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Indias crude oil refinery production rises 2.5% in August 2016
Sep 22,2016

Indias crude oil refinery output increased 2.5% to 19.75 mt in August 2016 over August 2015. The output of public sector refineries improved 4.2% to 10.21 mt, while the output of private refineries also rose 0.8% to 8.09 mt. The refinery output of public-private JV refiners moved up 1.0% to 1.45 mt in August 2016.

Among public refineries, the output of Chennai Petroleum Corporation jumped 87.8% to 0.92 mt, while the output of Bharat Petroleum Corporation moved up 6.1% to 2.06 mt, and Indian Oil Corporation 4.7% to 4.63 mt in August 2016 over August 2015. The output of Mangalore Refineries also inched up 2.4% to 1.26 mt, but that of Numaligarh Refineries declined 12.4% to 0.23 mt, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation 23.7% to 1.12 mt in August 2016.

Among private refiners, the output of Reliance Petroleum increased 0.7% to 6.39 mt, while that of Essar Oil improved 1.5% to 1.70 mt in August 2016 over August 2015. Among JV refineries, the output of Bharat Oman declined 0.6% to 0.57 mt, while the output of HPCL Mittal rose 2.0% to 0.88 mt in August 2015.

The cumulative refinery output increased 7.3% to 99.17 mt in April-August 2016. The output of public refineries increased 10.3% to 52.95 mt, while that of private refineries rose 3.7% to 39.31 mt. The refinery output of JV refineries moved up 6.0% to 6.91 mt in April-August 2016.

Among public refineries, the output of Numaligarh Refineries improved 27.8% , Indian Oil Corporation 14.2% , Hindustan Petroleum Corporation 12.4% , Chennai Petroleum Corporation 12.3% , Bharat Petroleum Corporation 3.6% and Mangalore Refineries 0.5% .

The overall capacity utilization was lower at 103.4% in August 2016 compared with 107.7% in August 2015, while it was higher at 105.5% in April-August 2016 compared with 105.2% in April-August 2015.

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Indias crude oil production declines 3.9% in August 2016
Sep 22,2016

Indias crude oil production declined 3.9% to 3.07 million tonnes (mt) in August 2016 over August 2015. Crude oil output of ONGC fell 3.3% to 1.87 mt, while that of Oil India also declined 1.4% to 0.27 mt. Further, the crude oil production of private and joint venture (JV) companies dipped 5.8% to 0.93 mt. ONGCs offshore output declined 5.3% to 1.36 mt, while onshore production rose at 2.5% to 0.50 mt.

Crude oil output fell 3.1% to 15.15 mt in April-August period of the fiscal year ending August 2017 (April-August 2016), snapping marginal 0.5% rise recorded in the corresponding period of last year. Output of ONGC eased 1.7% to 9.23 mt, while that of Oil India declined 3.3% to 1.34 mt and private companies fell 5.9% to 4.58 mt in April-August 2016 over April-August 2015.

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Government announces enhanced support under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) of the Foreign Trade Policy
Sep 22,2016

In the backdrop of the continued challenging global environment being faced by Indian exporters, Department of Commerce has extended support to certain new products and enhanced the rate of incentives for certain other specified products under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). This has been implemented through DGFT public Notice No 32 dated 22 September 2016.

The following are the major highlights of the support:-

Addition of new products -

2901 additional products falling under different product categories have been added. These include items in the following areas:

Many items of traditional medicines like Ashwagandha herbs and its extracts, other herbs, extracts of different items.

Certain marine products, sea feed items.

Onion dried, processed cereal products and other value added items of plastics, lather articles, suitcases etc

Industrial products under different categories, including engineering goods, fabrics, garments, chemicals, ceramics, glass products, leather goods, newspapers, periodicals, silk items, made ups, wool products, tubes, pipes etc.

Increase in MEIS rates -

Rates of 575 product items falling under 11 products categories have been increased. These product include products of iron and steel, handicrafts, moulded and extruded goods, rubber, ceramic, glass, auto tyres and tubes, industrial machinery engineering items, IC Engines, machine tools / parts, items of wood, paper, stationary, footwear, auto seats, steel furniture, prefabs, items under the category of butter, ghee and cheese, dried egg albumin and rubber products

With this the total number of items covered under the scheme has been increased from 5012 to 7103. The total support extended by Government of India under the scheme has been enhanced from the present Rs 22,000 crore to Rs 23,500 crore per annum.

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Tyre Sector Volumes to Grow Around 7% in FY17
Sep 22,2016

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) expects the overall tyre volumes (in numbers) to grow around 7% in the FY17 (FY16 Ind-Ra estimates: around 4%) due to a steady demand from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and an improvement in replacement demand. However, revenue growth for sector companies might be lower than the overall growth in volume demand due to an increase in imports as well as pricing pressure.

Among the key segments, volumes in the truck & bus segment (T&B) are expected to grow around 4% yoy (FY16: around 1%) in FY17, driven by an improvement in replacement demand and strong growth in the T&B radial segment, while volumes in the passenger car radial segment are expected to grow around 10% yoy (FY16: around 8%) with growth in OEM auto volumes. Two-wheeler volumes are expected to grow around 6% yoy (FY16: around 4%) in FY17, driven by higher volume growth in the scooter segment (around 15%) along with an improvement in volumes in the motorcycle segment (around 3%). Ind-Ra expects volumes in the truck & bus radial segment to grow around 16% higher than the overall T&B segment. The growth in tonnage volume would be lower due to a higher contribution of low tonnage two-wheeler tyres (around 50%) to the overall volumes for the industry.

Rising imports trend could continue increasing the pressure on the volumes of domestic manufacturers in FY17. Import volumes in both passenger car radial and truck & bus radial segments grew 22% and 40% yoy, respectively, in 1QFY17. The T&B segment accounts for around 55% of the industry revenue and a continued increase in imports in this segment could lead to a revenue decline for domestic tyre companies. Domestic T&B production declined 2% yoy in FY16 to 16.8 million tyres, driven primarily by the decline in production in the truck & bus bias (TBB) segment. Ind-n++Ras analysis indicates that 20%n++30% of the revenue of the top players in the industry is contributed by the TBB segment. Increased radialisation due to lown++-cost imports could lead to these companies seeing a rapid volume and revenue decline in this segment. Lower capacity utilisation of the existing domestic TBB capacity could exacerbate the pricing pressures in the segment.

The revenue growth of major tyre manufacturers is likely to be in the range of 3%-6% (FY16: below negative 2.5% to positive 2.5%) in FY17, with higher volume growth negating the year-on-year decline in pricing. Companies could see a moderation in EBITDA margins, due to the recent increase in input costs as well as pricing pressures. EBITDA margins reached historical peak levels in FY16. The recent increase in rubber prices is likely to impact the profitability of tyre companies on a quarterly basis. But, the trend of increase in prices is unlikely to be sustained and prices will stabilise at the current levels due to the prevailing rubber demand-supply dynamics. Crude oil prices have also increased from the low levels seen in February 2016, but are unlikely to increase further. Thus, tyre companies will not face increased input pressure over the next 12 months. Marginal deterioration in the credit profile is likely for some companies undertaking capex.

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SBI index shows decline in growth in September 2016
Sep 22,2016

The yearly SBI Composite Index for September 2016 is indicating a downward momentum and is at 50.2 (Low Growth), compared to last months 52.7 (Moderate Growth), and above the benchmark level of 50. The Monthly Index declined to 50.8 (Low Growth) in September 2016 from 49.9 (Low Decline) in August 2016.

The credit off-take (YoY) is at 9.8% in 02 September 2016, in single digit.

The bad thing is that Debt Weighted Credit Ratio worsens in FY2016 (All Rating Agencies) - the ratio declined below 1 in FY2016 - from 1.24 to 0.79 in FY2016. Hopefully, there should be a medium term course correction.

The SBI Economic Research Department expect that the credit cycle will turn for the better in a gradual manner. The good thing is that a part of the slowdown in corporate credit growth in the current fiscal is because of deleveraging by corporates and subsequent repayments. Retail credit growth continues to be strong. Additionally, about 48% of the credit upgrades in H2FY2016 was due to better order book / healthy demand, improvement in profit margins and efficient management of working capital.

Overall, demand still remain a significant laggard in the system. With the pay commission arrears implemented from August 2016, bank deposits have shown a sizeable growth in September (over 20% of the incremental addition in current fiscal is attributable to such). This will lead to increased consumer demand ahead of festive season. The SBI Economic Research Department is penciling in a 50 bp rate cut by RBI MPC in current fiscal.

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FM: Infrastructure is key to growth of economy
Sep 22,2016

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that infrastructure is key to growth of economy. Shri Jaitley said that an institutionalized forum amongst BRICS countries could serve as a regional knowledge hub with exchange of information facilitated through cloud sharing, and other electronic methods. Shri Jaitley said that projects in transportation sector like Highways, Ports and Railways will be area of mega economic activities as far as infrastructure sector in India is concerned. The Finance Ministery Shri Jaitley further said that investment, both from public and private sector, will be required for infrasturucture financing, especially in areas of health, education, sanitation, renewable energy, highways, ports and railways among others. The Finance Minister was delivering the Inaugural Address after inaugurating the BRICS India 2016 seminar on n++BRICS Seminar on Best Practices in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Long-term Infrastructure Financingn++ in the national capital here today.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley outlined the strategy the Government has adopted to boost the Indian Economy like Make in India, 100 smart cities, and liberalised FDI regime. He said that the Government gives high priority to Infrastructure and have taken a number of policy decisions like NIIF, Innovative new financial instruments such as REITS, INVITS, IDFs. He stressed the need for BRICS member countries to share their experiences in financing and delivery of infra projects so that they can collectively move to higher quality and efficiency in the delivery of public services.

Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Shri Shaktikanta Das said that infrastructure financing, especially in clearly demarketed projects is the need of the hour. He said that National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) will play a pivotal role especially in infrastructure financing of projects in areas of ports, highways and railways in particular. The Seminar brought together experts from BRICS countries in the field of infrastructure development and financing and PPPs for exchange of best practices, experiences and expertise. The technical sessions covered the areas of Regulatory Issues and Financing of Infrastructure; Innovative Investment Vehicles for Long-Term Infrastructure Investment, PPP Project Delivery and Post award Contract management. Government is also proposing Public Contracts (Resolution of Disputes) Bill, Guidelines for remediating PPP Contracts, New Credit Rating system, Credit Enhancement for Infrastructure projects etc.

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Cauvery Water Management Board ideal for dispute resolution: Central Water Commission
Sep 22,2016

Setting up a Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB) is the most ideal solution to settle the on-going Cauvery water conflict as per the directions of the Supreme Court, chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC), Mr G.S. Jha said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.

n++The Cauvery Water Management Board is to be set up within four weeks time with representatives both from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,n++ said Mr Jha while addressing an ASSOCHAM conference on Governance framework for harmonising water-energy usage.

Highlighting the importance of water storage, he said n++We cannot think of bringing security unless we are able to create storage and then release water as per the requirement.n++

He added that farmers are not getting commensurate benefit on investments made in the water sector. n++Benefits have to be really translated in to the tangible benefits which are to be accrued to the farmers as individual farmers fields are not able to receive water.n++

There is a need to empower, train and tell the farmers that application of more water is not going to yield more production, rather it will make their fields water-logged.

Earlier in his address at the ASSOCHAM event, Mr S.D. Dubey, chairman, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) said that it will be bringing out the National Electricity Plan by the end of this month.

n++We have already submitted it to the Power ministry in September, it is a perspective plan in terms of power transmission, distribution and generation for upcoming period,n++ said Mr Dubey.

n++Once it is approved by the ministry, then we can come out with certain figures pertaining to the same,n++ he added.

n++We would be putting it in the public domain to invite comments from the public,n++ further said the CEA chairman.

While addressing the conference, Mr Sunil Kanoria, president, ASSOCHAM said n++Parallel to power, water should be priced. Reasonable pricing strategy can help curb wastage. Technology intervention is required for optimizing usage of water in thermal power plants, efficient ground water based irrigation, recycling and conservation of water and rainwater harvesting.n++

n++Flood control strategies also need to include the use of smart geo-spatial techniques for flood forecasting and construction and strengthening of embankments at critical locations,n++ said Mr Kanoria.

n++Water is national priority. It would be pertinent to interlink rivers to ensure availability of water in drought prone, rain-fed regions,n++ he added.

n++A beginning can be made at intra-state level e.g. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh or Ganga-Cauvery linking through canals. Loss of water could be checked by deploying solar panels for achieving energy security in parallel to addressing water related issue,n++ further said the ASSOCHAM chief.

He also said that no real estate builder should be given permission unless there is provision for group water storage, rain water harvesting and treatment and recycling of waste water for secondary use. n++Industry licence should also be subject to mandatory provision for treatment and recycling of waste water.n++

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More than Rs. 820 crore expected to be realised through Fifth Tranche of Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme from 1st to 9th September 2016
Sep 22,2016

The amount realised through the 5th Tranche of Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme, is expected to cross Rs. 820 crore. This was mobilised through over 2.00 lakh applications representing around 2.37 tonnes of gold. These numbers are likely to go-up further as the receiving offices are still in the process of uploading information of huge rush of applications received on the last day. The aggressive marketing of the product by Govt of India, including through its receiving offices, namely Banks, Post Offices, NSE and BSE helped in mobilizing such encouraging response. SBI at Rs. 245 Crore subscription and Bank of India at Rs. 56 Crore subscription were the top performers. The Post Offices did their bit by attracting maximum number, around 22,000, applicants. The total mobilisation by Post Offices is expected at around Rs. 15-20 crore. The 5th Tranche of Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme was open from 1st to 9th September, 2016.

The issue price of the Sovereign Gold Bond in 5th tranche worked-out to a still higher level Rs. 3,150 per gram of gold based on the average of closing price of gold of 999 purity for the week August 22 to 26, 2016, as published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA).

The Government will come-up with more tranches in 2016-17. The next tranche of SGB is expected around the third week of October, prior to Diwali. The next tranche is expected to come up with additional features to attract consumers even more.

In pursuance of the announcement in the Union Budget 2015-16, the Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) scheme was launched as an alternative mode of investment to physical gold in November 2015. The aim of SGB is to reduce demand, including through imports, for physical gold, and in process reduce Indias Current Account Deficit.

Three tranches of SGB scheme were floated in 2015-16. In the current financial year two tranches have been launched (4th tranche from July 18-22, 2016 and 5th tranche from September 01-09, 2016). The total subscription in first 4 tranches was Rs. 2239 Crore corresponding to 7.85 tonnes of gold. The highest mobilisation was Rs. 921 Crore in the 4th tranche when the issue price was Rs. 3119 per gram of gold.

The sustained and encouraging response of the investors to the SGB Scheme (Series-I and series-II) of 2016-17, indicates that the product has come of age, and is increasingly becoming popular amongst the general public due to advantages it offers over physical gold, namely use as collateral for loans, Capital Gain Tax exemption on redemption, Zero risk of theft/ impurities associated with handling of physical gold; tradability through Stock Exchanges and also availability in DEMAT and paper form. The product, in addition, earns an interest rate of 2.75% per annum, semi-annually payable on initial investment.

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Mergers no quick fix for public sector banks; they need autonomy: ASSOCHAM Paper
Sep 22,2016

Asserting there are no quick fixes for grave problems facing the public sector banks, mainly centered around close to Rs 5 lakh crore non-performing assets, ASSOCHAM President Mr Sunil Kanoria today said a paper brought out by the chamber clearly suggests mergers or consolidation of the PSBs is certainly no answer to the present crisis, which can only be resolved by professionalizing these banks with the government keeping an arms length.

Addressing the media, Mr Kanoria said, n++Our paper has also noted that as things stand today, the boards of the PSBs are not empowered enough to choose a glide path for their banks. Instead, they need to refer to the Finance Ministry circulars even for mundane things.n++

Releasing a study titled Convergence, Not Consolidation Answer for Public Sector Banks, along with chambers Secretary General, Mr D S Rawat at a press conference held in New Delhi said, n++If size of the banks had a relationship with the health of the financial sector, the Chinese banks would have been the healthiest lot. But, the biggest concern before the global financial community today is the health of the Chinese banksn++.

Of the top ten global banks on the S & P Global Market Ranking, the first four are from China with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China right at the top. Only two American banks - JP Morgan and Bank of America, figure on the table of top ten and the Wall Street has no liking either for the size and seems quite disillusioned with the so-called Too Big to Fail concept whereupon it is on the sovereigns to save their banks even if they go reckless in their business.

n++But then, somehow, here in India we have got this penchant for large size to be achieved by merging different entitiesn++, said Mr Kanoria. If at all, there is a case for a merger, it is weak bank merging into strong one; but here we have a situation where there are hardly strong banks in terms of crucial parameters, large book size notwithstanding.

With some high profile borrowers getting into litigation and facing criminal probes, the public discourse puts additional pressure on the government, to find some quick fixes for NPA-ridden banks, which find themselves terribly constrained to improve lending with the credit growth well below 10 per cent.

More than the size of the bank, what matters is the composition and the empowerment of the bank boards which need to include professionals without operational interference from the government, said ASSOCHAM President.

Unlike the present situation where the Financial Services Division in the Finance Ministry is virtually the master of the PSBs, the level of the government interface with the banks should be well-defined and be done only through the Banks Board Bureau ( BBB) , comprising people of eminence, integrity and domain expertise

There is a case, certainly for synchronization of the businesses among the PSBs. The paper said there could be a few PSBs which are strong in say, automobile portfolio in a particular region, say south India. On the other hand, there may be banks which are strong in agro financing in the same area but are not doing well in automobile finance. The entire portfolio of auto finance can be swapped. Conversely, same thing can be achieved for the agro financing portfolio, of course over and above the mandatory priority sector lending.

Sensing an inflexion point, the paper said the technology driven banking is here, right away and it is only going to increase. In about a year, 17 new banks will begin business. These are not driven by sheer size; but would leverage technology to reach the un-reached; create new banking customers, take away existing customers from those complacent about their business and would redefine the way people at large do their financial transactions.

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Mineral Production during July 2016 was 0.8% higher as compared to July 2015
Sep 22,2016

The index of mineral production of mining and quarrying sector for the month of July (new Series 2004-05=100) 2016 at 118.7, was 0.8% higher as compared to July 2015. The cumulative growth for the period April- July 2016-17 over the corresponding period of previous year stands at (+) 2.0%.

The total value of mineral production (excluding atomic & minor minerals) in the country during July 2016 was Rs. 17339 crore. The contribution of Coal was the highest at Rs. 6238 crore (36%). Next in the order of importance were: Petroleum (crude) Rs. 5593 crore, Natural gas (utilized) Rs. 2165 crore, Iron ore Rs. 1347 crore, Limestone Rs. 554 crore and Lignite Rs.535 crore. These six minerals together contributed about 95% of the total value of mineral production in July 2016.

Production level of important minerals in July 2016 were: Coal 442 lakh tonnes, Lignite 30 lakh tonnes, Natural gas (utilized) 2618 million cu. m., Petroleum (crude) 31 lakh tonnes, Bauxite 1972 thousand tonnes, Chromite 177 thousand tonnes, Copper conc. 11 thousand tonnes, Gold 172 kg., Iron ore 115 lakh tonnes, Lead conc. 22 thousand tonnes, Manganese ore 150 thousand tonnes, Zinc conc. 89 thousand tonnes, Apatite & Phosphorite 54 thousand tonnes, Limestone 253 lakh tonnes, Magnesite 17 thousand tonnes and Diamond 3100 carat.

The production of important minerals showing positive growth during July 2016 over July 2015 include Gold (19.4%), Coal (4.7%), Natural gas (utilized) (4.4%), Lead conc. (3.0%), Chromite (2.1%), Manganese ore (1.2%), Iron ore (0.7%) and Limestone (0.3%) . The production of other important minerals showing negative growth are: Apatite & Phosphorite [(-) 72.6%], Zinc conc. [(-) 31.4%], Magnesite [(-) 31.3%], Bauxite [(-) 31.0%], Copper conc. [(-) 16.5%], Diamond [(-) 15.3%], Petroleum (crude) [(-) 1.8%] and Lignite [(-) 1.6%].

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OECD warns weak trade and financial distortions damage global growth prospects
Sep 22,2016

The global economy is projected to grow at a slower pace this year than in 2015, with only a modest uptick expected in 2017. The Outlook warns that a low-growth trap has taken root, as poor growth expectations further depress trade, investment, productivity and wages.

Over the past few years, the rate of global trade growth has halved relative to the pre-crisis period, and it declined further in recent quarters, with the weakness concentrated in Asia. While low investment has played a role, rebalancing in China and a reversal in the development of global value chains could signal permanently lower trade growth, leading to weaker productivity growth. Lack of progress - together with some backtracking - on the opening of global markets to trade has added to the slowdown.

Exceptionally low - and in some cases negative - interest rates are distorting financial markets and raising risks across the financial system. A disconnect between rising bond and equity prices and falling profit and growth expectations, combined with over-heating real estate markets in many countries, increases the vulnerability of investors to a sharp correction in asset prices.

n++The marked slowdown in world trade underlines concerns about the robustness of the economy and the difficulties in exiting the low-growth trap,n++ said OECD Chief Economist Catherine L. Mann. n++While weak demand is surely playing a role in the trade slowdown, a lack of political support for trade policies whose benefits could be widely shared is of deep concern.

n++Monetary policy is becoming over-burdened. Countries must implement fiscal and structural policy actions to reduce the over-reliance on central banks and ensure opportunity and prosperity for future generations.n++

The OECD projects that the global economy will grow by 2.9 percent this year and 3.2 percent in 2017, which is well below long-run averages of around 3n++ percent.

The small downgrade in the global outlook since the previous Economic Outlook in June 2016 reflects downgrades in major advanced economies, notably the United Kingdom for 2017, offset by a gradual improvement in major emerging-market commodity producers.

Growth among the major advanced economies will be subdued. In the United States, where solid consumption and job growth is countered by weak investment, growth is estimated at 1.4 percent this year and 2.1 percent in 2017. The euro area is projected to grow at a 1.5 percent rate in 2016 and a 1.4 percent pace in 2017. Germany is forecast to grow by 1.8 percent in 2016 and 1.5 percent in 2017, France by 1.3 percent in both 2016 and 2017, while Italy will see a 0.8 percent growth rate this year and next.

In the United Kingdom, growth is slowing following the 23 June referendum to leave the European Union. While a strong response from the Bank of England has helped stabilise markets, uncertainty remains extremely high and risks are clearly on the downside. In this environment, the UK is projected to grow by 1.8 percent in 2016 and 1 percent in 2017, well below the pace in recent years.

Growth in Japan will remain weak and uneven, at 0.6 percent in 2016 and 0.7 percent in 2017, with the appreciation of the yen and weak Asian trade weighing on exports. Canadian growth is projected at 1.2 percent this year and 2.3 percent in 2017.

China is expected to continue facing challenges as it rebalances its economy from manufacturing-led demand toward consumption and services. Chinese growth is forecast at 6.5 percent in 2016 and 6.2 percent in 2017. India will continue to grow robustly, by 7.4 percent in 2016 and 7.5 percent in 2017. Despite some improvements, Brazils economy continues experiencing a deep recession, and is expected to shrink by 3.3 percent this year and a further 0.3 percent in 2017.

The Interim Economic Outlook renews calls for a stronger collective response using fiscal, structural and trade policies to boost growth. On the fiscal front, low interest rates offer governments additional fiscal space for investing in human capital and physical infrastructure to promote short-term demand, long-term output and inclusiveness.

On the structural side, more ambitious policies are needed, particularly those that boost trade, including commitments to stand still on new protectionist measures, roll back existing ones and urgently tackle other obstacles to trade and investment.

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Apex Council Meeting Decides to Set up Telemetry System and Joint Teams for River Basin Study
Sep 22,2016

The Apex council meeting on Krishna river held in New Delhi today decided for setting up telemetry systems for water gauging on river Krishna to provide upto date data on flow of water in the river. The council under the Chairpersonship of Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti also decided to constitute joint teams for river basin study of both the states. The joint teams will have experts from both the States and Centre. The teams will give their report about water sharing which will be forwarded to Krishna tribunal for speedy decision. Briefing media after the meeting Sushri Bharti said the meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere. She said both the states will continue consultation on official levels on other related issues. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Shri N Chandrababu Naidu and Chief Minister of Telangana Shri K Chandrashekar Rao.

Referring to todays cabinet approval for setting up of National Council for River Ganga, the Minister called it a turning point in Ganga Rejuvenation programme of the government. Sushri Bharti said this decision will give more teeth to the NMCG for environmental protection of river Ganga. The Minister said in order to ensure transparency and cost effectiveness, a provision for concurrent audit and safety audit has been made. She said this move will ensure effective abatement of pollution in Ganga and will help in maintaining ecological flow of the river. The Minister informed that by next week tenders will be issued for taping 22 major drains of 11 towns which account for 90 per cent of sewer flow into Ganga on hybrid annuity mode.

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IWAI Signs Contract with DST, Germany for Designing Special Vessels for NW-1
Sep 22,2016

With its objective of providing safe, environment friendly and economical mode of transportation through National Waterway-1 (NW-1), The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Ministry of Shipping signed a contract with M/s DST, Germany to design vessels, especially suited to navigate the 1620 km stretch of NW-1.

Speaking on the occasion a senior IWAI official said it is a revolutionary step and a milestone in the journey of NW-1. n++The objective of IWAI is to go along with nature and disturb the river minimally. The specially designed vessels will navigate on low drafts and will be of high carrying capacity, and most importantly, will be environment friendly,n++ he said.

Considering the expected growth of the Inland Waterways sector in India, DST, Germany is expected to develop a combination of standardised vessels to meet the requirement of various types of cargo. One of the most important navigational challenges for NW-1 is the kind of vessels that will play on the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly stretch. Keeping in view the difficult hydro-morphological characteristics of the river in the upper reaches between Patna and Varanasi, it is important to have vessels which can ply on low draft, with high carrying capacity, and are economically viable and environment friendly.

Earlier in August 2016, the Honble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Sh. Nitin Gadkari flagged off the trial run of two cargo vessels from Varanasi on NW-1(River Ganga). Keeping in view the demand for transportation of cars through NW-1, M/s DST,Germany has been initially tasked to develop low draft vessels that can carry up to 150-200 vehicles.

Government is developing NW-1 under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,200 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 tons.Phase-I of the project covers the Haldia-Varanasi stretch. The project includes development of fairway, Multi-Modal Terminals at Varanasi, Haldia, and Sahibganj, strengthening of river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking, construction of a new state of the art navigational lock at Farakka etc.

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Indian Oil and GAIL sign MoU for taking equity stake in upcoming Dhamra LNG terminal
Sep 22,2016

Indian Oil Corporation and GAIL (India) signed an MoU with Dhamra LNG Terminal (DLTPL) for taking equity in the 5 MMTPA capacity LNG Receiving, Storage and Regasification Terminal, being put up at Dhamra Port, Odisha. The agreement was signed in New Delhi in the presence of Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Sh Dharmendra Pradhan.

As per the MoU, DLTPL shall be an equal Joint Venture of IndianOil and GAIL on one hand and Adani Group on the other. IndianOil and GAIL would acquire 39% and 11% equity respectively in DLTPL, with the balance 50% being held by Adani group. Going forward, IndianOil and Adani group will each divest 1% of their respective stake to a credible financial institution which will then have 2% stake in the terminal. Apart from equity, IndianOil and GAIL intend to book regasification capacity of 3.0 and 1.5 MMTPA respectively in the terminal.

The development comes in the backdrop of Governments consistent focus on undertaking welfare and growth measures in eastern India so as to bring this hitherto underdeveloped region into the economic mainstream of the country. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has maintained that India cannot develop till the eastern part of India progresses.

Presently, the states in eastern India viz. Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal are not able to get the benefits of natural gas in sectors like Domestic, Transport, Industries etc., as the region does not have gas infrastructure by way of LNG Terminals and cross-country gas pipeline grid. The LNG Terminal at Dhamra would provide the potential customers in these states a clean and economically viable alternative which will also help in reducing the carbon footprint. This will also provide momentum to the economic growth of this region by attracting new industrial projects.

The LNG Terminal would also meet the gas requirements of three oil refineries of IndianOil situated in Barauni, Haldia and Paradip. The three fertilizers plants at Barauni, Sindri and Gorakhpur which are being revived by Govt. of India will also benefit from this terminal. The natural gas from the terminal would also be supplied to various City Gas Distribution networks coming up in eastern India, which in turn would cater to the requirements of piped gas for households, CNG for automobiles and clean fuel requirements of commercial establishments and industries. It is, therefore, expected that once operational, Dhamra LNG terminal will emerge as a bridge to prosperity for the entire eastern India.

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved Capital Grant of 40%, amounting to Rs. 5,176 Crores over 5 years, for Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra Pipeline (JHBDPL) project, which is being implemented by GAIL (India) at a total capital outlay of Rs. 12,940 Crores. This is the first time ever that Govt of India has extended Capital Grant to a Natural Gas pipeline project.

The 2,539 km long JHBDPL is expected to be completed by December 2020 and will connect UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The project will also see City Gas Distribution (CGD) networks being set up by GAIL in 7 important towns in eastern India, namely, Varanasi, Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack. The JHBDPL gas pipeline will be used for gas supply to 3 fertilizer plants in eastern India, namely Barauni, Sindri and Gorakhpur.

The Dhamra LNG Terminal project and JHBDPL project, cumulatively, are expected to bring investments to the tune of Rs 51,000 Crores into the economy of eastern India. Of this, about Rs. 13,000 Crores will be spent on JHBDPL pipeline infrastructure; Rs. 6,000 Crores on CGD projects in 7 cities; Rs. 6,000 Crores on Dhamra LNG Terminal and Rs. 26,000 Crores on revival of Gorakhpur, Barauni, Sindri & Talcher fertilizer units.

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MHA sanctions additional 10,000 SPOs for J&K
Sep 22,2016

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned the engagement of additional 10,000 Special Police Officers (SPOs) in the Police Department of Jammu and Kashmir.

The orders have been implemented with immediate effect and the additional numbers is over and above the existing strength of the SPOs. The additional SPOs will be utilized especially for the security related requirements. The reimbursement of expenditure to the State Government by the Centre in respect of 10,000 SPOs will be as per existing approved Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Guidelines.

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