framework to deal with stressed assets, actions to further the use of mobile phones in banking, and efforts to simplify know your customer (KYC) norms, among others. The Reserve Bank will continue to carry forward its banking sector reforms agenda," the statement added.

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Essar Projects bags $ 54-million maiden contract from Saudi Aramco

Essar Projects, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, today said its Hydrocarbon SBU had secured its maiden contract from Saudi Aramco, the national petroleum and natural gas company of Saudi Arabia.
A press release from the company, a part of the Essar Group, said the $ 54 million project involves the upgradation of a Crude Stabilization Unit at Aramco’s Abqaiq Plant, in Shaybah, one of the largest oilfields in the world. 
The scope of work entails engineering, procurement and construction of a crude tank, replacement of crude pumps and associated civil, piping, electrical and instrumentation facilities. The project is scheduled to be completed in 29 months.
Essar is already executing five other projects in the region in the hydrocarbon sector, the release said.
Mr Amit Gupta, CEO–Hydrocarbon SBU, Essar Projects, said, “This contract is a reflection of our capability to undertake global projects from reputed clients in this region. We will leverage the capabilities gained to enhance our foot print in other Middle East countries.”
Essar Projects has previously executed a world-scale grass-roots refinery at Vadinar, Gujarat, with an initial capacity of 10 MMTPA, which was gradually expanded to 14 MMTPA and then 20 MMTPA. It also executed the supporting infrastructure and facilities that include SBM for crude unloading, product jetty for refinery product export, a tank farm with total tankage of 3 million cubic metres for crude, products and intermediate and 77 MW of captive power plant.

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Mumbai's Sassoon Dock to be revamped as modern fishing harbour

Mumbai's historic Sassoon Dock will be revamped as a modern fishing harbour as part of a redevelopment project, under the aegis of the Mumbai Port Trust, that was inaugurated here yesterday by Union Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Mr Gadkari said the project was aimed at giving a thrust to exports of marine products and the Mumbai Port Trust was backing this objective by creating the necessary physical infrastructure for the harbour.
He said the government was committed to creating a good water transport infrastructure in the country to promote both seabound shipping and inland water transport, to save cost and create job opportunities.
He said his Ministry would proactively accord approvals for port related projects. 
Mr.Gadkari said the pro-development policies being pursued by the government would take the GDP growth upto 8.5 per cent within the next two years. 
An official press release said that, as part of the redevelopment plan, fishing activities would be restricted to the New Sassoon Dock area, while Old Sassoon Dock would be used for outfitting of fishing boats and for providing required services like fuel, freshwater and ice for fishing boats. 
There is also a plan to provide an ice plant and an ice crusher shed. The existing open fish auction hall at New Sassoon Dock will be converted into a modern fish handling and auction hall. 
The redevelopment project also envisages construction of a dormitory, rest rooms, restaurant and a radio communication tower. There is also a proposal to set up a Marine Food Park, a sea food restaurant and an art gallery at the Sassoon Dock premises at a later stage. 
Mumbai Port Trust has appointed Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fishery, Bangalore as the Project Management Consultant for preparing the detailed technical report. The redevelopment project is estimated to cost Rs 25.50 crores. 
Sassoon Dock is among the oldest docks of Mumbai, built in 1875 on reclaimed land in Colaba. It was built by Albert Abdul Sassoon, son of David Sassoon, who was the leader of the Jewish community in Bombay (Mumbai). It is the main fish loading and trading centre in the city. 

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RIL denies any move to sell stake in Reliance Jio Infocomm

The Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it had no plan to sell any stake in its telecom venture Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (RJIL), a wholly owned subsidiary, as had been reported by a business newspaper.
"This is to clarify that there is no merit in the report carried in today’s Business Standard captioned 'Reliance Open to 30% stake sale in Jio', as there is no such proposal under consideration," a spokesperson for RIL said.
"This statement has also been shared with the relevant stock exchanges," the spokesperson added.
Reliance Jio is the first telecom operator to hold a pan-India unified licence, which authorises it to provide all telecommunication services except global mobile personal communication by satellite service. 
RJIL holds spectrum in 1800 MHz (across 14 circles) and 2300 MHz (across 22 circles) capable of offering fourth-generation (4G) wireless services. 
RJIL is setting up a pan-India telecom network to provide high speed internet connectivity, rich communication services and various digital services in domains such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, government citizen interfaces and entertainment. 

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Piramal Enterprises, APG to invest $ 1 bilion in Indian infrastructure firms

Piramal Enterprises Limited (PEL), one of India's largest diversified companies, and APG Asset Management, the Dutch pension fund asset manager, today announced a strategic alliance for investing in rupee denominated mezzanine instruments issued by infrastructure companies in India with a target investment of $ 1 billion over the next three years.
PEL and APG have each initially committed $375 million for investments under this strategic alliance, a press release from PEL said.
This is one of the largest private sector commitments to the infrastructure sector in India and one of the single largest commitments to date by a foreign investor to the infrastructure sector in India. 
“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with an institution like APG which is a like-minded, focused and committed global investor. This is an opportune time to be creating an aligned pool of capital to target what we believe to be very compelling funding opportunities in the infrastructure sector in India," PEL Chairman Ajay Piramal said.
"The alliance is consistent with PEL’s long-term plan and vision of playing a contributing role towards investments that promote growth. This is the single largest investment of APG in the unlisted space in India till date and underlines the confidence reposed by institutional investors in Piramal Group’s capabilities," he said.
APG CEO Dick Sluimers said, “APG puts a great deal of effort and time into selecting the right partners and forming long-term relationships. In PEL, we found an aligned partner with the requisite expertise and industry knowledge to add value through active ownership, which is why we have teamed up with PEL for this strategic alliance in India. The strategy of the alliance to focus on mezzanine investments in infrastructure projects in India ticks the right boxes for our pension fund clients in terms of risk-return profile and high cash flow visibility.” 
The release said the strategic pool of capital will focus on operational and near completion projects with limited execution risks and high visibility of cash flows coming from a portfolio of projects. 
"The access to this source of capital will enable infrastructure players in India to retain their equity interest in the assets, while raising long term capital to help them complete their on-going infrastructure projects and enhance shareholder value," the release said.
Mr Jayesh Desai, co-Head of Structured Investment Group (SIG), PEL said “Indian infrastructure players have moved up in maturity scale as the portfolio of operational projects has increased and hence, is lending high visibility to future cash flows. Over $150 billion of equity and mezzanine funding is required to meet government target investment of $ 1 trillion until 2017, and this is the gap which our strategic alliance seeks to bridge."
"Mezzanine investments for infrastructure sector in India offers a compelling investment proposition as it addresses the void in the capital stack, which currently exists in the market place. This is due to the constraints of commercial banks in India to provide only senior secured lending at asset level where there is limited headroom, especially in cases where there has been delay in project execution," he said.
Mr Hans-Martin Aerts, Head of Infrastructure Asia, APG said, “We are very pleased to partner with PEL in this venture. The current market circumstances where there is a mismatch between demand and supply of capital creates a window of opportunity to make mezzanine investments in Indian infrastructure. We believe that the infrastructure sector in India is at an inflection point. Given the strong push of the new government on sector revival through conducive policy measures, the funding from this strategic alliance will help infrastructure companies to recycle capital and contribute significantly to the further development of India’s infrastructure sector.”
The release said PEL had demonstrated strong sourcing and risk underwriting capabilities, and has developed a strong track record in providing mezzanine funding to corporates in various sectors including infrastructure. 
Macquarie Capital acted as the sole financial adviser for the transaction, the release added.
PEL has a presence in pharmaceuticals, healthcare information management and financial services. 
For its pension fund clients and their 4.5 million active and retired participants from the public and private sectors representing over 30% of all collective pension schemes in the Netherlands, APG Asset Management N.V. manages pension assets of €375 billion as at the end of June 2014. 

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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 813.2 million to $ 317.85 billion

India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 813.2 million to $ 317.85 billion in the week ended July 18, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.
The forex reserves had grown by $ 643.2 million to $ 317.036 billion in the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here yesterday, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, grew by $ 829.1 million to $ 291.051 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 $ 20.635 billion while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 11.5 million to $ 4.451 billion during the week.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 4.4 million  to $ 1.713 billion during the period, the bulletin added.

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Kridhan Infra bags orders worth Rs 116 crore from Singapore

Kridhan Infra Ltd, formerly known as Readymade Steel India Ltd, specialists in pile foundations, has bagged four contracts totally valued at Rs 116 crores (S$ 24.15 million) from Singapore’s Housing Development  Board. 
“It’s a great beginning of first quarter of FY 2014-15. This symbolizes the commitment and ability of Kridhan Infra to live up to client requirements.   We will continue to strive to secure businesses in India and Singapore and play a major role in the new infra story," Mr Anil Agrawal, Managing Director of Kridhan Infra Limited, said.
Kridha has bagged the contracts through its subsidiary KH Foges Pte Singapore, a leading specialist contractor in foundation engineering works in Singapore, a press release from the company said.
KH Foges is one of Singapore's leading foundation engineering companies and has orders in hand worth more than S$ 100 million, it said.
"KH Foges also sees a bright future in Singapore as the government has proposed to spend about SGD 60 billion over the next 10 years to improve the infrastructural facilities. The Singapore Government recently set aside SGD 250 million to help construction companies fund new and more productive equipment as well as train workers," the release added.

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Modi says nuclear power has essential role in India's energy strategy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being briefed by Atomic Energy Commission chairman R K Sinha about Dhruva reactor at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai on July 21, 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being briefed by Atomic Energy Commission chairman R K Sinha about Dhruva reactor at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai on July 21, 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that energy security, which was increasingly based on clean and reliable sources of energy, was the critical driver of India's rapid and sustained long-term development and saw an essential role for nuclear power in India's energy strategy, given the scale of demand in the country.
Talking to scientists during his first visit visit to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in Mumbai, Mr Modi said nuclear safety and security were of the highest priority for him and asked them to ensure that India's standards and practices were the most advanced in the world.
He also asked the DAE to pay special attention to the local communities in planning and implementing nuclear power projects. 
During his visit, Mr Modi was briefed by Dr R K Sinha, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and other top officials and scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on India's atomic energy programme; DAE's  research and development and education programmes; and DAE's contributions in other areas such as healthcare, especially cancer treatment, food security, solid waste management and water purification. 
He was also apprised of the safety and security measures adopted by the DAE and India's excellent record in this regard. During the visit, which lasted four hours, he was also shown some of DAE's most advanced facilities at BARC, including the Dhruva Research Reactor.
Mr Modi expressed his strong appreciation for the extraordinary achievements of the Indian scientific community in one of the most complex and challenging fields of science and technology. He said their success was especially creditable because it took place in the face of decades of international technology denial regime.
He said India's self-reliance in the nuclear fuel cycle and the commercial success of the indigenous reactors demonstrated that with vision, resolve and hard work, India could be a front ranking country in the most challenging fields. 
Mr Modi assured the DAE of his full support in the implementation of its ambitious expansion programme and expressed the hope that it would meet the target of increasing the capacity by three times from the present level of 5780 MW by 2023-24 within the projected cost. He underlined the importance of ensuring that nuclear energy remained commercially viable and competitive with other sources of clean energy in the long run. He also asked DAE to continually upgrade technology, both with regard to our long term plans and international trends.
He said the DAE must also plan for ensuring adequate availability of skilled human resources in the country.
He hoped that the role of industry in providing equipment and systems for the nuclear programme would continue to grow and recognized that adequate incentive structure should exist to facilitate that. 
He said the country would need to tap additional sources of investments for its ambitious expansion programme in nuclear energy. 
He welcomed India's growing international partnership in the field nuclear energy and hoped for timely implementation of the ongoing projects in a manner that they met the requirements of techno-economic viability and safety standards. Technology transfer to India, he observed, was a vital element of his vision for international partnership in India. 
Mr Modi also lauded the contribution of DAE scientists in the critical area of cancer research and treatment through the Tata Memorial Hospital. He hoped that the DAE would soon implement the planned projects in Chandigarh and Vishakapatnam and would take one of the most advanced standards of cancer treatment in Asia to other parts of India. 
He also directed DAE to make special efforts to expand its research and extension on a national scale with applications in areas like healthcare, waste management, water treatment, agriculture and food preservation. 
Referring to the diamond jubilee of DAE, which falls on August 3, Mr Modi asked it to draw up a programme of year-long celebrations, with special focus on the various human and developmental dimensions of atomic science, with special outreach to the youth in schools and colleges throughout the country. He exhorted DAE to present the human face of India’s capabilities in nuclear science throughout the world.
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

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Gas leak at Bombay High well; workers evacuated, no casualties

A gas leak was reported yesterday from a well owned by the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Mumbai High North, about 160 km off the coast of Mumbai, and efforts are on to plug it.
The operation was shut down for safety reasons and workers have been evacuated to nearby facilities, sources said.
The leak occrrred when drilling rig Sagar Uday was operating at NS platform in Mumbai High North on well number NSBX for side-tracking. The depth reached was around 1183 metres, a statement from ONGC said late last night.
"On 19th July 2014 early morning, gas flow was observed from the outermost casing annulus," it said.
"The operation has been stopped for safety reasons. Forty eight persons have been evacuated to nearby installations,"  it said.
The statement said five vessels, including two Multi Support Vessels (MSVs), are on the location for any immediate support.
"Crisis Management Team (CMT) of ONGC is on site. The preparation of plugging the leak is in progress. International expert from Boots & Coots has been mobilised," the statement added.

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Reliance Industries reports 13.7% rise in Q1 profits to Rs 5957 crore

Reliance logo
Reliance logo
Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today reported a 13.7 per cent rise in its profit for the  first quarter (Q1) ended June 30 at Rs 5957 crore on the back of higher refining margins against Rs 5237 crore in the corresponding period of last year.
The company said in a press release that its turnover increased by 7.2 per cent to Rs 107,905 crore during the quarter as compared to Rs 100,615 crore in the same quarter last year.
“RIL has delivered a record level of consolidated net profit, this quarter. This was achieved despite weak regional refining margins and a planned turnaround in our refinery," RIL Chairman & Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.
"The petrochemicals business performance highlights the strength of our portfolio-mix and endmarket diversity. Alongside, this robust financial performance, we also made significant progress on our growth commitments. We have a great pipeline of new projects which will give Reliance an enduring competitive advantage. We are further expanding our retail business in existing markets while exploring newer markets and channels. At Reliance, social responsibility and care for the environment is an integral part of our economic success," he added.
The company said higher prices primarily accounted for growth in its revenue. Exports from India were higher by 16.8 % at Rs 66,600 crore ($ 11.1 billion) as against Rs 57,026 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The release said higher crude oil prices were primarily responsible for a 7.2% increase in cost of raw materials from Rs 77,069 crore to Rs 82,631 crore ($ 13.7 billion) on Y-o-Y basis.
Employee costs were at Rs 1,480 crore ($ 246 million) as against Rs 1,415 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The company's outstanding debt as on 30th June 2014 was Rs 135,769 crore ($ 22.6 billion) compared to Rs 138,761 crore as on 31st March 2014.
RIL had cash and cash equivalents of Rs 81,559 crore ($ 13.6 billion). These were in bank deposits, mutual funds, CDs and Government securities / bonds.
RIL’s gross refining margin (GRM) for the quarter stood at $ 8.7/bbl as against $ 8.4/bbl in the corresponding period of the previous year and $ 9.3/bbl in 4Q FY14.

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India’s forex reserves rise by $643.2 million to $ 317.036 billion

India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 643.2 million to $ 317.036 billion in the week ended July 11, the Reserve Bank of India has said.
The forex reserves had grown by $ 614.6 million to $ 316.393 billion in the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here yesterday, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, grew by  $ 648.7 million yo $ 290.222 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 remained unchanged at $ 20.635 billion while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 4 million to $ 4.463 billion during the week.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 1.5 million  to $ 1.717 billion during the period, the bulletin added.

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SBI appoints B Sriram, V G Kannan as MDs & Group Executives

The State Bank of India (SBI) today appointed Mr B Sriram as Managing Director & Group Executive (International Banking) and Mr V G Kannan as Managing Director & Group Executive (Associates & Subsidiaries).
Mr Sriram was, prior to this appointment, Managing Director of State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, while Mr Kannan was Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, SBI Capital Markets Ltd., Mumbai.
Mr Sriram, 55, joined SBI in Tirupur branch and has served in various positions, including in its Singapore office. He has also worked as its Regional Manager in Chennai and as Deputy General Manager in Dehradun and Mumbai.
He served as General Manager and Chief General Manager in the bank's Global Markets Division and as Chief General Manager (Delhi).
Mr Kannan, 58, joined the bank as a probationary officer in September 1978 and has served it as dealer, Overseas Branch, Chennai; Manager (Money & Forex), Hong Kong; and head of forex treasury at Corporate Centre, Mumbai.
He has also worked in Mid Corporate Group. He headed one of the Networks in 
Chennai LHO as General Manager and then was Chief General Manager, Mid 
Corporate Group, Mumbai. He was also President & COO of SBI Capital Markets 
Ltd., Mumbai. 

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L&T Hydrocarbon wins Rs 5067 crore order from Kuwait oil & gas facility

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its wholly owned subsidiary L&T Hydrocarbon had achieved a major breakthrough in the Middle East by securing a contract valued at Kuwaiti dinars 239.7 million (about $ 846 million) from the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC).
"L&T Hydrocarbon will execute a complete Engineer-Procure-Construct contract for a Gathering Centre for KOC, a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and fully owned by the State of Kuwait," a press release from the company said.
Located in north Kuwait, the oil gathering facilities will receive crude from the Raudhatain fields. The Gathering Centre is designed for a multi-stage process that will separate 100,000 BOPD of crude oil, 240,000 BWPD of water and 62.5 MMSCFD of associated gas to meet the quality requirements of downstream operations, it said.
The release said the scope of L&T’s contract includes project management, detailed engineering, procurement, supply, construction, testing, mechanical completion, pre-commissioning, commissioning assistance including performance testing.
The new facilities will support KOC’s long term strategy for the development of the North Kuwait fields to increase oil production to 1 MMBOPD by 2015/2016.
"The contract was won by L&T against stiff competition from European and Korean EPC majors. It represents a significant step forward in L&T’s strategic growth plan in the international hydrocarbon sector," it said.
"As with all other projects being executed by the L&T Group, the Gathering Centre project will maintain high standards of health, safety and environment, engineering, procurement, project and construction management, quality and delivery.
"L&T’s track record in Kuwait includes critical sections of oil refineries at Shuaiba and Mina Abdullah, an aviation fuel depot and supply of 22 reactors that were part of the country’s ‘Clean Fuel Programme’," the release added.

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Indiabulls promoters part ways, announce major restructuring of group

The promoters of the Indiabulls Group -- Sameer Gehlaut, Rajiv Rattan and Saurabh Mittal, who are buddies from their IIT days -- have announced their decision to part ways and split the business through a major restructuring exercise announced here on Wednesday.
The group has business interests in housing finance, real estate, securities, power, wholesale services and so on.
In a notification to the National Stock Exchange, the group said that its promoters had, effective from July 9, mutually agreed to restructure its various business segments and their inter se responsibilities among themselves so each of the segments receives their focused and undivided attention.
According to the notification, Mr Gehlaut would continue to control, manage and supervise the businesses of housing finance, real estate, securities and wholesale trading business segments of the group, headed by its flagship companies -- Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited (IHFL), Indiabulls Real Estate Limited (IBREL), Indiabulls Securities Limited (ISL) and Indiabulls Wholesale Services Limited (IWSL).
Mr Rattan and Mr Mittal have relinquished all their control, management and supervision rights in the hands of Mr Gehlaut in all these companies and segments and have resigned as directors in IHFL and IBREL.
Mr Gehlaut has relinquished his office as chairman and a director of Indiabulls Power Limited (IPL) in the hands of Mr Rattan. IPL shall be under the overall control, management and supervision of both Mr Rattan and Mr Mittal.
Mr Gehlaut has also relinquished office as chairman and a director of Indiabulls Infrastructure and Power Limited (IIPL) in the hands of Mr Rattan. IIPL shall be under the overall control, management and supervision of both Mr Rattan and Mr Mittal.
Mr Rattan and Mr Mittal shall not have any rights and/or interests in the Indiabulls brand. The existing names of both IPL and IIPL shall be changed by Mr Rattan and Mr Mittal on or before December 31, 2014 by deleting the reference of Indiabulls from such names on following all applicable regulatory requirements, the notification said.
The Indiabulls journey began in mid-1999 when Gehlaut and his close IIT Delhi friend Rattan got together and bought a defunct securities company with an NSE membership and started offering brokerage services. A few months later, Mittal, another IITian, also joined them.
By December 1999, the company started building one of the first online platforms in India for offering internet brokerage services. In January 2000, the three founders incorporated Indiabulls Financial Services and made it their flagship company.
In mid-2000, Indiabulls Financial Services received venture capital funding from Mr L.N. Mittal & Mr Harish Fabiani.
In September 2004, it went public with an IPO at Rs 19 a share. In late 2004, Indiabulls Financial Services started its financing business with consumer loans. In March 2005, Indiabulls Properties Private Ltd, a subsidiary of Indiabulls Financial Services, participated in government auction of Jupiter Mills, a defunct 11-acre textile mill owned by NTC in Lower Parel, Mumbai. Indiabulls Properties Private Ltd won the mill in auction and that purchase started Indiabulls Real Estate 
 A few months later, it bought Elphinstone Mill in Lower Parel, Mumbai, another textile mill auctioned by NTC. With the real estate business gaining size, Indiabulls Financial Services demerged the real estate business under Indiabulls Real Estate. Later, Indiabulls Financial Services also demerged Indiabulls Securities.
In 2007, Indiabulls Real Estate incorporated a 100% subsidiary, Indiabulls Power, to build power plants and started work on building Nashik and Amrawati thermal power plants. Indiabulls Power went public in September 2009.
Today, Indiabulls Group has a networth of Rs 19,320.

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Mahindra Holidays to acquire 18.8% stake in Holiday Club Resorts of Finland

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), a part of the Mahindra Group, today signed definitive agreements with the shareholders of Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland to initially acquire 18.8% of its shares with a right to increase its ownership over a period of two years. 
This initial acquisition will be completed in a month’s time subject to required regulatory approvals, a press release from the company said.
Holiday Club is a leading vacation ownership company in Europe with thirty-two resorts, twenty four of which are located in Finland, two in Sweden and six in Spain (1 in Costa del Sol and 5 in Gran Canaria). Seven of these resorts have spa hotels with indoor water parks, three have golf course and there are five indoor theme parks for children called ‘Angry Birds Activity Parks’.
The release said Holiday Club has a membership base of ~ 50,000 families and is a leading leisure brand in Europe.
"It has an efficient sales and marketing organization in addition to strong core competencies in the design of holiday homes and apartments, spa hotels and resort management. Recently, Holiday Club has also successfully begun selling fractional membership, a concept that has been well received by its European clients," it said.
The proposed acquisition will enable Mahindra Holidays to make significant inroads into the European markets and to leverage Holiday Club’s expertise in the vacation ownership model, as well as its strong technology platform and talent pool, it said.
Once full ownership is achieved, the combined entity has the potential to become the largest vacation ownership company in the world, outside the United States.
"The acquisition of Holiday Club Resorts will elevate Mahindra Holidays to a global leader in the vacation ownership industry. This timely acquisition not only provides access to European assets, technology and processes, but more importantly, provides a springboard to Mahindra Holidays for growth in Europe and other international destinations," Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said.
Arun Nanda, Chairman, Mahindra Holidays, said, “This acquisition is part of a larger vision to widen our international footprint. We are excited at the prospect of expanding in Europe and the Middle East along with Holiday Club. We like the company for the quality of its management team, its emphasis on innovation and its expertise in design and speedy construction of cost efficient resorts. We are confident that synergies from this acquisition will fuel and propel our future growth.”
Vesa Tengman, CEO Holiday Club, said “We warmly welcome a new shareholder with such a good reputation in the vacation ownership industry. We are excited about the various development opportunities and synergies that the collaboration of two market leaders will bring about. We look forward to prospecting new opportunities to expand further in Europe.” 
MHRIL is a leading player in India in the leisure hospitality industry and offers family holidays, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. Club Mahindra is its flagship brand. The other brands offered by the company are –Club Mahindra Fundays and Club Mahindra Travel. 
As on March 31, 2014, MHRIL had about 171, 000 vacation ownership members. The company currently operates 41 resorts across India and abroad. 

HDIL sells HDIL Entertainment to Carnival Films

Real estate company Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) 
has entered into a definitive agreement with Carnival Films Private Limited to sell its chain of multiplex business across India operated under the brand name Kulraj Broadway. 
Accordingly, HDIL has sold its entire 100% shareholding in HDIL Entertainment Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary, to Carnival Films, a press release from the company said.
“The sale of HDIL Entertainment to Carnival Films has been part of the group’s strategy to exit its non-core business and fully focus on its core business. This will also enable HDIL to reduce its debt as planned.” said Mr Hariprakash Pandey, Vice-President Finance and Investor Relations, HDIL.
As on March end, consolidated net debt of the company stood at Rs 3,284.76 crore, while standalone debt was Rs 2,441 crore. The company reduced its debt by around Rs 600 crore in the year ended March 2014.

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Apollo Hospitals announces leadership reshuffle as part of succession plan

Healthcare services major Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, which runs India's largest chain of hospitals, today announced a leadership reshuffle as part of a succession plan for the group that is led currently by its 81-year-old founder chairman Prathap C. Reddy.
Dr Reddy's four daughters -- Preetha, Suneetha, Shoana and Sangita -- who are currently executive directors, have been given expanded roles. The company's board also approved the induction of Mr Vinayak Chatterjee as an independent director.
A press release issued by the company said Ms Preetha Reddy would assume an expanded role and be re-designated as Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited. 
Focused on Apollo’s core strength, she will work closely with the organization’s 8000 clinicians in reviewing global medical advancements and in introducing contemporary protocols to further enhance clinical outcomes, it said.
"She will lead the organization’s thrust on continuous quality improvement processes to achieve the highest standards of patient satisfaction. Preetha will persevere to further build and strengthen engagement with doctors across the organization’s network. Considering the immense potential in international business, Preetha will directly lead this portfolio and drive Apollo’s aspiration of becoming the global healthcare destination. She will steer the Enterprise Risk Management portfolio for the company. In addition to her organizational responsibilities, Preetha will work closely with industry bodies and the State and Central Governments to advance policy matters on important healthcare issues," it said.
Ms. Suneeta Reddy will assume the role of Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited. She will lead the corporate strategy, corporate finance, funding and investments and will leverage M&As to achieve the accelerated pace of growth and optimize profitability. 
She will directly steer the hospital vertical and will also handle Brand and Marketing.
Ms. Shobana Kamineni will assume additional responsibilities and be re-designated as Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited. She will continue to spearhead Apollo Pharmacy related initiatives, which is presently the fastest growing business within AHEL. She will oversee the planning, design and execution of new projects and lead the Apollo Global Projects Consultancy Division. She continues to be a Whole Time Director on the Board of Apollo Munich Health Insurance, the company she founded. 
Ms. Sangita Reddy will take charge as Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited and will assume greater responsibilities which will include creating an IT enabled patient centric operation across the Apollo footprint and creating an unmatched continuum of care for patients. 
"She will continue to steer Apollo’s thrust on research, innovation and healthcare initiatives. In growing the group’s retail healthcare foray, Sangita will also spearhead Retail Health, including Health & Lifestyle under Apollo Health and Lifestyle Ltd., the company running Clinics, Cradles and other retail service formats. She will lead the Human Resources and IT functions across all divisions of the Group and will continue to be the Chairperson of Apollo Knowledge, the education vertical of the group," the release said.
Dr. Reddy said, “As the healthcare landscape in the country and the region changes and expands, this strategic realignment, we believe, will enable Apollo to focus on growth opportunities in hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and health insurance while furthering its clinical leadership and service excellence. We aim to deepen our focus in each of these verticals as well as drive synergies between them using technology and an ecosystem focused on wellness, innovation and productivity.”
He said the re-designation of the four Executive Directors is in keeping with the expanded roles and additional responsibilities being assigned to them aligned with the strategy, with a view to achieving the organization’s accelerated growth agenda.
“We see enormous growth opportunities on which Apollo can capitalize; this restructuring will further facilitate our objective of leveraging on the company’s leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these opportunities," he said.
Dr Reddy had launched Apollo Hospital in Chennai as India's first corporate hospital in 1983. It has grown into Asia's largest healthcare group with more than 860 beds across 50 hospitals, 1632 pharmacies, 92 primary care and diagnostic clinics, 100 telemedicine units across 100 countries, health insurance services, 15 colleges of nursing and other activities.

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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 2442 crore in telecom segment

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction division had secured a contract worth Rs 2442 crore from the public sector telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the project implementation agency for the Ministry of Defence.
The contract is for supply, trenching, laying, installation, testing and commissioning of an Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) Network which will establish exclusive optical national long distance backbone and optical access routes for the defence network. The scope largely covers OFC routes in central and southern India, a press release from the company said.
It said the project would be handled on a turnkey basis, intended for rollout of a nationwide OFC network which will be owned and operated by the Defence Services. 
"This mega network will be deployed with state-of-the-art fibre optic cable technology which will form the backbone optical highway infrastructure and serve as a highly resilient and reliable communication media for the defence sector," it said.
The project is scheduled to be completed in a stringent time frame of 18 months. 
Mr. S.N. Subrahmanyan, Senior Executive Vice President (Infrastructure and Construction), L&T said: “We are well-placed with a complete range of offerings, a nationwide presence and the relevant track record to execute this project to the complete satisfaction of our client. We are also very privileged to play a significant role in strengthening and modernizing the network of our defence forces.” 

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Tata Sons appoints Gopichand Katragadda as group CTO

Gopichand Katragadda
Gopichand Katragadda
Tata Sons has appointed Dr. Gopichand Katragadda as its Group Chief Technology Officer from August 3, 2014, reporting to its Chairman Cyrus P. Mistry. 
In this new role, Dr. Katragadda will be responsible for technology at the group level and share his expertise in managing R&D operations, leveraging cross-company synergies, creating technology strategies for white spaces, and acting as an evangelist for innovation across group companies, a press release from the company said.
Prior to joining Tata Sons, Dr. Katragadda served as Managing Director of the GE India Technology Centre, leading GE’s India technology team of over 5,000 engineers and scientists. In his 12 years with GE, based at the John F. Welch Technology Center in Bangalore, Dr. Katragadda built new technology teams, facilitated funding of cross-business innovation, championed the commissioning of new research labs, and helped create what is today GE’s largest integrated multidisciplinary R&D centre, it said.
Before joining GE, Dr. Katragadda worked with Karta Technologies, San Antonio, Texas, as Vice President – R&D. He also was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas and served on the Board of Directors of Texas Public Radio.
Dr. Katragadda has over 30 publications and five patents. He has authored a book on innovation, titled Smash, published by Wiley. A champion of innovation across India, he serves as a member of various important forums, like the Government of Karnataka’s Vision Group on Information Technology, and is an advisor to various industry bodies.
Dr. Katragadda has also served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of GE-BEL, and is on the Industry Advisory Board ofthe King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.  
An active volunteer in community programmes, he has also founded an NGO, the India Literacy and Leadership Trust. 
He holds MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. His graduate studies at Iowa State University were funded by grants from NASA and the Gas Research Institute. He was selected as a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology in 2014. He is also a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.
The Tata Group comprises over 100 operating companies in seven business sectors: communications and information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy, consumer products and chemicals.
The group has operations in more than 80 countries across six continents, and its companies export products and services to 85 countries. 
Tata Sons is the promoter of all key Tata companies and holds the bulk of shareholding in these companies. The chairman of Tata Sons has traditionally been the chairman of the Tata group.
About 66 per cent of the equity capital of Tata Sons is held by philanthropic trusts endowed by members of the Tata family. The biggest of these trusts are the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, which were created by the families of the sons of Jamsetji Tata.

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Rahul Dravid to advise Indian team in preparatory stages of England tour

File photo of Rahul Dravid.
File photo of Rahul Dravid.
Former Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid has accepted a request from the Indian team management to support and advise the team in its preparatory stages of the tour of England.
A press release from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said he had been requested to play the mentoring role in view of his vast experience and knowledge of the game.
"He will be with the team till the beginning of the first Test," the release added.
This is the first time that Dravid will playing such a role with the Indian team. In March this year, another former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar had suggested that Dravid be appointed as the coach of the team but he had made it clear that he could not accept the position because of lack of time.
Dravid, 41, one of Indian cricket's all-time greats, retired from first class cricket in March 2012 after an illustrious 16-year career. On India's last tour of England in 2011, he was its top performer with the bat with three centuries though the team itself lost 0-4. He was Man of the Series with an aggregate of 461 runs from eight innings.
Dravid captained India in a two-year stint from 2005 to 2007 during which India recorded overseas Test series wins against West Indies and England.

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Railways partially modify passenger fare hike for monthly season tickets

File photo of Churchgate railway station.
File photo of Churchgate railway station.
The Railways today partially revised its orders of June 20 hiking passenger fares by deciding that second class monthly season tickets (MST) for both suburban and non-suburban shall now be charged at 14.2 per cent  over the existing rates.
Earlier, the Railways had announced that second class MST fares of suburban and non-suburban shall be charged on the basis of 30 single journeys instead of approximately 15 single journeys as at present.
In circulars sent out by the Railway Board to all zonal railways, it was also stated that there shall be no increase in second class suburban ordinary fare upto 80 kms.
The circulars said that, in view of these modifications, the revised fares in the unreserved segment shall come into force from June 28. However, for the reserved segment, the revised fares shall come into effect from June 25 as notified earlier.
The Railways also decided that collection of difference in fares and other charges shall not be applicable to premium special trains on dynamic pricing, monthly season tickets, quarterly season tickets, half-yearly season tickets, yearly season tickets, vendor season tickets and so on.
In the orders issued on Friday, the Railways announced a flat ten per cent increase in fares for all classes. There will be no increase upto minimum distance for charge. In addition there will be an increase of 4.2% in fares on account of fuel adjustment component (FAC) which was due from April 2014.
Fares of First Class Monthly Season Tickets will be charged at the rate of four times the Second Class Monthly Season Tickets (MST) fares as is done presently.  
The revised fare shall also be applicable as per the existing method of computation on Quarterly Season Tickets (QST), Half Yearly Season Tickets (HST) and Yearly Season Tickets (YST).
The freight rates have also been hiked by 6.5 per cent.
The announcement of the partial modification came hours after a delegation of members of Parliament (MPs) from Maharashtra, belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), met Minister for Railways D V Sadananda Gowda here today and urged him to reconsider the recent hike in rail fares announced by him.
In particular, the MPs, who included representatives of the Shiv Sena, one of the oldest allies of the BJP, told Mr Gowda that the fares for the monthly season ticket for commuters who use the suburban railway system in Mumbai had doubled.
The BJP and Shiv Sena leaders in Maharashtra are worried that the fare hike would affect them adversely in the elections to the state legislative assembly, expected to be held later this year.
About 7.5 million commuters use the suburban services in Mumbai every day.

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