AAI to swap land with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for relocation of cemetery

The Union Cabinet today gave its nod for the swapping of land of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) out of land demised to Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL) at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) measuring 2960.90 sqm. with equivalent land of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for relocation of a cemetery. 
An official press release said swapping of the land with MCGM would enable MIAL to complete the development work of CSIA.
Further, shifting of the cemetery to new location will result in its operationalization, it said.
Since both the AAI land and the private land proposed to be swapped are of the same size and are adjacent to each other, as also the circle rate of the land is same, there is no financial implication on the Government, the release said.
However, the cost on account of mutation of the alternate land after swapping shall be borne by MIAL, it added.

Godrej takes majority stake of 51% in India Circus

Leading business conglomerate Godrej today said it had increased its footprint in the lifestyle vertical by taking majority stake of 51% in India Circus, a venture by Krsnaa Mehta. 
With this merger, the group aims to strengthen India Circus’ market position as a lifestyle brand that offers affordable home décor and personal accessories.
"Design thinking has been at the core of all innovation within the group and with this strategy in place, Godrej has been shaping the future since 1897. A result of this design thinking approach has been the group’s strategy to focus on the lifestyle space," a press release from Godrej said
"Godrej has been transforming lives with their home furniture and interio solutions business, Godrej Interio. With this investment in India Circus, Godrej lifestyle offerings will further be strengthened. India Circus will continue to retain its identity and brand name under Godrej," it said.
Krsnaa Mehta will be responsible for design and Godrej will be responsible for efficiencies in operations and marketing of the business, the release said.
"Furthermore, India Circus employees have been retained, as the group believes that talent is an important asset of this lifestyle brand," it said.
The company said that, in the coming years, it would continue to expand its portfolio in the lifestyle segment by investing in existing lifestyle brands and by creating its own.
"With this merger, India Circus expects its market revenue to grow by 500% over the next two years," it said.
Mr. Navroze Godrej, Head, Strategy and Innovation, Godrej & Boyce, said, “I’m excited to announce that we’ve acquired India Circus, a very niche and exclusive lifestyle brand. With this partnership, we look forward to strengthen our lifestyle footprint and also compliment our existing lifestyle brands like Godrej Interio. The acquisition of India Circus is one of the steps towards building a robust lifestyle vertical.”
Mr Mehta, Executive  Director, India Circus, said, “I am very excited to be associated with Godrej. I also want to make India Circus one of the celebrated make in India brands out of India with a great design, great quality and a great price offering. Being a design house first its critical to our success as a brand. I am confident with Godrej this brand can make it ti the next level and soon be available not only in India but allover the world”. In addition to its online presence and the existing shop in shop format, India Circus will now have presence in over 50 Godrej Interio retail outlets across 20 cities."
Mr. Anil Mathur, COO, Godrej Interio, said, “Collaborating with India Circus has been a strategic step towards complimenting and further strengthening our lifestyle brands. We see a very strong overlap between Godrej Interio and India Circus consumers and distribution channels. In addition there is an overall increase in the offline and online purchase of household furniture & home accessories which makes this partnership very appropriate at this time."

Reliance Industries' net profit surges to record high of Rs. 7,290 crore in Q3

Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today reported that its net profit for the third quarter, ended December 31, 2015, had surged by 38.7 percent to a record high of Rs. 7,290 crore, thanks to the falling global crude oil prices.
In its unaudited financial results for the quarter, the company said that its revenue had, however, decreased by 23.9 % to Rs. 73,341 crore ($ 11.1 billion) as compared to Rs. 96,330 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year
The release said the decline in revenue was led by the 42.7% year-on-year (Y-o-Y) decline in benchmark (Brent) oil price. 
The company said exports from its India operations were lower by 37.5% at Rs. 36,564 crore ($ 5.5 billion) as against Rs. 58,507 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year due to lower product prices in line with lower feedstock prices. 
The company achieved a gross refining margin of $ 11.5/bbl for the quarter, the highest in the last seven years.
"Our portfolio of world-class refining and petrochemical assets are 
paying-off handsomely. Refining business delivered yet another record performance on the back of seven-year high refining margins and highest ever crude throughput," RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.
"In the current 9-month period, our refining business EBIT has surpassed the record earnings it achieved in FY15. The petrochemical business also delivered amongst its best quarterly performance, driven by robust polymer margins. The benefits of low crude oil and energy prices for our downstream businesses 
clearly outweigh the impact of these factors on our upstream segment, reflecting in the record earnings for the quarter. 
"In the last quarter we also achieved significant milestones in our consumer facing businesses. In the biggest ever launch, Jio services have been offered to over 100,000 group employees and their families enabling them to experience the world-class digital services and applications, and help co-creating the best experience for all our customers. Our retail business crossed Rs.  6,000 crore quarterly revenue milestone with a footprint now encompassing over 3,000 stores in 371 cities," he added.
The release said cost of raw materials declined by 39.5% to Rs.  37,638 crore ($ 5.7 billion) from Rs. 62,196 crore on Y-o-Y basis primarily on account of sharp decline in crude oil prices. Brent oil price averaged at $ 43.7/bbl in 3Q FY16 as compared to $ 76.3/bbl in the corresponding period of the previous year. 
Employee costs were higher by 30.9% at Rs. 2,026 crore ($ 306 million) as against Rs. 1,548 crore in corresponding period of the previous year due to VRS payment and increased employee base in subsidiaries. 
Other expenditure decreased by 12.9% to Rs. 8,549 crore ($ 1.3 billion) as against Rs. 9,811 crore in corresponding period of the previous year due to lower fuel prices. 
Operating profit before other income and depreciation increased sharply by 30.8% on a Y-o-Y basis from Rs. 8,689 crore to Rs. 11,368 crore ($ 1.7 billion). Strong operating performance from refining and petrochemicals businesses coupled with favorable exchange rate movement was partially offset by lower contribution from the oil & gas business. 
Other income was higher at Rs. 2,426 crore ($ 367 million) as against Rs. 2,340 crore in corresponding period of the previous year due to gains on sale of investments. 
Outstanding debt as on 31st December 2015 was Rs. 178,077 crore ($ 26.9 billion) compared to Rs. 160,860 crore as on 31st March 2015. 
Cash and cash equivalents as on 31st December 2015 were at Rs. 91,736 crore ($ 13.9 billion). 

Shyam Benegal calls for dedicated science & technology TV channel

Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal has called for a 24-hour dedicated science and television channel to promote scientific temper in the country.
Addressing a press conference about the coming National Science Film Festival at the Nehru Science Centre here yesterday, Mr. Benegal said such a channel would go a long way in helping the spread of scientific temper and rational thinking among the citizens.
Such a channel is the need of the hour to highlight issues on science, technology, environment, health and hygiene among other things, he said.
“A 24-hour S&T TV channel will be a fitting tribute to late Narendra Dabholkar who laid down his life in the pursuit of spreading scientific temper and creating a rational society,” he said.
Mr. Benegal complimented the Nehru Sciecne Centre and Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India for joining hands to organize the 6th National Science Film Festival in Mumbai from February 9 to 13.
He said that 45 films had been shortlisted to be screened during the festival.
“The jury was pleasantly surprised to see quality films that have been made by professionals and school students. Most of the films, some from remote areas of the country, touch upon the local issues of environment, livelihoods, health and local innovation. 
The winning films will be honoured with the Silver Beaver Awards and cash prizes.
Mr. Benegal is the chairperson of the national jury. The other members of the jury include Ms. Shama Zaidi, writer & art director; Mr Aseem Sinha, film editor; Prof. Iftekhar Ahmad, director, New Delhi; Ms. Aparna Vaish, ADG, Prasar Bharati; Dr Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Distinguished Professor, TIFR; Mr Amrit Gangar, writer, film theorist, curator and historian; Ms Aruna Raje Patil, filmmaker; and Dr Anil P. Joshi, environmentalist.
Professional workshops on science film making will also be organized during NSFF 2016 in which renowned science filmmakers will share their experience with the participants. 
Film enthusiasts can participate in the workshop by filling up an online application form at 

Music festival to celebrate 75th birth anniversary of ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh

File photo of Jagjit Singh.
File photo of Jagjit Singh.
A two-day music festival will be held in Mumbai on February 7 and 8 to celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh.
The event is being organized by the Jagjit Singh Foundation in association with Perfect Harmony Productions Pvt. Ltd.
"Padma Bhushan Jagjit Singh's music has touched our souls. Although he is physically not present among us today, but his mesmerizing voice still lingers in our hearts and minds with the same charisma," a press release from the organisers said.
On February 7, the festival will feature 25 young singers from around the country selected by a jury consisting of well-known Urdu poet Nida Fazli, singer Chitra Singh, chairperson of the foundation, and singers Suresh Wadkar and Roop Kumar Rathod.
Young ghazal singers below the age of 30 years have been invited to sing a ghazal with only the tanpura as an accompaniment and post their videos on (Jagjit Singh Music Festival's Page) with hashtag - ?#?JSMF75.
The top 25 singers selected by the jury will perform on the opening day of the festival. A total of 75 ghazals of Jagjit Singh will be sung. At the end of the day's session, all participants will be honoured by members of the jury and given a citation from the foundation.
"This will lead to enormous enthusiasm among young ghazal singers to take up ghazal as art form and spread it around the world," the release said.
Day two of the festival on February 8 will be a public event featuring performances by well-known singers and musicians.
The line-up includes Deepak Pandit and Ranjit Barot giving a musical invocation of 10 minutes to the commencement of the festival, followed by ghazal singer Hariharan.
Suresh Wadkar and Sonu Nigam will also render Jagjit Singh's compositions in their own inimitable styles.
The second half will showcase a unique combination titled “Tridhara” which will premier on the occasion. This will feature three streams of art -- Taal, Sur and Nritya together featuring tabla wizard Ustad Zakir Hussain, flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and renowned Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj.

Bumrah to replace injured Shami for T20Is against Australia

Right-arm fast-medium bowler Jasprit Bumrah was today named in the India team for the T20Is against Austraia as the replacement for Mohammed Shami, who has been ruled out due to injury.
A press release from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the decision was taken by its All-India Senior Selection Committee.
The Indian team is scheduled to play three Twenty20 matches starting January 26.
Bumrah will leave for Australia on January 22 along with other T20I team members – Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Suresh Raina and Hardik Pandya.

Reliance Jio, RCOM sign deals for change in spectrum allotment, sharing of spectrum

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL), a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited and Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM), a part of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), today announced the signing of agreements for change in spectrum allotment in 800 MHz band across nine circles from RCom to RJIL and for sharing of spectrum in 800 MHz band across 17 circles. 
As part of the strategic collaboration, both companies also intend to enter into reciprocal intra-circle roaming (ICR) arrangements, a press release from RJIL said.
"Access to enhanced spectrum footprint in the 800 MHz band will complement RJIL’s best-in-class LTE services rollout, providing increased network coverage and superior service quality," it said.
The release said the spectrum arrangements between RJIL and RCOM would result in network synergies and enhanced network capacity and would optimise spectrum utilisation and capex efficiencies. 
"Both operators anticipate considerable savings in operating costs and future investment in networks," it said.
Customers of RCOM will benefit from access to RJIL’s world class LTE network under the reciprocal sharing and ICR agreements, it said.
The arrangements are subject to liberalisation of RCOM spectrum in the 800 MHz band and obtaining requisite approvals, it said.
"These agreements further strengthen the comprehensive framework of business co-operation between RJIL and RCOM group, following the nationwide long term IRU agreements for inter and intra city optical fibre networks, and for sharing of telecom tower infrastructure," the release added.

Rahul hits out at Modi govt, says there is contradiction between start-ups, intolerance

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit out at the Narendra Modi government, saying there was a contradiction in pushing for start-ups and intolerance.

Rahul Gandhi interacts with NMIMS students
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the Narendra Modi government, saying there was a contradiction in pushing for start-ups and intolerance.
"There is a contradiction in saying ‘I want start-up and I will be intolerant.’ Start ups require a free movement of Ideas. Intolerance curbs a free movement of ideas," he said while interacting with students of the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies here.
His remarks came even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched Mr. Modi's ambitious Start Up India mission in New Delhi this morning.
"If I tell you, ‘sorry you are a woman and your place is in the kitchen, I am curbing your ideas and our creativity.’ To me there is a connection between being intolerant and imposing a vision on this country and economic progress and start-ups. People who run start-ups by their very definition are creative people," he said.
"You can’t build the economy on one hand and be intolerant on the other hand. You will see that you will fail in the economy," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said there was a difference between his party's philosophy and that of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
"We feel everyone in India should have an opinion. Everyone should have access to every single thing that is there on offer. For me, I see everyone as an Indian. I don’t see the differences in people and don’t tell people to live their life in a particular way. I would consider it arrogant. I want everyone to live the life the way they want," he said.
"For me there are only Indians. Everyone is allowed to do what they want. I want that movement of ideas. That is where our power is. That’s how we will do better than China. You are taking away India’s most valuable resource when you are intolerant and taking away free movement of ideas. You are taking away India’s soul," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said the ruling dispensation, particularly the RSS, has a very clear idea of what the world should look like. 
"There is no sense of discussion. They have a vision for India, which everyone is entitled to have, which in my opinion is a rigid vision. And what experience I have, this country requires flexibility, it requires openness, it requires movement of ideas to succeed," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said there was a lot in the system that needed to be changed and there were a lot of people trying to change it. "And change is not as easy as it looks, at least from where you are sitting," he said.
He told the students that they must realise that things were connected with each other and learn not to draw clear boundaries and label people.
"So I’d say if you want to lead institutions, you want to be flexible, you want to do well, from my experience think about these things. 
Don’t put labels on people. Don’t put labels on things. The universe does not have labels. Labels are human inventions," he said.
He spoke about the decentralisation of power in India and the fact that the country's strength in the world had never been military but from the strength of its ideas.
He also mentioned the various steps the Congress-led UPA Government had taken in its ten years in office to develop the country, especially agriculture, and improve the lot of the farmers, which in turn benefitted the entire economy.
He said it was critical that India freed its entrepreneurs, especially the small and medium entrepreneurs and gave them access to credit and freedom from red tape.
To a question, he said he thought politicians should not be involved in the administration of cricket.
Responding to another question, he said he was worried that many schools and colleges did not allow students to challenge and question.
On national security, Mr. Gandhi said then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had, after the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, consulted experts across the board to fashion India's response to the situation.
He said India had also used the United States and other countries to put pressure on Pakistan and isolate them internationally.
"Now the way they are being handled is ad hoc. I feel like going to Pakistan for a wedding. Pakistan slaps me back. Should we talk or not talk. Maybe we should, maybe we shouldn’t. The problem is that the people who know about these things, and we have the best experts on counter terrorism, on diplomacy, I have worked with them, are not being consulted. 
"You have an attack in Pathankot. Who is dealing with the attack? The NSA deals with the attack. It’s not his job. NSA’s job is strategy not tactics. There are people who are masters of tactics. It’s their job. If you let the people who don’t know what to do, do it, you get into a problem. These things are not one-offs. It has a long history. There are professionals who are dealing on this. The Government of India has to rely on them. They have to feel they are listening to us. This is my main issue with the way the government is handling these issues. It’s an event based thing, it is not a strategic thing," he said.

SBI launches e-commerce loans for sellers in partnership with Snapdeal

State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, has launched SBI e-Smart SME, a working capital loan offering for sellers on e-commerce platforms in which they can apply for loans online and get instant sanction.
A press release from SBI said this "innovative product" of loans at the click of a button had moved away from traditional lending based on financial statements like balance sheet and income tax returns; and instead uses proprietary platform data and surrogate information from public domain to assess the seller's credit worthiness for loan sanctioning.  
The product is launched in partnership with the well known e-commerce platform Snapdeal, it said.
SBI had joined hands with Snapdeal in May 2015 to finance working capital requirements of merchants selling on their platform. Pilots were conducted for Snapdeal sellers to apply online for SBI working capital loans through Snapdeal's Capital Assist platform. 
"The tie-up has now taken a giant leap where in the seller can apply for a loan digitally on Snapdeal's Capital Assist platform and get it sanctioned instantly," it said.
"It is State Bank of India’s endeavour to fuel the growth of young and digital India, by providing access to quick and low-cost finance to millions of SMEs helping them grow big in their business. This new product enables millions of small brick-and-mortar merchants who are selling on the e-commerce platform to overcome their liquidity crunch and expand their business exponentially and digitally," the release said.
"The e-commerce growth has created a whole new ecosystem enabling more than 5 lakh sellers to sell their products on a digital platform. In the process, it has also opened up a wide new world of opportunities for the banking industry – ranging from personal segment products like consumer finance and wallet to business lending for merchants and other service providers in the backend. It is now upon us to leverage these opportunities. Doing so requires us to think and go beyond the traditional banking products and delivery services," SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said after launching the product in Mumbai yesterday.
"With this new facility sellers can apply for the loan online on the e-commerce platform and get instant sanctioning of the loan. Platform performance data enables us to assess the merchant's credit worthiness without relying on traditional financials like balance sheet and income tax returns. There is abundance of surrogate information like social media footprint, regulatory filings, that is available in the public domain which can be leveraged to assess creditworthiness. The product is also in line with our focus on building a risk mitigated portfolio," she said.
"This product is a truly disruptive offering in the industry – this platform leverages innovative technology and big data analytics to instantly assess the loan application in an objective manner. The product has minimal documentation hassle and can be applied from the comfort of their premises. It will significantly improve the customer experience and help reduce the time involved in getting loans sanctioned," said Rajnish Kumar, SBI MD, National Banking Group.
Initially, sellers will be able to avail working capital loans upto Rs. 25 lakhs. Loans upto Rs.10 lakhs are collateral free and carry a very competitive interest rate. There is a special concession of 25 basis points for women entrepreneurs. All loans below Rs. 10 lakhs will also get covered under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana Scheme of Government of India. 
"Access to quick and easy finance will provide necessary push to the growth of e-commerce industry and consequently the SME segment. The boom of e-commerce will also provide impetus to the Government's 'Make in India' campaign; as more and more sellers grow their business online. A vibrant SME segment is very important to meet the macro-economic goals for the economy," he added.
The bank had hired management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group to facilitate development of this credit model.
SBI has about one million MSME customers with a loan book of around Rs 1,80,000 crore as on December 2015.
"SBI and Snapdeal are exploring collaboration opportunities on various other areas in the digital banking space," the release added.

India's forex reserves dip by $ 1.435 billion to $ 348.934 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves have fallen for the second consecutive week, dipping by $ 1.435 billion to $ 348.934 billion during the week ended January 8, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had declined by $ 1.68 billion to $ 350.369 billion in the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex  reserves, had gone down by $ 1.429 billion to $ 326.398 billion in 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 thereserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 17.24 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) declined by $ 1.7 million to $ 3.999 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 1.3 million to $ 1.2965 billion, the bulletin added.

Mumbai Port gets its second chemical berth

Mumbai Port has got its second chemical berth at Pir Pau, about 3.2 km awa from the shore in deep waters, close to the main harbour channel.
The new facility, built at a cost of Rs. 130 crore, was inaugurated on Wednesay by Union Minister for Shipping and Road Transport Nitin Gadkari.
An official press release said the berth has modern handling facilities with separate loading arms for LPG and other chemicals. It will have faster discharge rates upto 1000 T/ hour. The berth is equipped with latest safety standards like modern fire-fighting equipment in compliance with the OSID guidelines. The cargo at this berth can be evacuated through pipelines to the storage areas at shore. 
The new berth has a draft of 12.80 meters and can handle large ships. It will add a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes to the existing capacity of 2 million tonnes at Mumbai Port. It will also help in faster turnaround time for the ships and due to its draft it can handle large parcel size upto 72,000 DT. 
Mumbai Port handles over 11% of the total seaborne trade of the country, over 16% of the country’s general cargo traffic and 19% of POL and chemical cargo. For this bulk liquid cargo, special facilities are provided, which include separate berths at Pir Pau for handling chemicals and other specialized grades of POL products like LPG. 
To meet the growing demand of chemical and POL cargo, the port in 1996 commissioned its first chemical berth having a deeper draft and equipped with modern facilities. The second chemical berth is constructed to meet the ever increasing demand of chemicals and POL including LPG. 

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 1247 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 1247 crores in the Buildings & Factories and Power Transmission & Distribution Businesses.
These include a turnkey order valued at Rs. 989 crore from a global IT major for the construction of an IT Park in Bengaluru, a press release from the company said.
The scope of work includes civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, high-end finishes, data centre and other associated works. The project is scheduled to be completed in 30 months, it said.
The company's Power Transmission & Distribution Business bagged an international order worth Rs. 258 crore.
Larsen & Toubro (Oman) LLC, a subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro Limited, has bagged an order valued at 16.026 million Omani riyals from Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC) for the construction of new 132kV Grid Stations at Dil Abdusalam (DAS) and Suwaiq on an engineering, construction and procurement basis, it added.

ICC announces MoneyGram as Event Partner

Juan Agualimpia, EVP & CMO, Moneygram International, Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan and ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson in Mumbai on January 11, 2016.
Juan Agualimpia, EVP & CMO, Moneygram International, Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan and ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson in Mumbai on January 11, 2016.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) and MoneyGram International, a leading global provider of money transfer services, today announced an eight-year deal which confirms MoneyGram as an event partner for ICC events from 2016-2023.
The ICC and MoneyGram recently completed a successful five-year partnership, which began with the ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010, concluding with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
"In the current eight-year cycle, the alliance promises to reach greater heights, as the ICC will stage an impressive 17 tournaments, including six majors – two ICC World Twenty20 tournaments, two editions of the ICC Champions Trophy and two ICC Cricket World Cups," a press release from ICC said here.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “I am delighted that MoneyGram International has decided to continue to support cricket by extending its partnership with the ICC. The extension says much about the value of our events at which we continue to strive to create an unforgettable experience for fans from all around the world. Sponsors are the lifeline for any sport and on behalf of the ICC, I thank MoneyGram for their continued support.”
Founded in 1998, MoneyGram is a global provider of innovative money transfer and payment services and is recognized worldwide as a financial connection to friends and family, helping customers send money securely around the world.
Juan Agualimpia, MoneyGram’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, said: “Cricket touches many lives and it’s truly exciting to be a part of this sport and witnessing its potential to inspire and transform lives firsthand.
“At the end of the day, MoneyGram brings people closer just as the sport brings people closer across geographies. Our association with the ICC has certainly helped establish MoneyGram as a preferred brand for South Asians around the world and we are delighted to extend this agreement for another eight years.”
MoneyGram said that, as momentum builds to the ICC World Twenty20 event in India, it would launch consumer activation programs in more than 100 cities and reach out to cricket fans around the world. Cricket enthusiasts will not only get a chance to witness the game but also get a chance to see the trophy and meet its stars up close.
"India, which has the largest base of cricket fans in the world, is also the world’s largest remittance receiving country with an inflow of $70 billion annually, according to the World Bank," the company said.
Indian cricket star Zaheer Khan was among those present at the announcement event here.

Five Additional Judges appointed in Bombay High Court

The President has appointed five Additional Judges -- Mr. Vinay Manohar Deshpande, Mr. Ajey Shrikant Gadkari, Mr. Nitin Wasudeo Sambre, Mr. Girish Sharadchandra Kulkarni, and Mr.  Burgess Pesi Colabawalla -- to be Additional Judges of the Bombay High Court.
The appointments are for a period of six months with effect from 6th January, 2016, an official press release said.

National Industry Conclave on Skills to be held in Mumbai on January 12

The Union Government has organised a "National Industry Conclave on Skills" on January 12 in Mumbai aimed at encouraging the industry to participate in the Skill India mission in a big way.
Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu will steer the conclave along with Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
The meeting will bring together industry leaders who are  stakeholders in the skill ecosystem, to conceive and partner towards realising the vision of Skill India, an official press release said.
The conclave will be an annual event and will see participation from across ministries and corporates. 
Mr. Rudy said the conclave would review the work done in the area of skill development across sectors and regions.
"This will be a good platform to bring about synergies and convergence across all and contribute collectively to the success of Skill India," he said.
Union Ministers Manohar Parrikar, Nitin Gadkari, Birender Singh, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jayant Sinha and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are amongst those listed to participate in the conclave.
Leaders from corporates such as Tata, TCS, Reliance Communication, Bharti Airtel, JSW Steel, Reliance Industries, GVK, GMR and Essar will take part in the conference, the release added.

Government’s LED push to herald an energy efficient era: Piyush Goyal

Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal today said that when all the 71 crore conventional bulbs were replaced by LED bulbs in the country, there would be a saving of 100 billion units of electricity.
He said the Centre had set a target to distribute over six crore LED bulbs through state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) as part of a massive energy efficiency mission under which the country would switch over to LED bulbs by the end of 2018.
Speaking at the Harvard College US India Initiative Conference here, he said this would result in a saving of $ 6 billion per annum.
Mr. Goyal said 4.59 crore LED bulbs had been distributed till now under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP). 
He said the LED programme was being implemented in a mission mode and EESL had been successful in bringing down the price of an LED bulb to a quarter of what it was priced a year and a half ago. . “We have been able to procure LED bulbs for about Rs 73 per piece as of June, down from Rs 310 in February 2014, a reduction of 76 per cent,” he said. 
Mr. Goyal said states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which have large deposits of coal, are energy starved. Providing electricity to each household is the mission of the government, he said. “It is a big challenge, but we have to take it up as a collective responsibility."
Speaking about rural electrification, he said, “Prime Minister has given me a target of 1,000 days to reach electricity to 18,000 villages that are not electrified till now. But, I am confident that we will accomplish this mission within 730 days."

Amitabh Bachchan says rib damaged while shooting for TE3N, no cause for worry

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan.
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan.
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who hurt himself while shooting for the film "TE3N" in Kolkata a few days ago, today said his rib was damaged and it would take time to heal.
"Ok on the rib front .. just back from CT Scan, rib is damaged .. will take time to heal, all else well," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Bachchan, 73, also assured his fans that there was no cause for worry and that he would be back in Kolkata tomorrow to resume shooting for the film.
"No worries .. no issues ... just .. !! back to Kolkata tomorrow and 'TE3N' shoot .. life is continuous !!!" he said.
Earlier, on December 6, he had tweeted: "Hurt rib from shoot .. but ok .. taking friends Ef (extended family) to WAZIR at South City Mall, Kolkata this evening !! YEA."
The next morning he said on Facebook, "Morning blues with hurt rib from last night's shoot .. but treatment is on and hope it shall improve soon."
Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta and produced by Sujoy Ghosh, TE3N features, among others, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan.
Bachchan had suffered a near fatal intestinal injury while shooting for a fight scene for the 1982 film, Coolie.
In February 2012, he had undergone surgery in a Mumbai hospital after suffering pain in the abdomen, a problem that appeared to be connected to his 1982 injury.
Two months after the surgery, he was taken to hospital again in April 2012 after complaining of excruciating pain.

India's forex reserves dip by $ 1.68 billion to $ 350.369 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.68 billion to $ 350.369 billion during the week ended January 1, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had risen by $ 943.4 million to $ 352.050 billion during the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex  reserves, had gone down by $ 1.363 billion to $ 327.828 billion in 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 thereserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves went down by $ 303.7 million to $ 17.24 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) declined by $ 10 million to $ 4.003 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 3.3 million to $ 1.298 billion, the bulletin added.

L&T Hydrocarbon consortium wins Rs. 2450 crore order from ONGC

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE), its fully-owned subsidiary, in consortium with McDermott had bagged an offshore contract from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) valued at Rs. 2450 crore for the development of its Vashishta and S1 deepwater fields situated off the East Coast of India.
LTHE’s share in the consortium is Rs. 640 crore and the order is considered a breakthrough in deepwater projects for the company, a press release from L&T said.
According to it, the prestigious contract has been won against competitive international bidding, and encompasses complete ‘EPCI’ work – Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation of major subsea facilities in ONGC’s deepwater fields. 
The full scope of the contract includes the supply and installation of subsea structures at seabed in water depths ranging from 200 metres to 700 metres and subsea pipelines interconnecting subsea wells to ONGC’s onshore facilities at Odalarevu in Andhra Pradesh. 
The project is part of ONGC’s strategy to monetize its deepwater oil and gas fields on the East Coast. Upon final commissioning, the facilities will add about 4.55 MMSCM of hydrocarbon gas per day to India’s domestic gas production.
The consortium developed a cost-effective solution which included utilization of LTHE’s strategically located Kattupalli facility in Chennai for fabrication and setting up of a local spoolbase in India and schedule improvements using a combination of reel lay and S lay 
methods for laying of subsea pipelines by McDermott, the release added.

UPS enters into strategic alliance with First Flight Couriers

Logistics major UPS has announced that First Flight Courier Ltd. (FFCL), a leading Indian domestic courier company, will become a UPS Authorised Shipping Outlet in India.  
This agreement will expand the reach of UPS’s international express delivery service through FFCL’s network in metropolitan and urban centres across India, a press release from the company said.
The release said that, with this, Indian customers will be able to book international shipments with FFCL, who will in turn make use of UPS’s global shipping network. This service expansion will support market growth by helping clients connect more quickly to global markets, it said.
According to the release, UPS is the largest package delivery company in the world, in terms of both revenue and volume. Through an integrated supply chain and worldwide network serving over 220 countries and territories, UPS oversees the successful daily delivery of about 18 million packages and documents, it said.
“Demand for international express delivery service is on an upswing in India, with increasing penetration in cities and towns,” said Mark Martyn-Fisher, Managing Director of UPS India. “First Flight Couriers is a valuable ally and puts us in a strong position to support retail customers with their growing export-oriented requirements. We are glad to add First Flight Couriers to our team of global shipping partners who share our professional values and are proven to make the best use of innovative technologies to optimise trade between India and the rest of the world.”
Mr. O. P. Saboo, Chairman and Managing Director, First Flight Couriers Ltd. said, “Working with UPS will help us raise the bar of our service capabilities and offer our customers international reach. The combination of our respective networks, process know-how and operations expertise will allow us to offer an unprecedented level of convenience to our retail and enterprise customers.”

L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 2871 crore

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 2871 crore across various businesses.
A press release from the company said its Buildings & Factories Business had secured international and domestic orders worth Rs. 1276 crore.
These include an order valued at $ 93.1 million bagged by Larsen & Toubro (Oman) LLC, a subsidiary of L&T, for the construction of a regional airport in Oman. The scope of works includes construction of passenger terminal building, ATC complex, cargo and other service buildings including mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works, special systems and external works. 
The project is scheduled to be completed in 24 months, the release said. It will be the third airport project to be executed by L&T in the Gulf state.
Another order was received from a client for the engineering, procurement and construction of a multi-storied residential building involving 16 towers in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The scope of work includes civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, finishes and other external works.
An add-on order was also secured from a real estate major in India. Works include MEP and other allied works for an ongoing residential project in Mumbai, it said.
The release said the company's Water & Effluent Treatment Business had bagged a water supply order worth Rs. 539 crore from the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board. 
The project will provide water supply distribution network to peripheral circles of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. The project includes construction of approximately 650 km of pipeline network, 20 water storage reservoirs and other associated works.
The Transportation Infrastructure Business has received an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) order worth Rs. 385 crore from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the construction of Simga Saragaon Road Project (PKG-II) section of NH-200 Raipur to Bilaspur in the state of Chhattisgarh.
The project involves construction of 42.45 km of four-lane dual carriage way. It also includes a 7.32 km bypass and realignment, 16.22 km of service/slip road, one major bridge, seven minor bridges and 10 vehicular and cattle underpasses.
According to the release, the company's Metallurgical & Material Handling Business has won an EPC order worth Rs. 312 crore from NTPC Limited for a coal handling plant of 2 X 660 MW power plant at Tanda.
Other businesses of L&T Construction have won orders worth Rs. 359 crore. These include an order won by L&T Geostructure from Indian Oil Corporation Limited for the engineering, procurement and construction of marine facilities at Ennore Port, Tamil Nadu. The major scope includes construction of a berth structure supported on steel piles, approach trestle and other associated structures.
The Smart World & Communication Business has bagged an order from the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of telecommunication systems at various stations under Phase-1A of the Lucknow Metro Rail Project. The scope of work includes design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of fiber optic transmission systems, telephone systems, train radio TETRA systems, public address systems, passenger information display systems, master clock systems and CCTV systems.

Mumbai schoolboy Pranav Dhanawade becomes first cricketer to score 1000 runs in single innings

Mumbai teen scores record unbeaten 1009, breaks 117-year record
Pranav Dhanawade, a 15-year-old schoolboy from Mumbai, slammed an unbeaten 1009 to post the highest individual score in minor cricket, breaking, in the process, a 117-year-old record.
His landmark innings was compiled off 327 balls and included as many as 59 sixes and 129 fours.
For the record, his team, Smt. K C Gandhi School, Kalyan, won the match by an innings and 1362 runs in the HT Bhandari Cup inter-school tournament organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association.
The team declared soon after Dhanawade crossed the four-figure mark and then bowled out their rivals, Arya Gurukul, for 31 and 72 in a lop-sided encounter.
Dhanawade was unbeaten on 652 on the first day of the two-day match yesterday after crossing the previous high of 628 not out made by Arthur Collins i 1899.
He had also gone past the 546 by Prithvi Shaw in the Harris Shield in 2013-14, the previous highest individual score by an Indian cricketer in minor cricket.
Dhanawade said he had begun the day today with the clear aim of crossing the 1000-mark once the fact that he had already set a new record with 652 had sunk in yesterday. He reached 921 by lunch and reached the four-figure mark after the break, having been at the crease for nearly seven hours. His previous best in recognised cricket was in the 80s.
The teenager's record-breaking innings was partly helped by the size of the ground, which has short square boundaries. He took advantage of this fact, getting a lot of his runs with shots to the square leg fence.
Dhanawade's feat won praise from his idol Sachin Tendulkar, India limited overs cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and batsman Ajinkya Rahane, among others.
"Congrats #PranavDhanawade on being the first ever to score 1000 runs in an innings. Well done and work hard. You need to scale new peaks!" Tendulkar said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The Maharashtra Government announced that it would bear the coaching and education expenses of Dhanawade, the son of an autorickshaw driver.

Bajirao Mastani records worldwide gross of Rs. 301 crore upto its third weekend

Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra in a still from Bajirao Mastani
Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra in a still from Bajirao Mastani
Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd has said that its latest release, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani, has got an outstanding response, closing its third weekend with a total gross of Rs. 301 crore worldwide.
This includes Rs. 211 crore gross (Rs. 162.35 crore net box office collection) in India and Rs. 90 crore ($ 13.5 million) overseas.
"The historical epic continues to enamour audiences globally," a press release from the company said.
The release said Bajirao Mastani, starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, recorded a third weekend gross total of Rs. 26.65 crore in India (Rs. 20.50 crore net  - Friday Rs. 7.50 crore, Saturday Rs 6.00 crore and Sunday Rs. 7.00 crore). 
"While the film is still running strong in cinemas, it is now the third highest grosser of 2015," it said.
"The much acclaimed film that has caught the fancy of audiences worldwide has remained rock steady at theatres pan India, endearing itself to cine goers across all segments with fans coming back for repeat viewings. In the overseas markets too, Bajirao Mastani was in the top 20 in the US box office charts, featuring at number 15 during the peak Christmas weekend," the release said.
Eros released Bajirao Mastani across 3750 screens worldwide on 18th December 2015 and went on to increase showcasing to meet demand in the subsequent weeks after its release.
Nandu Ahuja, Sr. VP, India Theatrical, Eros International Media Limited, said, “Mr. Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani is truly a celebration of Indian cinema and while it’s no surprise to see the film being so universally accepted, the euphoria surrounding it and its steady performance all through since its release has been remarkable. The critical acclaim and the incredible response has been extremely encouraging and humbling. The Christmas and New Year holiday weekends have shown tremendous footfalls and with no new release for another week, we expect this phenomenon to continue."
Pranab Kapadia, President, Marketing & Distribution, Eros International plc added, “Bajirao Mastani continues to perform equally well in the overseas markets too with it crossing the coveted million mark across key territories including the US, UK and Australia. Overall, the third weekend collections have dropped by only 20% approximately over the second weekend."
The film won nine awards at the recently held Sony Guild Awards  - Sanjay Leela Bhansali won Best Director and Ranveer Singh took home the Best Actor Award. The film also won Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Design, Best Costume Design, Best Dialogue, Best Choreography and Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Eros' other big hits during 2015 have been Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Badlapur and NH10. It has also successfully released a host of regional hits like Srimanthudu, Belaseshe, and Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2 last year.

IDBI Bank mobilises Rs.1900 crore through two bond issues

The public sector IDBI Bank today said it had mobilised Rs. 1900 crore through issue of Basel III compliant Tier 2 bonds in two separate issues on private placement basis to strengthen its capital adequacy. 
The first issue of Rs. 1000 crore, concluded on December 31, 2015, was for a tenor of 15 years with call option at the end of 10 years while the second issue of Rs. 900 crore was concluded on January 2, 2016 with a tenor of 10 years. 
Both the issues carry a coupon of 8.62% p.a. payable annually. These issuances aggregating Rs.1900 crore would augment capital adequacy ratio of the bank by about 55 basis points, a press release from the bank said.
The bank also said that it had received Rs. 2229 crore from the Government of India towards preferential allotment of equity shares of Rs.10 to it at a price of Rs.75.28 per share.
This was in terms of the approval accorded by the bank's hareholders at an extraordinary general meeting held on November 4, 2015, the release added.

India's forex reserves rise by $ 943.4 million to $ 352.050 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 943.4 million to $ 352.050 billion during the week ended December 25, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country's forex reserves had gone down by $ 1.4 billion to $ 351.106 billion in the previous week after rising for two consecutive weeks before that.
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex  reserves, had gone up by $ 922 million to $ 329.191 billion in 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 thereserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 17.544 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went up by $ 16.2 million to $ 4.013 billion.
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by $ 5.2 million to $ 1.301 billion, the bulletin added.
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