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SKS Microfinance Limited completes Rs. 80.81 crore securitization

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Non-banking financial company SKS Microfinance Limited today said it had completed the second microfinance securitization during the current financial year of Rs. 80.81 crore. 
 
A press release from the company said it had downloaded the receivables from micro loans extended to 100,850 rural women entrepreneurs to a Special Purpose Vehicle, and Pass Through Certificates (PTCs) have been purchased by a major private sector bank. 
 
According to it, the entire pool qualifies for priority sector treatment as per the Reserve Bank of India's priority sector lending guidelines.
 
It said 30% of the pool is from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe entrepreneurs, 16% from minorities, 37% from Backward Castes and the remaining 17% from women belonging to the Other Castes. The entire pool comprises receivables from women entrepreneurs from weaker sections.
 
The pool is rated AA (SO) signifying 'High Degree of Safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligation' by one of the leading rating agencies, the release said.
 
The pool is structured with geographical diversity as it comprises receivables from 12 non-Andhra Pradesh states and subjected to a minimum seasoning of three months.
 
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Bharti, Reliance Jio announce telecom sharing arrangement

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Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Limited and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, a subisidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, today announced a comprehensive telecom infrastructure sharing arrangement under which they will share infrastructure created by both parties. 
 
This will include optic fibre network – inter and intra city, submarine cable networks, towers and internet broadband services and other such opportunities identified in the future, a press release from the two companies said.
 
"The cooperation is aimed at avoiding duplication of infrastructure, wherever possible, and to preserve capital and the environment. This will also provide redundancy in order to ensure seamless services to customers of the respective parties," it said.
 
The arrangement could, in future, be extended to roaming on 2G, 3G and 4G, and any other mutually benefiting areas relating to telecommunication, including but not limited to jointly laying optic fibre or other forms of infrastructure services. The pricing would be at ‘arm’s length’, based on the prevailing market rates, it said.
 
As part of this arrangement, Bharti and Reliance Jio have already announced an agreement under which Bharti has provided capacity on its i2i submarine cable to Reliance Jio, the reliance added.
 
Bharti Infratel, a subsidiary of Bharti, is one of the largest tower infrastructure providers in India with 35,376 towers in 11 telecom circles across India. Bharti Infratel has 42% equity interest in Indus Towers.  Indus Towers has 112,144 towers in 15 telecom circles across India.
 
Bharti’s national long distance network provides pan-India reach with 175,705 Rkms of optic fibre. Its global network runs across 225,000 Rkms, covering 50 countries and 5 continents. This includes ownership of i2i submarine cable system connecting Chennai to Singapore, consortium ownership of SMW4 submarine cable system connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Singapore and Europe, and new cable system investments like Asia America Gateway (AAG), India Middle East & Western Europe (IMEWE), Unity, EIG (Europe India Gateway) and East Africa Submarine System (EASSy).
 
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It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighbouring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China.
 
Reliance Jio holds Universal Service License and is the only pan India operator with Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum across 22 circles capable of offering fourth generation (4G) LTE wireless services. 
 
Reliance Jio is setting up a pan India telecom infrastructure to provide high speed internet and communication services. This infrastructure will also be an enabler for a portfolio of rich multi-media digital services including education, health-care, entertainment, payment and cloud services for millions of individuals, homes and businesses across India.
 
Reliance Jio is part of the “Bay Of Bengal Gateway” Cable System, planned to provide connectivity between South East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, and also to Europe, Africa and to the Far East Asia through interconnections with other existing and newly built cable systems landing in India, the Middle East and the Far East Asia.
 
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L&T Shipbuilding wins $154m order for six commercial vessels

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its subsidiary L&T Shipping had won orders valued at $ 154 million for six specialised commercial vessels in the third quarter of 2013-14 from Halul Offshore Services Company of Qatar.
 
The orders are for design, construction, trials and commissioning of four Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs) and two Anchor Handling Towing, Supply and Standby Vessels (AHTSSVs) with 150 MT bollard pull, a press release from the company said.
 
"Secured at a time when the export order book  position of  many  Indian  shipyards  is  not  so  good, the orders  reaffirm  the  customer’s confidence in L&T’s capabilities for building high end offshore support vessels," the release said.
 
The ships’ design, to be optimized using modern tools including CFD, complies with the latest Marine Environmental and Crew Accommodation Regulations, it said.
 
The PSVs are designed for carriage of hazardous cargo like methanol.
 
The ships will be equipped with Dynamic Positioning (DP2) capability and will be suitable for firefighting, emergency response, rescue & standby, offshore supply, oil recovery and related duties. 
 
The PSVs will be provided with diesel-electric propulsion and AHTSSVs will be provided with advanced diesel-hybrid propulsion. The PSVs are to be delivered in the first quarter of 2015 and AHTSSVs in the last quarter of 2015.
 
These orders are in addition to the order received last year from Halul Offshore Services Company for 2 PSVs and 2 AHTSSVs, the release added.
 
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Books by Jerry Pinto, Janice Pariat, Ravi Subramanian win Crossword Awards 2013

Ravi Subramanian
Ravi Subramanian
“Em and The Big Hoom" by Jerry Pinto (Aleph) and “Boats on Land" by Janice Pariat (Random House)” have jointly won the Crossword Book Award 2013 in the Indian Fiction category.
 
In a function at the Mehboob Studios here  yesterday, “The Bankster" by Ravi Subramanian (Rupa Publications)” won the Popular Award.
 
“Righteous Republic" by Ananya Vajpeyi (Harvard Business Press)” and “From the Ruins of Empire" by Pankaj Mishra (Penguin)” jointly won the award for Indian Non-Fiction
 
“Wisha Wozzariter" by Payal Kapadia (Penguin)” and “Book Uncle and Me" by Uma Krishnaswami (Scholastic)” were jointly given the award in the Children’s category
 
“A Life in Words" by Ismat Chughtai, translated by Dr M Asaduddin (Penguin) has won the award in the Indian Language Translation category.
 
The awards this year were presented by Arrow in association with Principal Retirement Advisors. It was hosted by Suchitra Pillai and the evening included a memorable performance by percussionist Taufiq Qureshi.
 
At 552, it was the highest number of entries received in the history of the Book Award. The entire judging process took more than six months, which included shortlisting the books.
 
Shortlisted authors Rahul Pandita, S Hussain Zaidi, Rashmi Bansal, Ravi Subramanian, Arunava Sinha, Jerry Pinto, Janice Pariat, Anand Neelkantan, Anuja Chauhan, Ashwin Sanghi, Ananya Vajpeyi, Anushka Ravishankar, Himanjali Sankar, Payal Kapadia, Ranjit Lal, Dr M Asaduddin, Anchita Ghatak, Rabisankar Bal were present at the event.
 
This year The Crossword Book Award 2013 followed the financial year module and considered entries published in India from 1st January 2012 to 31st March 2013. 
 
For the next year, entries from April 2013 to March 2014 will be considered eligible, a press release from Crossword added.
 
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Jyothy Labs raises Rs. 263 crore via preferential allotment to promoter group

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FMCG company Jyothy Laboratories (JLL) today said it had raised Rs. 263 crore via preferential allotment of shares to Sahayadri Agencies Limited, a promoter group company. 
 
JLL has allotted 1.5 crore equity shares of Re 1 each at a price of Rs. 175.15 per equity share, a press release from the company said.
 
Post allotment, the paid-up equity share capital of Jyothy Laboratories has increased to Rs. 18.10 crore from Rs. 16.60 crore. With this, the promoter holding has gone up from 63.69% to 66.7%
 
“Post successful integration with Henkel India it was the right time to invest in existing brands and also expand JLL’s portfolio. The preferential allotment of shares along with NCDs to a clutch of investors will help JLL to save the yearly interest burden of about Rs. 60 crore leaving a cash balance of about Rs. 250 crore. The fund will be utilized for the organic and inorganic growth of the company," Mr. Ullas Kamath, Joint Managing Director, Jyothy Laboratories said.
 
The company in November had raised Rs. 400 crore through zero coupon Non–Convertible Debentures (NCDs) payable after three years. 
 
The company has now raised Rs. 263 crore through preferential allotment to the promoter. This amount has been used to repay the term loan of approximately Rs. 400 crore, the reease added.
 
JLL is involved in the manufacturing and marketing of products in fabric care, mosquito repellant, surface cleaning, personal care and incense sticks.
 
The company has10 brands in its kitty including Ujala, Maxo, Exo, Henko, Pril, Margo, Neem, Fa, Mr. White and Chek.
 
The company has recently forayed into the service sector in organized laundry through its subsidiary ‘Jyothy Fabricare Services Limited’.
 
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RBI releases report on Countercyclical Capital Buffer Framework in India

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) yesterday released the Draft Report of the Internal Working Group (IWG), headed by Mr B Mahapatra, on Implementation of Countercyclical Capital Buffer (CCCB) in India.
 
In the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision (GHOS) showed commitment to introducing Countercyclical Capital Buffer Framework.
 
Subsequently, in July 2010, the Basel Committee issued a consultative Document on Countercyclical Capital Buffer titled "Guidance for national authorities operating countercyclical capital buffer".
 
Against this backdrop, the RBI set up an Internal Working Group (IWG) under the Chairmanship of Mr Mahapatra,its Executive Director, to create a CCCB framework for banks in India. 
 
In the second quarter review of the Monetary Policy Statement of 2013-14, the RBI had stated that the draft report of the IWG would be placed on its  website by November 30, 2013.
 
A press release from RbI said the IWG approached the implementation framework keeping two main issues in mind. First, the structural changes that the Indian economy has been going through should be considered in calibrating the indicator/s for CCCB imposition; secondly, being an emerging economy, the maximum potential growth may not have been achieved by it so far and hence CCCB imposition should not stifle the possibility of the same.
 
According to the release, the key recommendations of the IWG are:
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While the credit-to-GDP gap shall be used for empirical analysis to facilitate CCCB decision, it may not be the only reference point in the CCCB framework for banks in India and the credit-to-GDP gap may be used in conjunction with other indicators like Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) growth for CCCB decisions in India.
 
The CCCB decision may be pre-announced with a lead time of four quarters.
 
The lower threshold (or L) of the CCCB when the buffer is activated may be set at 3 percentage points of the credit-to-GDP gap, provided its relationship with GNPA remains significant and the upper threshold (or H) may be kept at 15 percentage points of credit-to-GDP gap.
 
The CCCB shall increase linearly from 0 to 2.5 per cent of the risk weighted assets (RWA) of the bank based on the position of gap between 3 percentage points and 15 percentage points. However, if the gap exceeds 15 percentage points, the buffer shall remain at 2.5 per cent of the RWA. If the gap is below 3 percentage points then there will not be any CCCB requirement.
 
The supplementary indicators shall include incremental C-D ratio for a moving period of three-years (along with its correlation with credit-to-GDP ratio gap and GNPA growth), Industry Outlook (IO) assessment index (along with its correlation with GNPA growth) and interest coverage ratio (along with its correlation with credit-to-GDP gap). In due course, indices like House Price Index / RESIDEX and Credit Condition Survey may also form a part of the supplementary indicators for CCCB decision.
 
The Reserve Bank of India may apply discretion in terms of use of indicators while activating or adjusting the buffer.
 
The CCCB framework in India may be operated in conjunction with sectoral approach that has been successfully used in India over the period of time.
 
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The same set of indicators that are used for activating CCCB may be used to arrive at the decision for the release phase of the CCCB. However, instead of hard rules-based approach, flexibility in terms of use of judgement and discretion may be provided to the Reserve Bank of India for operating the release phase of CCCB. Further, the entire CCCB may be released promptly at a single point in time.
 
For all banks operating in India, CCCB shall be maintained on solo basis as well as on consolidated basis in India.
 
The indicators and thresholds used for CCCB decisions may be subject to continuous research and empirical testing for their usefulness and new indicators may be explored to support CCCB decisions.
 
The release said that comments on the report may be e-mailed or forwarded by December 31, 2013 to the Principal Chief General Manager, Department of Banking Operations and Development, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Mumbai-400 001.
 
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RBI proposes framework for dealing with Domestic Systemically Important Banks

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed a draft framework for dealing with Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs), which requires them, among other things, to have additional Common Equity Tier 1 capital requirement ranging from 0.2% to to 0.8% of risk weighted assets.
 
The central bank has sought views and comments on the draft from banks, other institutions and the public at large. 
 
The draft framework released yesterday discusses the methodology to be adopted by the Reserve Bank for identifying the D-SIBs and proposes regulatory and supervisory policies which D-SIBs would be subjected to. 
 
The assessment methodology adopted by RBI is primarily based on the BCBS methodology for identifying the Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) with suitable modifications to capture domestic importance of a bank. 
 
The indicators which would be used for assessment are: size, interconnectedness, substitutability and complexity. 
 
Based on the sample of banks chosen for computation of their systemic importance, a relative composite systemic importance score of the banks will be computed. RBI will determine a cut-off score beyond which banks will be considered D-SIBs.
 
"Based on their systemic importance scores, banks will be plotted into different buckets. D-SIBs will be required to have additional Common Equity Tier 1 capital requirement ranging from 0.20% to 0.80% of risk weighted assets.  D-SIBs will also be subjected to differentiated supervisory requirements and higher intensity of supervision based on the risks they pose to the financial system. The computation of systemic importance scores will be carried out at yearly intervals," a press release from RBI said.
 
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The names of the banks classified as D-SIBs will be disclosed in the month of August every year starting from 2015.
 
According to the release, during the recent financial crisis, it was observed that problems faced by certain large and highly interconnected financial institutions hampered orderly functioning of the financial system, which in turn, harmed the real economy.
 
"Government intervention was considered necessary in many jurisdictions to ensure financial stability. Costs of public sector intervention and consequential increase in moral hazard require that future regulatory policies should aim at reducing the probability of failure of Systemically Important Banks (SIBs) and also should try to reduce the impact of the failure of these banks," it said.
 
It was felt that the additional policies should also create level playing field between the SIBs and non-SIBs by reducing competitive advantages of SIBs in funding markets. The policies should endeavour to curb amplification of risk taking and reduce competitive distortions, the release said.
 
In October 2010, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) recommended that all member countries needed to have in place a framework to reduce risks attributable to Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs) in their jurisdictions. 
 
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) came out with a framework in November 2011 for identifying the Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) and the magnitude of additional loss absorbency capital requirements applicable to these G-SIBs.  BCBS further required all member countries to have a regulatory framework to deal with Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).
 
The Reserve Bank had indicated in the second quarter review of monetary policy statement 2013-14 that it would place a draft of the proposed framework for D-SIBs on its website by end-November 2013.
 
Suggestions and comments on the draft framework may be sent to the Principal Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Department of Banking Operations and Development, Central Office, 12th floor, Central Office Building, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Mumbai-400001 or emailed by December 31, 2013, the release added.
 
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India's current account deficit narrows sharply to $ 5.2 billion in Q2

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India’s current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to $ 5.2 billion, which is 1.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter (Q2) of 2013-14 from $ 21.0 billion (5.0 per cent of GDP in Q2 of 2012-13), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here yesterday.
 
The figure was also much lower than 4.9 per cent of GDP in Q1 of 2013-14, a press release from RBI said, quoting preliminary data on India's balance of payments (BoP) for the second quarter of the current fiscal year, July-September 2013.
 
The lower CAD was primarily on account of a decline in the trade deficit as merchandise exports picked up and imports moderated, particularly gold imports, it said.
 
The release said that, on a BoP basis, merchandise exports increased by 11.9 per cent to $ 81.2 billion in Q2 of 2013-14 on the back of significant growth especially in the exports of ‘textile and textile products’, ‘leather & leather products’ and chemicals.
 
On the other hand, merchandise imports at $ 114.5 billion, recorded a decline of 4.8 per cent in Q2 of 2013-14 as compared with a decline of 3.0 per cent in Q2 of 2012-13, primarily led by a steep decline in gold imports,which amounted to $ 3.9 billion as compared to $ 16.4 billion in Q1 of 2013-14 and $ 11.1 billion in Q2 of 2012-13.
 
As a result, the merchandise trade deficit (BoP basis) contracted to $ 33.3 billion in Q2 of 2013-14 from $ 47.8 billion a year ago, it said.
 
Net invisibles during Q2 of 2013-14 improved, essentially reflecting a rise in net services exports. Net services at $ 18.4 billion recorded a growth of 12.5 per cent in Q2 of 2013-14 (y-o-y) mainly on account of ‘computer services’, it said.
 
The release said that net outflow on account of primary income (profit, dividend and interest) amounting to $ 6.3 billion in Q2 of 2013-14 was higher than that in the preceding quarter ($ 4.8 billion) as well as the corresponding quarter ($ 5.6 billion) of 2012-13. Gross transfers receipts at $ 17.3 billion showed an increase of 2.6 per cent (y-o-y).
 
While foreign direct investment recorded net inflows of $ 6.9 billion in Q2 of 2013-14, net portfolio investment registered an outflow of $ 6.6 billion in the wake of indication given by US Federal Reserve about the tapering of its quantitative easing programme.There was a marginal net outflow of $ 0.8 billion under equities while the debt component of net FII flows recorded a higher outflow of $ 5.7 billion.
 
‘Loans’(net) availed by deposit taking corporations (commercial banks)witnessed an outflow of $ 6.7 billion in Q2 of 2013-14 owing to repayments of overseas borrowings and a build-up of their overseas foreign currency assets. 
 
Under ‘currency & deposits’, net inflows of NRI deposits amounted to $ 8.3 billion in Q2 of 2013-14 as compared to $ 2.8 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2012-13. Loans (net) availed by others (ECBs) at $1.3 billion, however, showed an increase of 8.8 per cent over the same quarter of the preceding year. Trade credits and advances recorded a decline mainly on account of higher repayments.
 
On a BoP basis, there was a drawdown of foreign exchange reserves of $ 10.4 billion in Q2 of 2013-14 as compared to that of $ 0.2 billion in Q2 of 2012-13, it said.
 
The release said that the turnaround in export growth and decline in imports from July 2013 onwards led to a sharp improvement in the trade deficit to $ 83.8 billion in the first half (H1) of 2013-14 from $ 91.6 billion in H1 of 2012-13.
 
Contraction in the trade deficit coupled with a rise in net invisibles receipts resulted in a reduction of the CAD to $ 26.9 billion (3.1 per cent of GDP) in H1 of 2013-14 from $ 37.9 billion (4.5 per cent of GDP) in H1 of 2012-13.
 
Net inflows under the capital and financial account (excluding change in foreign exchange reserves) declined to $ 15.1 billion in H1 of 2013-14 from $ 37.0 billion in H1 of 2012-13 owing to net outflows of portfolio investment.
 
Notwithstanding a lower CAD during H1 of 2013-14, there was a drawdown of foreign exchange reserve to the tune of $ 10.7 billion as against an accretion of $ 0.4 billion in H1 of 2012-13 mainly due to a decline in net capital inflows under the financial account, the release added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1471 crore

 
Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction division had won new orders worth Rs 1471 crore across various business segments in November and December this year.
 
In the Power Transmission & Distribution Business, orders valued at Rs 686 crore had been received in both domestic and international markets, it said.
 
These included an order bagged by its subsidiary Larsen & Toubro Saudi Arabia LLC for construction of a 132 kV transmission line and connection of Al-Dawadmi sub-station to the 132 kV Riyadh Network.
 
The order includes construction of a 78 km new 132 kV Double Circuit Overhead Transmission Line; 7 km of re-conductoring an existing 132 kV OHTL with Special Non-Gap Conductors of high current carrying capacity; 132 kV EHV Cabling of approximately 4 RkMs;  Protection, SCADA and Telecommunication works associated with Al-Dawadmi sub-station.
 
The scope involves complete engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of 132 kV towers, conductors, insulators, OPGW, and fittings. The project will be completed in 22 months, a press release from the company said.
 
On the domestic front, a turnkey order was won from Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited for setting up a 400 kV Double Circuit transmission line from Veltoor to Yemmiganoor.
 
Another order was won from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited for setting up a 765/400 kV GIS sub-station. The contract includes onshore supply, installation, construction of civil buildings & commissioning works.
 
L&T Construction also secured an order from Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited for establishing a 230/110/33kV GIS sub-station in Chennai on a total turnkey basis that is meant for transmitting power to the prestigious Chennai Metro Rail Project.
 
The company said its Buildings & Factories Business has bagged new orders worth Rs 461 crore.
 
The new order was received for construction of a cement plant in Chittapur, Karnataka from a reputed customer. The scope includes plant’s structural fabrication and erection works along with its associated activities.
 
Additional orders have also been received from various ongoing projects.
 
The Water & Renewable Energy business has bagged an order worth Rs 142 crore from Karnataka Urban Water Supply & Drainage Board for providing, laying, jointing, testing & commissioning of waste water network under the second stage Waste Water Scheme to Tumkur city.
 
The Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business bagged additional orders valued at Rs 182 crores from its ongoing jobs, the release added.
 
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Former Indian cricketer Vinod Kambli hospitalised after complaining of chest pain

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Former Indian batsman Vinod Kambli was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai this morning after complaining of severe chest pain, sources said.
 
Hospital sources confirmed that Kambli, 41, had been admitted this morning and was put under observation.
 
A brief statement issued by Kambli's wife Andrea said that he had experienced severe chest pain in the morning after which he was taken to the hospital.
 
"He is stable and recovering well," the statement added.
 
Kambli, who was known for his flashy batting and flamboyant style, played 17 Tests for India and scored 1084 runs at an average of 54.20. He also played 104 one-day internationals (ODIs) and scored a total of 2477 runs at an average of 32.59.
 
He and batting icon Sachin Tendulkar had started out around the same time and the two had figured in a record 664-run partnership in a school match in 1988.
 
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Mahindra Racing to compete in FIA Formula E Championship

Mr. Alejandro Agag, CEO, of Formula E Holdings and Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group at a press conference to announce Mahindra Racing’s decision to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship, in Mumbai on November 28, 2013.
Mr. Alejandro Agag, CEO, of Formula E Holdings and Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group at a press conference to announce Mahindra Racing’s decision to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship, in Mumbai on November 28, 2013.
Mahindra Racing has said that it will join the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship beginning in September 2014.
 
The motor sports division of the Mumbai-based $ 16.2 billion Mahindra Group has signed an agreement with series promoters Formula E Holdings to become the eighth and only Indian team to join the new zero emission series.
 
The all-electric race series will include 10 races in its first season in city-centre locations around the world, including London, Beijing and Los Angeles, designed to raise awareness about electric vehicles as well as help advance EV technology.
 
The series has generated significant interest globally, and professional services firm EY recently released a report forecasting that Formula E will help contribute to the additional sale of 77 million electric vehicles worldwide over the next 25 years.
 
The copany said that, having emerged as a major force in the development and production of electric vehicles through Mahindra Reva, it was a natural step forward for the Mahindra Group to join the Formula E Championship.
 
“We strongly believe that Formula E can provide an excellent global showcase for our electric vehicle technology,” said Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra Group, at a press conference here yesterday.
 
“With advanced operations and expertise in electronics, IT, automotive technologies and manufacturing, we are already seeing the fusion of this technology into our electric vehicle operations. Racing will further accelerate that trend while Formula E is set to raise awareness globally about the benefits of electric vehicles," he said.
 
Mahindra Racing is already established within the two-wheeled world of the MotoGP World Championship.
 
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According to Dr. Pawan Goenka, Executive Director and President (Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors), “As pioneers of electric mobility in India, we are extremely thrilled to extend EV technology to the exhilarating world of the Formula E championship. This will not only help us develop next generation EV technologies, but will also catapult our product development capabilities to the next orbit.”
 
“We are very excited about our new adventure with Formula E,” says Mr S P Shukla, Chairman, Mahindra Racing and President- Group Strategy. “Mahindra Racing is relatively young, but we have seen how racing delivers benefits to our organisation, not only from the brand perspective, but equally in terms of technology advances and motivation. This is an excellent addition to our racing portfolio and we are looking forward to a successful future in Formula E.”
 
Mr Alejandro Agag, CEO, of series promoters Formula E Holdings, added: “We are very proud to have a major global company like Mahindra join the FIA Formula E Championship. Adding a manufacturer from India to what is already a real global mix of teams is fantastic news for the series. Everything is coming together very well and we look forward to presenting all ten teams to the FIA World Motor Sport Council next month.”
 
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Etihad, Jet Airways to host Manchester City football clinics in India

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The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and its partner Jet Airways will host Manchester City FC football coaching clinics in India from December 1 to 8 as a grassroots programme for young children.
 
The clinics are aimed at improving technical football skills and will include coaching on positioning, dribbling, passing and shooting the ball. 
 
"They are conducted in a fun atmosphere with much emphasis placed on teamwork and interacting with the coaches to benefit from their vast knowledge," a press release from the two airlines said.
 
This is the first joint initiative to be undertaken since the transaction for the purchase of 24 per cent of Jet Airways by Etihad Airways was concluded on November 20, 2013.
 
Etihad Airways is the main partner and shirt sponsor of Manchester City FC and has hosted several football clinics in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as in China, Seychelles and Nigeria. This is the airline's first coaching initiative in India aiming to promote sport among Indian youth.
 
A coaching team headed by Manchester City’s Community Ambassador Alex Williams, an ex-professional goalkeeper with the club, will visit Mumbai and Delhi to lead 11 training sessions for up to 1,000 children.
 
The airlines have also teamed up with Magic Bus, a non-governmental organization that uses sports-based activities to create positive social change and improve the lives of youth in marginalised areas of India.
 
Mr Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer said: “Etihad Airways has a proud tradition of hosting grass roots sporting events globally and we are very excited to be bringing our Manchester City FC football clinics to India to celebrate the completion of our partnership with our equity partner Jet Airways."
 
“We are also pleased to support Magic Bus and believe this is an excellent opportunity to promote football in the community and offer children the opportunity to receive training from some of Europe’s top coaches," he said.
 
Mr Matthew Spacie, founder of Magic Bus said: “We are extremely grateful to Etihad Airways and Jet Airways for inviting our children to participate in the Etihad Airways Manchester City Football Clinics. Besides mentoring, we also follow a sports-based curriculum to engage the children and ensure that they make the right choices from childhood, all the way through to better livelihoods as adults. We are sure this training will be very beneficial and our children will learn a lot of skills. It will indeed be a memorable experience.”
 
Mr Gaurang Shetty, Senior VP, Commercial, Jet Airways said: “Participation in sport has emerged as a major factor in the all-round development of any child. Thus, we are truly pleased to partner Etihad Airways and the Magic Bus in bringing the nuances of the beautiful game to our youth in India. We not only want our youth to learn from the very best that the legendary Manchester City Football Club has to offer, but also have fun, grow in confidence and learn teamwork and responsibility through these grassroots football clinics at Mumbai and New Delhi. We recognise our responsibility to society and stand committed to creating more such opportunities for the development of Indian youth by way of the programs we conduct.”
 
The week-long activities will kick off in Mumbai with mall promotions at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel followed by a four-day coaching program in Mumbai. The team will then travel to Delhi where they will deliver a similar grassroots coaching program and conclude with a major promotion at the DLF Emporio Mall, Vasant Kunj.
 
On social media, a competition across Etihad Airways and Jet Airways Facebook pages will offer Manchester City FC fans the chance to win exciting prizes and branded merchandise, the release added.
 
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Indian cities to see over 150 million sq.ft of new office space by 2017: Report

The commercial office segment of India’s top cities is expected to see fresh supply addition of more than 150 million sq.ft.by end-2017, according to a new report from CBRE Research.
 
CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Anshuman Magazine said the next four to five years would see the completion of a number of under construction and planned commercial office projects—almost comparable to the existing Grade A office space of India’s National Capital Region (NCR) and its financial capital put together. 
 
"The top seven cities in the next few years, could, therefore, potentially see completion of office space worth the market size of yet another Mumbai and Delhi NCR," he said in a press release.
 
"At this stage, it would be interesting to consider the exponential growth of India’s investment grade commercial office footprint over the last ten years. From a total Grade A office space stock of about 42 million sq.ft across the top cities in 2003, to the current market space of more than 400 million sq.ft—the sector has witnessed growth in excess of 800% over the last decade," he said.
 
The release said that, with respect to Asia Pacific, although Tokyo clearly sets the benchmark for office space development in the region, the supply growth anticipated in the commercial markets of Hong Kong and Singapore will nearly double that of Tokyo in the coming years.
 
"Going forward, however, the commercial Grade A office markets of Bangalore, Mumbai and the NCR are likely to observe some of the highest growth rates in the region. These three metropolitan centers—together with the tier-II locations of Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata—have more then 150 million sq.ft lined up for completion within the next four to five years," it said.
 
Bangalore, in fact, would be comparable to the development patterns of Shanghai’s office market, while those of Mumbai and the NCR would be comparable to Kuala Lampur and Bangkok, respectively, it said.
 
"Substantial opportunity, however, lies for further growth as the commercial office real estate space in the country’s major hubs continues to be lesser than other developed global cities, such as New York and London," it said.
 
Mr Magazine said the three major metropolitan centres of Bangalore, Delhi NCR and Mumbai are slated to account for nearly three quarters of this planned supply, with Bangalore and the NCR alone expected to contribute to more than half of the total upcoming office space addition by 2017-end. 
 
"Most of these are planned and under-construction IT/ITeS spaces. Gurgaon and Noida are likely to attract the maximum number of these projects in the Delhi NCR; and quite a few micro-markets in Bangalore too are expected to follow suit. While the Outer Ring Road (ORR) stretch is anticipated to witness more than half of the supply set to hit Bangalore in the next four years, the rest of the city’s upcoming office space will come up in the North Bangalore area, followed by Whitefield and Electronic City," he said.
 
He said that, IT/ITeS development being fairly recent in Mumbai, in comparison to the other two major Indian cities, the metropolis accounts for lesser supply addition.
 
"The fact that the core city does not offer much scope for additional space creation, also adds to a comparatively conservative supply plan for office space. The peripheral business districts of Thane and Navi Mumbai are expected to witness maximum supply in the next four to five years, followed by the suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), and the commercial micro-markets of Malad and Goregaon," he said.
 
The report said the period 2014–15 is likely to see the maximum share of this upcoming supply, since projects slated for a release during this period are both spill-overs of pent up supply from 2013–14, as well as planned projects already under-construction. With a considerable level of supply lined up for 2014–15, rental values of select micro-markets—such as Gurgaon, ORR, Thane and Navi Mumbai—are likely to remain under pressure, it said.
 
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"While the total office space shares of the three main cities are anticipated to see a rise in the coming years—Bangalore is likely to occupythe maximum share, followed equally by Mumbai and the NCR—the tier-II locations of Kolkata, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad are actually going to see a comparative slide, albeit slight; in the total share of commercial office space. In the long run, such a top-heavy growth pattern may prove unwieldy for India’s commercial real estate sector.
 
"Another indicative trend worth noting is the growth of urban sprawls across the top Indian cities, with commercial development spiralling outward from existing urban centers towards peripheral locations. Land value is usually considered to be the chief driver of development patterns; and when property values are lower on the periphery of urban centers,land is consumed at a faster rate as populations and businesses shift from urban cores to suburban fringes," it said.
 
This projected expansion of India’s real estate sector, however, is subject to an effective utilization of the potential opportunities for growth, and implementation of relevant policy measures to resolve bottlenecks plaguing the industry, the report added.
 
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Tata Sons withdraws application for banking licence

Bombay House, the headquarters of Tata Sons in Mumbai
Bombay House, the headquarters of Tata Sons in Mumbai
Tata Sons today said it had written to the Reserve Bank of India yesterday withdrawing its application for a new bank licence dated July 1, 2013.
 
"The Tata group comprises over 1,000 companies engaged in multiple sectors and geographies, with a significant presence outside India. On a detailed evaluation of the ‘Guidelines for Licensing of New Banks in the Private Sector’ and analysis of clarifications thereto," a press release from the company said.
 
"Tata Sons has reached a conclusion that the group’s current financial services operating model best supports the current needs of the Tata group’s domestic and overseas strategy, and provides adequate operating flexibility to its companies, while securing the interests of the group’s diverse stakeholder base. 
 
"After prolonged deliberations and detailed analysis, Tata Sons has therefore decided to withdraw its application dated July 1, 2013, from the current round of licensing," it said.
 
The release said Tata Sons remained committed to financial inclusion and believed that the group’s existing financial services footprint uniquely positioned it to provide technology excellence and access to India’s hinterland. 
 
"The company shall continue to monitor developments in this space with great interest and looks forward to participating in the banking sector at an appropriate time," the release added.
 
Tata Sons is the promoter of all key Tata companies and holds the bulk of shareholding in these companies. 
 
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David Lau appointed General Manager India, Singapore Airlines

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Singapore Airlines today announced that Mr David Lau has been appointed as its new General Manager in India, succeeding Mr G M Toh, from December 1.
 
Mr Lau will manage the India operations of both Singapore Airlines and its fulll-service regional carrier SilkAir.
 
Mr Lau began his career with Singapore Airlines in its Human Resources division. His overseas marketing assignments started with Australia and spanned across the United States, the Philippines and Thailand.
 
He served in the airline's head office managing Marketing Communications & Development. Prior to his new assignment, he was posted in Jakarta as General Manager - Indonesia.
 
Singapore Airlines started operations to India in 1970, with the launch of services to 
Chennai. It currently operates 63 weekly flights from six cities in India. SilkAir operates 44 weekly flights from eight cities in India.
 
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Canadian nuclear industry delegation departs for India on Trade Mission

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The Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI) and a delegation of leading Canadian companies will visit Mumbai this week to discuss potential business opportunities for Canada's nuclear industry in India.
 
The visit of the delegation has been organized in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment and the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi, a press release from the Canadian High Commission said.
 
The release said the growing demand for high quality services and equipment in India’s nuclear energy sector represents a promising export market for Canadian nuclear suppliers, notably in Ontario.
 
Joining the OCI on the trade mission are nine companies that manufacture specialized nuclear equipment and provide unique engineering services. The private-sector delegates are also being joined by representatives from Ontario Power Generation, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
 
“The Canadian team in Mumbai this week reflects the strong collaboration among industry, provincial and federal governments in bringing the full spectrum of Canadian nuclear energy capability to the world stage,” said OCI President Ron Oberth.
 
“I am very pleased to be in Mumbai with 12 leading Canadian nuclear organizations that are looking for opportunities to collaborate with Indian partners in both domestic and offshore markets. Standing behind our team in India this week are another 170 companies and two other nuclear plant operators that are waiting to learn the results of this first major Canadian nuclear trade mission to India in many years," he added.
 
The Trade Mission will provide Canadian suppliers with insights into potential opportunities in India through meetings and events arranged by the High Commission of Canada in India, including a high-level Business Forum in Mumbai hosted by The Canada-India Business Council on November 29. Dr. Oberth will moderate a panel discussion on “Indo-Canadian Nuclear Collaboration”.
 
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Zaheer back in Test side against South Africa; Rayudu, Saha also named

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan
Veteran pace bowler Zaheer Khan was recalled to the Indian Test team after a gap of nearly a year but opener Gautam Gambhir was again left out as the selectors picked the Test and ODI teams for India's tour of South Africa beginning on December 5.
 
The teams were announced after a meeting of the Al India Senior Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India at Vadodara in Gujarat today.
 
India will play three ODIs and two Tests against South Africa during the month-long tour.
 
Zaheer, 35, has been struggling with his fitness for some time, but had managed to finish the Ranji Trophy season with 13 wickets at an average of 19.84 from three matches.
 
Gambhir, who has been relegated to group B in the list of contracted players, however, had no such luck though he notched up an impressive average of 74 in Ranji matches this season.
 
Ambati Rayudu, 28, has been named in both the ODI and Test squads as  have been pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha figures in the Test side.
 
The following are the teams:
 
ODI SERIES
 
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, Ajinkya Rahane.
 
TEST SERIES
 
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ravindra Jadeja.
 
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Six new judges appointed to Bombay High Court


The President has appointed six additional judges of the High Court of Bombay to be judges of that High Court, an official press release said here today.
 
The new judges are Mr Justice Abhay Mahadeo Thipsay, Mr Justice Utkarsh Vishvanath Bakre, Mr Justice Manoj Shivlal Sanklecha, Mr Justice Ramesh Deokinandan Dhanuka, Mr Justice Sunil Prabhakarrao, and Mr Justice Nitin Madhukar Jamdar.
 
The release said the appointments would be with effect from the date they assume charge of their office.
 
Ms Justice Sadhana Sanjay Jadhav, also an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court, has also been appointed as a Judge of that High Court with effect from December 16, 2013, the release added.
 
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Venus becomes first Indian pharma firm to get approval for meropenem in Gulf

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Pharmaceuticals major Venus Remedies Limited today said it had become the first Indian company to get approval for meropenem in the Gulf with marketing authorisation from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA). 
 
A press release from the company said it was planning to to launch this product in Saudi Arabia, considered one of the most lucrative pharmaceutical markets in the world, early next year.
 
Venus Remedies Chairman and Managing Director Pawan Chaudhary said, “Venus has become the first generic drug manufacturer in the world to get marketing approval for this product from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The $35-million market for meropenem in Saudi Arabia offers a huge opportunity to us, and we are aiming at capturing a 25% share in this market within the first year of the launch itself."
 
"Securing marketing authorisation from Saudi Arabia for meropenem is a significant and prestigious achievement for the company as the Saudi Arabian 
market is known across the world for its stringent quality control. This achievement is a hallmark of our regulatory team’s competence. Their hard work has been duly rewarded," he said.
 
Meropenem is an off-patented antibacterial agent of the carbapenem class of antibiotics, which caters to diseases with a broad range of serious infections caused by single or multiple susceptible bacteria in both adults and children.
 
Since Saudi Arabia relies substantially on imports for pharmaceutical products due to insufficient domestic production and lack of indigenous research capabilities to meet the local demands, this marketing authorisation offers a great opportunity to Venus to capture a fair share in the meropenem market in all the GCC markets, including Saudi Arabia, the release said.
 
With the SFDA being a major reference authority for regulatory standards and compliance and Venus Remedies emerging as the first and only generics manufacturer for meropenem in Saudi Arabia, apart from AstraZeneca, an 
innovator pharmaceutical company, Venus enjoys a competitive edge in getting marketing approval for meropenem from all GCC member nations and Middle East countries, it said.
 
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PM launches Mahila Bank, reaffirms commitment to safety, security of women

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday that the sad reality was that women in India face discrimination and hardship at home, at school, their place of work and in public places and declared that his government recognised its responsibilty to work for their empowerment.

 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the sad reality was that women in India face discrimination and hardship at home, at school, their place of work and in public places and declared that his government recognised its responsibilty to work for their empowerment.
 
"Given the adverse circumstances that our women face almost at every step, the successes of our women achievers are all the more impressive. I congratulate them for their accomplishments in the face of tremendous odds," he said at the inauguration of the inauguration of Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd here, a new institution that will provide financial services predominantly to women and women self-help groups.
 
"The discrimination that our women face is reflected in the indicators of human development. They score below men in literacy, in health status, in employment potential and in entrepreneurial skills. They also lag behind men in ownership of land and assets and in the management of enterprises. Increasing incidents of violence have worsened an already bad situation," he said.
 
Dr Singh said his government also recognized that its efforts for empowerment of women must cover many dimensions.
 
"Our flagship programs for rural employment and for universalizing education and health-care provide equal access for both men and women and will help the cause of women empowerment. For example, nearly half of those getting employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment happen to be women," he said.
 
He said the government had also launched schemes for taking care of the special needs of women. For example, while Janani Suraksha Yojana supports pregnant women and nursing mothers, the Sabla scheme empowers adolescent girls, he said.
 
He said the government had also embarked on a process of amending the laws to make them more gender-sensitive and to enable them to effectively address issues of persistent gender discrimination. 
 
"We have legislated for 30% of seats for women in rural and urban local bodies. As many as 15 states have already passed legislation to earmark 50% of seats for women at the grassroots level democratic institutions. Consequently, a larger proportion of poor and rural women have been brought into the fold of political participation. We have strengthened the law to provide for harsher punishment for sexual offences against women," he said.
 
Dr Singh said that much more needed to be done, and pointed out that it was an acknowledged fact that access to finance and banking not only helped empower women but also broadened the social base of development, thus fostering equitable growth. 
 
"This is an area in which India lags far behind. Our women have minimal access to finance and financial products. We need to change this state of affairs to enable our women to contribute to the growth processes of the mainstream economy," he said.
 
He said the setting up of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank was a small step towards the economic empowerment of women. 
 
"It is also a reflection of our deep commitment to this cause. I am sure that the Bank will fulfill the objective with which it has been established, namely financial inclusion of women and providing them equal and easy access to financial services. I am also sure that it will particularly benefit women from the less privileged sections of our society. The fact that it will be run largely by women will serve as an example that given the opportunity, women are capable of taking on challenging tasks," he said.
 
The Bank will initially have seven branches, which will go up to 25 by March 2014, and will focus equally on rural and urban areas. It will offer special products keeping in view the needs of women entrepreneurs. 
 
"It is a challenging task ahead for those who have been given the responsibility of beginning the operations of this Bank and nurturing it in its initial years. But it is also a meaningful and fulfilling endeavor which they have been entrusted with. I wish the management of the bank, its board of directors, its Chairperson, all success in the exciting task that they are engaged in," he said.
 
He reaffirmed his government's deep commitment to working for a brighter future for women and ensuring their safety and security.
 
Dr Singh said it was only befitting that the bank was being inaugurated on the birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, saying that her life and work were an abiding source of inspiration for everyone.
 
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Central Railway releases list of victims of Nashik train mishap

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The  Central Railway has released the following list of names of those who died and were injured in the derailment of ten coaches of the Hazrat Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Mangala Express at Ghoti near Igatpuri in Maharashtra this morning:
 
NAMES OF DECEASED:
 
1 Satya Bir Singh, M-40, Pathoda, Haryana
2 Raju Kushwaha, M-34, Aligarh, UP 
3 Unidentified
 
INJURED AND HOPITALISED AT GHOTI 15/11/2013
 
1. Kamla Ramani, F-70
2. Madhavi Bhairan, F-28
3. C. Murlidhar, M-60
4. Simran Ramani, F-35
5. Rahul P. Ramani, M-10
6. Ashwini Purgaonkar, F-50
7. Tek Singh, M-60
8. Suraj M Gautam, M-30
9. Surtaj Kumar, M-38
10 Uttamchand Khandelwal, M-40
11 Rinku Sharma, F-25
12 Sunita Rathod, F-28
13 Shubhi Rathod, F-1 1/2
14 Rajesh Kumar, M-25
15 Purshottam Banwari, M-54
16 Kumar Banwari, M-44
17 Nisha Ramani, F-35
18 Riya Ramani, F-2 1/2
19 Puja Ramani, F-13
20 Ram Ramani, M-38
21 Prakash Ramani, M-35
22 Neha Ramani, F-19
 
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PM reviews key projects in Maharashatra, go ahead given for airports in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan here today to review key infrastructure projects in the state at which the go-ahead was given for airports in Navi Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.
 
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and senior officials.
 
An official press release said the meeting discussed projects which needed to be fast-tacked so that infrastructure in Mumbai and otehr major cities of the state remained in the forefront of development.
 
It said the most  significant breakthrough was on the Navi Mumbai International Airport. The current Mumbai Airport is expected to reach full capacity by 2015 and, in the context of Mumbai's needs as a business and financial centre, there is a pressing need to develop a new international airport, failing which traffic to Mumbai would suffer delays and also get diverted elsewhere. 
 
The Navi Mumbai International Airport would ensure that air traffic to Mumbai would grow unhindered for many years, the release said.
 
The project, which was approved in 2007 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, has received clearances from many agencies both at the Central and State levels.  
 
The only major issue that was pending was the acquisition of remaining land. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra informed the meeting that, after detailed discussions with the Project Affected Persons (PAPs), an agreement had been arrived on a comprehensive and generous package for the land to be acquired. 
 
With this, all decks have been cleared to move ahead on the Navi Mumbai International Airport Project.  It is likely that the project will be awarded by 31.3.2014, the release said.
 
Another project that was finalised was the new international airport in Pune. The present Pune Airport belongs to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the civilian airport operates through a civil enclave. 
 
Given the traffic projections at Pune, there is an urgent need to build a new greenfield airport, the release said.
 
After discussing different options, the meeting decided that a new international airport would be developed for Pune at Khed. The Pune International Airport Project would be lead managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
 
The other long-pending issue which was resolved is the expansion of Nagpur airport (MIHAN). It was resolved in the meeting that the Government of India would move to exchange the necessary land with the Government of Maharashtra so that the work on this can begin immediately.
 
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The other project that was discussed is the Mumbai Elevated Rail Corridor Project, which envisages an investment of Rs. 20,000 crore to build additional suburban traffic capacity over 60 kms.   
 
It was agreed that a fresh traffic study would be conducted taking into account the traffic capacity being created by the new Mumbai Metro line  which  is partially on the  same alignment. The modalities on moving ahead with the project would also be finalised soon after that, the release added.
 
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Mohit Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni picked for ODI series against West Indies

Mohit Sharma of Chennai Super Kings sends down a delivery during their match against Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League in Delhi on April 18, 2013. Photo by Shaun Roy-IPL-SPORTZPICS
Mohit Sharma of Chennai Super Kings sends down a delivery during their match against Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League in Delhi on April 18, 2013. Photo by Shaun Roy-IPL-SPORTZPICS
Pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and Vinay Kumar were today dropped from the Indian team for the three-match one-day international (ODI) series against the West Indies.
 
In their place, right arm fast bowler Mohit Sharma and right-arm medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni have been included in the side.
 
The squad was chosen by the All-India Senior Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which met here earlier in the day.
 
The following is the team:
 
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ambati Rayudu, Amit Mishra, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma.
 
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Four killed in fire in seven-storeyed building in Vikhroli area of Mumbai

Mumbai building fire kills four
At least four people were killed in a fire that broke out in a seven-storeyed Slum Rehabilitation Area (SRA) building in the Vikhroli area of the city in the early hours of today.
 
Fire brigade and police sources said 12 others suffered injuries in the blaze, and were admitted to government hospitals at Rajawadi and Sion.
 
Those killed in the fire included two men, a woman and a child, they said.
 
The fire appeared to have broken out in a meter cabin of the building around 0230 hours and spread through the electric wires, they said.
 
Fire tenders and ambulances rushed to the scene and rescued several people, the sources said. The flames were put out by 6.30 am, they added.
 
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India’s forex reserves decline by $1.657 billion to $ 281.293 billion

 
After rising for four consecutive weeks, India’s foreign exchange reserves declined by $ 1.657 billion to $ 281.293 billion in the week ended November 1 from $ 282.95 billion in the previous week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
Foreign currency  assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves,  went down by $ 894.2 million to $ 253.609 billion during the week, the central bank said in its weekly statistical supplement.
 
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, gold reserves declined by $ 538 million to $ 21.227 billion, after remaining unchanged for five straight weeks, while special drawing rights (SDR) declined by $ 46.9 million to $ 4.422 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 177.9 million to $ 2.035 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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