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Date for filing of declaration under PMGKY extended up
Apr 22,2017

The Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana,2016 (PMGKY) had commenced on 17th December, 2016 and was open for declarations up to 31st March, 2017.

Representations from stakeholders have been received stating that in some cases tax, surcharge and penalty have been paid on or before 31st March, 2017 but the corresponding deposit under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016 (Deposit Scheme) could not be made by the said date. Accordingly, DEA vide notification S.O.1218(E) dated 19th April, 2017 has extended the date of making deposit under the Deposit Scheme upto 30th April, 2017 in respect of cases where tax, surcharge and penalty under PMGKY has been paid on or before 31st March, 2017.

Subsequently, CBDT vide Circular No.14 of 2017 dated 21st April, 2017 has extended the date of filing of declaration under PMGKY to 10th May, 2017 in cases where tax, surcharge and penalty under PMGKY has been paid on or before the 31st March, 2017, and deposit under the Deposit Scheme has been made on or before the 30th April, 2017.

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One Crore MGNREGA assets geotagged
Apr 22,2017

Mahatma Gandhi NREGS has reached a new milestone today by geotagging one Crore assets and putting them in public domain.

The scale of rural assets created under MGNREGA is very large. Since the inception of the programme in financial year 2006-07, about 2.82 Crore assets have been created under the programme. On an average, about 30 Lakh Assets are created annually which includes a variety of works such as water harvesting structures, plantations, rural infrastructure, flood control measures, individual assets for sustainable livelihood, community infrastructure and so on. The process of geotagging is going on and all assets under MGNREGS will be geotagged. Special focus is being given to geotag Natural Resource Management works especially the water related works.

GeoMGNREGA is a unique endeavor of the Ministry of Rural Development in association with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO and National Informatics Centre. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Ministry of Rural Development with NRSC on 24th June 2016 for geo-tagging the assets created under MGNREGS in each gram panchayat. Strength of Space technology has been leveraged.

Pursuant to the signing of MoU, training manuals were developed in consultation with NRSC. Training was imparted to around 2.76 Lakh personnel across the country with the help of National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR). The training programme was conducted in the last week of August, 2016. The geotagging exercise started from 1st September, 2016. One Crore assets have been geotagged and put in public domain in the last seven months. It is expected that the exercise will lead to greater transparency and ensure accountability at field level.

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Quality Mark Award Scheme for Dairy Cooperatives initiated by NDDB
Apr 22,2017

As part of the innovative initiatives under the n++White Revolutionn++ umbrella Schemes, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has supported the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) developed initiative of n++Quality Markn++ Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives to promote and encourage enhancement of safety, quality and hygiene of milk and milk products manufactured by dairy cooperatives. It is aimed at bringing about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumer to ensure availability of safe and quality of milk and products both for the domestic and foreign market. The Quality Markn++ Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives in the country has been initiated to instill confidence in the consumers for the quality of milk being marketed by them by ensuring availability of safe and good quality milk and milk products. The quality mark scheme was rolled out on 6th January-2016 after deliberating on the process and award mechanism for over a year. The initiative does not propose any new/ additional system for Food Safety and Quality Management but lays down minimum standards against each link of the processes required for ensuring quality and safety.

The NDDB is in the process of registering the quality mark logo under Trademarks Act, 1998. The Dairy units which meet the criteria for award of quality mark will be allowed to use the logo on the package containing milk and milk products and the award of the quality mark shall be specific for location of the dairy unit as well as for the process for a particular product. The mark may be applied to the packaging or printed on a label affixed to the package. The logo/symbol of quality mark on milk and milk product packages indicates that the dairy unit has adopted and implemented all the processes required as per the food safety and quality management system for manufacture of milk and milk products as per the set quality parameters.

The assessment is a two-step process involving pre-assessment and a final assessment. The pre-assessment largely covers the village level procurement and processing infrastructure availability, training manpower and the retail sales. Only those dairy units that score over 70% in the preliminary assessment are considered for final assessment which is done by a team of three experts of which one is an external expert. The final assessment is made for the evaluation of 45 critical and 97 major parameters that influence the quality of the processed milk and milk products. The award of Quality Mark shall be valid for three years subject to maintenance of quality, food safety standards and compliance with terms and conditions of the agreement.

The guideline document for award of quality mark was finalized based on the discussions of the working group in the meetings at Anand and Delhi in November, 2014 and August 11, 2015. Thereafter, comments were sought from the members which were discussed during the roll out meeting at Anand, on 6th January, 2016 by incorporating the feedback from different stakeholders. After the finalization of quality mark documents, it was circulated to the State Milk Federations & District Milk Unions. The interested State Milk Federations /Cooperative Dairies /Educational Institutions / Govt. Dairy Units are required to apply for the award of Quality Mark Management (QM) document. The document has been finalized after a series of deliberations which began in November, 2014 and was rolled out in January 2016.

An eleven member Management Committee has been envisaged to oversee the activities of the Quality Mark. The Management Committee has members including the representatives of DADF, FSSAI and Managing Directors of four State Milk Federations representing the regions and two Experts in Dairying. The first meeting of the Management Committee of the Quality Mark was held at Anand on March 15, 2017. Representative of the Food Safety and Standards Authority & DADF also attended the meeting. In the meeting the formal nationwide launch of the Quality Mark was discussed and it was recommended to have a formal launch of the Quality Mark after the current Parliament Session by the Honble Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

Since roll out of quality mark initiative by NDDB, on 6th January, 2016, NDDB has so far received 53 applications (comprising Karnataka-13, Mother Dairy-8, Punjab-4, Tamil Nadu-5, Haryana-4, Bihar-11, Maharashtra-4, MP-4) for award of the Quality Mark. Out of 53, 30 applications have been assessed and 13 Dairy Units have been found eligible for award of Quality Mark logo by NDDB.

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India and Republic of Korea sign Inter-Governmental MOU for Defence Industry Co-Operation in Shipbuilding
Apr 21,2017

India and the Republic of Korea (RoK) signed an Inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Defence Industry Co-operation in Shipbuilding here today. The MoU was signed by Secretary (Defence Production), Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta from the Indian side and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA), Mr. Chang Myoung-Jin from the RoK side. The MoU will help the Make in India initiative of the Government of India.

The salient points of the MoU are as follows:-

n++ Develop and strengthen defence industry co-operation between Republic of India and the Republic of Korea.

n++ The two sides will recommend the organisations for collaborating in the implementation of specific projects.

n++ The organisations recommended for co-operative projects may conclude separate agreements (contracts) between them to implement the specific projects.

n++ The MoU will come into effect from the date of signature by both sides and will be initially valid for a period of five years and would be automatically extendable for further successive five year at a time.

The Inter-Governmental MoU, was conceived under the overall umbrella of the Special Strategic Partnership between both sides as declared in the Joint Statement of the Prime Minister of India and the President of RoK in May 2015.

To substantiate the Special Strategic Partnership, the two sides had inter-alia agreed to encourage greater co-operation between their shipyards in the defence sector. Accordingly, it was decided to sign an inter-governmental MoU on Defence Industry Co-operation in Shipbuilding. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has accorded its approval for signing the above MoU with RoK and also for nominating Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Visakhapatnam from the Indian side for the collaboration. RoK will indicate the name of its recommended organisation for the collaboration in due course of time.

The co-operation with the recommended Korean Shipyard would enable HSL to upgrade and modernise its facilities and execute naval shipbuilding projects in a timely and cost effective manner. HSL would be able to imbibe best practices in shipbuilding leading to effective project management.

As a result of the proposed partnership, the production of HSL is expected to grow substantially, leading to creation of more employment avenues. Further, in consultation with the recommended Korean partner, it is planned to identify and develop indigenous sources/vendors for the supply of majority of the material and equipment that would be needed in co-operative naval projects, thus paving the way for the development of ancillary industry /maritime cluster in the region.

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World Bank Approves $ 375 Million Loan for Developing National Waterway-1
Apr 21,2017

In a major boost towards realising countrys ambitious inland waterways project, the World Bank has approved a $375 million loan for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1(River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).

The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

Under the project, there are going to be three multi-modal terminals--one each at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Sahibganj (Jharkhand), and Haldia (West Bengal), two inter-modal terminals- at Kalughat and Ghazipur, a new Navigation Lock at Farakka, five Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) terminals, development of Ferry services at Varanasi, Patna, Bhagalpur, Munger, Kolkata and Haldia and Vessel repair and maintenance facilities.

While the contracts for construction of multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj, and a new Navigation Lock at Farakka have been awarded, and the work at respective sites has commenced, the construction of multi-modal terminal at Haldia will begin soon. The foundation stone for the multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj was laid by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 6th April, 2017. In August 2016, the Minister for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for multi-modal terminal at Varanasi.

Jal Marg Vikas Project also includes proposal for Performance Based Maintenance Dredging Contract for Provision of Least Assured Depth (LAD) of 3 metres between Farakka to Kahalgaon, and Sultanganj to Barh; LAD of 2.5 metres between Barh to Doriganj, and Doriganj to Ghazipur; and LAD of 2.2 metres between Ghazipur to Varanasi.

In addition, the project will enable IWAI setting up of River Information Service System on NW -1 for the first time in India. River Information System (RIS) are equipment, hardware and software information technology (IT) related services designed to optimize traffic and transport processes in inland navigation.

JMVP will also support the design and development of low draft vessels capable of carrying up to 2000 tonnes of cargo in shallower depths.

NW-1 is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, serving the major cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Patna, Howrah, Haldia and Kolkata, and their industrial hinterland including several industries located in the Ganga basin. The Rail and Road corridors in this region are heavily saturated. Hence, the development of NW-1 would provide an alternative, viable, economical, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport. The waterway will act as a catalyst in the socio-economic development of the regions by creating new business and employment opportunities.

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Patanjali to go global says Acharya Balkrishna
Apr 21,2017

Shri Acharya Balkrishna, co-founder and CEO of Patanjali Ayurveda announced Patanjalis plans of going global in the near future.

He urged players of food processing sector to come together and promote heathy food products.

n++This initiative taken by FICCI is an example of industry players taking a step towards making Indian food industry an international brand accepted by all. Patanjali Ayurveda is committed to go global and fight adulteration in Food industry,n++ said Shri Acharya Balakrishna, CEO, Patanjali Ayurveda.

Patanjali already has its presence in many countries thereby giving a push to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modis drive of Make in India.

The Food Buyer Seller Meet is an unique initiative taken by FICCI to promote Indian Food Industries and showcase brand India as global suppliers of various food products. Buyers from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, European and African countries are participating in the food buyer seller meet. More than 1500 buyer seller meetings are expected to take place at this event. The estimated worth of business to be generated from this event is one hundred crores rupees.

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Water level of 91 Major Reservoirs of the Country goes down by two per cent
Apr 21,2017

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on April 20, 2017 was 46.02 BCM which is 29% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 31 for the week ending on April 13, 2017. The level of April 20, 2017 was 133% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 106% of storage of average of last ten years.

The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM which is about 62% of the total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. 37 Reservoirs out of these 91 have hydropower benefit with installed capacity of more than 60 MW.

REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS:-

NORTHERN REGION

The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are six reservoirs under Central Water Commission (CWC) monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.01 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 4.50 BCM which is 25% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 22% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 30% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year but is less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

EASTERN REGION

The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 8.68 BCM which is 46% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 32% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 32% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

WESTERN REGION

The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 27 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 27.07 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 9.81 BCM which is 36% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 19% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 35% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

CENTRAL REGION

The Central region includes States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. There are 12 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 42.30 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 17.43 BCM which is 41% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 29% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 26% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

SOUTHERN REGION

The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 31 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 5.61 BCM which is 11% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 14% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 22% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

States having better storage than last year for corresponding period are Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) and Telangana. States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

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Ind-Ra: Manufacturing Exporters to Exhibit Improvements in Credit Profiles in FY18
Apr 21,2017

The double-digit growth in merchandise exports in the last two months was driven by the recovery in global commodity prices rather than higher volumes, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The agency expects the inflationary impact of higher commodity prices to result in better demand conditions for manufacturing exporters. The broad based increase in commodity prices will also benefit the nominal EBITDA generation and consequently the credit profiles of exporting corporates in commodity-linked sectors. Better demand conditions in western economies and the knock-on effect of higher commodity prices on emerging economies will result in higher export volumes over FY18 for sectors such as textiles, auto and auto components, chemicals and gems and jewellery.

Indian merchandise exports (in USD terms) rose for the seventh consecutive month in March (27.6% yoy), resulting in a cumulative growth of 4.7% in FY17 (FY16: -15.5%). The growth in March 2017 was led by both oil (69.1% yoy) as well as non-oil (23.2% yoy) exports and reflected the second consecutive month of double digit growth (February: 17.5% yoy). While, merchandise exports have grown substantially over the last couple of months, a closer look at manufacturing data suggests that volume growth across exporting corporates may not have been broad-based. In February 2017, the manufacturing component of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) contracted by 2% (April 2016- February 2017: negative 0.3%). Similarly, cargo shipment volumes at major ports in the month of February 2017 grew by a mere 0.3% yoy (April 2016- February 2017: 6.5%). The growth in Indian merchandise exports also coincides with export growth demonstrated by other Asian peers, which have also benefitted from rising commodity prices. At the end of March 2017, the World Banks non-energy price index, energy price index and base metal price index were up 9.3% yoy, 38% yoy and 22.4% yoy respectively.

As per the Ministry of Commerce data, merchandise exports (in USD) to the United States and the EU in March 2017 increased 8.99% yoy and 9.27% yoy respectively, reflecting the improving consumption scenario in both regions. Indian passenger vehicle and MHCV exports which are largely shipped to the US and EU registered a volume growth of 16.2% and 24.2% respectively (Source: SIAM) in FY17, reflecting the supportive demand conditions. Furthermore, retail sales in western economies continue to grow at a healthy pace which bodes well for corporates exporting textile products. However, Ind-Ra believes that textile exporters credit profile will not benefit significantly due to their limited ability to control prices, owing to stiff competition from other Asian exporters. Gems and jewellery companies will benefit from the sustained improvement in demand conditions which is expected to lead to higher discretionary spending.

Globally, demand from developed economies remained healthy over FY17, however merchandise exports to Asian countries (about 50% share in exports) continued to be modest over FY17. Deliveries to Africa and Latin America remained muted, as was reflected in de-growth in the value of shipments. Reflecting the subdued demand conditions, two wheeler exports de-grew by 5.8% in FY17 (Source: SIAM). Nonetheless, Ind-Ra believes that continued growth in developed markets, coupled with the recovery in commodity prices will translate to moderate improvement in export volumes to Asia and Africa as well over FY18.

While, the agency expects the gradual recovery in demand conditions to continue, Indian exporters will continue to face down-side risks from protectionist policies in the US, a further slowdown in Chinese growth and will remain exposed to the effects of changes in commodity prices. Protectionist policies are expected to have a varied impact on exporting corporates with the service sector expected to be impacted to a greater degree. Software service export growth remained muted recently (3QFY17: -1.2%, 2QFY17: -0.1%, 1QFY17: 0.3%), as incremental IT spending by global corporates have remained muted. Lower revenue growth of Indian IT exporters will get exacerbated by declining margins due to adverse immigration policies which will lead to higher employee costs.

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C-DOT develops CCSP (C-DOT Common Service Platform) to make smart cities more efficient, economical and future proof
Apr 21,2017

Government of Indias announcement of Smart Cities project in mission mode has generated a lot of interest. The concept of smart cities is incomplete without intervention of communication and Information Technology.

A network of wireless sensors, a reliable public communication infrastructure and innovative applications working on big data and analytics will help us realise smart cities. Innovative local solutions will have to be found for local problems. Though this offers great opportunities to industry, including, MSMEs and start-ups. But adoption of standards will ensure that solution developers do not reinvent the wheel but devote their energies to the actual building of product and on innovations. Further, the interoperability will be another dividend of a standards based approach.

Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI), the Indian telecom Standards Development Organisation (SDO) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), an established and highly respected, 29 years old telecom SDO have joined hands to unroll a collaboration project on ICT Standardisation in an endeavour of creating awareness about telecom standards and promoting their wider adoption that Recognising C-DOTs R&D strengths, an India - European Union project called India-EU Cooperation on ICT-Related Standardisation, Policy and Legislation is organising a workshop on n++Future proof smart cities with a common service layer: a standards driven approachn++ at C-DOT campus. Some of the global smart cities will be sharing the standards driven approach they have adopted for building smart cities in their countries.

The workshop aims to provide a platform where foreign and Indian experts from IoT and M2M forums, academia, R&D, industry and senior officials from Ministries of Communications, Urban Development and Electronics and Information Technology and cities named in Indian Smart Cities project can interact to share knowledge and experiences. It is also planned to enrich the interaction by inviting City Councillors from Europe and Korea who have actually implemented smart city projects in their respective cities.

C-DOTs offering:

C-DOT has developed CCSP(C-DOT Common Service Platform), the oneM2M standards compliant common service platform which can be deployed on any off-the-shelf generic server platforms or cloud infrastructure. The business application providers can deploy their oneM2M compliant applications in either co-located infrastructure or on any public or private cloud.

Using the CCSP platform from C-DOT, the smart cities can reap all the benefits of using a standards compliant horizontal service layer and thus be more efficient, economical and future proof.

Along with the CCSP C-DOT has also developed various oneM2M indigenously designed hardware nodes like AND (Application Dedicated Node), ASN (Application Service Node) and MN(Middle node).

To effectively showcase the strength of the platform, C-DOT has also developed various applications like Smart Living, Smart Street Light, Carbon Footprint Monitoring Application and Power Monitoring which are fully oneM2M compliant.

C-DOT has also participated in two international interoperability events where the CCSP and the ADN were tested for interoperability with many other oneM2M compliant nodes from various international organisations like Interdigital, Herit, Huawei, HPE, NTT, KETI, LAAS-CNRS etc. C-DOT also participated in the conformance testing with ETSI.

Brief on P.D.O. (Public Data Office)

C-DOT PDO is ready to bring yet another revolution by taking internet connectivity to every nook and corner of the country like it did in the 1980s when PCOs changed the Indian telecom scene in by taking telephones to rural India. C-DOT hopes that PDOs would bring next telecom revolution by taking internet connectivity to the masses. Like PCOs, the PDOs would enable small shop owners increase their income by selling data vouchers. This will also encourage village-level entrepreneurship and provide strong employment opportunities, especially in rural and semi urban areas.

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Government of India to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18- Series I
Apr 21,2017

Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18- Series I. Applications for the bond will be accepted from April 24, 2017 to April 28, 2017. The Bonds will be issued on May 12, 2017.

The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange.

The features of the Bond are given below:

Sl. No.ItemDetails1Product nameSovereign Gold Bond 2017-18 Gô Series I2IssuanceTo be issued by Reserve Bank India on behalf of the Government of India.3EligibilityThe Bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities including individuals, HUFs, Trusts, Universities and Charitable Institutions. 4DenominationThe Bonds will ben++denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.5TenorThe tenor of the Bond will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.6Minimum sizeMinimum permissible investment will be 1 gram of gold.7Maximum limitThe maximum amount subscribed by an entity will not be more than 500 grams per person per fiscal year (April-March). A self-declaration to this effect will be obtained.8Joint holderIn case of joint holding, the investment limit of 500 grams will be applied to the first applicant only.9Issue pricePrice of Bond will be fixed in Indian Rupees on the basis of simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Limited for the week (Monday to Friday) preceding the subscription period. The issue price of the Gold Bonds will be Rs. 50 per gram less than the nominal value.10Payment optionPayment for the Bonds will be through cash payment (upto a maximum of Rs. 20,000) or demand draft or cheque or electronic banking.11Issuance formThe Gold Bonds will be issued as Government of India Stocks under GS Act, 2006. The investors will be issued a Holding Certificate for the same. The Bonds are eligible for conversion into demat form.12Redemption priceThe redemption price will be in Indian Rupees based on previous weeks (Monday-Friday) simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity published by IBJA.13Sales channelBonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices as may be notified and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange, either directly or through agents. 14Interest rateThe investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50 per cent per annum payable semi-annually on the nominal value.15CollateralBonds can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.16KYC DocumentationKnow-your-customer (KYC) norms will be the same as that for purchase of physical gold. KYC documents such asn++Voter ID, Aadhaar card/PAN or TAN /Passport will be required.17Tax treatmentThe interest on Gold Bonds shall be taxable as per the provision of Income Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961). The capital gains tax arising on redemption of SGB to an individual has been exempted. The indexation benefits will be provided to long term capital gains arising to any person on transfer of bond18TradabilityBonds will be tradable on stock exchanges within a fortnight of the issuance on a date as notified by the RBI. 19SLR eligibilityThe Bonds will be eligible for Statutory Liquidity Ratio purposes.20CommissionCommission for distribution of the bond shall be paid at the rate of 1% of the total subscription receivedn++ byn++ then++ receiving offices and receiving offices shall share at least 50% of the commission so received with the agents or sub agents for the business procured through them.

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NALCO OFS over-subscribed 3 times; Government of India to raise Rs. 1200 crores
Apr 21,2017

The Central Government has successfully divested 9.2% of paid-up capital in National Aluminum Company (NALCO) to raise Rs. 1,200 crore to begin FY 2017-18 with a bang. Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), Ministry of Finance, Government of India is set a record target of realizing Rs. 72,500 crore through disinvestment. This follows an all-time high achievement of Rs. 46,247 crore during 2016-17.

Originally, the disinvestment in NALCO OFS was pegged at 5% of paid-up capital, but seeing the overwhelming response from the market, DIPAM exercised the green shoe option to retain over-subscription and raised the offer to 9.2% on Wednesday,19th April, 2017. With this transaction, the Government of India shareholding in NALCO has come down to 65.37%.

If the original OFS offer of 5% is considered, the issue is over-subscribed by 2.56 times and if the revised offer of 9.2% is taken, the issue is subscribed 1.43 times. The green shoe option (over-subscription option) was used by the Government for the first time, since the modified OFS procedure spanning 2 days (T and T+1 day) was put in place by SEBI in 2016.

The retail investor continues to back disinvestments of CPSEs by DIPAM. For the fourth time in a row, retail investors out-performed institutional investors. This is particularly satisfying to DIPAM, as one of the objectives of disinvestment policy is to make PSU shareholding broad-based so that nations wealth is shared by its citizens.

Encouraged by the successful completion of NALCO OFS, DIPAM is gearing

- A series of disinvestments throughout the year to meet its target.

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Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on e-Tourist Visa were 9.05 lakh during March 2017
Apr 20,2017

Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) & FTAs on e- Tourist Visa on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI).

The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs & FTAs on e-Tourist Visa from tourism during the month of March, 2017.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

n++ The number of FTAs in March, 2017 were 9.05 lakh as compared to FTAs of 8.17 lakh in March, 2016 and 7.29 lakh in March, 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FTAs in March, 2017 over March, 2016 is 10.7% compared to 12.1% in March, 2016 over March, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- March 2017 were 28.45 lakh with a growth of 13.4%, as compared to the FTAs of 25.08 lakh with a growth of 10.0% in January- March 2015 over January- March 2014.

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during March 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (21.31%) followed by USA (10.39%), UK (10.30%), Russian Fed. (4.26%), Malaysia (3.41%), Canada (3.28%), Germany (3.03%), Sri Lanka (2.91%), China (2.83%), France (2.79%), Australia (2.54%), Japan(2.34%), Afghanistan (1.82%), Singapore (1.66%) and Iran (1.54%).

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during March 2017 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (31.25%) followed by Mumbai Airport (13.73%), Haridaspur Land check post (12.23%), Chennai Airport (6.60%), Goa Airport (5.25%), Bengaluru Airport (4.85%), Kolkata Airport (4.42%), Cochin Airport (2.42%), Gede Rail Land checkpost (2.33%), Hyderabad Airport (2.24%), Ghojadanga land checkpost (1.68%), Amritsar Airport (1.56%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.33%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.32%) and Trivandrum (1.28%).

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on e-Tourist Visa

n++ During the month of March, 2017 total of 1.46 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1.16 lakh during the month of March 2016 registering a growth of 25.8%.

n++ During January- March 2017, a total of 4.67 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 3.21 lakh during January-March 2016, registering a growth of 45.6%.

n++ The percentage shares of top 15 source countries availing e- Tourist Visa facilities during March, 2017 were as follows:

UK (21.5%), USA (11.8%), Russian Fed (10.3%), France (6.4%), China (6.2%), Germany (4.8%), Canada (3.7%), Australia (3.7%), Korea (Rep.of) (2.2%), South Africa (1.9%), Malaysia (1.7%), Singapore (1.7%), Spain (1.6%), Netherlands (1.5%) and Japan (1.3%).

n++ The percentage shares of top 15 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during March, 2017 were as follows:

New Delhi Airport (46.5%), Mumbai Airport (17.1%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (13.8%), Chennai Airport (5.5%), Bengaluru Airport (4.8%), Kochi Airport (2.9%), Kolkata Airport (2.3%), Amritsar Airport (1.8%),Hyderabad Airport (1.7%), Trivandrum Airport (1.2%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.0%), Tirchy Airport (0.6%), Jaipur Airport (0.6%),Gaya Airport (0.1%)and Luck now Airport(0.1%) .

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Foreign Exchange Earnings (In Rupee and US $ Terms) Through Tourism in India in March 2017
Apr 20,2017

Ministry of Tourism estimates monthly Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through Tourism in India, both in rupee and dollar terms. Based on the credit data of Travel Head from Balance of Payments of RBI.

The highlights of the estimates of FEEs from Tourism in India for March 2017 are as below:

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through Tourism (in Rs. terms)

n++ FEEs during the month of March 2017 were Rs.14, 953 crore as compared to Rs. 13,115 crore in March 2016 and `11,133 crore in March 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms in March 2017 over March 2016 was 14.0% compared to positive growth of 17.8% in March 2016 over March 2015.

n++ FEEs during the period January- March 2017 were Rs. 46,310 crore with a growth of 14.6%, as compared to the FEE of Rs. 40,411 crore with a growth of 15.9% in January- March 2016 over January- March 2015.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through Tourism (in US $ terms)

n++ FEEs in US$ terms during the month of March 2017 were US$ 2.268 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.958 billion during the month of March 2016 and US$ 1.783 billion in March 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in March 2017 over March 2016 was 15.8% compared to a positive growth of 9.8% in March 2016 over March 2015.

n++ FEEs during the period January-March 2017 were US$ 6.907 billion with a growth of 15.4% as compared to the FEE of US$ 5.986 billion with a growth of 6.8% in January- March 2016 over January- March 2015.

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Strong Rupee and Weak Global Trade to Dent Margins of Textile and Apparel Exporters
Apr 20,2017

Textile & Apparel (T&A) exporters earnings and EBITDA margins will be impacted in the near term due to the Indian rupees (INR) 5% appreciation against the dollar in 2017 ytd and weak apparel imports from traditional markets such as US and UK, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The on-going strength of the INR vs USD as reflected in the 3-month USDINR futures trading at around 65.19, constrains the price competitiveness of the Indian textile exporters. However Ind-Ra believes that apparel exporters value-added garments mix, partially hedged forex exposure, debt-light structure and reasonable liquidity to support the overall business and financial risk profile. Furthermore strong domestic foothold of large spinners and weavers will mitigate any major impact on their business and credit risk profile.

Unabated strengthening of INR vis a vis USD in the current calendar year has added to the challenges of the T&A industry. Ind-Ra had highlighted in the report Stable Input Prices, Fiscal Incentives to Support Textile and Cotton in FY18 the muted performance in 3QFY17 due to high cotton prices (17% higher prices yoy), demonetization and slow global trade. The easing of liquidity over February - March 2017 propelled a recovery in production output and export volumes; however Ind-Ra believes export realisations will get dented due to the strong rupee.

More than 70% of Indian T&A exports are dollar denominated. Strong INR vs USD is likely to have an adverse impact on the export trade volumes and earnings, since fresh export orders will have reduced competitiveness. As on date, INR has strengthened by more than 5% in 2017, while there has been negligible or a favourable movement of 1%, 0.5% and -1% for major competing nations namely China, Bangladesh and Vietnam respectively. Ind-Ra estimates that INR realisations will shrink by 3%-5% in the near term and hence would impact the profitability of the companies across the textile value chain. Ind-Ra believes that this may offset some of the gains which will accrue from the government of Indias export stimulus package, GST implementation and USAs exit from the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Ind-Ra believes that export-oriented apparel manufacturers with unhedged receivable positions will be the hurt the most, due to their geographically concentrated (US and Europe) earnings profile, low market share and restricted bargaining power with their global clients. Ind-Ra expects EBITDA margin erosion of around 150bp yoy in 4QFY17.

Earnings and EBITDA margins of Ind-Ra rated large spinners and weavers will be relatively less impacted due to their diverse earnings profile, coupled with cost and quality leadership of their products. While domestic demand has recovered from the negative impact of demonetisation, however strong cotton prices coupled with increased price competitiveness of imported yarn and fabric will pressurise margins. Thus balance sheet deleveraging over FY17-FY18 may not be met fully, due to the likely shortfall in operating profits.

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Ind-Ra:Softened Interest Rates Likely to Brighten Solar Sector
Apr 20,2017

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) estimates that INR560 billion out of total debt of INR1,730 billion could be refinanced at a lower borrowing cost across various infrastructure sub-sectors in its portfolio till FY19. Also, there could be a shift in the type of instruments issued for the purpose of raising capital in the sector largely to the capital market instruments, namely bonds, from the conventional term loans.

Ind-Ra estimates that for each 1% reduction in interest rate, the incremental surplus as a % of cash flow available for debt service would be highest in toll roads, followed by solar and wind energy. This could mainly be because the interest burden on these sectors is high as most of these projects are in the ramp-up stage.

Solar energy projects owing to their stable revenue profiles and better counterparties and toll road projects with reasonable track records and stronger sponsors and longer tail period, than other sub-sectors, appear to be the ideal candidates for refinancing. Though Ind-Ra expects a replacement of banks loans by bonds, traction will be witnessed through infrastructure investment trusts.

Also, Ind-Ra observes that the benefit of interest rate reduction will be the least for the annuity sector, followed by the thermal power sector, because refinancing risk has already been factored in at the time of initial funding for the former and due to minimal improvement in persistent issues in the latter.

An estimated INR45 million/project/year is projected to be the surplus for FY18, based on the average interest rate reduction of around 65bp witnessed for Ind-Ra rated entities across various infra sectors. The debt service coverage ratio is likely to improve 0.04x in FY18 across infra sectors.

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