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Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to sign agreement with bankers for External Commercial Borrowing
Aug 23,2016

Port projects, including connectivity projects, are critical to developing cargo handling capacity at Ports. With the thrust on port led development under the Sagarmala program, improving viability of projects is critical. One of the primary factors that impacts viability is the interest rate on borrowings to fund projects. Ports have surplus funds, but to achieve a quantum jump in the investment, borrowings would also have to be made by ports. Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari, had suggested an innovative means of raising low-cost external commercial borrowings, particularly when the port had revenues in foreign exchange, which provided a natural hedge to the ports. This would substantially eliminate the requirement of hedging the forex risk and would reduce the cost of borrowing. This suggestion was followed up by Ports. JNPT is the first Major Port to finalise the terms of external commercial borrowing.

Considering the need of the JNPT to cater to the increase in traffic, Shri Nitin Gadkari realised the criticality of project implementation especially for NPTs cargo evacuation requirements and in a review meeting in July 2014, it was decided that the project for conversion of the existing road connectivity to 6/8 laning of NH-4B, SH-54 and Amra Marg on the boundaries of proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport in the state of Maharashtra, would be undertaken on EPC basis. Substantial investment would be required for this project, and cheaper funds would add to the viability of the project, reduce costs for end-users, and also ad to the profitability of JNPT.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modis port-led development programme, Indias premier container port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Navi Mumbai, has signed an agreement with State Bank of India and Development Bank of Singapore for External Commercial Borrowing to the tune of USD 400 Million at a n++very competitiven++ interest rate to improve the infrastructure required for n++doublingn++ its existing capacity to 9.85 Million TEUs annually.

The ECB of USD 400 Million ( USD300 Million from the SBI & USD100 from DBS) will be primarily utilised by the JNPT, which has US Dollar denominated foreign currency earnings which can be leveraged for a low cost foreign currency borrowing, for expansion of its existing roads network connecting to its port project as the existing road network for evacuation of traffic is currently operated at a capacity utilisation of 100%.

The agreement with the SBI & DBS was signed by the JNPT Chairman Anil Diggikar in the presence of the Shipping Secretary Rajive Kumar after the Reserve bank of India granted approval to JNPT for raising USD400 Million with an end use of on-lending to Mumbai JNPT Port Road Company Limited (MJPRCL) for implementation of road project. The ministry of shipping has already granted its approval as required under the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963. The two parties will exchange the documents today.

Borrowing by JNPT is for Door-to-Door tenor of 7.5 years. However, lending by JNPT to MJPRCL is for 16 years (two years construction and 14 years repayment).

The funding process involved assessment and structuring of cash-flows (both at JNPT level and MJPRCL level), bid process management, engagement of domestic and foreign lenders.

Project will be developed by Mumbai JNPT Port Road Company (MJPRCL), a joint venture company of NHAI, JNPT and CIDCO at a total estimated cost of Rs. 2895 crore. Considering the importance and urgency of implementation of the project, it will be taken up by MJPRCL on EPC mode and funding for the project would be carried out by JNPT.

The rate of ECB loan of 2.025% plus Libor USD6M ( approx 3.15%) which is cheaper than any other Indian currency loan.

The funding by JNPT is the first of its kind for major port and it opens up one more avenue for major and government ports to raise funds by accessing international markets for their requirements.

The project will primarily benefit and cater to the needs of JNPT and an improved connectivity is essential for traffic evaluation from JNPT. It is of great significance to JNPT and will give a boost to the countrys economy.

This project will cater to the additional cargo which will be handled at the 4th Container Terminal. JNPT is going to double its capacity in the next seven years. This evacuation corridor would help in supporting the EXIM trade besides providing economic opportunity to the local and region.

With this beginning, other Major ports would also adopt these means and improve their capability to invest. The step is another milestone in infusing dynamism into the functioning of the ports, both in their operations and financing.

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Shipping Ministry seeks 5% of Central Road Fund for development of Waterways
Aug 23,2016

The Shipping Ministry has mooted a proposal to utilize part of the fuel cess collected for building national highways for expansion of National Waterways as well. Speaking at the Infrastructure Session of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerces Annual Convention in Mumbai today, Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari said his Ministry has sent a proposal seeking allocation of 5% of the Central Road Fund for development of Inland Waterways. n++My Ministry has prepared the proposal, but the final decision will be taken by the Ministry of Finance. I am pursuing the mattern++ Mr. Gadkari added.

Central Road Fund is a non-lapsable fund created under the Central Road Fund Act 2000 out of a cess imposed on petrol and high-speed diesel. The funds are meant to be used to develop and maintain national highways, state roads and railway over and under bridges. The move to seek a pie in the CRF follows governments ambitious plan to tap Indias vast network of rivers and canals stretching 14,500 kms for moving goods.

Mr. Gadkari said n++It is far more cheaper to transport goods by water as compared to road or rail. n++Currently cargo movement along the five existing national waterways is paltry 3% of all cargo movement in India. We want to raise the share of waterways in overall cargo movements to 15%n++ he said.

Earlier last week, the Shipping Minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari flagged off a cargo vessel carrying 200 Maruti cars from Varanasi to Kolkata as part of a pilot run. The Government has commissioned the Jal Marg Vikas project with the technical and financial support of the World Bank to augment capacity of River Ganga from Varanasi to Haldia. The Rs 4,200 crore project, when completed in six years, will facilitate movement of up to 2000 tonne vessels.

Under the National Waterways Act 2016, 111 inland waterways have been declared as National Waterways. Out of these, Allahabad-Haldia Ganga Waterway (NW1), Brahmaputra (NW2), West Coast Canal in Kerala (NW3), Mandovi river in Goa (NW 68), Sundarbans Waterway in West Bengal (NW97) and Zurari River (NW 111) are presently operational. Six more waterways are likely to be commissioned during this financial year.

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Delhi Poised to get New Air Force Aerospace Museum
Aug 23,2016

Delhi will soon have a sprawling new Aerospace Museum close to the international airport focused mainly on Nations rich aviation history. New Aerospace Museum is not only meant to preserve the glorious tradition of the IAF but also to create awareness in general public about Indias rich Aerospace heritage.

The IAF believes that the Museum would be a popular tourist attraction and a landmark in Indias capital city. A proposal for new Air Force Aerospace Museum was cleared by Ministry of Defence and final financial sanction on the Detailed Project Report is awaited. After the approval, the new museum would be ready for the tourists within 3-5 years.

Spread over 43 acres, the new Aerospace Museum would have extensive indoor and outdoor displays including huge aircraft parked and hanging in flying attitude with mural depicting the golden era. A dedicated childrens area would be part of the museum where children could enter cockpits of displayed aircraft and get the feel of flying controls. A video arcade would also be created. As per the plan, the internal displays would have a history section in which all IAF Squadrons history would be displayed along with aviation legends, major campaigns and wars fought by the IAF. Along with this history, major Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations undertaken by the IAF would also be highlighted.

The IAF presently has a museum near the technical area of Air Force Station Palam, which was established in 1967. The museum has an average footfall of 500 tourists daily and exhibits details about combat operations undertaken by the IAF depicting IAFs rich history since its formation in 1932 to present date, along with the display of various aircraft and equipment on the IAFs inventory, since its inception.

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Evening Bells: Bond yield rises
Aug 22,2016

The yield on 10-year benchmark federal paper, 7.59% GS 2026, increased by 06 basis points (bps) to close at 7.16% compared with 7.10% close in the previous trading session. The total trading volume on the central banks gilts trading platform was Rs 81390 crore.

The yield increased the most since February after Urjit Patels appointment was announced over the weekend.

The weighted average rate in the overnight call money market increased to 6.39%, compared with 6.37% in the previous session. The call money rate hovered in the range of 5.00% to 6.55% with the volume at Rs 14090.15 crore.

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Centre plans to provide Rs 90,000 Crore loan to SHGs in next two years
Aug 22,2016

Government plans to provide loan worth Rs. 90,000 Crore in next couple of years to Women Self-Help Groups, SHGs for non-farm economic activities. Addressing a National Workshop here on Best Practices in National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), Secretary, Rural Development Shri Amarjeet Sinha said that at present 3 crore women are linked to Aajeevika Mission and they availed about Rs 30,000 crore bank loans for economic activities. NRLM is an innovative flagship programme designed to alleviate rural poverty in a time-bound manner. Launched in 2011, the Mission aims at mobilizing all rural poor households into self-managed Self Help Groups (SHG) and federations which, in turn, promote the livelihoods of the poor.

The centrally sponsored Mission is currently being implemented in 3157 blocks across 462 districts by all states and Union territories in a phased but intensive manner. As of July, 2016, 324 lakh rural poor households stood mobilized into 26.94 lakh SHGs, which are in turn, federated into 1.45 village organizations. The states have set-up dedicated implementation structures at the state, district and block levels and have engaged more than 20000 dedicated professionals and about 1 lakh community professionals to implement the Mission. The Mission is designed to saturate social mobilization and SHG promotion in all blocks of the country during the next 3-4 years.

Shri Sinha also outlined the progress that the Mission has made in promoting farm-based livelihoods through Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana and employment and self-employment through DDU-GKY and RSETI components. The Secretary indicated 4 critical tasks ahead for the Mission viz. (i) saturating social mobilization in all blocks of the country during the next 3-4 years; (ii) augmenting and sustaining SHG-credit linkage in North and North-eastern states; (iii) ensuring to each rural household 2-3 sustainable livelihoods including skill-based employment/ self-employment; and (iv) promotion of poverty-free Gram Panchayats with funds dovetailed from different sources including NREGS and 14th Finance Commission. Shri Sinha commended the states for several of their innovations and best practices and advised others to adopt them after necessary customization.

The Mission has made significant progress. The Mission has provided a capital grant of about Rs. 3170 crores to the SHGs and federations in the form of revolving fund, community investment fund and interest subsidy to support the livelihoods of the poor. The cumulative own savings of SHGs facilitated by the Mission in intensive blocks alone account for over Rs. 10665 crores (up to July, 2016). More significantly, the SHGs have leveraged Rs. 83153 crores of bank credit since FY 2013-14. The financial services catalyzed by the Mission coupled with the technical livelihood support services provided are securing livelihoods, reviving local economies and empowering women across the country

As part of NRLM, 34 lakh Mahila Kisans are being supported under Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana component. In addition, about 19.70 lakh rural youth have been trained in self-employment skills through a network of 583 Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSESTIs), of whom 12.13 lakh have been settled in gainful self-employment. The Mission is poised for a big leap forward in livelihoods.

NRLM provides a substantial degree of autonomy to states to adopt innovative strategies, methods and processes in implementing the Mission. Further, states are also at different stages of implementation. Some have a longer history of promoting SHGs than others. The southern states are far ahead of others in mobilizing bank credit. Some states have adopted very successful models for institution building, financial inclusion and livelihoods promotion. Some have demonstrated scalable models with tangible livelihood outcomes. Successful models, innovations, experiments and practices demonstrated by different states can be adopted by others. It is in this context that MoRD is organizing a 2-day workshop on Best Practices in NRLM. The objective of the workshop is to facilitate sharing of experiences among the states and facilitate adoption of successful models by others. The workshop is, thus, expected to contribute to the pace and outcomes of the Mission.

About 35 best practices selected from 13 different states was presented at the workshop. The practices selected for presentation cover a wide range of themes viz. community institution building, financial inclusion of the poor, promotion of farm and non-farm livelihoods, food nutrition, health and sanitation, and convergence for livelihoods. The list of best practices is presented in attachment-I. The best practices presented at the workshop (documents and videos) will be compiled and published by the MoRD very shortly.

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Bond Gains to Halt; Rupee Anchored
Aug 22,2016

The appointment of Dr Urjit Patel as the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor signals the reassertion of policy continuity by policy makers. Bond gains are likely to halt and the currency will continue to face global risk shifts. The 10-year yield is likely to trade at 7.08%-7.18% (7.10% at close on 19 August) and the rupees trading range is likely to be 66.65/USD-67.25/USD (67.06/USD at close on 19 August) this week.

The RBIs ongoing approach towards monetary policy has been reinforced by the appointment of Dr Patel. Dr Patel chaired the committee that recommended the inflation-targeting mechanism in 2014 and also led the monetary policy department at RBI. Hence, the agency believes that the policy approach will remain unchanged in the short term.

Debt Market Momentum to Halt: The rally in the bond market since the beginning of July 2016 was led by several positives: benign global conditions, low crude oil prices and adequate domestic liquidity. The agency believes that in the absence of meaningful triggers, debt investors are likely to be in a wait and watch mode. Further cuts in the repo rate are unlikely to take place in the near future until retail inflation sustainably moderates. In the absence of any incremental positive developments and limited scope for open market operation purchases, upward bias for bond yields remains.

Rupee Bias to Stay Positive: The agency believes market perception of Dr Patel as an inflation hawk will anchor the rupees near-term movement. Additionally, global conditions are reasonably conducive to the rupees strength. Mixed signals from US policymakers over the timing of the next Fed rate hike have reined in the USDs strength. Fed Chair Janet Yellens speech at the Jackson Hole symposium on 26 August could provide insights into the Feds own assessment of the US economy. Downside risks for the rupee are likely to emerge on two counts: 1) weak foreign portfolio flows and 2) the potential resurgence of risk-off sentiment.

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Technology will power the new wave of change for the Indian Insurance Industry: CII-EY Report
Aug 22,2016

Technology will power the new wave of change for the Indian Insurance Industry, reveals the CII-EY report titled Insurer of the Future. The report recommends pursuing technology to improve the traditional insurance process and to re-configure the insurance business model. The customer is at the center of digital transformations across the value chain and Insurance in India has moved from being a sellers market to that of a digitally driven buyers market, says the report.

Technology has played an important role impacting customers, intermediaries and insurers in a holistic approach to connect with customers digitally in each stage of the value chain including product design, marketing or sales, underwriting or pricing, customer servicing and claims management. However, insurance has been slow as compared to the rest of the financial services in adopting the new technology value propositions available in the market as an enabler of business strategy:

Internet of Things (IoT) can play a crucial role in assessing and pricing the risk of loss

n++ Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that replicates human behavior and executes non-judgemental sequence of activities can help insurers to automate client servicing activities

n++ Insurers through collaboration with third party data service providers can make informed strategy and policy related decisions for insurance risk-management and fraud monitoring

n++ Insurance bundling on ecommerce platforms has enabled greater customization in product and pricing thereby targeted marketing to customers

n++ Blockchain technology is current used for Bitcoin payments. However, it has the potential to eliminate error and detect fraud by providing a decentralized digital repository to verify the veracity of customers

Commenting on the report, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said n++The drivers of Insurance Business in India are rapidly changing. Over the last decade and a half several innovations have smoothly blended into the ecosystem of Insurance, be it in terms of products, distribution, technology or the basic way in which business is done. n++Business as Usualn++ of today is very different from what it was in the last decade and the Insurer of the Future will conduct business very differently in the decades to come. Technology and Digitization disruptions have brought the sector to a point of transformation and as the sector maneuvers itself to the changing paradigms there is a clear multiple level growth envisaged throughout the ecosystem of Insurance in India.n++

Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman, CII National Committee on Insurance & Pensions, CII said The insurance industry is at the threshold of a long period of growth. With the rapid change in technology and digitisation, the drivers of insurance business are changing. Those insurers who disrupt themselves continuously would be the ones who will succeed in the long run. All stakeholders - the industry, intermediaries, Government and regulator- need to work together in transforming customer experience.

Rohan Sachdev, Global Insurance Emerging Markets Leader and Partner, EY India says, n++The Indian insurance sector has evolved and in order to realize the full potential, the industry must focus on aspects of technology that will fundamentally change the way customers know and interact with each other and the insurers. With increasing capital infusion and the arrival of new technologies, insurers have been readily adopting digital solutions to improve customer experience. With the rising population and changing demographics, insurers and intermediaries will have to constantly innovate to remain relevant.n++

Cyber and data risks are a key concern area for businesses today. The risk is expected to increase in the future, with growth in big data and data analytics requiring even more data to be accessed. While cyber liability insurance products are available in India, providing comfort to global clients on cyber risks is one of the key challenges for technology businesses. This challenge presents a great opportunity to the reinsurance through cyber-risk insurance products that can assure stakeholders of market leading preventive measures around cyber risks.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) in insurance

As a service industry, insurance has one single tax (service tax) with one administering authority (the Central Government). Under the dual GST structure, a significant impact on this industry would be the emergence of dual stakeholders in every taxable supply of service: the Government of the State where the supply is made and the Central Government. From dealing with a central service tax for pan-India operations, insurers will potentially start dealing with 38 taxes: 35 State GSTs (SGSTs) of the states and union territories, 1 Central GST (CGST) and IGST on inter-state supplies. When the tax regime changes with GST, insurers would need to focus on the following elements as part of their customer acquisition strategy: customers resident location (location of the service receiver); location of the acquiring distribution channel, policy issuance and servicing framework.

Process-readiness and technology-readiness to take on higher compliances and transaction-level reporting will help insurers smoothly transition to the GST regime. It will be essential to ensure that all transactions are appropriately mapped and measured.

The report clearly indicates that the technological disruptions erupting in the Indian Insurance Sector will lead to a transformational change in the sector and will soon catapult it at par with the developed economies across the globe.

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First training program on Government e-Marketplace (GeM) for Government users
Aug 22,2016

The one-day hands on training program for procurement officers of Central Government Ministries/Departments was inaugurated today by Sh. Ashok Lavasa, Finance Secretary in New Delhi today. The training program has been jointly organized by DGS&D, National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD).

The training session was attended by more than 60 procurement officers from about 20 Central Government organizations based in Delhi and is the first such training program to be followed by similar pan-India training sessions for all the Central Government procurement officers.

Smt. Radha Chauhan CEO of NeGD (MeitY) in her address mentioned about the concept of GeM and how it has been developed. She emphasised the importance of training and wanted the officers attending the programme to provide valuable feedback so that the system could be further improved. She mentioned that the system is secure and robust. Sh. Binoy Kumar, DG(S&D) in his address stated that GeM is a completely online and end-to-end integrated e-procurement portal for products and services that has been developed by DGS&D with technical support from NeGD. He stated that more training sessions are planned for both Government buyers as well as sellers in the coming days.

Speaking on the occasion, Sh. Ashok Lavasa complimented DGS&D, NEGD and NIFM for organizing the training program on the use of GeM for Government users. Sh. Lavasa highlighted that the very fact that GeM has been developed within a short span of 5 months owing to the collaborative efforts of DGS&D, NeGD, Finance Ministry and several other Government agencies indicates that collaboration between Government agencies can bring great results in short time. Sh. Lavasa also stated that GeM will enable Government buyers to make use of new technologies to procure goods and services in a more transparent, accountable and efficient manner and with the same ease and efficiency that is presently offered by e-commerce sites. He wanted that such training programme should be taken seriously and more and more officers should be trained including the State Governments.

The Finance Secretary requested the GeM team to make efforts to continuously improve the GeM portal and ensure that it remains free from manipulation and any unethical practices. Sh. Lavasa also stated that although it has been made mandatory on GeM to make payment to the vendors within 10 days of receipt of goods/services, efforts should be made to further reduce this time span as time is money and ultimately the cost of delayed payment is born by the Government. GeM has a potential to grow and will bring in a lot of credibility and comfort in procurement decision making within the Government.

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Flood rescue and relief operation by NDRF
Aug 22,2016

The rescue and relief operations by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the flood affected various districts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are in full swing. 56 flood rescue teams of NDRF are operational in various flood prone areas of the different states to assist the respective state administration in rescue and relief work. NDRF rescuers are delivering their best to evacuate the trapped people to safer places. Besides NDRF teams are also providing medical care to the needy persons.

16 flood rescue teams of NDRF are deployed in Bihar in connection with flood like situation. On 21.08.16 NDRF teams evacuated 3400 persons at Didarganj, 580 persons at Bakhtiyarpur, 545 at Danapur, 380 at Chhapra, 355 at Vaishali and 15 persons at Maner Dist. Patna. Sh. S.S Guleria DIG, NDRF and other NDRF officials are also present there to supervise the flood rescue and relief operations.

11 flood rescue teams of NDRF are deployed in various flood prone areas of Uttar Pradesh. on 21 August 16, NDRF teams conducted rescue and relief operation and evacuated 275 at Ballia, 275 at Varanasi and 325 at Chitrakoot, In addition to rescue work NDRF teams also distributed relief materials and provided medical care to the needy people. Shri Randeep Kumar Rana, DIG NDRF is present in Varanasi to supervise the ongoing rescue operation.

07 flood rescue teams of NDRF are pre-positioned in M.P. The teams evacuated 147 marooned persons to safer places at District Rewa on 21 August16.

In addition 01 team of NDRF prepositioned in Sikkim in connection with monsoon season conducted rescue and relief operation at Village Tingbung and Lingdang in East Sikkim and evacuated more than 450 persons to the safer places on 21.08.16.

So far NDRF teams have evacuated more than 26,400 people in various flood prone areas of the country during this monsoon season. In addition to rescue work, NDRF teams have provided medical care to more than 9100 people in various states.

A 24x7, NDRF Control Room in Delhi is closely monitoring the situation and remains in touch with other agencies.

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Untapped Hydroelectricity Capacity Key to Meet Energy Deficit: CII-PwC report
Aug 22,2016

India has witnessed transformational change in the energy sector over the past few years, through supportive policy interventions and sector reforms, making it the fourth largest producer of electricity in the world. However, rapid economic growth has led to a surge in energy demand leading to a grappling power deficit situation in the country. Managing effective sector investment, continuing technological improvements and efficiently implementing the sector programmes will be the key to addressing the sector issues.

The success of key initiatives such as Make in India, along with growing urbanisation and social uplift of rural India will also depend on the availability of uninterrupted quality electricity supply to consumers. The governments n++Power for Alln++ programme is an ambitious plan, which depends a lot on the development of capacity expansion in power supply chain, developing coal resources and logistics and increasing technological interventions.

According to a CII-PwC report titled Round-the-Clock Power Supply: A Key Milestone for the Indian Power Sector which was launched at CII Energy Conclave 2016 in Kolkata today, availability of power will depend on two factorsn++adequate electricity generated and development of supporting infrastructure for the supply of electricity.

Mr T V Narendran, Chairman, CII Eastern Region, and Managing Director, Tata Steel, said, n++Electricity is the means to empower. Achieving 100% household electrification will not only enrich the lives of citizens, but will also help in inclusive growth by positively impacting education, awareness, health and economic development in rural and far-flung areas.n++

Mr Aniruddha Basu, Chairman, CII Energy Task Force & Managing Director, CESC, said, n++Reform is the need of the day. Several initiatives have been taken to fuel the growth of the sector in the East, including West Bengal, which is one the primary states in India to have introduced and implemented power sector reforms.n++

Mr Yogesh Daruka, Partner, Power and Utilities, PwC India said, n++Energy access and availability is a key element for socio-economic development. The Governments Power for All programme is an ambitious initiative for providing supply & uninterrupted quality power to unelectrified population by 2019. In East and Northeast India, coal and hydro-based power generation will dominate the generation mix. Inter and intra state transmission system development is also critical along with effective implementation of centrally sponsored schemes like DDUGJY and IPDS.n++

Development of Hydro power in the northeast region will be a key driver in improving Indias energy situation. With only seven per cent of the tapped potential (installed capacity and project under construction), the northeast region provides enormous opportunities to the state governments and hydro developers to harness the potential.

Development of the large hydro potential in the northeast region would contribute significantly in meeting the countrys power needs in the future. The region would also benefit from the development of associated social benefits such as roads, schools and electricity supply to remote areas, which would further improve the quality of life.

Achieving the objective of the Power for All programme will not be an easy task. But with the improved fuel availability, achieving the target capacity additions well within time, increase in sector investments, and lower tariff for renewable energy projects are encouraging trends that indicate that India can achieve this ambitious plan in the near future.

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Swachh Bharat Short Films Competition to encourage participative approach for Clean India
Aug 22,2016

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is organizing a Short Films Competition on the theme n++Swachh Bharatn++ that showcases inspiring stories and helps generate awareness among citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health. The winning entries will be announced in a special felicitation programme to be held in New Delhi on October 2, 2016. National Film Development Corporation of India has invited entries for the Short Films Competition. The last date for submission of entries is September 10, 2016.

Awareness generation is an important objective of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan to bring about behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices. The competition aims to generate such awareness by involving people from different backgrounds, different regions and from different age groups.

About the Short Films Competition

n++ The short films competition is open to all age groups with its central theme revolving around the Swachh Bharat Mission.

n++ Short films with duration of not more than 3 minutes and shot in HD Format will be considered for the competition.

n++ The film can be made in Hindi, English or any of the listed official languages of India.

n++ The Best Film will be awarded a cash prize of Rupees 10 lakhs and a certificate. Three Second Best Films will be awarded Rupees 5 lakhs each and six Third Best Films will be awarded Rupees 2 lakhs each.

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28 Villages electrified last week ; 10,079 villages electrified till date under DDUGJY
Aug 22,2016

28 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 15thto 21st August 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna(DDUGJY). Out of these electrified villages, 4 villages belong to Assam, 5 Chhattisgarh, 3to Jharkhand, 10to Meghalaya and 6 to Rajasthan.

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Global Innovation Index 2016: India improves its innovation rank 15 positions in GII 2016
Aug 22,2016

India has improved its innovation ranking in GII to reach 66th position from its last years rank of 81st, this improvement in the rank for India comes after 5 years of continuous drop in its ranking. Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, released jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) AT Kearney and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Speaking at the launch function jointly organized by NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry informed that n++A team to be formed to look into results of the Global Innovation Index to understand the challenges related to India and advise the Govt on Next stepn++.

Along with its innovation performance Indias innovation ranking is driven by methodological considerations, such as the addition of new indicators. Relative to GDP, India performs well above the line of the level of development. Among its income group (lower-middle income) it ranks 6th and in its region (Central and Southern Asia) it ranks 1st.

India has shown a downward trajectory during the period of 2013-2015 in its ranking for inputs and outputs. This year, however, the rank in both inputs and outputs has increased significantly, reaching its best performance for the inputs over the 4 year period. The relative downturn of Indias Innovation Efficiency Ratio (63rd) happened due to significant increase in Innovation inputs (which remained weak in previous years) with respect to its output (efficiency is the ratio between innovation output and innovation input). India ranks 3rd and 1st in its region (Central and Southern Asia) in the Innovation Input and Output Sub-Indices, respectively.

India, 66th, is the top-ranked economy in Central and Southern Asia, showing particular strengths in tertiary education and R&D, including global R&D intensive firms, the quality of its universities and scientific publications, its market sophistication and ICT service exports where it ranks first in the world. India also over-performs in innovation relative to its GDP. It ranks second on innovation quality amongst middle-income economies, overtaking Brazil. Relative weaknesses exist in the indicators for business environment, education expenditures, new business creations and the creative goods and services production.

n++The commitment of India to innovation and improved innovation metrics is strong and growing, helping to improve the innovation environment.  This trend will help gradually lift India closer to other top-ranked innovation economiesn++, says Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Innovation requires continuous investment. Before the 2009 crisis, research and development (R&D) expenditure grew at an annual pace of approximately 7%. GII 2016 data indicate that global R&D grew by only 4% in 2014. This was a result of slower growth in emerging economies and tighter R&D budgets in high-income economies - this remains a source of concern.

n++Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,n++ said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, n++I would like to congratulate the Government of India on how it has prioritized innovation in its development strategy. In the GII, India performs better than other countries at a similar level of economic development. India also shows outstanding strengths in innovation factors such as the number of graduates in science and engineering, the quality of its scientific publications and the quality of its universitiesn++.

Among the GII 2016 leaders, four economies n++ Japan, the U.S., the UK, and Germanyn++ stand out in n++innovation quality,n++ a top-level indicator that looks at the caliber of universities, number of scientific publications and international patent filings. China moves to 17th place in innovation quality, making it the leader among middle-income economies for this indicator, followed by India which has overtaken Brazil.

Soumitra Dutta, Dean, Cornell College of Business, and co-editor of the report, points out that n++Investing in improving innovation quality is essential for closing the innovation divide. While institutions create an essential supportive framework for doing so, economies need to focus on reforming education and growing their research capabilities to compete successfully in a rapidly changing globalized world.n++

GII 2016 Theme: n++Winning with Global Innovationn++

The GII theme this year is n++Winning with Global Innovation.n++ The report explores the rising share of innovation carried out via globalized innovation networks, finding that gains from global innovation can be shared more widely as cross-border flows of knowledge and talent are on the rise. The report also concludes that there is ample scope to expand global corporate and public R&D cooperation to foster future economic growth.

Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices, and co-author of the report, underlines that n++Some may see globalization as a trend in search of its second breath. Yet, the relative contraction of international trade and investment flows does give even more strategic importance to the two sides of global innovation: on one hand, more emerging countries are becoming successful innovators, and on the other hand, an increasing share of innovation benefits stem from cross-border co-operation.n++

At the national level, the report says that innovation policies should more explicitly favor international collaboration and the diffusion of knowledge across borders. New international governance structures should also aim to increase technology diffusion to and among developing countries.

n++Digital has become a primary driver of corporate globalization and advancement. For traditional organizations, the challenge is finding ways to be lean and agile, yet build on the realities of their existing resources and established practices,n++ says Johan Aurik, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board of GII Knowledge Partner A.T. Kearney.  n++Realizing success in todays new landscape requires forward thinking strategies that embrace digital to support R&D as well as the companys people, processes and systems,n++ he adds.

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Bengaluru most hospitable to tech start-ups; NCR next best, says ASSOCHAM Paper
Aug 22,2016

Bengaluru is host to the largest share of technology driven start-ups, followed by the Delhi NCR and Mumbai while Hyderabad and Chennai are also quite popular among the techies who are budding entrepreneurs, according to an ASSOCHAM study.

The study done in association with the Thought Arbitrage found that in the technology driven start-ups, India has moved up to third position with the US occupying the top position with more than 47,000 and UK with over 4,500. Indias tech start - ups number around 4,200 up to 2015.

In terms of total number of start-ups, comprising tech and non-tech areas, India again figured among the five largest hosts in the world along with China. The number of start-ups in both India and China was 10,000 each. The US is at the number one position among the overall list of 83,000 budding entrepreneurs.

Of the Indian start-ups, riding on the technology, the IT hub Bengaluru was host of 26 per cent, followed by NCR with 23 per cent and Mumbai 17 per cent. In the catching up category fell Hyderabad with eight per cent, Chennai and Pune with six per cent each.

n++The disruptive innovation in technology and process is creating newer Indian start-ups and foreign investors including some of the well-known venture capial funds are showing immense interest in these start-ups,n++ ASSOCHAM President Mr. Sunil Kanoria said.

The awareness that a start-up is a vehicle of rapid growth through technological n++disruptionn++ and innovation, has to spread across the economy. n++Only then, there can be a true start-up revolution; otherwise if any small traditional business is treated as a start-up then the start-up eco system will never develop properly. Realisation of this distinction needs to percolate to all strata of the policy making and economy to ensure that a real support system for the start-ups, in terms of technology, hand-holding, funding and rapid growth, can develop properly in the countryn++, the paper noted.

It said synergizing Start up India with Make in India and Digital India has the potential to expand Indian eco system for the new entrepreneurs. The paper suggested tax exemption for research and experimentation to encourage fresh ideas without fear of failure. Suggesting a Stanford University model in various Indian universities, the ASSOCHAM-Thought Arbitrage paper said courses on creation of small businesses should be encouraged in the learning campuses.

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Additional facilities extended to persons residing in India on Long-Term Visa (LTV)
Aug 20,2016

The Central Government has extended certain facilities in last two years to persons from Minority community of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians staying on Long Term Visa (LTV) in India, such as affidavit in place of renunciation certificate, LTV for five years instead of two years, facilities for education and employment, etc.

In order to provide them fair opportunities for a more comfortable living and hassle-free movement and pursuit of economic activities within the territory of India, Government has decided to extend the following additional facilities to this class of LTV holders:

Permission to open bank account

Permission for purchase of property for self occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment.

Permission to take self employment.

Issuance of driving licence, PAN card and Aadhar number.

Allowing free movement within the State /UT where they are staying.

Transfer of LTV papers from one State to other.

Reduction of penalty amount to Rs.100, Rs.200 and Rs.500 instead of existing amount of $30, $130, $230 on non-extension of short term Visa /LTV.

Permission to apply for LTV from the place of present residence when the applicants have changed place without permission.

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