France freezes USD 24bn of Russian Central Bank’s assets

Paris [France]: France has frozen 22 billion euros ($24 billion) worth of assets belonging to the Russian Central Bank, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.

“We have frozen the assets of the Central Bank of Russia in the amount of 22 billion euros. In addition, we have frozen assets in private individuals’ accounts in French financial institutions in the amount of 150 million euros,” Le Maire told the RTL radio.
France also froze real estate in the country worth half a billion euros, which is about 30 properties and apartments owned by Russian citizens, according to the minister.

“In total, this is almost a billion euros, or 850 million euros, that we have frozen,” Le Maire added.

On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine responding to calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in defending themselves against the aggression of Ukrainian troops. The Russian Defense Ministry said the operation was targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only.

In response, the US and its allies have imposed comprehensive sanctions against Russia, its financial and energy sectors. (ANI/Sputnik)


Project Kirana : Digital empowerment of women

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Mastercard have partnered to foster digital empowerment of women in India through an initiative called ‘Project Kirana’.

Project Kirana is a business development and digital financial literacy programme for women entrepreneurs that aims to increase revenue streams, expand financial inclusion, and enable the adoption of digital payments and other digital tools by women-owned-and-operated kirana shops.
The two-year programme, implemented by DAI and ACCESS Development Services, is working in select cities of Uttar Pradesh, according to a statement released by Mastercard.

Officials of USAID and Mastercard on Thursday made a joint visit to the shops covered under Project Kirana in Lucknow.

USAID Mission Director to India and Minister Counselor for International Development Veena Reddy and Executive Vice President, Sustainability and Founder and President Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth Shamina Singh visited small convenience stores operated by women entrepreneurs.

“It was enlightening to engage with women entrepreneurs in Lucknow today. Increasing the participation of women in the formal sector, especially the digital economy, is critical to the well-being of people and the growth of economies,” Reddy said.

“At USAID, advancing women’s digital financial capabilities is a key component of our work to increase equitable economic empowerment. Through this partnership, Mastercard and USAID are addressing the gender inequalities that limit the ability for women-owned businesses to grow and thrive,” she added.

Since Project Kirana’s launch in November 2020, more than 2,100 women have benefitted from the programme.

Together, USAID and Mastercard are supporting women participants to build financial and digital literacy skills on topics such as banking, digital payments, saving, credit and insurance; improving basic business management skills including inventory management, accounting, budget management and customer loyalty; and addressing cultural and gender norms as well as other barriers to women becoming successful kirana entrepreneurs.

The programme provides customised training on business and financial management, leadership development, digital payments, and access to financial services through digital tools, applications, video content, in-person training, and peer networking opportunities to reinforce learnings grounded in real-life experiences, the statement said.

Commenting on the project Shamina Singh said, “Project Kirana is an extension of Mastercard’s commitment to empower and enable micro and small businesses with technology, products, insights, and catalytic philanthropic funding. Small businesses owned or led by women consistently outperform peers.”

“Yet, they are at risk of being left behind in an increasingly digital economy without tools and training that meet their needs. We are proud to partner with USAID to develop capacity-building programmes that unleash women’s entrepreneurial spirit and their potential to be drivers of a digital, inclusive India,” Singh added. (ANI)

RBI bars Paytm Payments Bank from onboarding new customers

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday said it has banned Paytm Payments Bank from onboarding new customers with immediate effect.

“Reserve Bank of India has today, in the exercise of its powers, inter alia, under section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, directed Paytm Payments Bank Ltd to stop, with immediate effect, onboarding of new customers,” the RBI said in a statement.
The RBI has also directed Paytm Payments Bank to appoint an IT audit firm to conduct a comprehensive system audit of its IT system.

“The bank has also been directed to appoint an IT audit firm to conduct a comprehensive System Audit of its IT system. Onboarding of new customers by Paytm Payments Bank Ltd will be subject to specific permission to be granted by RBI after reviewing report of the IT auditors,” the statement said.

“This action is based on certain material supervisory concerns observed in the bank,” the central bank added. (ANI)


Instagram head condemns Russian decision to block social network

Washington [US]: Instagram head Adam Mosseri has condemned the Russian decision to block the social network over Meta’s decision to allow publication of calls for violence against Russian soldiers and Russians in the context of the military operation in Ukraine.

Following the controversial statements of Meta, the Russian authorities decided to block Instagram starting from Monday.
“On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong,” Mosseri wrote on his Twitter page.

On February 24, Russia launched a special operation after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk requested assistance to defend themselves from ongoing attacks by the Ukrainian troops.

The Western countries have strongly condemned the Russian military operation and boosted the sanctions pressure on Moscow. (ANI/Sputnik)


Ola faces backlash over its ‘8 missed calls from mom’ ad

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: After Flipkart, Ola has become the recent company to face the wrath of people over its recent marketing stunt.

The cab aggregator company recently sent a notification reading “8 missed calls from mom” to their customers and offered a 40 per cent discount on certain services.

However, this gimmick did not go down well with a section of people on social media.

Calling out the company, a Twitter user wrote, “There’s a way to do marketing. Do not cross your limits by sending such notifications. Couldn’t block the notifications coz bookings notifications will also get blocked. #disappointed.”

Another user called Ola’s stunt “cringy”.

“Why do you all give such cringy clickbaits. Don’t be another zomato. Be original in marketing. Especially those 8 missed calls one is yakk,” the netizen tweeted.

Started in 2010, Ola was founded by the current chairman and Group CEO of Ola Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati (Co-founder and CTO). (ANI)


Banks should not use public deposits to finance risky projects: Ex RBI Deputy Governor

New Delhi [India]: Projects with implementation risks should normally be financed by the capital markets and not by banks using public deposits, N S Vishwanathan, Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, said on Thursday.

Speaking at an event organised by the industry body Assocham, Vishwanathan said India needs a very strong bond market that can fund projects and manage its risks.
“The fundamental risk management and providing liquidity needs to come from the bond market. IBC is one of the legal frameworks enabling the development of the bond market,” he said.

He pointed out that if the bond markets develop, the banks must brace up to a situation of higher disintermediation. “The biggest contributor for the net interest margin being higher is the high NPAs. Going forward, we are looking at the Indian banking system having NPAs of globally accepted standards,” he said.

Vishwanathan highlighted that credit culture in India is a function of many things. “The quality of credit in the bank, the post-credit follow-up and the legal system for recovery are some of the factors which determine it. If you don’t have all these things, you reduce the probability of default and bring down the loss given default,” he said. (ANI)


India among top 3 countries most affected by ransomware attacks

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] (ANI/BusinessWire India): Industry-leading organization PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) highlights the danger of ransomware threats and best practices to mitigate them in a recently issued bulletin, which can be viewed



Ransomware attacks have been front and centre in the news over the past year due to various high-profile breaches that have impacted businesses across the globe. These attacks have been part of a larger global increase in ransomware crime over the past year. In fact, it is estimated that ransomware attacks cost the world $20 billion and hit 37 per cent of all businesses and



2021 alone


The impact of this can be clearly seen in the Asia-Pacific region where India has been one of the country’s worst affected by ransomware crime. Last year, 49 per cent of companies in India suffered multiple ransomware attacks, while 76 per cent have experienced at least one, according to a recent


by US security firm Crowdstrike. This makes India among the top 3 most affected countries when it comes to ransomware and demonstrates that it is critical for Indian businesses to protect themselves against cybercrime.

Nitin Bhatnagar, Associate Director India, PCI Security Standards Council, on cybercrime in India said “As an industry-leading organization for payment security in India, we are issuing this bulletin to help educate those who work in payments and security about the presence and growing risk of ransomware attacks. Organizations in India need to be aware of these threats and need to make cybersecurity a top priority as the number of cyber-attacks is on the rise.”

A ransomware attack involves cyber criminals gaining access to your network, systems and data and then rendering parts of these unusable, and/or stealing some of the data you have stored. The cyber-actor then ‘ransoms’ the data back by requiring payment to provide a decryption key to allow for the recovery of the encrypted data and systems or to

guarantee sensitive data is not further exposed

. Ransomware attacks are often the result of a phishing attack, when a company employee clicks on a malicious link, or the exploitation of known vulnerabilities in outdated software.

When it comes to protecting payment card data, which is often the target of a cyber-attack, adherence to the PCI DSS is considered a best practice. It consists of steps that mirror industry-accepted security best practices and at a high level requires you to consider how to mitigate the impact of a cyber-attack.

Speaking on combatting the growing threat of ransomware attacks, Lt Gen. Dr Rajesh Pant, National Cybersecurity Coordinator, Prime Minister’s Office Government of India said, “The imminent threat of ransomware needs serious and immediate attention. We have seen a rise in the number of ransomware attacks over the last 2 years in India. Cybercrime is growing and evolving at a rapid pace which makes it crucial for us to be equipped with the right tools and information to tackle it. We are pleased to see global payment security standards body PCI SSC’s constant efforts to educate businesses and government organizations on the best practices to tackle such threats.”

Learn more about the threat of ransomware attacks and the many ways to better protect against in PCI SSC’s recently issued bulletin,


. It highlights best practices businesses can take to mitigate the threat of ransomware attacks, including how the PCI DSS can be helpful in preventing an attack and improving payment data security.

This story is provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/BusinessWire India)


Socomec India Launches New Website To Mark Its 100th Anniversary

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 9 (ANI/NewsVoir): Commemorating its 100 years of shared energy, Socomec, a leading Global specialist in LV power management solutions, announced today, the launch of its redesigned website for India region.

A perfect combination of branding and user interface, the enhanced website exudes a fresh design, with intuitive navigation and well-crafted technical content that reflects the company’s vision of improvising upon its field of expertise across products and services that have evolved over a Century. With more than 1,500 documents including technical guides, white papers, catalogues and brochures made available under a single location, the new website is highly responsive with optimised accessibility through selectors and configurators that can be used across a plethora of handheld devices and different browsers.

The users can also preview the product references in 3D mode, which are downloadable in over 80 formats. This enhanced feature will not only help them choose a particular product solution, but also enable them to create their own product references that will suit their applications and projects.

Speaking on the launch of new website, Sushil Virmani, Managing Director, Socomec Innovative Power Solutions said, “We are elated to unveil our new company website to our customers, partners, and prospective visitors who are looking for information about our product and services as well as application-related contents on the power management subject matter. The redesign of our website not just enhances the user experience, but also ensures the overall experience with our brand as a whole.”

He further added, “Digital transformation is imperative to all businesses and improving seamless customer experience has become a mandate in today’s world. Socomec is no exception to this and the launch of our new website marks an exciting step towards this direction.”

Visit Socomec India New website
Socomec: When energy matter

Founded in 1922, Socomec is an independent, industrial group with a workforce of 3600 experts spread over 28 subsidiaries in the world. Our core business – the availability, control and safety of low voltage electrical networks serving our customers’ power performance.


LIC update: Government allows up to 20 per cent FDI in LIC


New Delhi [India]: The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday approved a proposal to allow up to 20 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), official sources said.

As per the sources, up to 20 per cent of FDI will be allowed under automatic route in LIC. The move is expected to open doors for foreign investors to participate in the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) of LIC.
Continuing with the efforts to make India an attractive investment destination, the amendment has been approved to permit Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and further simplified and enhanced the existing FDI Policy, an official source said.

Other minor enhancements in the existing FDI Policy have also been carried out in order to provide an updated, consistent and easily comprehensible FDI framework.

“The FDI policy reform will further enhance Ease of Doing Business in the country, leading to larger FDI inflows and thereby contributing to the growth of investment, income and employment,” the source said.

Life Insurance Corporation of India has already filed draft papers with the market regulator for IPO.

As per the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) filed by LIC with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), up to 31,62,49,885 (31.62 crore) equity shares will be on offer through the offer for sale (OFS), representing 5 per cent of equity stake of Life Insurance Corporation of India.

“Insurance” is a permitted sector under Para 5.2.22 of the FDI Policy. However, the FDI Policy currently lists only “Insurance Company” and “Intermediaries or Insurance Intermediaries” under the “Insurance” sector. LIC being a statutory corporation, is not covered under either “Insurance Company” or “Intermediaries or Insurance Intermediaries”.

Further, no limit is prescribed for foreign investment in LIC under the LIC Act, 1956; the Insurance Act, 1938; the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 or regulations made under the respective Acts.

Since as per the present FDI policy, the FDI ceiling for public sector banks is 20 per cent on the government approval route, it has been decided to allow foreign investment up to 20 per cent for LIC and such other bodies corporate. Further, in order to expedite the capital raising process, such FDI has been kept on the automatic route, as is in the case of rest of the insurance sector.

With an intent to improve and enhance the overall FDI Policy, certain changes and alignments under various provisions of the FDI Policy, are also carried out in order to provide greater clarity and updated, consistent and easily comprehensible FDI framework.

The reform in the FDI policy will have several benefits. It would facilitate foreign investment in LIC and such other bodies corporate, for which Government may have a requirement for disinvestment purposes.

The reform will facilitate ease of doing business and lead to greater FDI inflows, and at the same time, ensure alignment with the overall intent/objective of FDI Policy. Increased FDI inflows will supplement domestic capital, technology transfer, skill development for accelerated economic growth and development across sectors, to support the implementation of Atmanirbhar Bharat. (ANI)

India, Australia discuss comprehensive economic cooperation agreement

New Delhi [India]: India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday he held a detailed discussion with his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan Wannon on the “way ahead” for the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.

“Held a detailed discussion with the Australian Trade Minister @DanTehanWannon on the way ahead for our Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement,” Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.
“Both sides are committed to a mutually beneficial deal covering goods, services & investments for the prosperity of our people,” Goyal said.

The minister had said recently that the proposed deal is likely to include lower tariffs and greater market access for Indian exporters in areas such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, footwear, and leather.

The two ministers held a virtual meeting to discuss the way ahead for the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

Earlier this month, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan visited New Delhi. He held discussions with India’s Commerce and Industry Minister to expedite the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations.

During his visit to New Delhi earlier this month Tehan also met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss economic cooperation and issues related to taxation of off-shore income of Indian firms in Australia. (ANI)(instagram Image )

South Korea: Samsung, LG, POSCO, Hyundai Motor closely eye Russia-Ukraine crisis

Seoul [South Korea]: As Russia has ordered operations in Ukraine, Korean companies have been also impacted. Korean companies have returned their expatriates from Ukraine, and are closely watching the situation.

According to the industry on the 22nd, Samsung Electronics, which operates a local unit in Ukraine, has ordered its expatriates and their families to move to Korea or nearby countries. Korean employees working at Samsung AI Research Center in Kiev also moved to other countries or returned to Korea.
LG Electronics and POSCO also have returned expatriates and their families to Korea first and temporarily relocated other Korean employees in Ukraine to Korea or nearby countries.

This is because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a Level 4 travel warning and banned the travel to all regions in Ukraine. Under the Level 4, Koreans and Korean companies should leave the country immediately.

However, considering that it is difficult to re-enter the local market after complete withdrawal, the companies are continuing to run their businesses in Ukraine. Local employees are currently working from home and communicating online. LG Electronics is also continuing its business with local employees.

POSCO International, which operates a grain terminal business in Ukraine, is also working as usual but has put the new projects on hold.

A business official said, “We will keep monitoring to decide whether to respond or not. As the U.S. and Europe are likely to impose sanctions on Russia, we are keeping a close eye on the situation.”

Airlines are also paying keen attention. Airlines are currently operating their flights on a route bypassing Ukrainian airspace, and considering suspending flights in accordance with the authorities’ guidelines.

Korean companies in Russia have not yet consider withdrawing but they also are concerned about impacts of Ukraine crisis. Supply disruptions of raw materials and local production delays are expected. As of last year, Russia is the 10th largest country in trade with Korea, accounting for about 1.6% of total exports and 2.8% of imports.

Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and Hyundai Motor, which have factories in Russia, are currently continuing the production at local plants. Samsung Electronics operates a TV plant in Kaluga near Moscow, Russia, and LG Electronics operates a TV and home appliance plant in Luza near Moscow. Hyundai Motor has production facilities in St. Petersburg.

The three companies said there is no problem with operation in Russia. However, if the Russia-Ukraine war breaks out, the demand is expected to rapidly decrease, having a serious impact on profits. In addition, there are concerns about worsening profitability and supply chain disruptions due to ruble weakness.

Currently, companies are keeping monitoring the situation. An official from the company said “There are limitations for corporate responses in this urgent situation. We continue to operate plants as usual.” (ANI/Global Economic)

Bikaji Foods files draft papers with SEBI for IPO


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: FMCG firm Bikaji Foods International on Wednesday filed draft papers with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to seek the market regulator’s approval for raising funds from the primary market through an initial public offering (IPO).

According to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) filed with the SEBI, Bikaji Foods plans to sell nearly 2.93 crore shares in the IPO. It will be a pure offer for sale. This means the shares of existing promoters and shareholders will be available for sale.
Founders Shiv Ratan Agarwal and Deepak Agarwal will sell 25 lakh shares each. India 2020 Maharaja (PE Firm Lighthouse) will offload 1.21 crore shares, IIFL Special Opportunities Fund will sell 1.1 crore shares and Avendus Future Leaders Fund will offload 12 lakh shares.

Since the issue is an offer for sale, the selling shareholders will be entitled to the entire proceeds. The money raised through the IPO will not go to the company.

According to the draft paper, Bikaji Foods International controls 8.7 per cent market share in the Indian snack segment. Haldiram’s is the market leader with 36.6 per cent share.

Founder of Bikaji Foods International Shiv Ratan Agarwal is the grandson of Haldiram’s founder Gangabishan Agarwal. Shiv Ratan Agarwal founded the company in 1986. It was originally incorporated as Shivdeep Industries Ltd. In 1993, the company’s name was changed to Bikaji Foods.

In the draft paper, Bikaji Foods International claimed it is the largest manufacturer of Bikaneri bhujia, packaged rasgulla, soan papdi and gulab jamun with annual production of 26,690 tonnes, 24,000 tonnes, 23,040 tonnes and 12,000 tonnes respectively in the fiscal year 2020-21.

During the financial year 2020-21, Bikaji Foods International was the second-largest manufacturer of handmade papads with an annual production capacity of 9,000 tonnes.

JM Financial, Axis Capital, IIFL Securities, Intensive Fiscal Services and Kotak Mahindra Capital are the lead managers to the proposed IPO. (ANI)

China to impose sanctions on US firms for Taiwan arms deal


Beijing [China] (ANI): In retaliation to US arms sales to Taiwan, China has decided to impose sanctions on American defence companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China would continue to take all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty.
The US earlier this month had approved a possible USD 100 million sales of equipment and services to Taiwan to “sustain” and “improve” the Patriot missile defence system used by the self-governing island.

The announcement drew a reaction from China and it advised the US against the arms deal. China had warned that it would take necessary actions to protect its sovereignty.

“China will take countermeasures against Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, which participated in a USD 100 million-worth sale of US arms to the island of Taiwan, a move that severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security interests,” Wang told a briefing on Monday, as quoted by the state media tabloid Global Times.

After the US approved the arms sales to Taiwan, Taipei thanked Washington for taking concrete actions to meet its security commitments stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.

“It not only demonstrates the significance the US government continues to place on Taiwan’s defence capabilities but also shows the rock-solid Taiwan-US partnership,” Taiwan News quoted Taiwan’s Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang as saying.

This is the second weapons sale since President Biden took office and the first arms deal this year. (ANI)

The book ‘I AM’ challenges the myths and breaks the stereotype around creativity


Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India] (ANI/PNN): The book ‘I AM’ is a first of its kind in the illustrated picture book category that defines the correct meaning of creativity.

Inspired by the core principle of design thinking, the book takes the reader through the journey of Empathy-Define-Ideate-Prototype-Test to demonstrate simple methods to solve complex problems.
Creativity isn’t always an in-born trait but a refined skill in the creation process. I AM an illustrated book for adults & children who believe in having a mindset that lets them find multiple solutions for the same problem.

I AM a happy book that emphasizes positivity. It is an emotional journey of a boy who is on his path of self-discovery. The story keeps the readers glued to the protagonist’s journey and how his brother encourages him to face the challenges and discover the essence of life. The book revolves around the myths about creativity and its stereotype. It’s an eye-opener for young adults, professionals, and parents who believe that creativity is synonymous with being artistic, whereas it is all about inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking the rules, making mistakes, and finding out solutions.

Reshma Budhia, the author of I AM, believes that creativity is not a form of doing but a form of being. With over 16 years of marketing experience, she has helped companies conceptualize and build marketing roadmaps using emerging technology solutions. Her key role includes brand & strategy consulting, content creation, UX/UI consulting, and growth strategy planning & execution.

She is a Certified Design Thinking Specialist from Emeritus MIT Sloan School of Management and has completed her PG Diploma in Innovation & Design Thinking. Reshma says, “Creativity is all about connecting things and solving problems. It’s solving ordinary problems through extraordinary solutions. We need to come out of the cocoon to explore and experiment.” She adds that her book was not born as an impulsive, spur-of-the-moment story but is her own journey to discover the creative side. She takes pride in being recognized as the Exceptional Women of Excellence by the Women’s Economic Forum.

There are different aspects of creativity, and through the book I AM, one gets to understand the true essence of creativity. It’s a keepsake that opens a new dimension each time you read it. I AM available on Amazon at Rs. 1199/.


to find out more.

Instagram handles:

Book: @discoveriam

Author: @designthinkqueen

This story is provided by PNN. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PNN)

Budget 2022-23 has growth revival as a priority, says Nirmala Sitharaman


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] (ANI): The high capital expenditure proposed in the Union Budget 2022-23 will have a multiplier effect on the economy and will help in sustained recovery, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

“The budget has growth revival as a priority along with messages for sustainability as a priority and on predictable tax regimen,” Sitharaman said while addressing a post-budget interaction with industry.
She said the government’s decision to increase spending on infrastructure will help create long-term assets and have a sustainable impact on the economic recovery.

“A sustained recovery is what we would want,” said the Finance Minister adding the Union Budget 2022-23 seeks to lay a foundation for India’s growth for the next 25 years.

In the 2022-23 Union Budget presented on Parliament on February 1, 2022, Sitharaman proposed to increase the outlay for capital expenditure by 35.4 per cent from Rs 5.54 lakh crore in the current year to Rs 7.50 lakh crore in 2022-23.

The Finance Minister said the extensive use of technology helped India manage the COVID pandemic more effectively than most other countries. (ANI)

Jio Platforms, Europe-based SES form JV to deliver broadband services through satellite across India


New Delhi [India](ANI): Reliance’s Jio platforms and Europe-based content connectivity solutions provider-SES-have formed a joint venture to deliver the next generation of scalable and affordable broadband services in India, leveraging satellite technology.

According to an official statement, the joint venture will use a multi-orbit space network that is a combination of geostationary (GEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite constellations capable of delivering multi-gigabit links and capacity to enterprises, mobile backhaul and retail customers across the length and breadth of India and neighbouring regions.
Jio Platforms Limited JPL and SES will own 51 per cent and 49 per cent equity stake in the joint venture – Jio Space Technology Limited – respectively.

“While we continue to expand our fibre-based connectivity and FTTH business and invest in 5G, this new joint venture with SES will further accelerate the growth of multigigabit broadband. With additional coverage and capacity offered by satellite communications services, Jio will be able to connect the remotest towns and villages, enterprises, government establishments, and consumers to the new Digital India,” said Akash Ambani, Director of Jio.

The joint venture will leverage SES-12, SES’s high-throughput GEO satellite serving India, and O3b mPOWER, SES’s next-generation MEO constellation, to extend and complement Jio’s terrestrial network, increasing access to digital services and applications. Jio will offer managed services and gateway infrastructure operations services to the joint venture.

“This joint venture with JPL is a great example of how SES can complement even the most extensive terrestrial networks to deliver high-quality connectivity, and positively affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people. We look forward to this joint venture whereby we can play a role in promoting digital inclusion in India,” said Steve Collar, Chief Executive Officer of SES.

As part of the investment plan, the joint venture will develop extensive gateway infrastructure in India to provide services within the country.

Jio, as an anchor customer of the joint venture, has entered into a multi-year capacity purchase agreement, based on certain milestones along with gateways and equipment purchases with a total contract value of circa USD 100 million. (ANI)

Is Singapore’s USD 110 million space-tech investment an opportunity for Indian firms?

Singapore (ANI): Last week at the 14th Global Space and Technology Convention 2022 held in Singapore, the Singapore government announced that it is committing SGD 150 million (USD 110 million) to the space technology industry through research and development (R&D) funding.

The programme will be hemmed by the Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn), the government office which oversees the country’s space industry, and the National Research Foundation. OSTIn was created in 2013 to support Singaporean companies in developing internationally competitive capabilities in the space-tech industry.
The investment seeks to enhance space-related capabilities applicable to key industrial sectors for Singapore such as aviation, maritime and sustainability by using such technology to enrich daily life. For example, in improving technology used for everyday applications such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that are crucial to ride-hailing services and parcel delivery tracking.

It is also envisaged that the scheme will help maintain Singapore’s position as a research and technology hub in emerging technologies and as an emerging hub for capital, talent and intellectual property.

The first grant call which taps into this fund was already made in 2021 and is for disruptive technologies for small satellites and satellite data exploitation and Artificial Intelligence. The submitted projects are currently being assessed. A second open grant call will be launched in the second half of this year and will cover areas such asin-space manufacturing and on-orbit servicing and assembly.

As part of its space strategy, Singapore is focused on building international partnership in order to continue nurturing local space-tech firms. These partnerships help the nation’s space-tech firms expand into more mature space industries abroad and tap more robust international experience.

Last Wednesday, February 9, OSTIn renewed a space-tech cooperation agreement with the French Space Agency first signed in 2015. It also signed an agreement with the European Space Agency last October to collaborate on space-tech applications and services in telecommunications and related fields.

Among the projects that are benefiting from Singapore space programme is a joint effort by Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, ST Engineering, as well as domestic space startups Aliena and Lighthaus Photonics. The project aims to build a microsatellite, which will fly at low earth orbit and will carry the first Singapore-designed space camera.

ST Engineering, which launched the first Singapore-made commercial earth observation satellite in 2015, is now a market leader that supplies satellite communications systems to global customers such as Verizon, the U.S. telecommunications giant.

Singapore’s space sector continues to grow rapidly and now has 50 companies employing more than 1,800 professionals.

The international space industry is forecast to reach USD1 trillion in value by 2040.

Separately, Singapore Space and Technology Limited (SSTL), the organiser of the convention, is setting up a commercial fund — said to be Asia’s first dedicated commercial fund for startups venturing into space research.

The commercial fund will be open to all space startups and the startups in SSTL’s Space Accelerator Programme. Started in 2020, the accelerator programme provides support such as mentorships and fundraising assistance for space startups here and abroad. It now supports 37 companies from 17 countries such as Japan, Singapore and India.

SSTL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the convention to form a trade corridor with the United Kingdom. This will facilitate the partnering of Singapore and UK space start-ups for resources like investment, expertise and even to trial their products in those markets.

Speaking as the keynote speaker at the convention, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry (MTI) said that MTI is continuously “forging partnerships with other space-faring nations and building a talent pipeline for the space sector.” He added, “We are also constantly looking for like-minded partners internationally, so we can learn from each other and grow together.”

In the area of space-tech, India is without a doubt more advanced than Singapore. India’s initial foray into space started with the setting up of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962. This was followed by the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, in 1969.

To date, based on “Make-In-India” website, India has launched a total of 109 spacecraft missions, 77 launch missions, 10 student satellites, 2 re-entry missions and 319 foreign satellites. The Indian space industry was valued at USD7 billion in 2019 and targets to reach USD50 billion by 2024. One of its most notable accomplishments is the inter-planetary mission, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), which in September 2019 successfully completed 5 years in the orbit of Mars.

It would therefore be unsurprising if, in the near future, India participates in one way or another in Singapore’s space-tech development programme, given the close ties between the two countries. (ANI)

Andhra Pradesh eyes investment opportunities from India Pavilion


Dubai [UAE](ANI/NewsVoir): The state of Andhra Pradesh is ready to showcase its development and immense business opportunities to global investors while participating in the India Pavilion in EXPO2020 Dubai.

The state’s floor at the India pavilion was inaugurated yesterday by Mekapati Goutham Reddy, Minister of Commerce and Information Technology, Government of Andhra Pradesh along with H.E. Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, H.E. Dr Ahmed Albanna, UAE Ambassador to India and Sunjay Sudhir, India Ambassador to the UAE.
Zulfi Ravdjee, Advisor to Government of Andhra Pradesh & Special Representative to Government for Middle East & Far East Countries and JVN Subramanyam, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) & CEO Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) along with other senior government officials from the state were also present at the inaugural ceremony.

Inaugurating the Andhra Pradesh floor, Mekapati Goutham Reddy said, “Under the able leadership of our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, India has achieved remarkable progress across economic and social development metrics and continues to develop as a powerhouse in the world economy. The state of Andhra Pradesh has strong governance, strategic locational advantages, robust infrastructure, thriving industrial & business ecosystem, skilled manpower and immense potential for growth across key sectors. I am confident that the state floor at India Pavilion will project Andhra Pradesh in a new perspective, open new opportunities for business and establish new relationships with industry & governments.”

“Andhra Pradesh is blessed with abundant natural resources, mineral wealth, and presents a low-risk and easy environment for businesses to grow. We are poised to exchange strengths and are looking forward to long term business relationships with global investors,” he added.

JVN Subramanyam, said, “It is a great privilege for Andhra Pradesh to participate in EXPO2020 Dubai. Andhra Pradesh is one of the nine industrialized states in India, which is also helping the country to realize its $5 trillion economy mission. The state’s floor at India Pavilion depicts our key pillars of governance and development in the state, which will support us to partner with global investors.”

The state will be making a strong pitch to the global investors during the week by showcasing its business capabilities along with its tradition and culture through a series of events exhibiting opportunities across key focus sectors including Automobile, Food Processing, Textiles, Healthcare, Information Technology and Capital Goods among other to forge new partnerships.

Along with showcasing the business attractiveness, the state will also exhibit its rich cultural heritage to the global audience through India Pavilion.

The Andhra Pradesh week will conclude on February 17, 2022.

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Rahul Bajaj – the man who put average Indian on two motorised wheels, passes away


Pune (Maharashtra) [India] (ANI): Rahul Bajaj, the man who made brand Bajaj a household name through scooter models like Chetak and Priya and the ubiquitous Bajaj three-wheeler auto, passed away at 83 on Saturday, nearly a year after stepping down as the non-executive chairman of Bajaj Auto.

A Padma Bhushan-awardee Rahul Bajaj was one of the longest-serving chairmen in corporate India. He breathed his last at Ruby Hall Hospital in Pune.
“Rahul Bajaj died today at 2.30 pm. He died due to heart and lungs problems. He was admitted for past one month in Ruby hall hospital in Pune,” Dr Parvej Grant, chairman of Ruby Hall hospital told ANI.

Rahul Bajaj

“It is with deep sorrow that I inform you about the passing away of Shri Rahul Bajaj, husband of the late Rupa Bajaj and father of Rajiv/Deepa, Sanjiv/Shefali and Sunaina/Manish. He passed away on the afternoon of 12th February, 2022 in the presence of his closest family members,” Bajaj Group said in a statement.

Rahul Bajaj stepped down as non-executive chairman of Bajaj Auto in April 2021, ceding the position to his cousin Niraj Bajaj.

He had stepped down from the executive role of Bajaj Group companies before his election to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, 2006. He served as a member of Rajya Sabha from 2006 to 2010.

Rahul Bajaj’s younger son Sanjiv Bajaj has taken over as chairman of both the group’s finance companies – Bajaj Finance and Bajaj Finserv. His elder son Rajiv Bajaj is Managing Director of Bajaj Auto.

Born on June 10, 1938, Rahul Bajaj took over as Chief Executive Officer of Bajaj Auto in 1968 and was appointed as Managing Director of the company in 1972. He stepped down from that position in 2005.

Bajaj also served as president or chairman of several industry bodies. He served as president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) twice – from 1979 to 1980 and again from 1999 to 2000.

He served as Chairman of the erstwhile Indian Airlines from 1986 to 1989. He also served as president of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

“Rahul Bajaj strode across the Indian industrial landscape like a colossus. He was among the few stars who created the Indian automotive industry. He was a pioneer who established a culture of quality and technology,” said Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor.

Rahul Bajaj held a Bachelors degree in economics, a law degree from Mumbai University and an MBA from Harvard.

Expressing his condolences Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, “Rahul Bajaj was the one who put average Indians on two motorised wheels. In his passing away, we have lost a far-sighted and outspoken business leader. My sincere condolences to his family and numerous members of the Bajaj family and Bajaj group of business.”

“Rahul Bajaj was the captain and voice of Indian Industry. He was the doyen of manufacturing and truly the pillar of the auto industry. As Secretary, DIPP interacted with him on several occasions. Admired him for being always frank and fearless. India has lost a Gr8 nation builder,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said in a tweet.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also paid his tributes.

“My heartfelt tributes to Rahul Bajajji, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and former chairman of Bajaj. I had a personal relationship with Padma Bhushan awardee Rahulji for many years. Rahul ji, who has led the Bajaj Group for the last five decades, has been instrumental in the industry. May God rest the departed soul and give strength to the family members. Om Shanti,” he said in a tweet.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also condoled the demise of Bajaj.

“The demise of Rahul Bajaj the Chairman emeritus of the Bajaj Group is a loss to India’s business community. My condolences to the bereaved family and the group,” Chouhan said in a tweet.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar also expressed his condolences over Rahul Bajaj’s death.

“I am deeply shocked to learn about the sad demise of Padma Bhushan Shri Rahul Bajaj! The grandson of eminent freedom fighter Jamnalal Bajaj brought transformation in society especially in poor and middle-class people with his two-wheel technology – a Bajaj Bike!” Pawar tweeted.

“The affordable vehicle increased mobility, eased struggle for getting means of livelihood and became the tool of socio-economic change! We Indians are deeply indebted for his immense contribution to the industry,” he said in another tweet.

“I am grieved with a passing away of my very close friend. India has lost an industrialist, a philanthropist and a lighthouse for young entrepreneurs! Hamara Bajaj,” he said.

Former union minister Praful Patel said that Rahul Bajaj is credited with making the brand Bajaj a household name.

“Saddened by the passing away of renowned industrialist and one of the longest-serving chairman in corporate India, Padma Bhushan Rahul Bajajji. He is credited with making the brand Bajaj a household name. My heartfelt condolences to his family members,” Patel tweeted.

“Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Padma Bhushan Rahul Bajaj. He was among the foremost Business Leaders our nation has seen, and an inspiration to all. We will miss him dearly and his wise counsel,” tweeted Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule. (image -instagram)

CIL taking steps to increase coal supply to non-power sector


New Delhi [India] (ANI): Coal India Limited (CIL) has sufficient buffer stock and is making efforts to increase coal supply to the non-power sector in view of the increased demand, the Ministry of Coal said on Saturday.

The current supply by Coal India Limited stands at around 3.4 lakh tonnes of coal per day to the non-power sector.
“With more than 37 million tonnes (MTs) of coal at its pitheads CIL aims to further step up supplies to this sector,” the ministry said in a statement.

Coal India Limited’s despatch to the non-power sector (NPS) during the April-January period of 2021-22 at 101.7 million tonnes (MTs) was up by 8.2 per cent compared to 94 MTs in the corresponding period of a standard pandemic free FY 2019-20.

For comparable period of even FY 2018-19, when CIL recorded the highest ever total coal despatch since its inception, supply to the NPS sector grew by 11 per cent over 91.5 MTs, it said.

Growth in supplies to NPS customers was at a higher rate than the supplies to the power sector during this period. In April 2020 to January 2021 period despatch to the NPS segment at 105 MTs was higher by a little over 3 MTs compared to same period of FY’22.

As coal intake for the major part of FY’21, witnessed demand disruption caused by COVID-19, CIL scaled up supplies to the NPS segment. Further, NPS customers also opted to lift higher volumes of coal as CIL’s e-auction sales were capped at notified price for the first half of FY 2021.

The NPS imports around 170 MTs of coal in any given fiscal for blending with domestic coal. But in FY’22 the unusually high international coal prices proved to be a hindrance for importing requisite quantity giving rise to scarcity of coal at their end.

“CIL has sufficient buffer stock to further increase supply to non-power sector,” the Ministry of Coal said.

The current financial year has witnessed an unprecedented surge in power generation, the growth rate being the highest in a decade, necessitating the need to meet the power sector’s coal demand on a national priority. Riding on robust economic recovery total coal-based power generation till January’22 of the fiscal in progress grew by 11.2 per cent on year-on-year. Whereas domestic coal-based generation was up by 17 per cent during this period. Bulk of the coal supply to power sector was met by CIL on priority.

In sharp contrast power generation by 14 imported coal-based power plants was down by 48 per cent during April-January 2021-22. Meeting the resultant generation gap fell on domestic coal-based generators requiring enhanced indigenous coal supply. CIL supplied to the tune of around 20 MTs of this additional demand. In other words, imports were curtailed to that extent.

Despite prioritisation of coal to power sector and facing other challenges, CIL at 101.7 MTs till January FY’22 supplied 97 per cent of same period last year’s quantity to NPS customers, the Ministry of Coal said. (ANI)(image -instagram)

JSP posts 20 per cent growth in steel sales in January 2022

New Delhi [India], (ANI): Jindal Steel and Power (JSP) on Wednesday said its steel sales in January 2022 soared to 6.95 lakh tonnes, posting year-on-year growth of 20 per cent, despite low Railway rake availability.
The company’s steel sales volume stood at 5.81 lakh tonnes in January 2021. Inventories continued to decline for the second consecutive month with JSP posting Steel Production of 6.82 lakh tonnes. Marginal improvement in rake availability during the month, resulted in export share rising to 31 per cent in January 2022 from 28 per cent in December 21.
“We have surpassed our targets for the last calendar year, and we are confident that we will also achieve our envisaged targets for the financial year. We firmly believe in India’s growth story which is expected to grow for FY22 9.2 per cent, which will be the highest amongst major economies, and for FY23 GDP is also estimated to be robust at 8.0-8.5 per cent,” V R Sharma, Managing Director, JSP, said in a statement.
“We would like to thank Government of India for the announcements made in budget with regards to coal gasification, coal to liquid initiative and extension of manufacturing timeline for claiming 15 per cent concessional income tax rate on green field projects to 31 March 2024 are highly appreciated,” Sharma said.
“Government’s push on infrastructure and increase in outlay for capital expenditure will support growth for steel, cement and other related sectors in the coming year,” he added.

Sensex up by 201 points


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] (ANI): The equity indices on Monday opened in green with the Sensex up by 201.33 points and Nifty up by 61.80 points.

The 30-scrip BSE Sensex was up by 201.33 points or 0.35 per cent at 57822.52 at 9.41 am.
Similarly, 50-scrip NSE Nifty was trading at 17275.40 at 9.41 am, up by 61.80 points or 0.36 per cent.

On the Sensex, the sectors trading on a positive bias were consumer durables and consumer discretionary goods and services among others. (ANI)

COVID-hit tourism industry feel abandoned as no special package announced in Budget for sector


Agra (Uttar Pradesh) [India] (ANI): With no mention of any special packages or relief for the tourism industry in Union Budget 2022, the tourist associations and guide associations of Agra feel that they have been left abandoned.

The tourism industry has been hit hard due to COVID-19-induced restrictions for the past two years. Tourism is one of the main sources of income for a large number of people in the city as it is home to three UNESCO recognised heritage sites– Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
“It is surprising that there was not even a single mention about the tourism industry in this year’s budget. Everybody knows what is happening with the people associated with the industry. There is still no reaction from leadership in our state and it is demoralising. People are suffering for the last two years,” said JP Singh, President, UP Pariyatan Guide Association.

For the past two years, associations claimed they are requesting for the government’s help, submitted letters/representations, met ministers but it all went in vain. They are demanding to waive off GST, property tax for a specific period during which tourism industry suffered the most.

In India, there are two categories of government-approved guide i.e. central and state. There are approximately 1100 government recognised guides throughout Uttar Pradesh whereas 381 guides are recognised by the central government. Among them, around 450 guides operate in Agra alone.

The Central government recently announced a policy of giving loans worth Rs 1 lakh to guides.

“There has been no mention of the tourism industry, no mention of packages. Loans can never be a relief because if there is no earning from where we will pay off the loans,” said Vishal Sharma, Secretary, Agra Tourist Welfare Chamber.

“Tourism industry as a whole is barely functioning because tourism has plummeted significantly,” he said.

“Moreover, there are also 4-5 cases where guides after receiving the loan from banks had to give it back for reason till date unknown,” a guide said.

A number of people associated with the tourism industry for their bread and butter have been forced to switch to different professions of which they had no prior knowledge and required skills. (ANI)

CCI imposes penalty on 7 entities for bid rigging in SBI tender


New Delhi [India],(ANI): The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday said it has imposed financial penalties on seven entities for indulging in an anti-competitive agreement for the supply of signages for branches, offices, and ATMs of State Bank of India (SBI).

“This matter was initiated suo motu by CCI on the basis of a complaint received in 2018 alleging bid-rigging and cartelisation in the tender floated by SBI Infra Management Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The investigation inter alia found e-mails exchanged between the parties which formed the basis for manipulation of the bidding process,” CCI said in a statement.
Based on a cumulative assessment of the evidence collected, CCI found that there was an agreement amongst the parties which resulted in geographical market allocation as well as bid-rigging in the above-mentioned tender of SBI.

Accordingly, all the parties were held to be guilty of contravention of the provisions of Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act), which prohibits anti-competitive agreements including cartels. Further, nine individuals of these parties were also held liable for the anti-competitive conduct of their respective entities, in terms of the provisions of Section 48 of the Act, the CCI said.

Amongst the seven entities that have been penalised, one was a lesser penalty applicant before CCI.

Considering that one party has filed a lesser penalty application besides cooperating during an investigation as well as inquiry process and that most of the parties are MSMEs – some of which even acknowledged their conduct during the inquiry, CCI took a lenient view and decided to impose a penalty upon the parties @ 1 per cent of their respective average turnover.

The individuals found guilty under Section 48 of the Act were also imposed a penalty @1 per cent of their respective average incomes.

Further, considering the stage at which the lesser penalty applicant approached the CCI and in light of the co-operation extended by it thereafter, CCI granted a reduction in penalty by 90 per cent to it and its individuals. Apart from the above, CCI also directed the parties and their respective officials to cease and desist from indulging in anti-competitive conduct. (ANI)

Kerala CM hopes companies in UAE would take advantage of business-friendly environment in state


Dubai [UAE] (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday while inaugurating the Kerala pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 said he hopes companies and businesses in the UAE would be able to take advantage of the present business-friendly environment in Kerala to make the partnership stronger.

“I certainly hope that companies and businesses in the UAE would be able to take advantage of the present business-friendly environment in Kerala to make our partnership stronger,” said Vijayan.
“We have always strived to provide maximum support to investors and would make concerted efforts to further help industry and the government of Kerala to bridge gaps and work together in the true spirit of collaboration and partnership, so as to chart a new growth story,” he added.

He added that over the years, Kerala has invested heavily in connectivity, communication networks, skill development and infrastructure, giving the State an intrinsic advantage for growth in the industry.

On the industrial front, through a series of legislations and rules, the process of industrial licensing has been moved to online platforms and made automatic and transparent,” he stated.

“The Government of Kerala is committed to improving the Ease of Doing Business in the State via a number of initiatives including the simplification of procedures, enablement of digital engagement channels such as Kerala – Single Window Interface for Fast and Transparent Clearance (K-SWIFT), Kerala-Central Inspection System (K-CIS) etc,” he stated.

“As far as Keralites are concerned UAE is their second home, with nearly 1.2 million Malayalis residing here. The Malayali community in UAE has played a significant role in nurturing and further strengthening the friendly relations between the two regions. They have been the backbone of many key projects implemented by the UAE. In turn, UAE has provided and cared for them during their pravasi life. It has also helped in strengthening Kerala’s economy,” he stated while talking about the relationship shared by the two regions.

“Kerala and UAE share a unique bond of mutual trust based on our shared values and synergies. Our economic and cultural links and people-to-people ties are deep-rooted and marked by resilience and vibrancy. I am sure that Dubai Expo will enrich us with ideas and avenues that will go a long way in strengthening our ties and cementing the future of our regions,” he further stated.

He added that Kerala is often regarded as the social capital of India and it is now emerging as an important destination for investments. Therefore, we are happy to showcase our State at this Dubai Expo through the Kerala Pavilion, he stated. (ANI)

PM Modi didn’t create single PSU, privatised 23: Congress in Rajya Sabha


New Delhi [India]: Congress’s MP Ripun Bora in Rajya Sabha on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he did not create a single Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) while he privatised 23.

Speaking on the Motion of Thanks to President’s Address in Rajya Sabha, Bora also compared previous Prime Ministers with PM Modi on the matter and said Rajiv Gandhi created 16 PSUs and no privatisation, Atul Bihari Vajpayee created 17 PSUs; and Manmohan Singh created 23 PSUs and privatised only three.
Noting that the economy was badly devastated during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress leader said that nothing was mentioned on how to recover the economic scenario in President’s address which is considered as a roadmap.

It was totally contrary to people’s expectations as the address neither mentioned ways nor measures on how to recover the losses during COVID-19. “There was a drastic fall in the income of 84 crore people during a pandemic but President’s address did not mention anything.”

Meanwhile, the Congress leader mentioned how 27 crore people were pulled out of poverty under the UPA government and that five crore people have been pushed below the poverty line now.

The MP also took a dig at the Modi government on inflation, saying “not a single word to tackle price rise was mentioned in President’s address despite individual consumption has hugely declined”.

Bora raised the issue of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and noted how the Indian armed forces ambushed and killed 17 coal miners in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4 last year.

“Normally military is used against foreign aggression, but our military has killed our own people,” said the Congress leader.

He also pointed out that the Naga peace talks have not yielded any result.

The leader also raised the issue of crime against Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribe, citing National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. “Where is the empowerment if we cannot protect them (SC/ST people)?” asked the leader. (ANI)

Eminent Global Leaders to participate in VLSID 2022 between Feb 26-March 2, 2022


Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India] (ANI/NewsVoir): The 35th International Conference of VLSI Design and the 21st International Conference on Embedded Systems (VLSID 2022), the annual conference of global repute is scheduled between 26th February and 2nd March 2022.

The theme for the conference is “Silicon Catalyzing Computing, Communication and Cognitive Convergence”. Staying true to its legacy of shedding light on technology innovation and world-class research in the areas of Semiconductors, VLSI and Embedded Systems. This leading Global conference brings together key stakeholders of the ecosystem – Industry, Academia, Researchers, Innovators, and regulators in the space of Semiconductors and Electronics.
This platform of Global visionaries and leaders will together discuss and envision the latest advancements in Silicon driving AI/ML, 5G, IoT, Edge computing, Data Centers, Quantum Computing, EV, Compound Semiconductors etc. to unleash the potential of these technologies and set a direction along with a roadmap of Semiconductors in India. This 5 days’ conference will feature 2 days of tutorials and 3 days of the conference

The VLSID Annual Conference has been an eagerly awaited event in Electronics and Semiconductor industry for the past 34 years. With several leading experts in the committee, the technology conference aims at providing an excellent platform to several industrial and scientific researchers via thought-provoking sessions, unique knowledge-sharing and engaging discussions on innovations and achievements related to VLSI Design, Automation, Test and Embedded Systems

Talking about the conference, Dr. Satya Gupta, President, VLSI Society of India says, “The Indian Semiconductor and VLSI ecosystem is critical for empowering the USD 1 Trillion Digital economy and will play a key enabler role for India’s Semiconductor Vision. All stakeholders including Industry, Government and Academia need to come together to create a vibrant design-led manufacturing of semiconductor products leveraging the progressive policies of the government and pave the way for “Real” Self-Reliance in Electronics & Semiconductors. VLSI Design conference has been providing a great platform for last 35 years for both Global & Indian Semiconductor technology ecosystem and this year’s conference will continue to provide the leadership with the focus on technologies like AI/ML, 5G, Edge, IoT, EV and many others.”

The five-day conference will present 14 eminent global visionary leaders as keynote speakers. The curated list of speakers consist of some of the eminent industry veterans including Dr. Nick McKeown (SVP & GM, Intel), Dr. Suk Hwan Lim (EVP, Samsung), Joe Sawicki (EVP, Siemens), Dr. Philip Wong (Stanford), Ken Wiseman (VP, Qualcomm), Sanjive Agarwala (Corporate VP & GM ,Cadence), Daisy Chittilapalli (President – Cisco India & SAARC), Shankar Krishnamoorthy (GM, Synopsys), Prof. Jason Cong (UCLA), Prof. Andrew B Khang (UCSD), Prof. Ramgopal Rao (IIT Delhi), Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri ( IIT Bombay), Sonam Wangchuk (HIAL).

“Silicon is increasingly becoming a pivot in digital arena. Silicon and Electronics solutions for the societal and engineering challenges is of utmost priority, especially now that we are all trying to build back after the COVID setback. Through this conference, we leverage our domain knowledge and expertise to handhold all budding and promising talented professionals, and connect them with industry veterans who will further support them in identifying opportunities, challenges, new markets and their overall journey of transforming the sector,” Anil Kempanna, General Chair, International VLSI & Embedded Systems Conference 2022 and VP & GM – IOTG, Intel.

The symposium will also showcase over 30 chosen exhibitors who will be displaying their latest products and 53 Scientific paper from over 300 Submissions globally, focused on rapid advances in Computing, Connectivity, Storage and Sensors which have resulted in path-breaking developments in the areas such as AI/ML, 5G, Compound Semiconductors, EV, Cloud & Edge computing and more unique solutions in new technology domains as well.

“With the world increasingly becoming more connected, we see tremendous opportunities to emphasise the potential of the VLSI & Embedded Systems community. VLSID 2022 will continue to provide an encouraging platform by acknowledging achievers and propel unique opportunities to the next level, by bringing together community experts, leaders and all key stakeholders under one umbrella,” said Lakshmi Narayana Kethamreddy, General Chair, International VLSI & Embedded Systems Conference 2022 and VP & Head – Foundry BU, Samsung Semiconductors India R&D Centre.

The VLSID conference attracts more than 2,000 Global Attendees and more than 300 different organizations (Both Industry and Academia) participate in this biggest conference in the Electronics & Semiconductors domain.

35th International VLSI Design & 21st Embedded Systems conference is a Premier Global conference with legacy of over three and half decades. This Global Annual technical conference that focusses on latest advancements in VLSI and Embedded Systems, is attended by over 2000 engineers, students & faculty, industry, academia, researchers, bureaucrats and government bodies.

This year’s Conference Theme is Silicon catalyzing computing, Communication & Cognitive Convergence. Silicon and Electronics today are the vital forces for all aspects of technology, Industry and human life – enabling rapid advances in Computing, Connectivity, Storage and Sensors which have resulted in path-breaking developments in the areas such as AI/ML, 5G, Compound Semiconductors, EV, Cloud & Edge computing and more.

The future is starting to witness a “Confluence” of these technologies with Silicon continuing to be the fulcrum harnessing the power of each in a way that was unimagined so far. VLSID 2022 conference brings a unique opportunity to time travel the future of technologies and explore the role of Silicon in decades to come.

This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)(Image -Instagram)

India’s exports to China rise by 21 per cent to USD 22.9 billion in 2021


New Delhi [India]: India’s exports to China rose by 21 per cent to USD 22.9 billion in the 2021 calendar year while imports surged by 49 per cent to USD 87.5 billion during the same year, according to data released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics.

Bilateral trade between the two countries rose to USD 110.4 billion in 2021 against USD 77.7 billion in 2020, registering a year-on-year growth of 42.2 per cent.
When compared with 2019 data, India’s exports to China rose by 33.9 per cent in 2021. India’s exports to China have risen consistently in the last three years despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

India’s exports to China stood at USD 17.1 billion in 2019. It rose to USD 19 billion in 2020 and further to USD 22.9 billion in 2021.

However, India’s imports from China declined from USD 68.4 billion in 2019 to USD 58.7 billion in 2020. But it rose sharply to USD 87.5 billion in 2021.

In 2019, India’s total trade with the United States was highest with a value of USD 90.1 billion (share 11.1 per cent in total trade) as against China with a value of USD 85.5 billion (share 10.5 per cent).

With a share of 12.0 per cent, China became the largest trading partner of India in 2020, whereas, the United States’ share stood at 11.7 per cent.

In 2021, the US has again taken a top slot as India’s merchandise trade partner with a value of USD 112.3 billion and in the same year, India’s trade with China was USD 110.4 billion. (ANI)


Digital Rupee will open up new opportunities for Fintech sector, says PM Modi


New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the digital Rupee will open up new opportunities for the Fintech sector and will give a big boost to the digital economy.

“There is also a lot of discussion about Central Bank Digital Currency in today’s newspapers. This will give a big boost to the digital economy. This digital rupee, which is our physical currency now, will have a digital form and it will be controlled by RBI. It can be exchanged with physical currency. Digital Rupee will open up new opportunities for the Fintech sector,” said PM Modi while addressing BJP workers and leaders on Budget 2022.
The Prime Minister said that people who have Sukanya Samriddhi accounts and PPF accounts in the post office will be able to transfer instalments online directly from their bank account.

“Those who have Sukanya Samriddhi account and PPF account in the post office, also do not need to go to the post office to deposit their instalments. Now they will be able to transfer online directly from their bank account,” he said.

He further added that the online fund transfer facility will be available in post office accounts like banks.

“Now mobile banking, internet banking, ATM and online fund transfer facility will be available in post office accounts like banks. At present, there are more than 1.5 lakh post offices in the country, most of which are in villages,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that very soon optical fiber connectivity will be completed to all the villages.

“Today cheap and fast internet has become the identity of India. Very soon optical fiber connectivity will be completed to all the villages. 5G service is going to give a different dimension to ease of living and ease of doing business in India,” he said.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled Union Budget 2022-23 on Tuesday.

Sitharaman announced in her budget speech that income from digital asset transfers will be taxed at a rate of 30 per cent.

The move is being seen as ‘crypto tax’ and gifts received in the form of cryptocurrencies are likely to be taxed at the same rate. Cryptocurrency gifts would also be taxed at the receiver’s end.

The Finance Minister also announced that the Reserve Bank of India will issue a Digital Rupee in the next financial year.

In order to regulate the digital assets market, the government had proposed to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 in the Winter Session of Parliament. However, the Bill was not tabled with the government deciding to have more consultations.

Sitharaman said Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will give a big boost to the digital economy.

The minister said the digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system and it will use blockchain and other technologies. (ANI)

Modi govt’s ‘zero sum budget’ has nothing for poor, farmers, MSMEs: Rahul Gandhi


New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday slammed the Centre over the Union Budget and said that it does not have anything for the salaried class, middle class, poor, youth, farmers and MSMEs.

“M0di G0vernment’s Zer0 Sum Budget! Nothing for–Salaried class–Middle class–The poor and deprived–Youth–Farmers–MSMEs,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday tabled Union Budget 2022 in the Lok Sabha and later in Rajya Sabha.

While presenting the Budget in the Lower House, the Finance Minister said that India’s economic growth in the current year is estimated to be 9.2 per cent, the highest among all large economies. She also said that Union Budget 2022-23 seeks to lay the foundation and give a blueprint of the economy over the next 25 years.

The budget session of Parliament began on Monday with the address by President Ram Nath Kovind to both Houses in the Central Hall.

The first part of the Union Budget Session of Parliament will be held from January 31 to February 11 and the second part of the Budget Session will take place from March 14 to April 8. (ANI-image InstagramRahul)

Union Budget 2022-23: Industry experts welcome govt’s focus on healthcare sector


By Shalini Bhardwaj

New Delhi [India]: Welcoming the Union Budget for FY 2022-23, industry experts said the government’s renewed focus on healthcare will build stronger health systems in the country.
Speaking to ANI, Biocon chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said, “Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget for FY23 is well balanced with fiscal prudence and ease of doing business as the main themes. I believe the 35 per cent increase in capital expenditure for FY23 is positive and will drive the creation of much-needed infrastructure and jobs. The Finance Minister must also be commended for maintaining the fiscal deficit at 6.9 per cent of GDP in FY22.”

She said the Union Budget focusing on ensuring regulatory ease by promoting digital trust and digital compliance is in the right direction.

“We were expecting some incentives for Pharma R&D (Research and Development) in the Budget as public investment is very low in this critical area of research and innovation, which are key for spurring exponential economic growth. The Finance Minister has assured the government’s support for R&D expenditure in sunrise areas such as drones, artificial intelligence, genomics, space, clean energy etc,” Shaw said.

The Biocon chairman further said, “We will need to see the fine print if there is anything on pharma. The only concern I have is the absence of any fiscal stimulus for the MSME (Medium and Small Scale Enterprises) and Services sector that have borne the brunt of the pandemic with large layoffs and job losses reflected in a sharp drop in rural and semi urban consumption. The government will need to address this urgently. Overall, it was a positive Budget without any negative surprises.”

Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Telehealth said the Centre’s focus on health and wellbeing that is has placed the first of its six pillars, is reflected in the Union Budget with the country entering the third year in COVID pandemic.

Referring to the launch of the National Tele Mental Health Programme, Thaploo said it is a welcome move by the government to augment the use of telemedicine services as well as provide support to people with mental health disorders.

National Tele Mental Health Program will include a network of 23 tele mental health Centres of Excellence with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) being the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore providing technical support.

“An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out and it will further help in strengthening the healthcare services within the country. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities. The increased investment towards health infrastructure and focus on a holistic approach to health is seen as a testimony of the commitment to building stronger health systems in the country,” Thaploo told ANI.

KR Raghunath, senior chairman, Jindal Naturecure Institute also welcomed the much-deserved attention on India’s healthcare sector in the Union Budget 2022-23.

Speaking to ANI, Raghunath said, “We are encouraged by the government’s renewed focus on preventive and curative health as well as the overall wellness and well-being of our citizens. An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will widen access to health and wellness while driving a focus on preventive health.”

“Also, to better the access to quality mental health counseling and care services, a National Tele Mental Health program has been announced that will further help in tackling the rising number of mental health disorders in the country. These patient-centered initiatives will play a pivotal role in the success of the National Health Mission,” added Raghunath

Earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the budget 2022-2023 announced the rollout of an open platform for the national health ecosystem.

It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework and universal access to health facilities, she had stated.

Sitharaman began her presentation of Budget 2022 by expressing empathy with those who were affected by the adverse health and economic effects of the COVID pandemic. (ANI)

Extremely disappointing, a damp squib: Shashi Tharoor on Budget 2022-23


New Delhi [India]: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said that the Union Budget is “extremely disappointing, a damp squib” and there is absolutely nothing.

Speaking to ANI, the Congress MP said there is no mention of MGNREGA, Defence or any other urgent priorities facing the public.
“Extremely disappointing, a damp squib! There seems to be absolutely nothing in this Budget. It’s an astonishingly disappointing Budget. When you listen to the speech, no mention of MGNREGA, of Defence, of any other urgent priorities facing the public,” said Tharoor.

He further said that the country have to wait for 25 more years for ‘acche din’ to arrive.

“We are facing terrible inflation and there’s no tax relief for the middle class. This is a Budget that seems to be pushing the mirage of ‘achhe din’ even farther away. Now it’s India at 100, we’ll have to wait for 25 more years for ‘acche din’ to arrive,” said the Congress MP.

“Very clear that as far as digital currency is concerned, Government was heading in that direction. To the best of my knowledge, a reasonable proposition, I don’t think we will be criticising that. But we are more concerned about lack of substance for common citizens in Budget,” he added.

India has set a target to reduce fiscal deficit to 6.4 per cent of GDP in 2022-23 from the estimated 6.9 per cent in the current financial year, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.

For the current financial year 2021-22, the fiscal deficit has been revised upward at 6.9 per cent of GDP as against 6.8 per cent projected in the Budget Estimates.

Presenting the Union Budget 2022-23 in the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said gifts received in the form of cryptocurrencies will also be taxed at the same rate.

The Finance Minister also announced that the Reserve Bank of India will issue a digital rupee in the next financial year. (image -instagramShashi)

Commercial 19 kg LPG cylinder prices slashed by Rs 91.50


New Delhi [India]: National Oil Marketing companies have slashed the prices of 19 kg commercial LPG cylinder cost by Rs 91.50 effective from February 1.

The 19 kg commercial cylinder will cost Rs 1907 in Delhi from today, sources told ANI.
It will provide some relief to restaurants, eateries, tea stalls and others which constitute the largest user segment of the 19 kg cylinders.

Last month on January 1, the price of 19 kg commercial LPG cylinders was reduced by Rs 102.50 bringing the price of cylinders to Rs 1998.50 in Delhi

However, there are no decrease in prices of other domestic cylinders weighing 14.2 kg, 5 kg, 10 kg composite or 5 kg composite cylinders and their prices remain the same.

LPG Cylinder rate is revised monthly for all the states and union territories in India. (ANI-image -instagram)

Sitharaman to present Union Budget 2022-23 in paperless format


New Delhi [India]: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Budget 2022-23 in a paperless format just like last year.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was seen carrying a tablet kept inside a red coloured cover with a golden coloured national emblem embossed on it instead of the briefcase or ‘bahi khata’.
In a historic move, the Union Budget 2021 was presented in a digital format for the first time to promote the Government of India’s (GoI) Digital India flagship programme. This is being seen as an attempt to go green and also to minimise physical contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sitharaman in 2019, ditched the longstanding tradition of carrying a briefcase and went ‘Swadeshi’ to replaced the briefcase with the traditional ‘bahi khata’ saying that the Modi-government was not a ‘suitcase-carrying government.’

Sitharaman was accompanied by MoS Finance Pankaj Chaudhary and Bhagwat Karad and other officials from her ministry, Sitharaman is scheduled to meet President Ram Nath Kovind before presenting the budget at 11 am today.

The Central government last year launched the ‘Union Budget Mobile App’ to enable the Members of Parliament (MPs) and common people to access Budget documents digitally. The Union Budget 2022 -23 would also be made available on the mobile app after the Budget is presented on February 1 in Parliament.

The App facilitates complete access to 14 Union Budget documents, including the Annual Financial Statement (commonly known as Budget), Demand for Grants (DG) and Financial Bill as prescribed by the Constitution.

The word ‘Budget’ originates from the French word Bougette, meaning leather briefcase. The tradition of carrying the Budget briefcase was a copy of the ‘Gladstone box’, used in the British Budget.

In 1860, the then British budget chief William E Gladstone used a red suitcase with Queen’s monogram embossed in gold to carry his documents, which came to be known as the ‘Gladstone Box’.

In 1947, India’s first Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty carried a leather portfolio to present the first Budget.

Before Nirmala Sitharaman, a long standing tradition in connection with the Budget presentation was broken during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government with the then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presenting the Budget at 11 am instead of the traditional time of 5 pm.

In the first, this year, there was no customary ‘halwa ceremony’ amid COVID-19 curbs. (ANI-image -instagram)

Budget session of Parliament to start


New Delhi [India]: The Budget Session of Parliament will begin from today with the address by President Ram Nath Kovind to both Houses in the Central Hall.

On February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union budget for the year 2022-23.
The Budget Session of Parliament will commence on Monday and is scheduled to conclude on April 8 wherein the first part of the session will extend up to February 11, said the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Sunday.

“There will be a break from February 12 to March 13 during which the Standing Committees will examine Demands-for-Grants of Ministries/Departments and prepare reports thereon. In all, there will be 29 sittings; ten in the first part and 19 in the second part,” the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s press release stated.

The President will be addressing both the Houses of Parliament assembled together on January 31 at 11 am.

Half-an-hour after President’s Address, the Lok Sabha will sit for the transaction of business.

As per the Secretariat, the Economic Survey 2021-22 will be laid by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in Lok Sabha on January 31, while the Budget will be presented by her on February 1 at 11 am.

From February 2 to February 11, the House is scheduled to sit from 4 pm to 9 pm. Thus, five hours have been scheduled per sitting during the first part of the Budget Session.

“During the first part of the session, the members will be accommodated in Lok Sabha Chamber and its Galleries (except Press Gallery) and Rajya Sabha Chamber and its Galleries (except Press Gallery),” the release informed.

As per the Secretariat, there will be two major items of Business during the first part of the budget session; a discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address and a general discussion on the budget.

“The government has tentatively fixed four days for discussion on Motion of Thanks viz. February 2, 3, 4 and 7,” they informed.

There will be no Zero Hour and Question Hour in both Houses of Parliament during the first two days of the Budget Session.

A Parliament bulletin released on Friday reads, “There shall be no ‘Zero Hour’ on January 31 and February 1, 2022. Members are informed that owing to the address of the President, during the first two days of the 8th session of the 17th Lok Sabha, there will be no ‘Zero Hour’ on January 31 and February 1, 2022.”

It is further added in the bulletin, “Members are informed that matters of urgent public importance raised during ‘Zero Hour’ will be taken up from February 2, 2022. However, it is for information of members that, to raise matters of urgent public importance during ‘Zero Hour’ on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, they may table notices on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, between 10:00 hours and 18:00 hours either online through e-portal or manually in the Parliamentary Notice Office.

During the First Part of the Session after the presentation of the Budget (February 2-11), the release stated, 40 hours of normal time will be available for various Businesses such as Question, Private Members’ Business, Discussion on Motion of Thanks, General Discussion on Union Budget, etc.

“Keeping in view the threat posed by COVID-19 pandemic, elaborate arrangements have been made in the Lok Sabha Chamber and other parts of Parliament House Complex,” the release stated.

“To ensure the norms of social distancing, members will be allotted seats in Lok Sabha Chamber (282), Lok Sabha Galleries (except Press Gallery) (148), Rajya Sabha Chamber (60) and Rajya Sabha Gallery (51),” it added.

It was also informed that arrangements have been made for COVID vaccination and testing in the Complex for Members of Parliament and other visitors. (Image -ParliamentDD)

Union Budget 2022-23: Expectations on changes in income tax slabs and rates


By Gyanendra Kumar Keshri

New Delhi [India]: One of the most keenly awaited announcements in the union budget every year is related to personal taxation. In every budget income tax rates and slabs are reviewed. However, the income tax slabs have not been changed since 2014. Will Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman change the slabs and give relief to taxpayers in the budget on Tuesday?
The basic personal tax exemption limit was last revised in 2014. Presenting the first budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in 2014 the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the basic income tax exemption limit from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh. For senior citizens, the exemption limit was increased from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. The basic exemption limits have not been changed since then.

Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present her fourth union budget on February 1, 2022. Some analysts feel that the finance minister may announce major relief to taxpayers.

The expected relief include an increase in the basic exemption limit from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. For senior citizens, it is likely to be increased to Rs 3.5 lakh from the present Rs 3 lakh.

The top income slab is also likely to be revised upward from the existing Rs 15 lakh.

According to a pre-budget survey conducted among different stakeholders by KPMG recently, the majority (64 per cent) of respondents expect an enhancement in the basic income tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakh.

“Our pre-budget survey indicates that relief for individual taxpayers by way of an enhancement in the basic income tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 Lakh is highly awaited. Respondents also support an upward revision in the top income slab of Rs10 lakhs,” said Rajeev Dimri, Partner and National Head of Tax, KPMG in India.

Although Sitharaman has not changed tax slabs and rates, she introduced a new tax regime in budget 2020. Under the new tax regime, the tax rates are reduced for those willing to forego tax exemptions and deductions.

The new tax regime remains optional for taxpayers. This means a taxpayer has the option to either stick to the old regime or choose the new one.

Currently, income upto Rs 2.5 is exempt from taxation under both regimes. Income between Rs 2.5 to Rs 5 lakh is taxed at the rate of 5 per cent under the old as well as the new tax regime.

Personal income from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh is taxed at a rate of 20 per cent under the old regime, while under the new regime the tax rate stands at 10 per cent. Income between Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh is taxed at a rate of 20 per cent in the old regime, while in the new regime the tax rate stands at 15 per cent.

Under the old regime personal income above Rs 10 lakh is taxed at a rate of 30 per cent. However, under the new regime, there are three slabs above Rs 10 lakh. Personal income between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 12.5 lakh is taxed at a rate of 20 per cent under the new regime. Income from Rs 12.5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh is taxed at 25 per cent and income above Rs 15 lakh is taxed at a rate of 30 per cent.

The effective tax rate is much higher due to cess and surcharges.

An individual with a net taxable income of up to Rs 5 lakh is allowed to avail tax rebate of up to Rs 12,500 under Section 87A in both the old as well as the new tax system. So effectively, the tax liability of individuals with income up to Rs 5 lakh is zero under both the tax regimes.

The limit for deduction under Section 80C has also remained unchanged since 2014. In the 2014 budget, the 80C deduction limit was increased to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh, while the deduction limits for interest on the home loan was increased to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh.

Both these deductions remain unchanged since 2014. However, some additional deductions have been introduced in the subsequent budgets. In the 2015 budget, the government introduced an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 for contribution under the National Pension Scheme (NPS) under Section 80 CCD. The deduction limit on health insurance premiums was also increased from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.

Major steps towards simplification and rationalisation of the income tax regime are also expected in this year’s budget.

In the Budget 2020-21, around 70 exemptions and deductions of different nature were removed. The finance minister had announced that the “remaining exemptions and deductions will be reviewed and rationalised in the coming years with a view to further simplifying the tax system and lowering the tax rate.”

In the 2021-22 Budget the finance minister did not make any significant change in the income tax rates or slabs.

“Although the Government has taken several measures to resolve tax disputes and overhaul the tax dispute resolution framework over the past few years, further measures in this regard may help in reducing litigation. Rationalisation of TDS and TCS provisions to ease compliance burdens will also be welcome,” said Dimri. (ANI)

India, Philippines seal BrahMos deal to promote defence exports

The Philippines will import the missile system from India for around $375 million in order to beef up its navy. BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) signed a contract with the Department of National Defence of the Republic of Philippines on January 28 for supply of Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System to the Philippines.

The BAPL is a joint venture company of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The contract is an important step forward for the Government of India’s policy of promoting responsible defence exports, the Ministry of Defence stated.

The Philippines had finalised a deal to acquire a shore-based anti-ship missile system from India for nearly $375 million to ramp up its navy.

“We strengthen our partnership with the $374mn deal for BrahMos missiles with the Philippines, this is our major deal. BrahMos is important to them however many more deals will follow,” Atul Dinkar Rane, CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace Limited said. 

The BrahMos is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land. 

BrahMos-2, a hypersonic version of the missile, is also currently under development.

India recently test-fired a new version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile off the coast of Odisha in Balasore.  The missile was equipped with new technological developments which were successfully proven, stated Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The test-firing was successful as DRDO had claimed. 

Elon Musk says Biden treats Americans ‘like fools’


Washington [US]: American billionaire Elon Musk slammed US President Joe Biden after the latter left out the name of Tesla in a post that talked about the future of electric vehicles in America.

Tesla CEO, Musk, apparently was miffed after the US President excluded the name of the electric vehicle manufacturer in a Twitter post where he said, “Companies like GM and Ford are building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before.”
Replying to Biden’s Twitter post on the future electric vehicles in America, Musk wrote the name of “Tesla” in all caps. In another tweet, he said, “Biden is a damp Socks puppet in human form.”

Musk also said that “Biden is treating the American public like fools”.

He made these remarks after the US President met with executives from rival car companies General Motors and Ford Motor earlier this week.

The swipe comes after Biden invited CEOso of General Motors and Ford to the White House along with other business leaders to discuss his administration’s Build Back Better legislation.

Interestingly, Biden invited executives from these companies last year when signed an executive order with the goal of making all vehicles sold in the US electric by 2030.

However, Musk, who is critical of the Biden administration, was omitted from the list.

Back in September, Tesla CEO had said that Biden administration of being “a little biased” and “seems to be” controlled by unions, Fox News reported. (ANI/Image -instagram Musk)

ED arrests CMD, CFO of Karvy group in money laundering case


New Delhi [India]: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested CMD and CFO of Karvy Group in a money laundering case committed through the illegal diversion of clients’ securities by Karvy Stock Broking Ltd worth Rs 2,873.82 crore, the agency said on Thursday.

Comandur Parthasarathy, CMD, and G Krishna Hari, CFO, of Karvy Group are also accused of pledging of securities with banks and Non-Banking Financial Corporations (NBFCs) for seeking loans and subsequent loan default.
Both of them have been arrested under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

ED initiated a money laundering investigation based on the FIR filed by HDFC bank with Hyderabad Police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for defrauding HDFC bank. Subsequently, more FIRs were filed by other Banks and a few investors.

ED has recorded the statement of various employees of the Karvy Group and conducted searches at nine locations on September 22 last year.

ED said it uncovered the complex web of transactions designed by the senior management of the Karvy Group to misuse the securities of their clients and to raise loans fraudulently which were then rotated via multiple related companies and diverted away from the stated purpose.

“The shares of clients who did not owe any funds to Karvy Stock Broking Limited (KSBL) were also transferred to the margin and pool Account of KSBL and were pledged with the banks and NBFCs,” ED said.

The Power Of Attorney (POA) given by clients to KSBL to facilitate exchange settlements was grossly misused by KSBL at the directions of the CMD and senior executives, said the federal agency.

The agency said that Parthasarathy and Hari were the main conspirators who gave instructions to others.

“Fund trail investigation has shown that the borrowed funds were transferred to other group companies, particularly to one WoS of KSBL like Karvy Realty (India) Limited (KRIL), and then to 14 shell companies floated by Karvy Group,” said the ED.

The same has been further diverted by layering done through a complex web of transactions from the several accounts of group companies without any financial rationale, said the agency.

“Various financial consultants and defunct NBFCs were used to route the funds. Further, it is found that KSBL availed loans from NBFCs to the tune of Rs 400 Crore in the name of five such shell companies by pledging shares of clients of KSBL after illegally transferring these shares to their account.”

The fraudulently availed loans were used to clear pending loans of related companies, do massive stock transactions which have allegedly turned into complete losses and diverted to personally held family companies, said the ED, adding it had earlier frozen share-holding of Parthasarathy worth around Rs 700 crore.

ED is investigating the money trail to trace the proceeds of crime which are close to around Rs 2,000 crore.

Parthasarathy and Hari were lodged in Central Jail, Bangalore and on a Production warrant of ED Court, they were produced before the PMLA Special Court MSJ Hyderabad on January 20. The court has remanded the CMD and CFO of the Karvy Group to four days of ED custody from 27 January to January 30. (image – instagram)

Air India likely to be handed over to Tata Group on January 27


New Delhi [India]: Air India is likely to be handed over to Tata Group by this weekend as the government has decided to complete the disinvestment process on January 27, a senior official said on Monday.

“The disinvestment of Air India is now decided to be on the 27 January 2022. The closing balance sheet as on 20th Jan has to be provided today 24th Jan so that it can be reviewed by Tatas and any changes can be effected on Wednesday,” Vinod Hejmadi, Director Finance, Air India, said in an email to employees.
“We have done an excellent job till now in providing all support for the disinvestment exercise. The next three days will be hectic for our department and I request all of you to give your best in these last three four days before we get divested,” Hejmadi said.

Air India returns to their founders .

Seeking cooperation of the employees, Hejmadi said, “We may have to work late in the night to complete the task given to us. I seek the cooperation of one and all.”

Talking to ANI a senior Air India official said, “If due to some reason the time of 27 January is postponed then divestment process has to be done till the end of the month.”

Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Pvt Ltd, last year won the bid to acquire 100 per cent equity shareholding of Government of India in Air India along with equity shareholding of Air India in AIXL and Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AISATS). (ANI-Image instagram)

ICICI Bank net profit rises 25 per cent to Rs 6,194 crore


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] (ANI): ICICI Bank on Saturday said its net profit rose to Rs 6,194 crore ($833 million) in the third quarter of the current financial year, posting a year-on-year growth of 25 per cent.

The bank’s core operating profit (profit before provisions and tax, excluding treasury income) increased by 25 per cent year-on-year to Rs 10,060 crore ($1.4 billion) in the third quarter of 2021-22 from Rs 8,054 crore ($1.1 billion) in the quarter ended December 31, 2020.
Net interest income increased by 23 per cent year-on-year to Rs 12,236 crore ($1.6 billion) in October-December 2021 quarter from Rs 9,912 crore ($1.3 billion) in the corresponding period of previous year.

The bank’s net interest margin stood at 3.96 per cent in Q3 of 2021-22 compared to 3.67 per cent in Q3 of 2020-21 and 4.00 per cent in the quarter ended September 30, 2021.

Non-interest income, excluding treasury income, increased by 25 per cent year-on-year to Rs 4,899 crore ($659 million) in Q3 of 2021-22 from Rs 3,921 crore ($527 million) in Q3 of 2020-21.

The retail loan portfolio grew by 19 per cent year-on-year and 5 per cent sequentially, and comprised 61.3 per cent of the total loan portfolio at December 31, 2021. Including non-fund outstanding, the retail loan portfolio was 51.3 per cent of the total portfolio at December 31, 2021.

Total deposits increased by 16 per cent year-on-year and 4 per cent sequentially to Rs 10,17,467 crore ($136.9 billion) at December 31, 2021.

Average current account deposits increased by 34 per cent year-on-year. Average savings account deposits increased by 25 per cent year-on-year. Total term deposits increased by 12 per cent year-on-year to Rs 536,811 crore ($72.2 billion) at December 31, 2021.

The Bank had a network of 5,298 branches and 13,846 ATMs as on December 31, 2021.

The net non-performing assets declined by 10 per cent sequentially to Rs 7,344 crore ($988 million) at December 31, 2021 from Rs 8,161 crore ($1.1 billion) at September 30, 2021. The net NPA ratio declined to 0.85 per cent at December 31, 2021 from 0.99 per cent at September 30, 2021. Image – instagram ICICI)

Piyush Goyal asks Indian industry to target 75 unicorns in 75 weeks to mark 75th anniversary of Independence

New Delhi [India] (ANI): Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday called upon the Indian industry to aim for raising 75 unicorns in the next 75 weeks to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence.
“We have added 43 unicorns in 45 weeks, since the start of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ on 12th March, 2021. Let us aim for at least 75 unicorns in this 75 week period to 75th Anniversary of Independence,” Goyal said while releasing the NASSCOM Tech Start-up Report 2022. Goyal said Startup India started a revolution six years ago and has now become a common household term. Indian Startups are fast becoming the champions of India Inc’s growth story, he added.
“India has now become the hallmark of a trailblazer & is leaving its mark on global startup landscape. Investments received by Indian startups overshadowed pre-pandemic highs. 2021 will be remembered as the year Indian start-ups delivered on their promise, – fearlessly chasing opportunities across verticals – Edtech, HealthTech & AgriTech amongst others,” he said.
Goyal lauded Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) industry including the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector for the record services exports during the last year.
“Services Export for Apr-Dec 2021 reached more than $178 billion despite the COVID-19 pandemic when the travel, hospitality and tourism sectors were significantly down,” he said.
He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared 16th January as the National Startup Day, showing his commitment to take the innovation culture to every nook and corner of the country.
“We all celebrated this innovation spirit through Startup India Innovation Week, during the last week as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. PM’s interaction with Startups a week ago has supercharged the courage of our innovators,” he said.
The minister expressed hope that the momentum of the Indian Startup ecosystem will continue in the current year and the years to come.
“While 2021 was a year in which we defied all odds, 2022 will be the breakthrough year which will unlock country’s exponential value. ‘India at 100’ will be renowned as a Startup nation. But as PM Modi said yesterday in his speech- the “Amrit Kaal,” the coming 25 years – are the period of utmost hard work, sacrifice and tapasya,” he said.
Goyal said the Government has taken several steps to boost startup ecosystem. The measures include: Removing problems of ‘Angel tax’, simplification of tax procedure & allowing self-certification and self-regulation towards which we are moving; reducing burden of over 26,500 compliances and decriminalisation of 770 compliances. (Image source: Instagram)

Real estate sector hopes Union Budget 2022-23 to help sustain growth momentum

New Delhi [India] (ANI): For the Indian real estate sector, the year 2020 was a testing year but it made a strong comeback in 2021. The sector has big expectations from the Union Budget 2022-23 which is scheduled to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.
Most developers have high expectations from the budget and expect that it will provide a push to the residential segment as well as the rental housing. Many industry experts are anxious about the rising cost of raw materials and expect the government to intervene in this regard. “Growth in the real estate sector is essential for the growth of the economy. We are hoping that the government will introduce deep policy reforms that will help in accelerating the growth in real estate, especially at this juncture,” said Aditya Kushwaha, CEO and Director, Axis Ecorp.
Kushwaha pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in changing the perception of home-ownership for all, especially for the NRIs.
In the last couple of years, the demand from the NRI segment has risen sharply. In order to encourage this segment, we propose that the government should consider revising the applicable tax deducted at source (TDS) on property transactions for NRIs, he said.
“This will not only boost investment in the sector but also help our country to build its forex reserves. There has been an uptick in rental housing as people continue to work from anywhere (WFA). To further promote the rental segment, we propose that the government should offer taxation benefits for tenants which could include enhancement in HRA Tax Exemption,” Kushwaha added.
Vinit Dungarwal, Director at AMs Project Consultants Private Ltd said, “This year’s budget is crucial as the demand in the real estate sector, especially in the residential segment, has just started to witness a revival post the pandemic-induced slowdown. The continued intervention by RBI and holding on to the interest rates have helped in demand generation in the real estate sector and we are expecting the budget 2022 to also focus on aspects of demand generation.”
“We believe that the escalating prices of critical raw materials such as iron, cement can have an adverse impact on this growth momentum. The government should consider reducing GST on these to offset the price rise. Overall, we believe that the government should continue to focus on infrastructure and investments because that will help in generating jobs and lead to the economic growth of the country,” Dungarwal said.
Some experts have been demanding infrastructure status for real estate for some time and want this to be a reality in 2022.
Commenting on this, Anurag Mathur, CEO, Savills India, said, “At a time when the economy is anxious about recovery due to the Omicron threat, we look forward to a positive approach from the budget. In addition to agriculture, the focus is likely to be maintained on manufacturing, infrastructure, and the real estate sector in the budget. On the wish list will once again be infrastructure status for the real estate sector. It has the potential to unlock a host of benefits for boosting foreign as well domestic investment.” (Image source: Unsplash)

How to make a professional video resume


New Delhi, [India]: Incorporating a video resume as supplement to your text resume adds value to your job application. Though it’s not mandatory to attach a video resume with your application but for some specific roles like television reporters, news anchors, public relation executives, radio jockeys, actors, teachers, soft skill trainers, front office executives attaching a video resume is advantageous.

The reason is that the video resume provides the employers with additional inputs like communication and presentation skills of the applicant, and this helps in better decision making. The video resume should be shorts and should be aimed at telling the employer about the specific skills and experiences of the applicant matching the requirements of the employer.
An applicant can create a common video resume or specific video resume depending on the job she/he is applying for. An applicant can make several video resumes if she/he has learnt several skills and should use specific video resume against each application.

To make a video resume first an applicant should create a script. The script should be designed as per the requirement of the employer. For example, suppose an employer is looking for UI/UX Designer the script should focus on UI/UX design skills and experiences. If the employer is looking for someone who has the experience of both product and UI/UX design, then the applicant should mention both the skills. The applicant should read the advertised job roles and responsibilities carefully before creating the script of the video resume.

For example, suppose the employer is looking for Digital Media Marketing Executive, the applicant should first make a self-assessment whether she/he is fit for the role or not. Because it is often observed that sometimes the applicant apply for a job they are not fit for. Even the fresher applicants must have learnt some skills pertaining to the specific job requirements.

When you are done with your script prepare yourself for professional video creation. First you should dress yourself as a professional. A formal get up is advised for recording a video resume.

Take services of a professional cameraperson, use the collar mic for the audio, light should be proper and background should be tidy and professional.

The face of the applicant should be properly lit, light on half of the face should be avoided. Remember that the video resume if not created professionally may lead to adverse decision making by employers. Be comfortable and distress yourself while recording your video; you must appear confident. While recording look into the lenses of the camera. Camera should be positioned at eye level.

A professional video resume producer edits the video clips to ensure that there is no repetition of the sentences or there is no noise in the background. If the resume has been shot on green or blue background, the editor uses some professional virtual backgrounds to give the video a professional look.

Most of the online teaching platforms require a video demonstration by the teachers of two-three minute duration. This is aimed at examining the communication as well as presentation skill of the teachers. For creating a video for these purposes, you should create a good script and practice it several times in front of a mirror before going for a final recording.

Though the applicants try to record the video themselves but it is advised that they get it done by professional cameraperson or use a perfect light and camera set up for recording. If you are recording a video resume or introductory video lecture yourself make sure that you are using a professional camera, a collar microphone, and a proper three-point lighting set up. All these equipment is available easily on ecommerce platforms.

The length of the video resume should ideally not be of more than 90 seconds. For teaching platforms, the introductory video is of 120-180 seconds duration. Once you are done with creating your video resume or introductory video lecture try to get feedback from your peer group. You should incorporate the valuable feedbacks in your video to make it perfect. If it’s a professional video resume share it with potential employers only. Always remember to send text or paper resume with your video resume.

Video resume is only the supplement. Don’t mention any new skill or experience in the video resume which has no mention in your text resume. A professional video resume can improve your chances of being called for an interview.

The author of this article is Dr Amaresh Jha, an Associate Professor of the School of Digital Media, Journalism and Mass Communication, GD Goenka University. He has more than 20 years of working experience in the field of broadcast and digital media. (Image -instagram)

Aluminium industry contributing towards self reliant India

New Delhi [India] (ANI/ATK): Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), India’s iconic Aluminium producer has not only set new benchmarks in the field of production, productivity, research and development, quality et al but has also impacted the society in a positive manner through its various flagship projects.
These significant contributions of BALCO through its 56 years long developmental journey has led to the development of state and nation at large, thus, supporting India in its journey of becoming ‘AtmaNirbhar’. In its stride towards contributing in nation development, BALCO continued with the business operations by adhering to COVID safety protocols during the testing times of pandemic. Though the organization was also affected by the COVID induced worldwide economic challenges but the resilience of BALCO employees and its business partners drove the production process.
It can be affirmed that India is gradually waking up to the potential of its minerals and metals industry, which ensured that the wheels of the economy kept running, despite the ravages of the pandemic.
In fact, India’s mining GDP increased from INR 739.90 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 to INR 913.03 billion in the first quarter of 2021, as per data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI).
Talking about the importance of Aluminium industry and BALCO’s contribution, Abhijit Pati, CEO and Director, BALCO, says, “Aluminium is a metal of significant strategic importance to India, critical to almost all sectors of significance to modern life and essential to build a sustainable tomorrow. By virtue of its unusual properties like high strength-to-weight ratio, exceptional design flexibility, superior thermal & electrical properties, 100% recyclability over and over again, Aluminium’s demand in space exploration, aviation, electric vehicles, renewable energy production, electricity transmission, construction, consumer goods, and more, is only slated to increase. BALCO is playing a crucial role in introducing Aluminium as a potential alternative to other metals in various sectors such as in power transmission industry. BALCO has been an early adopter of smart technologies for heightened operational efficiencies, which further bolsters the culture of energy optimization, safety, and productivity that we have meticulously fostered across the organization. Our primary focus is delivering value of the highest standard to our stakeholders. We are constantly motivated towards improving our costs and our quality of production in each of our business through a culture of best practice benchmarking.”
India is a leading player in the global Aluminium industry with the second largest Aluminium production capacity of about 4 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of which around 55 per cent is produced by Vedanta group constituting 15 per cent production by BALCO. Vedanta Group and BALCO has always worked towards strengthening research and development in accordance with market needs.
The highly advanced R&D capability has allowed the production of sophisticated alloys such as Primary Foundry Alloy and Cylinder-Head Alloy for the automotive industry, and AlSi3 for the steel industry for the very first time in India. Before Vedanta produced them indigenously, these alloys were being entirely imported into India. Vedanta also recently launched High-Speed Billets, a special billet variant with advanced metallurgical properties to significantly boost productivity of extruders.
BALCO is one of the major producers of wire rods in the country and also produces Primary Aluminium ingots that are re-melted to produce a variety of end products covering the entire spectrum of Aluminium applications using the state of art technology. BALCO is also equipped to deliver high quality rolled products in segments with application in automobiles, insulations, bus bars, power projects, electrical, packaging etc.
The global Aluminium consumption has been driven majorly by India and China having growth rate of approximately 10% till pre COVID times. Last decade has seen India’s consumption almost double from 2.2 million tons in FY-11 to about 4 million tons in FY-19.
India’s Aluminium demand is estimated to double again by the year 2025 with current resilient GDP growth rate driven by increasing urbanization and push for boosting domestic infrastructure, automotive, aviation, defence, and power sectors.
Talking about Chhattisgarh, the state is already in an advantageous position in terms of industrial development, the need of the hour is to undertake requisite policy measures to support the downstream Aluminium industries which will further create numerous employment opportunities.
Also supply of large scale processed Aluminium from Chhattisgarh to neighbouring states and worldwide will only lead to an escalation in the revenue figures.
This story is provided by ATK. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (Image source: Instagram)

46 startups honoured with National Startup Awards 2021

New Delhi [India] (ANI): Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday honoured 46 startups along with 1 incubator and 1 accelerator with the National Startup Awards 2021.
This the second edition of National Startup Awards. In this edition of the awards, applications were invited across 15 sectors and 49 sub-sectors. The sectors included Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Drinking Water, Education & Skill Development, Energy, Enterprise Technology, Environment, Fintech, Food Processing, Health & Wellness, Industry 4.0, Security, Space and Transport and Travel. Six special categories were also introduced to recognize exceptional Startups contributing to the good of the society. The 2021 edition of the awards also recognized exceptional Startups innovating solutions to promote Indic languages and to compliment national efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 2,177 applications were received from Startups across the 49 sub-sectors along with applications from 53 incubators and 6 accelerators for the ecosystem enablers categories. These applicants included 863 Women-led, 414 innovations for combatting COVID-19 and 253 Startups working in rural areas, Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.
“All applicants were evaluated against six broad parameters namely Innovation, Scalability, Economic Impact, Social Impact, Environmental Impact, and Inclusiveness and Diversity,” the ministry said.
After three rounds of detailed evaluation, 175 Startups were selected for presentation before the jury which made presentations before the 16 specialist jury panels, which comprised domain experts from industry, investors and government.
The recognised entities will benefit from such recognition, not only in terms of being able to attract more business, financing, partnerships and talent, but also enable them to serve as role models for other entities, and to inspire them to be purposeful and responsible about their socio-economic impact.
As many as 53 applications were received from incubators and 6 applications were received from Accelerators. Select incubators and accelerators were selected after three rounds of evaluation for presentation before Jury Panel which gave presentations before the Jury.
The felicitation ceremony was accompanied by the release of an e-Report on National Startup Awards 2021 highlighting the year-round handholding support provided to the finalists of first edition of National Startup Awards and the journey of NSA 2021.
“Prime Minister Modi is a very firm believer in potential of Startups to contribute significantly to the growth of the nation during the Amritkaal, the next 25 years. He recognises Innovation to be the strongest pillar in making India ‘Aatmanirbhar’,” Goyal said.
“Be it a fisherman’s son from Chennai or a boatman’s daughter from Kashmir, they all want to bring prosperity to their families and to their people, and therefore are thinking bigger and bolder,” the minister added.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) conceived the National Startup Awards to recognize and reward outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions and scalable enterprises, with high potential of employment generation or wealth creation, demonstrating measurable social impact. The measure of success is not only the financial gains for the investors, but also the contribution to social good.
Speaking on the occasion, DPIIT Secretary Anurag Jain said the department will handhold the Startup Award finalists across seven tracks i.e. Investor Connect, Mentorship, Government Connect, Capacity Development, Corporate Connect, Brand Showcase and Unicorn Engagement.
“Our journey together doesn’t end here with just awards, we will walk step by step with you in this journey,” Jain said. (Image source: Instagram)

PM Modi calls startups backbone of new India, declares Jan 16 as ‘National Startup Day’

New Delhi [India],: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that startups are going to be the backbone of new India and said that January 16 will be celebrated as ‘National Startup Day’.

“Start-ups are going to be the backbone of new India. When India completes 100 years of independence, startups will have an important role. Country’s innovators are making the country proud globally,” the Prime Minister said during his interaction with startups across different sectors..
The Prime Minister also highlighted that India’s startup ecosystem is “continuously discovering and improving itself.”

“It is in a constant state of learning and changing,” the PM added.

“I Congratulate all the startups, all the youth, who are engaged in raising the flag of India in the world of start-ups as it this culture will reach the far-flung parts of the country, ” he added.

PM Modi also said, “India’s startups are now working in 55 different industries. Five years ago, India didn’t have even 500 startups! Today, that number has crossed 60,000.”

Believing in the ability and creativity of youth, the Prime Minister said, is the base of development of any nation.

“India, today, believes in its youth and is making policies in line with the same,” PM Modi added. (Instagram-Pictures)

WPI inflation falls marginally to 13.56 per cent in December

New Delhi [India] (ANI): India’s wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation declined marginally to 13.56 per cent in December 2021 from 14.23 per cent recorded in the previous month, the government data showed on Friday.
A sharp rise in fuel prices has kept WPI inflation in double digits for the nine months in a row. Fuel and power prices rose by 32.30 per cent in December 2021 year-on-year. However, the price rise in fuel and power eased in December as compared with November when it stood at 39.81 per cent.
The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index increased from 6.70 per cent in November 2021 to 9.24 per cent in December 2021.
Manufactured products inflation eased from 11.92 per cent in November to 10.62 per cent in December. However, primary articles inflation rose to 13.38 per cent in December from 10.34 per cent in the previous month, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The increase in prices is mainly contributed by manufacture of textiles; chemicals and chemical products; fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment; electrical equipment and motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. Some of the groups that have witnessed decrease in prices are manufacture of basic metals; food products; computer, electronic and optical products; wearing apparel and beverages. But the prices of manufacture of rubber and plastics products remain unchanged in December 2021 as compared to November, 2021.
“The annual rate of inflation is 13.56 per cent (Provisional) for the month of December 2021 (over December 2020) as compared to 1.95 per cent in December 2020,” it said.
The high rate of inflation in December 2021 is primarily due to rise in prices of mineral oils, basic metals, crude petroleum and natural gas, chemicals and chemical products, food products, textile and paper and paper products etc as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
The month over month change in WPI for the month of December 2021 stood at (-) 0.35 per cent as compared to November 2021. (Image source: Instagram)

TCS profit rises by 12.3 per cent to Rs 9,769 crore in Q3


Mumbai [India],: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the country’s largest IT firm, on Wednesday announced that its consolidated net profit during the third quarter of the current financial year rose to Rs 9,769 crore, which is 12.3 per cent higher from Rs 8,701 crore recorded in the corresponding period of 2020-21.

The company posted a total revenue of Rs 48,885 crore during October-December 2021 quarter, registering year-on-year growth of 16.3 per cent.
TCS Board of Directors on Wednesday recommended a buyback of shares to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore at Rs 4,500 per share.

“Our continued growth momentum is a validation of our collaborative, inside-out approach to our customers’ business transformation needs,” Rajesh Gopinathan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, TCS, said in a statement.

“Customers love our engagement model, our end-to-end capability, and our can-do approach to problem solving. While mapping out their innovation and growth journeys, we are also helping them execute new-age operating model transformations to support those journeys,” Gopinathan said.

According to the company’s statement released after the Board meeting, “Q3 witnessed a clear trend of enterprises investing confidently in technology initiatives for longer term growth. There was broad-based growth across all services, led by Cloud, Cyber Security, Consulting & Services Integration and IoT & Digital Engineering.”

N Ganapathy Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director, said: “We continued our focus on growing organically and on developing the talent, methodologies, and toolkits for an ever-evolving technology landscape. This, coupled with our contextual knowledge and the passion and commitment of thousands of TCSers enabled us to deliver cutting-edge solutions during the quarter, and help our clients realize speed to value. We are also delighted to cross another important milestone in our journey, hitting the $25 billion revenue mark in CY 2021.” (Image – Twitter)

Retail inflation rises to 5.59 per cent in December, highest in 6 months

New Delhi [India] (ANI): India’s retail inflation rose to a six-month high of 5.59 per cent in December 2021 as compared to 4.59 per cent recorded in the same month of 2020, the government data showed on Wednesday.
There has been a consistent rise in the inflationary pressure in the past six months. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation stood at 4.91 per cent in November 2021. The retail inflation is inching closer to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) upper tolerance limit of 6 per cent.
Rise in retail prices was sharper in urban areas than the rural areas. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose 5.83 per cent in urban while it stood at 5.36 per cent for rural during the month of December 2021, according to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Food prices rose sharply. Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) based inflation surged to 4.05 per cent in December 2021, sharply higher from 1.87 per cent recorded in the previous month. CFPI based inflation stood at 3.41 per cent in December 2020.
Urban retail food inflation surged to 5.08 per cent in December 2021 from 3.33 per cent in the previous month.
Rural retail food inflation jumped to 3.46 per cent in December 2021 from 1.09 per cent recorded in November 2021. (Image source: Unsplash)

Tamil Nadu FM Palanivel Thiagarajan launches PNG Coffee in India, AdzGuru connects businesses of India and Papua New Guinea

Chennai: Australia based company, AdzGuru in collaboration with Indian Economic Trade Organization, Asian-African Chamber Of Commerce & Industry, India Pacific Islands Trade Council and World Peace and Diplomacy Organization, organized ‘Papua New Guinea Trade Investment Summit’ alongside the launching of PNG coffee in India. The event was graced by Mr. Palanivel Thiagarajan, Minister of Finance & Human Resource, Tamil Nadu, HE Paulias Korni OBE, High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to India, Mr. Sujoy Maitra, CEO, AdzGuru, Mr. Thiru Gingee K. S. Masthan, Minister of Non-Resident Tamil Welfare,Tamil Nadu, Dr. Asif Iqbal, President, IETO, Dr. R. L. Kannan, National Director, Asian Arab Chamber Of Commerce, India Pacific Islands Trade Council, Dr. R. C. M. Vishnu Prabhu and Dr. Venkatchalam Murugan.

Launch of PNG Coffee, High Commissioner Paulias Korni, FM P.Thiagarajan and Sujoy Maitra, CEO, AdzGuru with dignitaries

High Commissioner, HE Paulias Korni depicted how coffee binds us together – people from various cultures, creeds, religions, and ethnicities get easily connected through a single sip. He stressed on the growing importance of strategic partnerships between the resource rich island nation and the emerging economic player in the global arena, the incredible, India. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between AdzGuru and GD Cafe PVT LTD was signed to launch PNG Gold Coffee in India.

This welcome move certainly comes as a major development so far as the trade relation between India and Papua New Guinea is concerned. It’s a stepping stone to grow the economic ties and minimize the present trade imbalance between the two nations. This first of its kind initiative will be beneficial to more than three million coffee farmers in PNG and Indian business owners who want to promote coffee and culture to the other side of the Indian Ocean, Sujoy Maitra, CEO, AdzGuru told reporters.

Honorable Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan welcomed the initiative and emphasized on the growing trade opportunities between the two countries. He promised all the support needed for the growth of the economy of Tamil Nadu and India at large. He congratulated all the stakeholders of this trade connect initiative.

The PNG High Commissioner to India stated that there are challenges like DOUBLE TAXATION, high import duty in trade relations between PNG and India. He has requested the central government in this regard and hopes to resolve these issues in favor of the people of both the countries. Speakers emphasized that Mr. Sujoy Maitra, CEO, AdzGuru, is instrumental in not only launching the highland grown, exquisite, PNG Gold Coffee in India, but also to make such a diplomatic talk happen, which eventually strengthens the bond between the two nations and connects the respective merchants, business community and commoners together. AdzGuru will be branding, marketing, and promoting the PNG Coffee across Indian cities. Company is also going to set up coffee chain stores in different metros.

Indian mangoes, pomegranates get market access in USA

New Delhi [India]: Mangoes and pomegranates from India will soon be available in the USA while the American Alfalfa hay and cherries will be sold in the Indian market, Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Saturday.
This will become possible as the two countries have signed framework agreement for implementing “2 Vs 2” Agri market access. Under this deal two agricultural products from India will be exported to the US. Similarly two American products will be imported to India. From the Indian side, mango and pomegranate have been chosen for the export to the USA, while the USA will export Alfalfa hay and cherries to India.
“Mango and pomegranate exports will start from Jan – Feb 2022 and pomegranate aril exports from Apr 2022. Exports of Alfalfa hay and cherries from USA will begin in Apr 2022,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.
“In addition, based on the ministerial discussions, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) also conveyed its readiness to provide market access for US pork and requested the US side to share a signed copy of final sanitary certificate for finalising the same,” it said.
The framework agreement for implementing the “2 Vs 2” Agri market access issues i.e. inspection and oversight transfer for Indian mangoes and pomegranate and market access for pomegranate arils from India and market access for US cherries and US Alfalfa hay was signed following an agreement reached in this regard between the two countries during the 12th India-USA trade policy forum meeting held on November 23, 2021.
India’s Department of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare and US Department of Agriculture have signed the agreement.

Need to link weavers, artisans through e-Commerce platforms for growth of textiles sector: Piyush Goyal

New Delhi [India]: There is an urgent need to link weavers and artisans through e-Commerce platforms and leveraging of the new technology for the growth of textiles sector, Union Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.
Goyal reviewed the functioning of Ministry of Textiles, its autonomous bodies and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under its administrative control. During the meeting Goyal directed the concerned officials to take all the required measures to accelerate the growth of handlooms and handicrafts sector.
“There was special focus on livelihood sector of handlooms and handicrafts. Implementation of schemes in these sectors were discussed in details,” Ministry of Textiles said in a statement released after the review meeting.
The minister directed for simplification of process and for an effective online dashboard based monitoring system for transparency.
“He also advised all officials to maintain good communication with State Government functionaries to improve the outcome and impact of the Central Government schemes,” the statement said.
In this regard he asked the officers to organise a virtual conference with the State Government Secretaries responsible for this sector.
The progress of Craft Villages was reviewed and the Minister directed for completion of all these projects in the next 6 months.
Goyal emphasised that the weavers and artisans should be assisted in marketing their produce through all platforms of e.g. Delhi Haat, Urban Haats and Handloom Haat. He also advised for leveraging technology by linking these weavers and artisans through e-Commerce platforms available.
The Minister also asked the officers to work with motto to increase the share of weavers/artisans in the consumer spending as done by dairy cooperative Amul for milk producers.
The Minister advised the officials to properly implement SAMARTH the skill development initiatives of the Textiles Ministry. He emphasised on the use technology for effective monitoring for better outcome.
Goyal also reviewed the work of Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Textiles.

Punjab’s best kept secret Thana-Dehrian-Kukanet Jungle Safari inaugurated


Hoshiarpur (Punjab) : Punjab Forest Minister S. Sangat Singh Giljian inaugurated the Nature Awareness Project at Thana Village. It includes 3 Lake facing Eco Tents, boating and Jungle safari gypsies.

This type of adventure based eco-tourism in the sub mountain ranges of district Hoshiarpur which borders Himachal Pradesh is one-of-its-kind. Punjab forest department has set up a camp namely Thana Nature retreat amid serene and secluded Thana and Dehrian forests overlooking Thana reservoir lake.
“This forest has a pristine beauty and the Thana Lakefront offers a picturesque view for nature lovers,” said Parveen Kumar IFS, PCCF (HOFF) Punjab. Forest minister S. Sangat Singh Giljian dedicated this project namely Thana Nature Retreat and Jungle Safari to the people of Punjab.

Urging people to visit this scenic nature retreat, Punjab Forest Minister S. Sangat Singh Giljian said, “I take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved in making this nature awareness project a grand success. This place is truly a best kept secret which has the potential to become one of the most visited tourist spots of Punjab. Besides promoting eco-tourism, it will help in creating employment opportunities for the local people of Kandi area. Spending time in such a landscape which has an abundance of flora and fauna is innately rewarding as it has a soothing effect on our mind.”

The camp offers 3 all-weather tents with dining and restaurant facility to the visitors. The camp also offers a boat ride in the lake area of Thana dam. A dedicated jungle safari with off-road gypsies that started today connects Thana to Dehrian to Kukanet. It is pertinent to mention here that 7 km track from Thana to Dehrian offers the best ride through sand dunes and further 5 km from Dehrian to Kukanet through a steady stream of water which keeps flowing throughout the year. This stream has natural bamboo canopy on its sides. On the track it is common to spot caves of wild animals.

The nature trail near Dehrian also provides one of the best serene landscapes from the watchtower. “These facilities will boost the eco-tourism potential of this area and further enhance the economy of that area through employment opportunities,” said Dr Sanjeev Tiwari IFS, Conservator of Forest Hoshiarpur.

“Depending upon the demand of the visitors these facilities can further be enhanced and other wildlife rich areas like Takhni wildlife sanctuary can be made a corridor for the visitors,” said Amneet Singh IFS, DFO Hoshiarpur.

This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

Retail Tech Startup ‘The New Shop’ signs a landmark partnership with the Adani Airports for upcoming Airports


New Delhi [India]: The New Shop, India’s smartest 24-hour convenience store chain, has successfully opened its 41st store at Lucknow’s Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport.

This transit retail store is also the brand’s first airport flagship store, which was inaugurated by Suresh Chandra Hota IAP, Chief Airport Officer, Adani Lucknow International Airport Ltd, on December 07, 2021.
Hota graced the occasion to show his support towards the young startup and said, “In our effort to provide excellent customer experience, we had been looking for something unique. The New Shop, which is an endeavor towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, is an inspiration for self-reliance with its attractive offerings at competitive prices. I am sure it will not only enhance customer experience but also help inspire our customers to support the ‘Make in India’ movement.” The New Shop will soon be opening stores at other Adani airports as well.

With the most diverse mix of products, the transit store in Lucknow is suitable for both Indian and international consumers. The New Shop is a purely homegrown brand, which renders it as the poster child of the ‘Make in India’ campaign, it takes pride in advocating other homegrown brands, much like itself. Domestic & stylish brands such as boAt, epigamia and WOW Skin Science, are a common sight at every The New Shop store.

Anshuman Bharadwaj, Head of Commercial at Adani Lucknow International Airport Ltd. stated, “TNS is creating an ecosystem that will allow Indian companies to be highly competitive on the global stage. A home-grown, retail tech startup, that is not only neck and neck with its international competitors but one that also supports the bigger goal at hand, by including other indigenous brands at all their stores and creating employment opportunities, made The New Shop a clear choice to be brought on board at the Lucknow Airport. We’re looking forward to great things coming out of this collaboration.”

The New Shop is the brainchild of Founders Aastha Almast, Charak Almast, and Mani Dev Gyawali, who started out this journey in 2019, after successfully having created a global consumer products sourcing and private labeling business Productx Ventures. When asked about the inspiration behind The New Shop, Aastha says, “We wanted to be the first Indian-bred, 24-hour convenience store within every Indian’s walking distance along with providing instant hyperlocal doorstep deliveries. We are deeply humbled and grateful to be partnering with Adani Airports, and to be working collectively towards our common mission of contributing to India’s growth story, by standardising retail offerings at all mass transit hubs across India. We are committed to providing an augmented retail experience and convenience to all citizens of the country.”

With an in-built real time cloud based inventory management system, an e-commerce-like POS for quick checkouts and heavily streamlined backend tech and data support, The New Shop has managed to reduce pilferage to 0.8% – an unheard of figure, in the Indian Retail industry, alongside managing completely up to date inventory lists, to minimise wastage. The New Shop is now among the first few companies to be soon reaching a negative working capital and already has the industry’s best Gross Margins in the Retail sector.

The New Shop started operations from Delhi NCR, at major transit hubs such as railway stations (Anand Vihar Railway station), and highways. It has since seen unprecedented growth, by capturing important strategic locations across the capital, and has over 40 stores within NCR. With a majority of stores in residential areas, The New Shop aims to have an exponential expansion by 2025 with over 1,000+ stores. The New Shop has begun operations in 5 cities – Delhi NCR, Indore, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and most recently, Bangalore.

With solid expansion plans in place, The New Shop intends to become a household name, and conquer the otherwise unexplored convenience retail space in India.

As their initial investor, the original Shark from Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington puts it, “In the USA, there is 1 convenience store for every 2,000 people. When I came to India, I was surprised that there is no pan India 7Eleven counterpart, considering India has the youngest population in the world.” With only 9% penetration in this space, The New Shop will soon become the one-stop solution and a market leader in the space. The New Shop’s aggressive expansion is a result of its rapidly forming real estate partnerships with highway authorities, airports, railway stations, metro stations and fuel stations across various cities in India. This is in line with their vision statement to standardize the supply of quality and affordable convenience retail items to all the citizens of India.

The New Shop believes that an omni-channel delivery strategy is the future of convenience retail space; it has thus partnered with Zomato, Shadowfax, Wefast and other hyperlocal delivery services, to ensure that everyday essentials reach consumers within 30 minutes or less.

To that end, The New Shop will also be launching a mobile application and its own delivery fleet, to make ordering daily essentials, groceries, hot food, live cafe items prepared in real time at the stores, and beverages, only a few taps away, available 24/7. By offering such quick convenience at affordable prices, The New Shop aims to transform the overall Indian consumer experience and quite literally spoil consumers for choice.

This story is provided by PRNewswire. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PRNewswire)

India’s merchandise export rises to record USD 37.29 billion in December

New Delhi [India]: India’s merchandise export surged to USD 37.29 billion in December 2021, the highest ever monthly achievement, government data showed on Monday.
The December 2021 export figure is 37 per cent higher than USD 27.22 billion recorded in December 2020. Cumulative export for April-December 2021 period rose to USD 299.74 billion, which is 48.85 per cent higher than USD 201.37 billion recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
India’s merchandise import in December 2021 rose to USD 59.27 billion, an increase of 38.06 per cent over $42.93 billion in December 2020.
During April-December 2021 period the total import rose to USD 443.71 billion, an increase of 69.27 per cent over USD 262.13 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
The trade deficit in December 2021 was $21.99 billion, while it was $143.97 billion during April-December 2021.
Value of non-petroleum exports in December 2021 was $31.67 billion, registering a growth of 27.31 per cent over non-petroleum exports of $24.88 billion in December 2020 and positive growth of 34.92 per cent over non-petroleum exports of $23.48 billion in December 2019.
Value of non-petroleum imports was $43.37 billion in December 2021 with a positive growth of 30.22 per cent over non-petroleum imports of $33.31 billion in December 2020 and a positive growth of 50.20 per cent over non-petroleum imports of $28.88 billion in December 2019.
The cumulative value of non-petroleum exports during April-December 2021 was $257.14 billion, an increase of 39.82 per cent over $183.91 billion in April-December 2020 and an increase of 24.74 per cent over $206.13 billion in April-December 2019.
The cumulative value of non-petroleum imports in April-December 2021 was $325.73 billion, showing an increase of 56.41 per cent compared to non-oil imports of $208.25 billion in April-December 2020 and an increase of 21.78 per cent compared to non-oil imports of $267.47 billion in April-December 2019.
Value of non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in December 2021 was $28.69 billion, registering a positive growth of 28.64 per cent over non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports of $22.30 billion in December 2020.
Value of non-oil, non-GJ (gold, silver & Precious metals) imports was $35.57 billion in December 2021 with a positive growth of 34.68 per cent over non-oil and non-GJ imports of $26.41 billion in December 2020.

ADZGURU initiates Australia -India Trade Connect in Post Covid Scenario, Major Announcements Expected on 7th Jan

Chennai: In a one of its kind initiative the 360 degree marketing and advertising firm Adzguru is launching its trade connecting services for small and medium Indian exporters and manufacturers. Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, ADZGURU has been in the business for the last 17 years, the company has started its operation in India from July 2019 and has provided digital & offline marketing services to its clients based in India, Australia and New Zealand & Papua New Guinea.

On 7th of January at Chennai, Company will announce many new initiatives to help business houses to spread their business across Australia, New Zealand and PNG in a high profile event. High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea, his Excellency, H E Paulias Korni, OBE. will also grace the occasion at Chennai apart from other eminent dignitaries.

Under a new business initiative, “Sale in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea Programme’ Adzguru will be providing one stop solution to business owners to reach markets in the above mentioned countries. The company will be providing facilities like retail space, E-Commerce platform, Accounting & Taxation, Licensing & Compliance and 360 degree marketing of their products and services at a nominal consultation fee.

Talking about the initiative Sujoy Maitra, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Adzguru Australia said “After observing the nuances faced by Indian business owners like language barrier, government policies, currency exchange & inflation and marketing while trying to expand their business in Australia, we came up with ‘Sale With Adzguru Trade Connecting Services’. It is our endeavour to encourage fruitful trade relations between India, Australia & Papua New Guinea in the post covid scenario. This initiative will help thousands of small and medium Traders, Manufacturers and big Corporates as well’.

The agency has already brought Australian brands like Launch Tee and Ready steady Go Kids In India and Indian brands like Vicco, Suman Fashions and Pushpa Jute Bags in Australia. Presently the company is operating from its office in Chennai, Odisha and Chennai.

Eight core industrial sectors post 3.1 per cent growth in November

New Delhi [India]: Eight core industrial sectors that include, coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity, posted a growth of 3.1 per cent in November year-on-year, the government data showed on Friday.
For the period April-November 2021, the growth of the eight core industrial sectors stands at 13.7 per cent over the corresponding period of last year, “The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 131.7 in November 2021,which increased by 3.1 per cent (provisional) as compared to the Index of November 2020. The production of Coal, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel and Electricity industries increased in November 2021 over the corresponding period of last year,” Ministry of Commerce and Industry said.
The final growth rate of the Index of Eight Core Industries for August 2021 is revised upward to 12.2 per cent from its provisional level 11.6 per cent announced earlier.
Index of Eight Core Industries measures combined and individual performance of production in selected eight core industries viz. Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilisers, Steel, Cement and Electricity. The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
Petroleum refinery production, which has 28.04 per cent weight, the highest among the 8 core sectors, posted an increase of 4.3 per cent in November 2021 over November 2020. Its cumulative index increased by 10.6 per cent from April to November 2021-22 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
Electricity generation (weight: 19.85 per cent) increased by 1.5 per cent in November 2021 over November 2020. Its cumulative index increased by 10.2 per cent from April to November 2021-22 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
Steel production (weight: 17.92 per cent) increased by 0.8 per cent in November 2021 over November 2020. Its cumulative index increased by 25.3 per cent from April to November 2021-22 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
Crude Oil production (weight: 8.98 per cent) declined by 2.2 per cent in November 2021 over November 2020. Coal production (weight: 10.33 per cent) increased by 8.2 per cent in November 2021 over November 2020. Natural Gas production (weight: 6.88 per cent) increased by 23.7 per cent in November 2021 over November 2020.
Fertilisers production increased by 2.5 per cent in November 2021 over the corresponding month of last year.

Nearly 5.89 crore IT returns filed till December 31

New Delhi [India]: Nearly 5.89 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) have been filed till December 31, 2021, the extended due date for ITRs for the financial year 2020-21, the government data showed on Saturday.
More than 46.11 lakh ITRs were filed on a single day on December 31. Out of 5.89 crore ITRs filed for the assessment year 2021-22 (the financial year 2020-21) as on December 31, 49.6 per cent of these are ITR1 (2.92 crore), 9.3 per cent are ITR2 (54.8 lakh), 12.1 per cent are ITR3 (71.05 lakh), 27.2 per cent are ITR4 (1.60 crore), 1.3 per cent are ITR5 (7.66 lakh), ITR6 (2.58 lakh) and ITR7 (0.67 lakh).
“Over 45.7 per cent of these ITRs have been filed using the online ITR form on the portal and the balance have been uploaded using the ITR created from the offline software utilities,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
In comparison, as on January 10, 2021 (the extended due date for ITRs for AY 2020-21), the total number of ITRs filed was 5.95 crore with 31.05 lakh ITRs filed on the last day ie on 10th January 2021 as against over 46.11 lakh ITRs filed on the last day this year.
“The Department gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the taxpayers, Tax Practitioners, Tax Professionals and others who have made this possible. We reiterate our resolve to work tirelessly to ensure a smooth & stable taxpayer service experience to all,” the Income Tax Department said.

Atul Kumar Goel to be MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank


New Delhi [India]: Atul Kumar Goel will be the new MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank (PNB) replacing S.S. Mallikarjuna Rao effective from February 1, 2022, PNB said on Saturday.

Goel joined PNB on Saturday as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and will take over the role of MD and CEO effective February 1. Before joining PNB, Goel was MD and CEO of UCO Bank.
“As approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Goel, who was till now the MD and CEO of UCO Bank, will serve as PNB chief up to the date of his attaining the age of superannuation (i.e., 31.12.2024), or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” PNB said in a statement.

Goel has around three decades of professional banking experience in three banks viz. Allahabad Bank (now Indian Bank), Union Bank of India and UCO Bank. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has vast experience, exposure and expertise in all major areas of banking, including Large Corporate, Treasury Management, Risk Management, Financial Planning & Investor Relations, apart from Support Service, Business Process Transformation and Compliance.

He is also at the helm as Chairman of the Indian Bank’s Association (IBA) for 2021-22. Additionally, he is a Director on the Board of The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. He is also a member of Governing Council & Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Indian Institute of Banking & Finance.

GST collection reaches Rs 1,29,780 cr in December 2021

New Delhi [India]: The gross GST revenue collected in the month of December 2021 is Rs 1,29,780 crore of which CGST is Rs 22,578 crore, SGST is Rs 28,658 crore, IGST is Rs 69,155 crore (including Rs 37,527 crore collected on import of goods) and cess is Rs 9,389 crore (including Rs 614 crore collected on import of goods), informed the Ministry of Finance on Saturday.
The government has settled Rs 25,568 crore to CGST and Rs 21,102 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. The total revenue of the Centre and the States in the month of December 2021 after settlements is Rs 48,146 crore for CGST and Rs 49,760 crore for the SGST. The revenues for the month of December 2021 are 13 per cent higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year and 26 per cent higher than the GST revenues in December 2019. During the month, revenues from import of goods were 36 per cent higher and the revenues from domestic transactions (including import of services) are 5 per cent higher than the revenues from these sources during the same month last year.
The GST collection in the month is close to Rs 1.30 lakh crore despite the reduction of 17 per cent in the number of e-way bills generated in the month of November 2021 (6.1 crore) as compared to the month of October 2021 (7.4 crore) due to improved tax compliance and better tax administration by both Central and State Tax authorities.
The average monthly gross GST collection for the third quarter of the current year has been Rs 1.30 lakh crore against the average monthly collection of Rs 1.10 lakh crore and Rs 1.15 lakh crore in the first and second quarters respectively.
Coupled with economic recovery, anti-evasion activities, especially action against fake billers have been contributing to the enhanced GST. The improvement in revenue has also been due to various rate rationalization measures undertaken by the Council to correct the inverted duty structure. It is expected that the positive trend in the revenues will continue in the last quarter as well.

Bidding farewell to 2021: An ode to the year gone by


Gurgaon (Haryana) [India]: As we bid Adieu to 2021, there is undoubtedly a lot to reminisce about. It has indeed been a year full of challenges, a chance to reflect and reimagine goals. Businesses over the last year have adopted to the new normal and designed their strategies enabling them to finally take a breath of fresh air.

Each industry dealt with its own set of hurdles. From tech to fashion to immigration and beyond, here is what some leaders from across industries have to say about the year gone by and what they expect from 2022:
Sanjay Chatrath, Managing Partner, Incuspaze (Enterprise Managed Workspace Provider)

“While there have been enough assumptions about how offices and work will pan out in the upcoming year, especially with the Omicron threat coming in, it is best to patiently watch the demand trajectory and then decentralize offices into flexible workspaces. There is a huge demand for co-working spaces that have been witnessed in the last few months, which will essentially roll over in the next year. 2022 will be about flexibility and wellbeing along with business expansion. Flexible workspaces will help companies achieve their 2022 plans in a cost-effective, efficient, and hassle-free manner. The upcoming year, I hope, will be the evidence of the beginning of satellite and flexible workspace for years to come.”

Nishchal Dua, Director of Marketing, Airmeet (Near to Real Virtual Events Platform)

“With a multi-fold increase in revenue, we gave big events to organisations such as the United Nations Association in Canada, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Shell a virtual home amidst the pandemic. We continued to invest in advanced technology and our brainchild subscription model ‘Social Webinar’ that gets you closer to your audience; and features such as Integrations dashboard, a new Social Lounge UI to help add more context to every table conversation, ticketing, etc. The large-scale webinars use-case segment captured the largest revenue share this year and is expected to maintain its dominance over the next seven years. With uncertainty in the air as new variants are discovered, and with so many still unvaccinated, online and hybrid remain the best solution for many meetings and events around the globe. This means that virtual events will be in demand, and the best ones will be those that increase their engagement value.”

Eric Wei, Senior Sales Director, ViewSonic – Asia Pacific (Global provider of Visual Solutions)

“In 2021, ViewSonic observed a significant growth across segments. From the IFP series to home entertainment projectors to gaming and professional monitors, we introduced new products and upgraded existing ones across every category. As a result, we saw significant demand for our products, resulting in three times the growth in terms of turnover. The rising demand of hybrid / online mode of teaching, helped us to maintain our position as the No. 1 IFP brand with a 47 per cent market share since 2020. Similarly, our projector segment witnessed a market share of 63 per cent for LED. In quarters 2 and 3, we secured our place in the top three DLP Projector Providers and ranked No. 1 in the LED Projector segment respectively. We also became the fastest growing PC monitor brand in India, adding more to our achievements. Observing the current growth and demand of our products and solutions, we will upgrade and introduce new products and solutions to meet the needs of our end-users.”

Mark Davies, Global Chairman, Davies & Associates, LLC (Immigration Law Firm)

“As an immigration law firm that assists Indian business owners with moving to the USA, it has been an unusual year. People reassessed their lives during the pandemic and so demand for relocating overseas is sky high, but the US border remained closed to Indians until November, which has made it tricky for people to physically move. We helped many Indian clients file the paperwork for their visa in 2021 which puts them in a good position in the visa queue. The immigration industry was hopeful that the election of Joe Biden and the arrival of COVID vaccines would make 2021 a more positive year than 2020. While there were some positive notes, for example, the reopening of the H-1B and L-1 Visa routes, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have an adverse impact on global mobility.

The US border remained shut until November 2021, and the United States consulates across India did not resume full operations. We are excited that the five US consulates across India intend to resume normal operations in 2022, but of course much depends upon the course of the Covid pandemic. The EB-5 Regional Center Program, for which Indians are one of the largest applicant groups, is expected to return potentially as early as February pending Congressional reauthorization. We also expect to see continued growth in the number of Indians seeking a US E-2 Visa via the Grenada CBI route – this two-step process to owning a business in the United States has become popular in part because the E-2 Visa is less affected by political pressures in Washington.”

Manthan Dhameliya, Owner Kreeva (Indian Ethnic Wear Store for Women)

“2021 was the year of growth and expansion for Kreeva. Increasing its footprint in the market, the brand expanded its customer base beyond key metros and entered tier two and three cities as well. Furthermore, the growth margins locked in 4x returns as compared to the last year. With approximately 25 crores as revenue, the brand also successfully launched a range of festive and wedding collections adding glamour to its existing apparel range.

While the fashion e-commerce industry underwent a series of rapid changes in terms of customer behaviors and purchasing patterns owing to the global COVID 19 pandemic, the coming year looks positive in terms of witnessing development and growth on multichannel marketing. Consumers started preferring personalized outfits to match their style resulting in many brands offering customization for their range of products in 2021. Further to this transition, 2022 will see Augmented Reality taking a center stage in the e-commerce industry. E-commerce brands /retailers will be looking to provide an interactive shopping experience to all the users with the help of AI and AR, therefore, creating awareness, building loyalty, and converting users into paying customers.”

Vidhu Nautiyal, Co-founder & Chief Revenue Officer, CloudConnect Communications Pvt. Ltd. (Full-service cloud-based platform)

“Starting the year on a positive note, CloudConnect locked in more than 100-plus enterprise to its customer base. The expansion was also supported by upgradation and optimisation of brand’s network infrastructure. This year witnessed a significant shift towards digital platforms/technology owing to the global Coivd-19 pandemic. Businesses (small and medium) specifically transitioned towards the adaptation of solutions that provides free to work from any part of the country as well as was reliable and advanced in nature to meet the work/consumer demands. Taking a step further in this direction, VoIP Enabled Cloud Communication was one of the most sorts after solutions to manage calls without compromising on quality and cost.

Furthermore, the year 2022, we will have significant developments in the technology sector as the shift towards advanced and effective business models/services is and will be the need of the hour. Owing to the same demand, Artificial Intelligence and Text-to-speech will be the one to look forward.”

Sanjay Jain, Director, Elanpro India (A Commercial Refrigeration Company)

“Despite several ups and downs in the first few months of the year, we saw a tremendous increase in our business compared to the previous year. We conceived, designed, created and produced products that can satisfy the needs of our end users. Being into a commercial refrigerator market and catering to numerous sectors ranging from retail to pharma, we curated our products in most of our segments to meet the industry requirements. We developed portable Vaccine Freezers, introduced new items in our retail divisions, such as the Frost-free upright freezer and Pastry Display. Expanding our business, we also reached new heights this year by investing in two new businesses – we invested in Icold Refrigeration Pvt. Ltd., a company that specializes in cold storage and we acquired Thingif(y), a software solution provider that aids in product temperature monitoring.

In 2022, Make in India, a government project will become increasingly important, encouraging enterprises to focus on manufacturing in India. As a result, we are focusing on moving in this route as well. As we approach 2022, we envision a promising year that will help us in recuperating from the recent ramifications and enabling us to flourish in a new way.”

This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

Income Tax Dept conducts raids on foreign mobile manufacturing firms’ premises across India


New Delhi [India]: The Income Tax Department said on Friday it has conducted raids on various premises of some foreign-controlled mobile communication and mobile handset manufacturing companies and their associated persons.

The raids have been conducted on various premises in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan and Delhi NCR.
“The search action has revealed that two major companies have made remittance in the nature of royalty, to and on behalf of its group companies located abroad, which aggregates to more than Rs.5500 crore. The claim of such expenses does not seem to be appropriate in light of the facts and evidence gathered during the search action,” said the Finance Ministry in a statement.

The search operation has also brought out the modus operandi of purchase of the components for manufacturing mobile handsets. It is gathered that both these companies had not complied with the regulatory mandate prescribed under the Income-tax Act, 1961 for disclosure of transactions with associated enterprises. Such lapse makes them liable for penal action under the Income-tax Act, 1961, the quantum of which could be in the range of more than Rs.1000 crore, it said.

The search has brought to fore another modus operandi whereby foreign funds have been introduced in the books of the Indian company but it transpires that the source from which such funds have been received are of doubtful nature, purportedly with no creditworthiness of the lender. The quantum of such borrowings is about Rs.5000 crore, on which interest expenses have also been claimed.

Evidence with regard to the inflation of expenses, payments on behalf of the associated enterprises, etc. have also been noticed which led to the reduction of taxable profits of the Indian mobile handset manufacturing company. Such an amount could be in excess of Rs.1400 crore.

It is further found that one of the companies utilised the services of another entity located in India but did not comply with the provisions of tax deduction at the source introduced w.e.f. April 1, 2020. The quantum of liability of TDS on this account could be around Rs.300 crore.

In the case of another company covered in the search action, it has been detected that the control of the affairs of the company was substantively managed from a neighbouring country. The Indian directors of the said company admitted that they had no role in the management of the company and lent their names for directorship for namesake purposes. Evidence has been gathered on an attempt to transfer the entire reserves of the company to the tune of Rs.42 crore out of India, without payment of due taxes.

Survey action in the case of certain Fintech and software services companies has revealed that a number of such companies have been created for the purposes of inflating expenses and siphoning out of funds. For this purpose, such companies have made payments for unrelated business purposes and also utilized the bills issued by a Tamil Nadu-based non-existent business concern. The quantum of such out-flow is found to be around Rs.50 crore, the Finance Ministry said. (ANI)

Boeing wins USD 471mn contract to develop new systems for Japan’s F-15 fleet: Pentagon


Washington [US](ANI/Sputnik): Boeing has won a more than USD 470 million US Air Force contract to develop new systems for Japan’s fleet of upgraded F-15 Eagle Super Interceptors, the Department of Defense said in a press release.

“The Boeing Company [of] St. Louis, Missouri has been awarded a not-to-exceed $471,313,000 undefinitized contract action for the F-15 Japan Super Interceptor Program,” the release said on Thursday.
The contract provides for the design and development of an integrated suite of aircraft systems to support modification of the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15MJ aircraft and the development, test and delivery of four Weapon System Trainers, the Defense Department said.

Work on the contract will be performed in St. Louis in the US state of Missouri, and is expected to be completed seven years from now by December 31, 2028, the department added.

Electoral bonds to be sold at authorised branches of SBI

New Delhi [India]: State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 selected branches during January 1-10, 2022, Finance Ministry said on Thursday.
The Electoral Bonds shall be valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account shall be credited on the same day, the Finance Ministry said. The Government of India notified the Electoral Bond Scheme in 2018. As per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.
A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.
The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible Political Party only through a Bank account with the authorised bank.

NRIs, OCIs don’t require prior approval to buy immovable property in India: RBI

Mumbai [India]: Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs) do not require prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for buying or selling immovable properties like houses in India, the central bank said on Wednesday.
“At present, NRIs/OCIs are governed by provisions of FEMA 1999 and do not require prior approval of RBI for acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India, other than agricultural land/ farm house/ plantation property, as per the terms and conditions laid down in Chapter IX of the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019, dated October 17, 2019 (as amended from time to time), issued under Section 46 of FEMA 1999,” the RBI said in a statement. The RBI issued a clarification on acquisition/transfer of immovable property in India by Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs). “A large number of queries have been received at various Offices of the Reserve Bank, based on newspaper reports on a Supreme Court Judgement, on whether prior approval of RBI is required for acquisition/transfer of immovable property in India by as Overseas Citizen of India OCIs,” the central bank said.
“It is hereby clarified that the concerned Supreme Court Judgement dated February 26, 2021 in Civil Appeal 9546 of 2010 was related to provisions of FERA, 1973, which has been repealed under Section 49 of FEMA, 1999,” the RBI added.

14 crore informal workers registered on e-Shram portal, informs Minister

New Delhi [India]: Over 14 crore people have got registered on e-Shram portal, Union Minister for Labour and Employment Bhupender Yadav said on Saturday.
“In just about 4 months, 14 crore crossed…Kudos to all those who made it possible,” Yadav said in a tweet. According to the minister, 14,02,92,825 e-Shram cards have been issued. This is nearly one-third of the total workforce in informal sector in India. On August 26, 2021, the government launched the e-Shram portal ( for creating a national database of unorganised workers. It includes construction workers, migrant workers, gig workers and platform workers, street vendors, domestic workers, agriculture workers, etc.
According to an official statement released earlier this month, e-Shram portal seeded with Aadhaar will be used to “deliver all the social security benefits of the central and state governments for the unorganised workers.”

Legendary cricketer Yuvraj Singh launches his premium NFT collection with Colexion

  • Colexion will drop warrior NFT of Yuvraj priced at $40 each.
  • 2500 copies will be made accessible to fans all across the globe
  • Colexion has once again introduced a premium yet affordable NFT collection.

After successfully launching NFTs of renowned celebrities from the art and sports fraternity, Colexion has yet again come up with an exclusive NFT drop of legendary cricketer Yuvraj Singh. With his very own digital avatar in a metaverse, the profound cricketer has entered into the digital space with the launch of non-fungible tokens dedicated to his beloved fans.

Allowing his fans to witness some historical moments, Yuvraj Singh has launched his warrior NFT at $40. This affordable yet premium NFT drop is garnering much interest from the people who have supported their favorite star throughout. Colexion is also witnessing a tremendous response for their latest trump card edition. As many as 30 celebrities from the field of music, cricket, and Bollywood have launched their digital collectibles on December 12 on Colexion. The NFT marketplace has also launched a one-of-its-kind virtual museum featuring the groundbreaking journey of Yuvraj and his premium NFT collection gaining traction from audiences across the globe.

Yuvraj Singh Lauches his new venture.

Through purchasing the NFTs, the buyers will enjoy a number of perks, including a chance to play 6 balls with Yuvraj and win exclusive merchandise of the cricketer. Fans will get an opportunity to interact and earn precious rewards in the form of merchandise and signed memorabilia.

Speaking about his new collection, the cricketer says, “NFTs in cricket are allowing us to connect with our fans like never before. I am happy to partner with Colexion to share precious tokens from my cricketing journey with the people who have loved and encouraged me every step of the way. Developing a digital avatar for us to be able to connect and share our love for cricket is a powerful concept, and Colexion has enabled me to take my first steps in this world.”

Abhay Aggrawal, the CEO of Colexion, welcomed Yuvraj by saying, “The premium NFT collection of Yuvraj Singh will be an opportunity for the fans to engage with their all-time favorite star. We’ll launch an autographed cricket bat along with a 3D statue of the cricketer, providing an exclusive opportunity to fans to own his digital collectibles. Colexion enables fans to witness this historic event and become a part of this massive revolution. We are creating interesting digital spaces for him to engage with his fans who will also be now able to ‘own’ special moments of his career.”

Bibin Babu, Co-Founder of Colexion elaborates, “We are focusing on creating a robust NFT ecosystem through premium NFT collection and play-to-earn NFT games. So while we believe in making NFTs accessible to everyone in the world, we also want to ensure a wholesome and transparent ecosystem. This I hope will make us a trustworthy brand and also inspire more celebrities to align with us as their active involvement makes a huge difference in the world of NFTs.”

Colexion is known for creating exclusive NFTs of well-established celebrities. The fact that the artwork is selling at such a reasonable price also shows that such art is about to gain more mainstream acceptance.

Not only this, Yuvi’s fans have additionally created his first-ever DAO- ‘Yuvi DAO’ as a gesture of love and support. The DAO is one of the world’s first-ever collector’s DAO in the Sports & Entertainment segment, bringing all entertainment fans to Web 3. Launched with the leading marketplace Colexion on Polygon, the exclusive collection is the most in-demand NFT to foray into the world of digital collectibles. It is highly likely that this personalised DAO will attract bidding from leading investors to acquire the rare collection. DAOs can be thought of as friends on the internet with a shared checking account.

In recent times, India has witnessed an exponential growth in demand for NFTs, with more and more celebrities jumping on the bandwagon. Among the most notable ones are megastars like Glen Maxwell, Brendon Mccullum, Pankaj Advani, Salim-Sulaiman, Dwayne Bravo, Aamir Ali, and much more, continuously adding players to its never-ending list of profound celebrities and personalities from the world of entertainment, lifestyle, and sports.

With sales of NFTs soaring to record highs, this launch is yet another sign of just how fierce the market has become. Asia’s most significant marketplace is said to cater to these rising demands through exclusive collaborations and the largest NFT drops. There are many NFT DAOs already on the scene, having made flashy purchases in January in the run-up to NFT mania. So far, hundreds have already signed up on the Colexion site to take part in the upcoming NFT auction.

The Colexion’s affordable yet premium NFT collection comes when digital art and NFTs have witnessed a massive rise in value. NFTs have emerged as an opportunity for users to own a unique asset that’s one of its kind in the world. Moreover, the bandwagon of celebrities, athletes, gamers, and artists who have jumped into the NFT space to experiment with their fate on the blockchain is something worth promising. In short, what the world is currently witnessing is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a revolution brimming.

India’s forex reserves decline by $160 million to $635.66 billion

Mumbai [India]: India’s foreign exchange (forex) reserves declined by 160 million to $635.66 billion due to a sharp drop in foreign currency assets, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed on Friday.
The foreign currency assets dipped by $645 million to $572.21 billion during the week ended December 17, 2021, as per the RBI’s weekly statistical supplement. The foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound, and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves. It is expressed in the US dollar.
The value of gold reserves rose by $475 million to $39.18 billion. Reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by $9 million to $5.17 billion. There was no change in the special drawing rights (SDRs). It remained unchanged at $19.08 billion.
This is the third consecutive week of decline in the country’s forex reserves. The forex reserves had dropped by $77 million during the week ended December 10.
India’s forex reserves touched an all-time high of $642.45 billion in the week ended September 3, 2021.

Finance Minister concludes pre-Budget meetings for forthcoming Union Budget 2022-23

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday chaired the pre-budget consultation meetings for Budget 2022-2023 held in virtual mode from December 15 to 22, 20201.
As per an official release by the Ministry of Finance, more than 120 invitees representing 7 stakeholder groups participated in 8 meetings scheduled during this period. The stakeholder groups include representatives and experts from Agriculture and Agro-Processing Industry; Industry, Infrastructure, and Climate Change; Financial Sector and Capital Markets; Services and Trade; Social Sector; Trade Union, and Labour Organization and Economists. Union Ministers of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary and Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, and senior officers from the Ministry of Finance were also present during the meetings. Secretaries of other Ministries, departments concerned participated through online mode.
The stakeholder groups made several suggestions on various issues that included increased Research and Development spending, infrastructure status for digital services, incentives to hydrogen storage and fuel cell development, rationalisation of income tax slabs, investments in online safety measures etc., among others.
The participants lauded the government’s efforts inefficient handling of the economy during the pandemic and retaining India’s status as the fastest-growing major economy.
Finance Minister Sitharaman thanked the participants for sharing their valuable suggestions and assured them that suggestions will be carefully considered while preparing the Budget 2022-2023.

CAG report flags Rs.4780 crore losses to Central Public Sector Enterprises

New Delhi [India]: Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG) has flagged 42 issues in Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) which have financial implication of Rs.4,779.99 crore.

The Commercial Compliance Audit Report on CPSEs presented in Parliament on Tuesday flagged issues related to 32 CPSEs functioning under 10 different Ministries/Departments.
As per the CAG report, Indian Oil Corporation Limited suffered a loss of Rs.196.95 crore due to a violation of tax provisions in Andhra Pradesh.

“Indian Oil Corporation Limited collected Rs.262.60 crore of Turnover Tax from consumers in Andhra Pradesh in violation of legal provisions of Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957 and afterwards settled the legal case with Government of Telangana by making payment of Rs.65.65 crore (25 per cent) against total imposed penalty of Rs.262.60 crore, thus resulting in undue enrichment to Indian Oil Corporation Limited by Rs.196.95 crore,” CAG said in a statement.

The auditor noted that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) suffered loss due to flaring of High-Pressure gas. During the period of 2012-13 to 2019-20, high-pressure gas valuing Rs.816.08 crore was flared in Mumbai High field due to non-availability of standby process gas compressors, power shut down and frequent tripping of process gas compressors.

CAG has rapped ONGC for providing undue benefit extended to private parties by awarding work in violation of CVC guidelines. “ONGC Videsh Limited awarded the work of auditing of its oil and gas reserves valuing Rs.10.60 crore to the private parties on nomination basis disregarding Central Vigilance Commission guidelines, thereby, extending undue benefit to the private parties.”

It rapped NHPC for not levying penalty of Rs.11.61 crore for “generation of power lower than the minimum generation guaranteed in the contract agreement resulting in undue benefit to the contractor.”

New India Assurance Company Limited’s failure to obtain stop loss reinsurance cover resulted in loss of Rs.16.56 crore.

The company also failed to ascertain the Incurred Claims Ratio of the expiring policy while underwriting Livestock Insurance under National Livestock Mission for the year 2016-17 implemented in Telangana State which, resulted in low fixation of premium and subsequent loss of Rs.10.31 crore due to high claim ratio.

MSTC Limited imprudent financing resulted in non-recovery of dues of Rs.220.84 crore.

India United Textile Mill Limited (IUTML) suffered loss on account of extending undue benefit in fabric trading business to the group companies of strategic partner.

Airports Authority of India Limited (AAI) suffered revenue loss due to inadequate assessment of electricity load.

Air India Limited suffered loss in form of payment of penalty. Air India made penalty payment of Rs.43.85 crore to M/s Boeing due to persistent delays in return of removed component during the period July 2016 to December 2019. (ANI)

PM interacts with CEOs of companies across various sectors ahead of Union Budget

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of leading companies across banking, infrastructure, automobiles, telecom, consumer goods, textile, renewable energy, hospitality, technology, healthcare, space and electronics sectors.
This is one of the many interactions being held by the Prime Minister ahead of the union budget to receive inputs and suggestions from the private sector. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was also present in the meeting.
The Prime Minister had interacted with leading private equity and venture capital players last week.

Vedanta Foundation partners with Delhi Police to skill youth for a promising future

New Delhi [India]: Vedanta Foundation, a philanthropic arm of the Vedanta Resources Limited, collaborated with the Delhi Police to provide placement-linked skill training to more than 6000 street children and marginalised youth.

The training centres, also called the Rojgaar centers, will be established in Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, Saket, and Greater Kailash.
With this, Vedanta now has more than 250 Rojgaar centres across India. In August, the Foundation had opened 100 Rojgaar centers located in the nooks and corners of India. According to Vedanta Foundation, the intent behind this initiative is to skill students and unemployed youth from the economically weaker sections and link them to job opportunities.

For the next milestone of the initiative, Vedanta Foundation has joined hands with the Delhi Police to reach out to street children who are exposed to petty theft and crime and wean them away from their dismal predicament.

According to Delhi Police, this collaboration comes under the aegis of flagship community initiative of Delhi Police ‘Yuva’. The initiative will be called Yuva 2.0 and the young boys and girls will be trained in the hospitality and retail sectors by the training partner Primero.

Appreciating the endeavour, Delhi Police Commissioner, Rakesh Asthana, said: “Although Delhi Police is accountable for controlling crime and maintaining law and order for a peaceful society but through community policing initiatives like YUVA, Delhi Police aims to contain first-time criminals so that they may be motivated to mend their mistakes and help society in nation-building.”

Speaking on the initiative, Surajit Roy, CEO, Vedanta Foundation, said: “In Vedanta Foundation, we are looking at putting in place different models for industry-linked skill training programmes that ensures placement or entrepreneurship opportunities to the youth from lower strata of our society. In this context, we found an excellent opportunity to partner with the Delhi Police to train 6000 beneficiaries under Rojgaar and Yuva 2.0.”

This story is provided by ATK. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/ATK)

India will achieve USD 400 billion export target this year, says Piyush Goyal

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal asserted that this year (2021-22) India will achieve USD 400 billion export target, something which has never happened before.
Further, talking about the new markets which will help India to achieve the said export target, Goyal said, “The United Arab Emirates will become a gateway for Indian trade to the Middle East and Africa and we may set up a huge India mart to tap that market.” “Talks on India-UAE Free Trade Agreement is underway. They have committed USD 100 billion for investment and infrastructure creation in India,” Goyal said.
Goyal made the following comments on Saturday after laying the foundation stone for the mega common facility centre at the Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone in Mumbai.

2-day bank strike hit banking, ATM services


New Delhi (India): Employees of several public sector banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), and Bank of Baroda, are on a two-day strike starting Thursday to protest against the proposed privatization of the state-run lenders.

United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions with over 10 lakh bank employees and officers, has given the call for a two-day nationwide strike on December 16 and 17.
Bank unions participating in the strike include All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO).

Banking and ATM services have been affected by the strike. Most public sector banks have already warned their customers about the possible impact of the strike on the services.

State Bank of India (SBI) said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges: “United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has served a Notice of Strike, informing that the members of the constituent Unions of UFBU viz. AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, and INBOC propose to go on a nationwide Bank Strike on 16th and 17th December 2021, in support of their demands.”

“We advise that while the Bank has made necessary arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices on the days of strike, it is likely that work in our Bank may be impacted by the Strike,” said the SBI. (ANI)

India registers its highest-ever FDI inflow of USD 81.97 bn in FY 2020-21: Centre


New Delhi [India]: India registered the highest ever annual FDI Inflow of USD 81.97 billion (provisional figure) in the financial year 2020-21, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry informed.

FDI inflows in the last 7 financial years (2014-21) is USD 440.27 billion, which is nearly 58 per cent of the total FDI inflow in the last 21 financial years (2000-21: USD 763.83 Billion). The top five countries from where FDI Equity Inflows were received during April 2014 and August 2021 are Singapore (28 per cent), Mauritius (22 per cent), USA (10 per cent), Netherlands (8 per cent) and Japan (6 per cent).
“Computer Software & Hardware sector attracted the largest share of FDI inflows at 19 per cent, followed by Service (15 per cent), Trading (8 per cent) and Telecommunications & Construction (Infrastructure) (7 per cent each) during the same period in the last more than seven years,” read the release.

The ministry said that the government has taken various steps to boost domestic and foreign investments in India. These include reduction in Corporate Tax Rates, easing liquidity problems of NBFCs and Banks, improving Ease of Doing Business, FDI Policy reforms, Reduction in Compliance Burden, policy measures to boost domestic manufacturing through Public Procurement Orders, Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP), Schemes for Production Linked Incentives (PLI) of various Ministries.

To facilitate investments, measures such as India Industrial Land Bank (IILB), Industrial Park Rating System (IPRS), soft launch of the National Single Window System (NSWS), National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), etc, have also been put in place, the release said. (ANI)

42 per cent of Indian Startups Plan to Go Global in 2022: TurningIdeas Survey

New Delhi [India]: Today, TurningIdeas Ventures shared the results of its recent survey on Indian startups looking to go global in 2022.
The survey covered around 100+ startups across different domains and at different stages from ideation to scale-ups. Considering India is now becoming a hub of globally relevant products, startups are now looking to go global. The survey revealed that over 42% of startups are looking to expand and tap into global markets in 2022 and over 64% of these startups are in the enterprise SaaS space.
The survey results were announced during a networking event with Business Finland for the Indian startup ecosystem today. Business Finland serves as a platform for Indian startups to collaborate with Finnish partners and explore market potential and growth in Finland, and also to support Finnish startups to set up and scale in India.
Business Finland, in partnership with TurningIdeas Ventures , organized the networking dinner pitches for disruptive Indian startups in Health-tech, AR/VR and Clean-tech space. The event was hosted by Jukka Holappa , Country Director, Business Finland.
Speaking at the event, Jukka highlighted the importance of working together and developing partnerships between the Finnish and Indian start-up communities. Partnerships such as those with TurningIdeas will help mature Indian startups to get a head start in setting up their business in Finland through various programs.
Recent years have witnessed a number of young startups going global after setting firm roots in India. Indian startups have expanded their business overseas with great poise, said Ashutosh Kumar, Vice President, International Programs at TurningIdeas Ventures .
Expanding globally helps create powerful international brand recognition. When that happens, audiences all over the world become familiar with the startup and its products which can help boost sales, drive marketing, and expand potential markets, even more, Finland provides a great opportunity for Startups to leverage Finnish innovation ecosystem and to tap European markets from Finland, said Puneet Thakur, Head of Invest In and Innovation Collaboration.
“Finding talent is essential for any startup, and an international expansion provides the opportunity to access high-potential global talent pools. As business becomes increasingly interconnected across the world, tapping into these new employment markets will help establish an edge above your competition,” said Ashish Mittal , Startup Mentor and Investor.
Some of the startups who presented at the launch included Ubreathe, BioMetaverse, Aftershoot, Dentratech and BlueSemi, who are now looking to set up and scale their business in Finland and the EU.
TurningIdeas also executes soft-landing programs for the global startup to explore and set up businesses in India by helping them do the market assessment and connecting them with the right partners and prospect customers in India’s 100B people opportunity.
It’s high time for more Finnish companies to look beyond their traditional export markets. The B2B and B2C opportunities with the most significant business potential are increasingly discovered in the rapidly transforming societies and economies of Asian countries.
“We are excited about partnering with Business Finland to build a bridge for Indian companies to cross over into Europe and beyond. Helsinki is the English speaking, cultural capital of Europe, and we are looking forward to making it the top destination for Indian founders moving abroad,” said Mansi Gupta , Head, International Programs at Turningideas
One of the core goals of these partnerships is to take Indian startups, when they are market-ready and product-solid, to the global markets by virtue of introducing them to our International partners and their leadership investors.
Most of the participants’ startups are at stage 1 of the 5 level process that TurningIdeas has instrumented using their experience of working with multiple startup’s. The process that Turning Ideas calls LEAP has customizations for geography, size and domain.

Pre-budget consultation starts with agriculture and agro-processing industry

New Delhi [India]: Finance Ministry started the pre-budget consultation on Wednesday. The first consultation was held with the representatives of the agriculture and agro-processing industry.
Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary and Minister of State for New & Renewable Energy, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Bhagwanth Khuba jointly held the consultation through video conferencing. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was unable to attend the meeting due to her engagement in Parliament. Ramesh Chand, Member, Niti Aayog, Ajay Vir Jhakar, Chairman, Krushak Samaj, and other representatives from Agriculture and Agro-processing industry gave their valuable suggestions for the Union Budget 2022-23.
Jakhar said the Government needs to design a robust pre-budget consultation process and system to have beneficiaries assess programmes to enable departments to tweak and reset their own programmes for more positive outcomes.
He said the Green Revolution ensured India’s food security in its most difficult decades. “It’s now time for the central Government to fund a transition in green revolution states to ensure India’s nutrition security. Do note, states are in no condition to share the cost of the transition.”
According to Jakhar, the government designs agri-policy, food policy, environment policy, health policy, etc. But now need Food Systems policy which considers the health of people and planet as one. “The Government lacks the capacity to design such policy. Need funds to build the capacity of Government and farmer organisations to lead change,” he said.
Finance Secretary & Secretary Expenditure T.V. Somanathan; Secretary, DEA, Ajay Seth; Secretary, Revenue, Tarun Bajaj and Secretary MCA Rajesh Verma, besides other senior officials, were also present in the meeting.

RBI introduces prompt corrective action framework for NBFCs

Mumbai (India): The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday issued the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).
“The PCA Framework for NBFCs shall come into effect from October 1, 2022, based on the financial position of NBFCs on or after March 31, 2022,” the RBI said in a statement. “A separate circular would be issued in due course with regard to the applicability of PCA Framework to Government NBFCs,” it added.
It may be recalled that the revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) was issued on November 2, 2021.
NBFCs have been growing in size and have substantial inter-connectedness with other segments of the financial system. Accordingly, a PCA Framework for NBFCs has also been put in place to further strengthen the supervisory tools applicable to NBFCs, the central bank said.
The new framework will be applicable to all deposit-taking NBFCs, excluding Government companies; and all non-deposit taking NBFCs in middle, upper and top layers.

Retail inflation rises to 4.91 per cent in November

New Delhi (India): India’s retail inflation rose to 4.91 per cent in November led by a surge in food and edible oil prices, the government data showed on Monday.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation accelerated to 4.91 per cent in November from 4.48 per cent in the previous month, as per the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO). Despite the increase, the headline inflation remains within the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) target range of 2-6 per cent for the fifth consecutive month. The RBI has been mandated to keep retail inflation at 4 per cent with a margin of 2 per cent on either side.
Though there is a rising trend in inflation in recent months, the November 2021 figure is much better than the one recorded during the corresponding period last year. CPI inflation stood at 6.93 per cent in November 2020.
The price rise is sharper in the urban areas than the rural. CPI inflation in urban areas rose by 5.54 per cent in November 2021 while it stood at 4.29 per cent in rural. During October 2021 also the inflationary pressure in urban areas was higher. Urban CPI inflation stood at 5.04 per cent in October 2021 while for the rural areas it stood at 4.07 per cent.
However, one year back the trend was different. During November 2021, the rural inflation was higher at 7.2 per cent as compared with 6.73 per cent for the urban.
The Price data are collected from selected 1,114 urban markets and 1,181 villages covering all States/UTs through personal visits by field staff of Field Operations Division of NSO on a weekly roster.
During the month of November 2021, NSO collected prices from 99.7 per cent villages and 98.4 per cent urban markets while the market-wise prices reported therein were 89.4 per cent for rural and 92.8 per cent for urban, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation.
There was a sharp acceleration in food prices during the month of November. Food prices, which contribute to nearly half of the Consumer Price Index, rose 1.87 per cent year-on-year in November 2021, compared with 0.85 per cent in October 2021. Prices of edible oil surged 30 per cent. Retail fuel inflation, though remained at an elevated level, and was lower in November when compared with the previous month. Retail fuel prices rose 13.35 per cent in November year-on-year compared to 14.35 per cent in the previous month.

UP invites investments in defence corridor at EXPO2020

Dubai [UAE]: The largest state of India, Uttar Pradesh is developing defence corridor to create a manufacturing ecosystem that will not only support the domestic defence enterprises but will also develop products for exports.
The defence corridor policy is one of the major policies of the state government that is on display in the India Pavilion at EXPO2020 Dubai during the ongoing ‘State Week’, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday. Outlining the business-friendly initiatives associated with the state’s Defence Corridor policy, Dr Muthukumarasamy B, Special Secretary, Infrastructure & Industrial Development Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh said, “We are developing six nodes – Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Kanpur and Lucknow under Defence Corridor. We have strong ancillary base to support the needs of defence manufacturing and ensuring continuous supply of raw materials, labour and other needs of the industry.”
“The state has existing manufacturing bases that include Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and we also have prominent ordinance factories in Uttar Pradesh – Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. We are also focusing on Research & Development and innovation base,” he said, adding that investors can come and invest in the six identified nodes.
“We have good land parcels available. We have recently allotted land to BrahMos missile and manufacturing unit will be coming in Lucknow. We have allotted land to Bharat Dynamics also. We have nearly 3000 hectares of land proposed to be notified and we will purchase these lands and will be made available to investors,” said Dr Muthukumarasamy.
To make it easier for the firms investing in the UP Defence Corridor in terms of connectivity, the state nodes are located on the expressways, which includes Bundelkhand Expressway that is in the completion stage. “There is no connectivity issue and manufacturing units will be well connected to the expressways,” he said.
“We are mobilizing SME ecosystem, small scale units, which can come and invest. We are developing export-oriented manufacturing base for defence sector. We would like to bridge the market gaps and connect the ancillary units in the state to meet the requirements of defence Public Sector Units,” said Dr Muthukumarasamy.

Chances of start-up ecosystem getting successful higher with less govt interference, says Piyush Goyal

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Sunday said that the less the government interferes in the start-up ecosystem, the more potential it will have to be successful.
While addressing a gathering during a visit to the Science and Technology Park in Savitribai Phule, Pune University, the Union Minister highlighted that the reason why the IT sector is so successful in India is that the government has no role to play. “I personally feel that the less the government interferes in the start-up ecosystem, the more potential it will have to be successful. Nationalisation has stymied the growth of several sectors. Look at IT sector, it is successful in India because the government has no role to play. If I take list of unicorns, almost none of them have taken the government’s support to become unicorns,” he added.
“Wherever the government got involved and we saw the nationalisation of so many different businesses and sectors in the past years has stymied the growth of those sectors,” he emphasised.
The Union Minister further said, “If we allow entrepreneurs to flourish, with the least amount of government interference, they can scale in their operation and come up with affordable and cost-effective solutions. They will improve their design and quality. If we really want this ecosystem to survive then we have to let it work its own.”
“If I make a list of unicorns, almost none of them have taken government support to become unicorns,” he added.
He also said that 46 per cent of start-ups registered with DPIIT have women as part of the ecosystem. He hoped that women will lead the Start-up culture in Maharashtra.
He further said, today we have a startup ecosystem across the length and breadth of India. “More than 50000 start-ups have been registered in India. It is the third-largest ecosystem in the world.”
Informing that as per DPIIT registrations, Pune has 3200 Start-ups whereas Mumbai 3274 Start-ups, Minister suggested that this healthy competition between Pune and Mumbai should continue.
Recalling the contribution of social reformer and educationist Savitribal Phule, he said that Savitribai had started the first girls school in Pune, so it is befitting that women entrepreneurs showcase their work in this Science Technology Park in Pune.
Comparing incubators with parents, the minister added that they are like guides and supporters that start-ups need. Describing Pune’s unique position to support start-ups due to the presence of industry, IT and finest academic institutions, Goyal added that it is time to increase international collaboration in start-up ecosystem.
He expressed the need for collaboration of Academia, industry and research for the thriving of Startups.
He concluded that India may have a billion problems but it also has brilliant billion entrepreneurs to solve these problems with extremely cost-effective solutions for farmers, Divyang and the poor.

Growth-inflation balance, Das has his task cut in 2nd term as RBI Gov

New Delhi (India): Shaktikanta Das has become the first Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor to get a second term since Narendra Modi-led government came into power in 2014.
The former bureaucrat, who took charge of the top job at the central bank on December 10, 2018, started his next three-year stint on Saturday. In the past three years, Das has led the RBI through some of the most difficult situations. A 1980-batch officer of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Das took charge after his predecessor Urjit Patel resigned from his position abruptly before the end of his term.
While Patel had resigned citing “personal reasons”, it was widely speculated that the main reason for his exit from the central bank was the differences with the government.
So, the first major challenge for Das was to bridge the differences brewing between the central bank and the government, on the one hand, and uphold the credibility and autonomy of the institution, on the other.
Unsurprisingly, the government-RBI relationship dominated the first press conference of Das as RBI governor three years back.
Commenting on the differences between the government and the central bank Das had noted, “I wouldn’t go into the issues between RBI and the government but every institution has to maintain its autonomy and also adhere to accountability.”
“I don’t know whether the government-RBI relationship is blocked, but I feel stakeholder consultations have to go on,” he added.
Das, a prominent face of the government during demonetization, has fairly succeeded in eliminating the differences between the government and the RBI.
Barely a year after Das took charge as RBI governor COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. As a key economic policymaker Das has faced challenging times in managing the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He chose to cut the policy repo rate to a historic low of 4 per cent in May 2020 and has continued with the low-interest rate regime since then.
Before taking over the charge as the RBI’s 25th governor in December 2018, Das served as Revenue Secretary and Economic Affairs Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.
He also served as India’s G-20 sherpa and was appointed as a member of the 15th Finance Commission. Das’s second term ends in December 2024. When he completes his second term, Das will be the first RBI governor in seven decades to have such a long tenure.
In the last monetary policy review of the first term as RBI governor, Das decided to maintain a status quo on key policy rates. Repo rate and reverse repo rate have been kept unchanged at 4 per cent and 3.35 per cent, respectively.
The Repo rate is the interest at which the RBI lends short-term funds to banks, while the reverse repo rate is the interest that the RBI pays to the banks on their deposits. The RBI has also decided to keep the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate unchanged at 4.25 per cent.
As Das begins his second term, he has his task cut. The central bank has maintained a low-interest rate to help the economy, hit badly by COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns. There have been good signs of recovery in GDP growth in the recent quarters.
India’s GDP grew by 20.1 per cent in April-June 2021 quarter against a contraction of 24.4 per cent recorded during the corresponding quarter a year ago. During July-September 2021 quarter the GDP expanded by 8.4 per cent against a contraction of 7.4 per cent recorded in the same period last year.
Though there has been a good recovery, the level of India’s GDP is still below that of the pre-COVID period. Thus, continued policy support is needed to keep the GDP growth momentum going.
Going forward Das will face a bigger challenge in keeping inflation under control. Though inflation has remained within the RBI’s target of 2-6 per cent, the recent trend is worrying. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation is expected to rise to 5.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of the current financial year from the projected 5.1 per cent in the third quarter, as per the RBI estimate.
The headline CPI inflation is projected to remain at 5.3 per cent in the current financial year. As per the RBI, CPI inflation is estimated to remain at 5 per cent during the first half of 2022-23. However, most analysts believe that it would remain at an even higher level.
The GDP growth for the current financial year is pegged at 9.5 per cent. It is projected at 17.2 per cent and 7.8 per cent, during the first and the second quarter of 2022-23, respectively.
Despite low interest rates, credit growth has not picked up to a satisfactory level. It hovers at around 7 per cent, which is too low for the Indian economy. The credit growth is low despite the fact that there has been a huge liquidity overhang in the banking system for more than a year now.
Das would be required to adopt a calibrated liquidity management approach and boost credit growth.
Expressing concern over the low credit growth, Das recently said, “The growth in demand is not keeping up with our expectations as there was a second wave of the pandemic and corporates are in a wait and watch mode.”

Gamified social media App Explurger raises $1 million funding


New Delhi [India]: Explurger, a new-age social media app for a global audience, has raised $1million in pre-series A from a clutch of investors. The first capital raised by the start-up, which was bootstrapped until now, will power the team expansion, product features and user acquisition.

The current funding round led by Ruchirans Jaipuria (Managing Director, Jaipuria Group) also saw participation from Lovkesh Arora (Founder & CEO, Phithos Technologies), Piyush Jain, and from other angel investors through LetsVenture.
“The digital transformation is happening at a rapid scale. At the time when global IT and social media giants have Indian-origin leaders at the helm, it’s time India has its own social media platform competing with the best in the field. The fund raised will take us closer to that goal for the country and put India on the global map. The app resonates with the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision. It will accelerate our growth story,” said Jitin Bhatia, founder of Explurger.

Explurger, which went live during the pandemic, already has users from more than 40 countries — acquired organically — owing to its unique features. It is the first AI-powered social media app that uses the thrill of Gamification, and Travelogues to engage its users. It is also the first in the category to Reward its users for being socially active on the platform.

“The gamification aspect means that every time a user posts a picture, shares a status message, gives someone a Kudo to show that they like the post, or Explurge-in at a place, they get counts or points. Depending upon the counts, they get various levels such as Cobalt, Silver, Gold, Spectra or Prime. It is reflected in the colour of the logo next to their profile. The more they use, the more chances of them reaching the next level. This unique feature adds excitement. Our users love it,” explained Bhatia.

“We see a huge demand for a safe, clutter-free social networking zone that people can trust. There is a vacuum for a gamified social media app which is user-centric in its approach. That’s the gap we are addressing. Our unique features and cutting-edge technology are helping us grow rapidly,” he added. “We are perhaps the only social media app that rewards the users for the time they spend on the platform. Explurger redefines the way you socialize,” said Bhatia, who has a career spanning over two decades across Programming, Pvt Equity and Business Development.

Explurger allows you to celebrate your life with friends and family as no other social media app does. It offers an exciting experience by gamifying social media for the very first time. Besides, a Reward section on the app allows users to claim deals and discounts on more than 30 popular brands, such as Tata Sky, Hamleys, Lifestyle, Lenovo and Frens N Petals. It empowers you to go beyond check-ins and the obvious. As you share pictures and videos, the AI of this sleek app automatically creates a Travelogue for you, keeping a count of the exact miles, cities, countries and continents you travel to. What’s more? You can even create a Bucket List of places you wish to visit and share your future travel plans.

“I request everyone to download it and spread the word so that the world connects on Explurger,” said Bhatia.

Explurger is planning a big launch soon where a few key announcements will be made.

This story is provided by PNN. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PNN)

Over 10.03 crore disbursed between 2018-2021 for promoting defence start-ups

New Delhi [India]: The Ministry of Defence on Friday said that it has disbursed over 10.30 crore between 2018 and 2021 under the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme for promoting start-ups in the field of defence sector.

According to the ministry, till date, iDEX has launched five rounds of Defence India Startup Challenges (DISCs), and three rounds of Open Challenge (OC), receiving more than 2000 applications from innovators. iDEX has been able to fund projects in many technological areas under DISCs and OC through the Support for Prototype and Research Kickstart (SPARK) framework, which entails provisioning of grants up to Rs 1.50 crore to the startups, said the ministry.

It further stated that the Partner Incubators (PIs) bridge the gap between the requirements of startups and the technological expertise required to develop the product. iDEX also features as a procurement avenue under the Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020.

The Government has approved a scheme worth Rs 498.78 crore to scale up iDEX in the next five years. 60 contracts for developing innovative prototypes have been signed under iDEX, said the ministry.

The establishment of iDEX is aimed at the creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, and academia and providing them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D development which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.

Accordingly, as per the feature incorporated in the Defence Acquisition Procedure, the prototypes that have been successfully developed through the iDEX framework find the route for procurement by the concerned Services. In line with the above, the Indian Navy has already placed a Supply Order on one iDEX Winner. The Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) are also mandated to follow similar procurement procedures for iDEX cases. (ANI)

RBI’s monetary policy has steps for more inclusive, affordable banking, says PNB MD

New Delhi [India]: The measures announced in RBI’s bi-monthly monetary policy including bringing feature phone users into the mainstream digital payments and enabling small value transactions through wallet are steps towards a more conducive, affordable and inclusive banking, CH. S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao, MD and CEO, Punjab National Bank has said.

“As expected, the benchmark rates were kept unchanged with accommodative stance. The economic outlook sounded more optimistic as the major indicators such as agriculture and allied activities, spending on travel and tourism, GST receipts and air passenger traffic indicated a more robust and broad-based recovery,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Rao said the persistently high core inflation however remained a key figure determining the path of policy.

“The liquidity measures such as fortnight guidance on 14-day VRRR auctions and re-establish it as the main liquidity management operation, banks were given with one more option to pre-pay outstanding funds availed through TLTRO 1.0 and 2.0 scheme are a welcome and calibrated steps towards liquidity normalization,” he said.

“Measures such as RBI approval not required by banks prior infusing capital in overseas branches and subsidiaries, initiation on streamlining of charges in the digital payment system, bringing feature phone users into the mainstream digital payments, enabling small value transactions through wallet, enhancing the transaction limit for payments through UPI for Retail Direct Scheme and IPO applications are all steps towards a more conducive, affordable and inclusive banking,” he added. (ANI)

Union Budget should create enabling environment to sustain growth, says CII

New Delhi [India]: Sharing its recommendations for the forthcoming Union Budget 2022-23, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has strongly urged the Centre to continue its investment focus and enhance capital expenditure in areas such as infrastructure to promote growth in the economy at a time when the consumption demand has not picked up adequately.

“While the economy is showing strong signs of recovery, this would be the right time to focus on future challenges such as developing a competitive manufacturing sector and climate change,” TV Narendran, President, CII, said.

According to a press release, he lauded the positive interventions made by the government during the last few months such as the creation of the Development Finance Institutions (DFI), the new public procurement guidelines and the commitment towards high public expenditure to kick-start the virtuous cycle of investment.

He urged the Centre to consider replacing bank guarantees with surety bonds and to also develop the municipal bond market so that urban local bodies can raise funds for investing in infrastructure.

The CII also sought clarification on the tax treatment for the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) of construction contracts.

“CII has strongly advocated the promotion of manufacturing as one of the priorities to provide a fillip to the economy. Given the high cost of doing business, the effective rate of tax is still high. For example, in mining, the tax rates in India are highest in the world; when all the levies imposed by the Central, State and local governments, are accounted for. This should be addressed in the forthcoming Budget,” the release said.

Pointing towards the procedural complexities and the large number of permissions that are required for the implementation of projects resulting in time and cost overruns, the CII said that there is a need to address the problem. “Projects should be allowed to proceed based on self-certification followed by audits. This would help avoid project delays,” it said.

Given the fact that the future of manufacturing depends on technology advancement, the CII suggested setting up of a technology fund on a PPP basis with matching contributions from the private and public sectors. This would be more effective than the exemption provided on research and development expenses, “which did not yield any significant results”.

CII also stressed on the necessity of policy reforms for boosting employment and sustainability, to address the imperatives of development. On employment, the CII has suggested incentivizing employment-intensive sectors such as tourism.

On sustainability, the CII recommended a policy framework for transitioning towards decarbonization-wherein high taxation could be considered for high carbon products and vice versa.

“Industry should be incentivised to transition to low carbon products; production of renewable energy products should be rewarded and for hydrogen should be developed as an alternative fuel, companies should be provided with investment allowance for investing in installing electrolysers,” the CII said.

To help the Indian industry become globally competitive, the CII has suggested that all export products should be covered under the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme and the RoDTEP rates should be reviewed and enhanced and should be commensurate with the actual embedded/ unrefunded taxes and duties.

“RoDTEP benefits should also be provided to the SEZs,” they said.

The anomaly between tax rate on dividend income needs to be addressed, the CII said and added that the tax rates on dividends for residents should be brought down to maintain parity with non-resident investors.

“The start-ups have emerged as a conduit for entrepreneurship and innovation. To attract domestic investments into start-ups, the government should consider reducing the percentage of Long-Term capital gains from 20 per cent to 10 per cent and abolish the surcharge on investments made into start-ups by investment vehicles,” it said.

“Similarly, the process of issuing income tax refunds to start-ups should be accelerated. Further, relaxing the tax on capital gains arising on exit would be a key move in attracting funds into the Start-Up sector, according to CII,” it added.

According to CII, the new dispute resolution scheme (“DRS”) introduced in the Finance Act 2021 for resolving specified disputes in relation to specified Taxpayers in a faceless manner involving dynamic jurisdiction should be made available to a broader category of taxpayers.

CII has also advocated ensuring a stable and predictable tax regime to help attract private investments, both domestic and foreign. (ANI)

FICCI appoints Hindustan Unilever Limited Chairman, MD Sanjiv Mehta as President-Elect

New Delhi [India]: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Monday announced that Sanjiv Mehta, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) will be appointed as its President on December 18.

Mehta, presently the Senior Vice President of FICCI, will be succeeding media industry veteran Uday Shankar.
As per the FICCI, Mehta is also the President of Unilever South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka & Nepal), and is a member of the ‘Unilever Leadership Executive’ which is Unilever’s Global Executive Board.

“During his eight years at the helm, HUL’s market capitalisation has increased by over USD 55 billion making it one of the most valuable companies in the country,” the Federation said.

“A firm believer that ‘doing well’ and ‘doing good’ are two sides of the same coin, he propagates the cause of compassionate capitalism,” it added. (ANI)

Globalisation is crucial to create a stronger Justice System: Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India

Sonipat (Haryana) [India]: Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India & Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, speaking at the valedictory session of the three-day Global Law Schools’ Summit on the theme “The Present and Future of Global Legal Education” said, “Globalisation in the last few decades has been accelerating exponentially largely due to the advancement in transportation, communication, technologies and various other reasons.
With the great benefit of globalisation also comes some global risks and very vital global challenges. Recently, all of us have witnessed the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and the largest price was paid in terms of lives. Therefore, it has also resulted in greater demands of global justice and a need for a better understanding of the implications of globalisation. In order to virtually recreate the world, not only do we need to strengthen our legal systems and innovate solutions that are balanced with empathy, but we will also need to come together to reimagine a global justice system. Globalisation in law and legal education has always been — and even in these times will be — very crucial to pave a path for a stronger justice system. With JGU being one of India’s institutions of eminence and JGLS being India’s number one law school as per the QS World University Rankings, the institution has indeed lived up to its commitment to increasing in building India’s global footprint.
With this summit seeing leaders from across 100 law schools from across the world, and representing divergent views and intellectual ideas, JGU has truly elevated the idea of being global, especially at a time when globalisation is crucial to the progress of the world around us. We need to redefine the way global education can contribute in bringing about a change in this world and we must use this gathering today as an opportunity to find our collective consciousness to re-assess the present and re-imagining the future of global education at large.”
The Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has organized a truly international, one-of-its-kind Global Law Schools’ Summit, bringing together 150+ thought leaders from 6 continents and 35+ countries over 21 Thematic Sessions, 8 Special Dialogues, 2 Colloquiums and 3 Keynote Addresses to discuss the present and future of Global Legal Education. The summit concluded with a Valedictory Address by Tushar Mehta, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and the Solicitor General of India. Dr Sasmit Patra, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, India delivered the Special Address.
In his Special Address, Dr Sasmit Patra said, “Sometimes we take democracy for granted. Whether it’s the Middle East, the Far East or South America, you find new definitions and dimensions of democracy, which basically hinges on who has more power, resources, demography, population, etc. Before we can think of democracy and strengthening the democracy, the idea of strengthening the citizen is paramount. Legal education has a huge role to play in terms of building those core values for budding young lawyers. It is important to remember the basic rules and fundamentals of studying law and that using law as a platform will help to provide information, strengthen citizen centric services, and help citizens to really rediscover their strengths to be able to ask the system questions and to get their rightful answers.”
Dr. Patra raised pertinent questions on whether the legal education is preparing students to ensure access to justice, public accountability, respect for democratic institutions and ensuring independence of the jury. “Legal education is surely strengthening the legal process. But is legal education truly helping us to strengthen democracy? Many a times, we find that democracy survives sustains, grows, and thrives when especially the citizens of a nation have access to the judicial system.”
In his welcome address, the Founding Vice Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University and Dean of Jindal Global Law School Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar said, “The onset of the pandemic from March 2020 was perhaps was one of the most unprecedented crises of our times. With an aim to envision the transformation of law schools, we held our first law summit last year. It was the starting point of an ongoing transformation at JGLS and we wanted to further strengthen our commitment to the change we want to see in the delivery of justice. Therefore, this 2nd edition of the summit is focused on importance of globalization in the way we evolve our legal education. We wanted to evaluate the kinds of resilience adopted by the law schools in the face of the pandemic and create dialogues. What began as a small idea has evolved into a global platform and we have witnessed overwhelming participation of more than 150 thought leaders across six continents and over 35 countries over the last three days. This has been our humble effort to have members of academia and industry come together on a single platform to shape and transform the future of law and legal education. We had 50 hours of live streaming with more than 3500 views across multiple time zones.”
The concluding remarks were made by Professor (Dr.) S.G. Sreejith, Executive Dean, Jindal Global Law School. “The idea of this conference was prompted by the many uncertainties faced by society over the last two decades. During this summit, we wanted to hear stories of resistance, response and resilience in the areas of legal education and the legal profession. The conference brought to us incredible stories in the language of theory, practice, experiences and experiments. From those stories, we understood the inescapability of phenomena which further informed us that we have the courage and competency to face those uncertainties. We have heard tales of redemption and reimagination in various branches of law, the struggle for the intellectual and cultural identities of law but still all our deliberations and collective self-expression ended on the note of hope.”
The Summit saw law experts, academics, vice-chancellors, deans and heads of law institutions from 35+ countries, to make this Conference a truly global experience. The conference witnessed the participation of speakers from Australia, Belgium, Bhutan, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, The Czech Republic, The United Kingdom, The United States of America, Turkey, Uruguay. The vote of thanks was given by Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, JGU.

Hyundai collaborates with Universal Music India, launches Hyundai Spotlight

Gurgaon (Haryana) [India]: Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), the country’s first smart mobility solutions provider and the largest exporter since inception, today announced the launch of ‘Hyundai Spotlight’ in collaboration with Universal Music India (UMI).

Hyundai Spotlight is a platform for budding artists across India to showcase their talent to the nation. This collaboration is set forth for release of first song ‘Dhoonde Sitaare’ featuring renowned singers Aastha Gill & King. This platform will be featuring 6 original songs in its first year with multiple surround content programmed to represent different regions and languages across India. Hyundai Spotlight aims at helping emerging talents with the best Artists and Repertoire advice with international video production quality and promotions by leveraging UMI’s partner relations and their efforts.
Commenting on the launch of Hyundai Spotlight, Tarun Garg, Director (Sales, Marketing and Service) said, “A one-of-a-kind enabler platform, Hyundai Spotlight intends to discover, incubate and promote emerging musical talent in India, reaffirming our brand thought ‘Beyond Mobility’. With our new collaboration with Universal Music India, we are confident that ‘Hyundai Spotlight’ will enable and motivate many young artists to come forward and showcase their talent.”

Elated about this partnership with Hyundai, Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO of UMG, India & South Asia, said, “At Universal Music, it’s our continued endeavor to let talent blossom. No matter where you’re from or how established you are, which is quite often the basic requirement for any artist to get a deal. Being an artist first label, it’s our duty to give everyone that privilege purely on meritocracy. We have created Spotlight in partnership with our friends at Hyundai India, who are known to innovate and go where few marketers dare to. So, this is going to be a safe and pure place for singers, singer-songwriters, producers or composers to come and show us how good they are, and if they truly deserve to be discovered, we will in the most mainstream way possible.”

Tapping into the power of music, Hyundai Spotlight is based on the insight that younger generations want authenticity from the brands they associate with; Through this music initiative, Hyundai aims to directly connect with millennials, who have become the largest car buying demographic in India. The purpose is to provide a platform for the enablement of young talent in the country. Hyundai Spotlight reinforces the company’s brand thought ‘Beyond Mobility’ that aims to shape the future of Hyundai Motor India.

Hyundai Spotlight launched with ‘Dhoondein Sitaare’, an exciting collaboration between Aastha Gill & King is a feel-happy song that talks about breaking the daily monotony and taking time to explore life and all the beautiful things around. This catchy song very well defines the current generation, which is always up and ready for new adventures and exploring life as it comes.

Excited about the launch of ‘Dhoondein Sitaare’ as the first song of Hyundai Spotlight, Aastha Gill and King stated, “We are really thrilled to be an integral part of the launch of Hyundai Spotlight as this an amazing platform that will enable new and upcoming music talents. There is immense talent tucked away in our country and this property can act as a stepping stone for budding artists into the music industry. Dhoondein Sitaare is a fun song that talks about keeping our hearts young and always ready for adventures along with our loved ones. The entire process of making this song was super fun and I hope the audiences enjoy it too.”

This story is provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/BusinessWire India)

India’s GDP shows remarkable recovery, grows at 8.4% in July-Sept 2021

New Delhi [India] : Showing signs of recovery during the second quarter following a record growth in the first quarter of financial year 2022, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at 8.45 per cent during the July-September quarter, official data released on Tuesday showed.

The GDP growth in April-June quarter this fiscal stood at 20.1 per cent. The Indian economy had contracted by 24.4 per cent in April-June last year.

The gross domestic product (GDP) had contracted by 7.4 per cent in the corresponding July-September quarter of 2020-21, according to data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO). GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in April-September 2021-22 (H1 2021-22) is estimated at Rs 68.11 lakh crore as against Rs 59.92 lakh crore during the corresponding period of previous year, showing a growth of 13.7 per cent in H1 2021-22 as against a contraction of 15.9 per cent during the same period last year, it stated. The government had imposed a nationwide lockdown at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. China has recorded a growth of 4.9 per cent in the July-September period of 2021.

Reliance Capital welcomes RBI’s decision, blames complexity of litigation for defaults

New Delhi [India]: Reliance Capital Limited welcomed the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision to resolve the company’s debt in accordance with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (IBC) Code.

In a statement, the company blamed the complexity of litigation for defaults and assured to “fully co-operate with the administrator appointed by the RBI for the expeditious resolution of its debt in the best interests of all stakeholders”.
According to RCL’s statement, the complexity of litigation initiated by certain secured and unsecured lenders, resulting in the pendency of over ten cases in various fora, including the Supreme Court, Mumbai High Court, Delhi High Court and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), has effectively stalled the resolution of the company’s debt, despite its best efforts for the past over two years.

“The company owns profitable and valuable operating businesses, through its 100 per cent shareholding in Reliance General Insurance Company (RGIC) and 51 per cent shareholding in RNLIC (a Joint Venture with Nippon Life Co. of Japan), which represent the majority of the value of the Company being a Core Investment Company (CIC), besides other financial investments,” the statement further read.

As per RCL, the company has no outstanding loans from banks and approx 95 per cent of its debt is in the form of debentures.

“The company looks forward to expeditious resolution of its debt and continuation as a well capitalised going concern through the IBC process, in the overall interests of all its stakeholders, including lenders, customers, employees and shareholders,” it added.

The RBI on Monday superseded the board of directors of RCL in view of the defaults by the company in meeting various payment obligations to its creditors and “serious governance concerns which the Board has not been able to address effectively”.

The RBI said in a statement that it has appointed Nageswar Rao, former Executive Director of Bank of Maharashtra as the Administrator of the company under Section 45-IE (2) of the RBI Act.

The central bank said it will shortly initiate the process of resolution of the company under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019.

The bank said it will also move NCLT, Mumbai, for appointing the Administrator as the Insolvency Resolution Professional. (ANI)

Export of gems, jewellery more than double this financial year; rises to USD 23.62 bn, says Piyush Goyal

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Saturday said that India can emerge as the largest diamond trading hub in the world as the exports of gems and jewellery has doubled this financial year.
In a video message during the Inauguration Ceremony of Gems and Jewellery Manufacturing Show-2021, Goyal said, “In the first seven months, upto October 2021, the export was 23.62 billion dollars, as compared to 11.69 billion dollars (+102.09 per cent) for the same period in the previous year,” while informing that the Government has declared the Gems and Jewellery sector as a focus area for export promotion. “We have established ourselves as the largest player in diamond cutting and polishing, we can become the largest international diamond trading hub,” he said.
“Superior quality of our manufacturers has enabled us to penetrate markets like Dubai-UAE, USA, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Latin America,” he added.
The Union Minister also said that the Government has taken various measures to promote investment for the growth of the sector like the Revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme, Reduction in import duty of gold and mandatory hallmarking.
“We have the best artisan force for designing and crafting in the world, there is a need to focus on strengthening creativity and systematic skill development of artisans,” he said while adding that India should make its products a benchmark of quality, “to further expand in new markets and deepen presence in existing ones.”
Stating that India’s Gems and Jewellery sector is known all over the world for its Charm and Cost Effectiveness, Goyal said the sector embodies the spirit of New India, contributing about 7 per cent of India’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing more than 50 lakh workers.
“Our jewellers have mastered the art of diamond manufacturing and jewellery making and have made it a shining example of ‘Make in India’,” he said while mentioning that the sector has the potential to realise the goal of “Local Goes Global and Make in India for the World” and become the driving force of New India.

India looking at USD 2.5 Bn investment in textiles sector, create 0.75 Mn jobs

Dubai [United Arab Emirates]: The ‘Textile Week’ kicked off yesterday at the India Pavilion in EXPO2020 with the country looking at a fresh investment of INR 19,000 crore (USD 2.5 Bn) in the sector, which would be key to a ‘Self-reliant India’ and becoming a preferred global sourcing partner in textiles.
The textile industry will showcase India’s rich cultural heritage during the week and deliberate on key initiatives taken by the government to create an ecosystem for the country to become a preferred sourcing partner for textile and clothing. In a video message, Minister of State for Textile & Railways, Darshana V Jardosh, said, “The present-day Indian textiles not only reflect the glittering past but also cater to the demands of modern times. Indian textile industry is one of the largest in the world, with a large raw material base and manufacturing strength across the value chain.”
She added, “To further improve the industrial ecosystem, scale, and integrated value chain, the textiles sector is a key sector that will help in building an ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ or Self-Reliant India.”
The textiles sector contributes around 2-3% to Indian GDP, 7% to Industrial output, 12% to the export earnings of India, around 11-12% to total merchandize export and around 4.5 crore people are directly engaged with the textiles sector.
Addressing the gathering, Vijoy Kumar Singh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Textile, said, “Despite a decline in total trade of textile & apparel sector during 2020-21, growth in textile and apparel trade reflected an encouraging trend in 2021-22 (April-Sept) with an increase of 69%, and the same stood at USD 24 billion.” He added, “India has a huge potential to grow in the textiles and apparel sector. The focus is on skills up-gradation, financial assistance, and integrating the sector with the latest technology.”
The PLI scheme worth Rs 10,683 (USD 1.45 Bn), launched by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal, will help boost manufacturing, increase exports and attract investments into the sector. India has also launched Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel Parks (PM MITRA) scheme with an outlay of INR 4,445 crore (USD 600 Bn) to build 7 mega textile parks. These parks will create a modern, integrated large-scale, world-class industrial infrastructure including plug ‘n’ play facilities. National Technical Textiles Mission Scheme approved in February 2020 with a four-year implementation period from 2020-21 to 2023-24, is aimed at improving the penetration of technical textiles and strengthening India’s position as a global leader in technical textiles.
Outlining the government initiatives, Jay Karan Singh, Trade Advisor, Ministry of Textiles, said, “The aim is to attract fresh investment of INR 19,000 crore (USD 2.5 Bn) and create an additional 7.5 lakh (0.75 Mn) direct jobs in the textile sector in coming years. The PLI Scheme will also aim to increase the turnover of the textile industry by a whopping INR 3 trillion (USD 40+ Bn) over the next five years.”
The ‘Textile Week’ will see participation from all the stakeholders in the sector, including Dr A Sakthivel, Chairman, Apparel Export Promotion Council; Chandrasekaran Thuvarapalayam Visvanathan, Chairman, Handloom Export Promotion Council; MA Ramasamy, Chairman, Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council; Umar Hameed, Chairman, Carpet Export Promotion Council; Sanjeev Dhir, Chairman, Wool & Woollens Export Promotion Council; Bhadresh Dodhia, Vice Chairman, The synthetic and Reyon Textiles Export Promotion Council; Aakash Mittal, Vice Chairman, The Indian Silk Export Promotion Council; Prem Malik, Past Chairman, The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council & CITI and Vice Chairman, NSL Textiles Ltd. and T Rajkumar, Chairman CITI; Rakesh Kumar Verma, Executive Director, Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts; Siddharth Lohariwal, Vice-Chairman, Jute Products Development & Export Promotion Council and K Kalimuthu, Consul (Trade, Commerce & Economic), Consulate General of India besides other industry stalwarts.

India has set ambitious target of USD 400 billion exports for 2021-22, says Foreign Secretary

New Delhi [India]: Underlining goals of promoting the three Ts – Trade, Tourism and Technology, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday said that India has set an ambitious target of USD 400 billion of exports for the year 2021-22.
The Foreign Secretary made these remarks at the Annual Session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce held in Kolkata titled ‘Bharat@75: Empowering India: Today for Tomorrow’. Referring to the recent interaction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Heads of Indian Missions abroad and with stakeholders in trade and commerce, Shringla said that the PM gave concrete directions on how work can be done to further the goal of promoting the three Ts – Trade, Tourism and Technology.
“An ambitious target of USD 400 billion of exports has been set up for the year 2021-22. The business of Indian diplomacy is, thus, business. We at the Ministry of External Affairs stand ready to help Indian businesses in any way we can,” Shringla said.
During his address, Shringla highlighted that the Indian economy has returned to the high growth path and India’s GDP grew by over 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2021-22.
Emphasising the recovering of India’s economic growth trajectory despite challenging times, the foreign secretary said, “That India would have a role in world affairs little more than an aspiration at the time this Chamber was founded. India was still a subject nation and independence, a distant dream. Independence, the trauma of Partition, and the struggles of emerging nationhood were in the future.”
Noting India’s key role in world affairs, the foreign secretary said that the post-pandemic economy will differ significantly from the present one.

Indian economy has returned to high growth path, says Harsh Vardhan Shringla at Indian Chamber of Commerce meet

Kolkata [India]: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday highlighted that the Indian economy has returned to the high growth path and India’s GDP grew by over 20% in the first quarter of 2021-22.
The Foreign Secretary said this in his address at the Annual Session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce held in Kolkata titled ‘Bharat@75: Empowering India: Today for Tomorrow’. Shringla emphasized India’s economic growth trajectory despite challenging times.
“That India would have a role in world affairs would have been little more than an aspiration at the time this Chamber was founded. India was still a subject nation and independence, a distant dream. Independence, the trauma of Partition, and the struggles of emerging nationhood were in the future,” the Foreign Secretary said
“That India would have a role in world affairs would have been little more than an aspiration at the time this Chamber was founded. India was still a subject nation and independence, a distant dream. Independence, the trauma of Partition, and the struggles of emerging nationhood were in the future,” he added.
The Foreign Secretary emphasized that the post-pandemic economy that will differ significantly from the present one.
“These economic shifts are taking place in the midst of what has been described as “rebalancing.” Very high growth rates in Asian countries, including India, have moved the centre of economic gravity of the world towards Asia, ” the foreign secretary said.
“This has geopolitical and geoeconomic consequences. The Indo-Pacific region, which extends from the shores of America to the east coast of Africa, and includes the Indian Ocean region, is now a major focus of global attention. It generates almost 60 % of the world’s economic output. It also contributes 70% of global economic growth,”
The Foreign Secretary also highlighted India’s expanding role in the Indo-Pacific including its role as a net security provider in the region.

Nitin Gadkari

Target is to take turnover of auto sector to Rs 15 lakh crore in 5 years, says Nitin Gadkari

Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that the Centre’s mission is to increase the turnover of the automobile industry to Rs 15 lakh crore within the next five years.
“The current turnover of the automobile sector of the country is Rs 7.5 lakh crore, out of which Rs 3 crore is export. My aim is to make the auto industry to the volume of Rs 15 lakh crore within the next five year, ” Gadkari said as he inaugurated Maruti Suzuki and Toyota Tsusho Group’s government-approved scrapping in Greater Noida. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the COP26 summit said India is aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2070.
Gadkari said that for this purpose, the government was encouraging the usage of CNG, LNG, green hydrogen, ethanol fuels and electric vehicles.
“Our current import of fossil fuel is currently Rs 8 lakh crores and it will reach Rs 25 lakh crores in the next five years. We are working constantly on the diversification of agriculture towards energy and power sectors. Flex engines are being used in US, Brazil and Canada, where they use 100 per cent petrol or 100 per cent ethanol. Bioethanol is a fuel that comes from sugarcane and molasses. The government has given permission to make bioethanol from rice, corn and foodgrains. The government has taken the decision to open ethanol pumps just like petrol pumps. It is a win-win situation for all stakeholders. It can help in tackling pollution and it is also good for the tribal, agricultural areas of the country,” he added.
He termed the launching of the scrapping unit and the vehicle scrapping policy as ‘historic’.
“The vehicle scrapping policy is extremely important for our ecology and economy. It will reduce pollution generated by old vehicles. Through scraping, raw materials like aluminium, steel, copper etc will be available at lower costs which will also reduce the production cost of the vehicle. Raw material costs can be reduced by at least 33 per cent. It will reduce our dependence on imports as we still import materials like aluminium, copper and many other things. The industry’s issue of shortage of semi-conductors will be resolved by this policy,” he said.
He remarked that the policy will help in converting ‘waste’ into ‘wealth’.
He also said that the vehicle scrapping policy will generate at least 2 lakh jobs directly and will boost the sales of automobiles. “Through the vehicle sales, incremental GST revenue worth Rs 30,000-40,000 lakh crore is also generated, which is beneficial for the government as well,” he added.
Gadkari said that the government aims to set up at least 4 scrapping centres in every district, with at least two in backward areas.
Presenting the Union Budget 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 announced a voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles under which the personal vehicles will undergo a fitness test in automated centres after 20 years while the commercial vehicles will undergo the test after 15 years.
Talking about green hydrogen production, he said that the government has started a mission to support manufacturers in producing it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, the occasion of the 75th Independence Day of the country, announced the National Hydrogen Mission with an aim to make India a hub for the production and export of green hydrogen.

India To Release 5 Million Barrels Crude With US, Japan To reduce Prices

New Delhi [India] : India has decided to release five million barrels of crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) simultaneously with countries like the US, Japan, China and Republic of Korea. In an official statement, the petroleum ministry said that the crude oil release will take place in consultation with these countries, which are also major global energy consumers.

The decision has come amid reports that the US has urged these nations to release crude oil from their respective reserves. The move is being considered to bring down global prices of the commodity. India holds about 26.5 million barrels of oil in is reserves. “India strongly believes that the pricing of liquid hydrocarbons should be reasonable, responsible and be determined by market forces. India has repeatedly expressed concern at supply of oil being artificially adjusted below demand levels by oil producing countries, leading to rising prices and negative attendant consequences,” the statement said.

Official sources said that the government has been consistently reviewing high petroleum and diesel prices on the domestic front and in a bid to control their inflationary trends, excise duty on petrol and diesel had been cut by ₹ 5 and ₹ 10 respectively on November 3, 2021, which became effective from November 4. Earlier Reuters had reported on November 22 that Japanese and Indian officials are working on ways to release national reserves of crude oil in tandem with the United States and other major economies to dampen prices. US President Joe Biden has asked China, India, South Korea and Japan for a coordinated oil stocks release as US gasoline prices soar and his approval ratings plummet ahead of next year’s mid-term congressional elections. The request came after the US government was unable to persuade OPEC+ to pump more oil with major producers arguing the world was not short of crude, Reuters had reported. It had even reported that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signalled his readiness to release stocks over the weekend.

Increase in inflation in Delhi was 2 pc less than national rate in 2020-21, says Manish Sisodia

New Delhi [India]: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday released the Annual Report of the Price Index for Delhi prepared by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics for the Financial Year 2020-21.
On the occasion, Sisodia said, “In the Financial Year 2020-21, the rate of growth in average annual inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 5 per cent nationally while in Delhi this rate was only 3.0 per cent.” In a statement on this report, Manish Sisodia said that the Kejriwal Government is committed to the common man and always stands with him.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the inflation rate increased rapidly in the entire country, the Kejriwal Government did not allow an increase in inflation in Delhi.
“The inflation rate increased sharply during COVID in the country and the prices of essential commodities increased. In Delhi, however, the rate of increase in inflation is much lower than that of the entire country even during this period,” the minister said.
Sisodia said that in comparison to the five metro cities of the country, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore, the increase in inflation was the lowest in Delhi.
“In the financial year 2020-21, the inflation rate increased by 3 per cent in Delhi, while in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, the inflation rate increased by 4.1 per cent, 4.6 per cent, 4.4 per cent and 4 per cent respectively,” Sisodia added.
He said that the increase in inflation in Delhi was 2 per cent less than the national rate. In the Financial Year 2020-21, an increase of 5 per cent was recorded in the inflation rate nationally.
The Finance Minister said that the national inflation rate for food prices was 5.7 per cent in the year 2020-21. However, in Delhi, this rate was recorded at only 4.1 per cent, which is the lowest in the country.
“The Housing Index of the Consumer Price Index saw an increase of 5.2 per cent in entire India in the financial year 2020-21, but in Delhi, this rate was only 3.9 per cent,” he said.
He said, ”The Delhi Government makes efforts from time to time to control and stabilize the prices of commodities through market interventions.”

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