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Incentives and Promotions for Anganwadi Workers
Jun 22,2016

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has provided several facilities and incentives to the Anganwadi Workers to improve their conditions of service. The Anganwadi Workers have been provided an insurance cover under Anganwadi Karyakartri Bima Yojana. The annual premium for this is Rs.280/- out of which Rs.100/- is paid by the Central Government, Rs.100/- is paid by the Ministry of Finance and Rs.80/-, which is supposed to be paid by the Anganwadi Workers, has been waived off. The Anganwadi Worker is also provided 180 days of maternity leave. She is also sanctioned two saris as uniform every year. Scholarship benefit is also provided to the Anganwadi Workers @ Rs. 300/- per quarter for their children studying in classes 9th to 12th. In order to improve their career prospects, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has ordered that 50% of the posts of Supervisors should be reserved for the Anganwadi Workers. Anganwadi Workers with 10 years of experience are eligible for appointment as Supervisor against this 50% quota.

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We hope the central bank will continue with the reforms process - FICCI President Harshavardhan Neotia
Jun 22,2016

n++With the Indian economy slowly steering towards a higher growth path, it is important that the recovery process underway is given a push and support through all policy levers. We are happy to note the alacrity with which the Government is actioning a spate of policy and procedural reforms to make doing business easier for firms. The recent overhaul of the FDI policy framework is again an attestation of the governments commitment to make India a magnet for investorsn++, said Mr. Harshavardhan Neotia, President, FICCI.

n++Foreign direct investment flows are increasing and FICCIs latest Business Confidence Survey shows that capacity utilization levels for firms in the country are also improving. As this happens, the appetite for new investments amongst domestic investors will also start increasing and it will be the right time for the central bank to aid the flow of funds to the industrial sector as well as make the same available at a lower cost than what is available todayn++, he added.

n++We hope that the central bank will continue with the reforms process in the banking sector and at the same time enable flow of funds to the to the industrial economy for productive use at reasonable rate of interest, said Mr. Neotia.

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Moodys: Challenging conditions for oil-related entities remain unchanged despite near-term price rebound
Jun 22,2016

Amid continued challenging conditions for energy industry companies and oil-exporting countries, Moodys Investors Service said its medium-term outlook for the sector remains unchanged, reinforcing the view that oil market participants credit metrics will continue to remain under pressure, despite the recent uptick in oil prices.

In the energy sector, the recent uptick in price levels provide only moderate relief from the underlying stress, said Moodys Senior Vice President Terry Marshall. Weve seen a significant deterioration in the credit profiles of many energy companies that were largely capitalized in an environment of much higher oil prices -- around $100 a barrel -- and are now grappling with cash flows that remain mismatched to their debt load.

Similarly, Moodys notes that adjusting to structurally lower oil prices will remain a medium-term fiscal and economic policy challenge for most oil-exporting sovereigns.

In its new report, Energy Industry and Oil-Exporting Sovereigns -- Global: Energy-Related Stress Continues Even as Oil Prices Rebound, Moodys underscores that while the near-term price gains have prompted an upwards revision of oil price estimates, the fundamentals that underpin its medium-term outlook -- a key consideration for estimating financial performance and ratings of companies and countries -- remain weak. Moodys assumes a medium-term oil price band of $40 to $60 per barrel (bbl) for both WTI and Brent crude and upwardly revised its shorter-term oil price estimates for these crudes to $40/bbl in 2016, $45/bbl in 2017 and $50/bbl in 2018.

The steep fall in oil prices has had material implications for the economic growth and balance sheets of countries that are largely dependent on oil and gas to drive their growth and finance their expenditures, said Moodys Managing Director Anne Van Praagh.

Moodys noted that its current issuer ratings -- for both corporates and sovereigns --address the range in which it expects prices to move over a multi-year outlook, rather than short-term estimates, and incorporate the balance of credit risks around that expectation. As a result, Moodys anticipates no immediate change to corresponding ratings as a result of the price estimates revision.

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Gartner Survey Reveals Enterprise Spending on Mobile App Development Remains Low
Jun 22,2016

Forty-two percent of organizations expect to increase spending on mobile app development by an average of 31 percent in 2016, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. Despite this, the average proportion of the overall application development budget allocated to mobile is only 10 percent, a 2 percent decrease from 2015.

The Gartner survey of IT and business leaders responsible for mobile strategy and/or custom mobile app development within their organizations was conducted in September 2015 across the United States, EMEA, Latin America and Asia/Pacific. The survey focused on understanding organizations activities in mobile app development, covering both business-to-employee (B2E) and business-to-consumer (B2C) apps.

Demand for mobile apps in the enterprise is growing, but the urgency to scale up mobile app development doesnt yet appear to be a priority for most organizations, said Adrian Leow, principal research analyst at Gartner. This must change, particularly given employees often have the autonomy to choose the devices, apps and even the processes to complete a task. This places an increasing amount of pressure on IT to develop a larger variety of mobile apps in shorter time frames.

The survey revealed that the majority of enterprises developing mobile apps are focused on custom mobile app development, rather than customizing configurable apps or building from off-the-shelf templates. Gartner believes that given most development teams use custom app development for all of their apps, extending this to mobile is a natural behavior. Additionally, many off-the-shelf mobile apps still require significant development activity to integrate the back-end databases and applications into the mobile app front ends.

If developers have to spend 70 percent of their time getting the integration right, they shouldnt have to make compromises on the front end by constraints inherent in prepackaged mobile apps, said Mr. Leow. The selection of prepackaged mobile apps is also still quite limited from many providers.

According to Gartner, the range of mobile apps in use across the enterprise varies among user groups and lines of business in terms of the apps adherence to corporate and security policies.

When you add in the public apps that users are adopting personally, such as Dropbox, to use for business, the management problem becomes clear, said Mr. Leow. ITs ability to inventory and distribute these apps is fragmented at best, and more often its incomplete.

Mr. Leow believes the solution to this issue of app management fragmentation and rogue apps is to pursue the development of an enterprise app store. The survey revealed that organizations have 26 mobile apps in their own enterprise app store on average, with a third of those mobile apps being custom-built, while the remainder are prepackaged apps (such as Box, Evernote and SAP Fiori).

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Gartner Says Healthcare Providers in India to Spend $1.2 Billion on IT in 2016
Jun 22,2016

Healthcare providers in India are expected to spend $1.2 billion (USD) on IT products and services in 2016, an increase of 3.4 percent over 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. This forecast includes spending by healthcare providers (includes hospitals, hospital systems, nursing and residential care and university hospitals) on internal services, software, IT services, data center systems, devices and telecom services.

n++IT services, which includes consulting, software support, implementation, hardware, IT outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO), will continue to be the largest overall spending category within the healthcare providers sector, said Moutusi Sau, principal research analyst at Gartner. n++It is expected to reach $339 million in 2016, growing 5.2 percent over 2015 The BPO sub-segment will record the fastest growth rate of 15.4 percent over 2015. ITO will be the largest sub-segment in IT services recording a 7.5 percent increase in 2016 to reach $107 million in 2016.n++

The software market will grow 6 percent in 2016 to reach $106 million, up from $100 million in 2015. Infrastructure will grow 4.5 percent in 2016 to reach $43 million.

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Ind-Ra: New Aviation Policy is a Harbinger of Renewed Optimism for the Sector
Jun 22,2016

The new civil aviation policy, the first of its kind, will propel the aviation boom, says India Ratings and Research. The view is based on the passenger (pax) throughput in airports (FY16: 17.63% yoy) considerably outpacing economic growth rates. The policy aims to develop a sustainable industry by addressing regulatory uncertainties, increasing affordability, and accentuating the need to improve regional connectivity. The governments recent move to allow 100% foreign direct investment, under automatic route, in brownfield airports bodes well for the sector and could increase the attractiveness of domestic airlines.

The government aims to create a level playing field for airlines and airports through eliminating the 5/20 rule and setting tariffs through a 30% hybrid till method, with the objective of increasing non-aeronautical revenue. Although the benefits of the policy may accrue over a period of time to all stakeholders, the policy creates the right investment climate for investors. Ind-Ra expects the pax volumes to reach 260 million in FY17, powered by the aspirations of the middle class to travel in flights and reduction in price differentials between air travel and rail journey including the recent increased cancellation fees for train tickets.

Capping tariffs for short-haul flights (covering 600km or one hour of travel) at INR2,500 would make air travel affordable for the larger sections of the middle class. However, these flight charges will apply only for airports that come under the ambit of regional connectivity scheme (RCS). Though the tariff cap will be indexed to inflation in ensuing years, Ind-Ra believes that the rates will meaningfully accommodate escalations in the operational costs of airlines. RCS will provide a slew of other exemptions to airlines such as reduced service tax, no airport charges, reduced fuel cost and viability gap funding to facilitate them break even in a short time. Implementing an efficient mechanism for the timely release of viability gap funding will go a long way for airlines, absence of which could jeopardise their financial stability leading to mounting receivables for airports.

RCS has the potential to attract new sections of the population to undertake air travel thereby fuelling pax volumes in airports. These airports could also become feeder airports to the large/international gateway airports such as Delhi, Mumbai and other metro airports.

Although the draft policy released in 2015, mentioned hybrid till only for future airports, the government has now delineated that user tariffs at all future airports will be determined on 30% hybrid till basis. It may increase the user charges in some airports however hybrid till in long term will be beneficial to all the stake holders. Hybrid till also incentivizes the airport developer to augment the non-aero revenues in the coming years. The earlier uncertainty surrounding the till mechanism for the existing airports impaired the debt service metrics of the airports. The ad-hoc tariffs then although aided the airports to accumulate cash however the final tariff orders annulled the collections which played spoilsport on the finances. Ind-Ra believes that the hybrid till is a mid-path as opposed to the single and double till and would mutually benefit the passengers and developers.

The policys impetus to model future airports under public-private partnership augurs well for the sector. Airport Economic Regulatory Authoritys order to allow project cost with a ceiling of INR65,000/sq.m. for a terminal building and INR4,700/sq.m. for a runaway excluding earthwork up to subgrade level underlines the cost efficient structure the regulator expects from new developers. Any increased costs will have to be examined by a duly constituted committee of experts. Although Ind-Ra believes that user development fees on these new airports will be low, determination of user charges need to be timely to avoid cash flow mismatches, an issue being faced by the airports running under public-private partnerships.

On the other hand, Airport Authority of India (AAI) shall build new airports considering a non-zero internal rate of return excluding no-frills airports. No-frills airports will be built under RCS with a cost of INR0.5bn-INR1bn with state governments backing in cases where financial viability is in question. A new airport may be built within 150km of an existing airport, with a suitable compensation to AAI, even if the existing airports capacity is not saturated. The ministry had earlier this month said that it may partner with state governments to develop some airports for regional connectivity.

The governments increased focus on cargo services and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services - according to infrastructure status and section 80IA benefits, provided the facility is located along with the airport, augurs well for the sector. The growing share of freight cargo income for private airports underscores this point. The historical pattern suggests that freight is an important forward indicator of passenger traffic. Since MRO activities hold huge business potential for Indian airports, the ministry will urge state governments to exempt MRO activities from VAT. The government also proposes to frame a single window with prompt clearances at cargo terminals.

The policy also emphasises on the concerted efforts of various agencies such as Airport Economic Regulatory Authority, AAI along with airport developers, airlines, MRO and state governments to reduce airport charges and cargo charges. Despite the huge potential available for the sector, implementation hurdles could delay the benefits to the stakeholders. Zeroing down on the right places for new airports, refurbishing existing airports and judiciously employing funds, while the existing capacity stays idle, are some of the crucial issues that need to be resolved.

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India should be ready with contingency plan on Brexit, says ASSOCHAM
Jun 22,2016

The Leave vote for Britain from the European Union under the Brexit referendum scheduled for June 23 would surely unnerve the global financial markets , leaving strong ripples for the Indian markets as well, necessitating a contingency plan by the government and the Reserve Bank of India, an ASSOCHAM Assessment Paper has said.

Since it is expected to be a close call between the Leave and Remain votes in the referendum which has emerged as a major risk related event for the global economy, the ASSOCHAM paper has said , n++ there could be an upheaval in the financial markets out of sheer panic, at least in the short termn++.

It said the Brexit event is coinciding with the concerns over a possible outflow of USD 20 billion due to redemption of the FCNR deposits , though the current account situation at this point of time is quite comfortable thanks to lower bill of imported crude oil for the last over 18 months.

n++With London being a nerve centre for the global firms, a fear factor has gripped the entire financial world. As a key emerging market and the one which is being preferred by the global fund managers, India could witness wild fluctuations or large outflows in sync with an overall trend. That is something to watch for,n++ the chamber said.

It expected the RBI to be ready with a contingency plan for effective intervention if there is a pressure on the dollar supply because of outflows of funds from the emerging markets.

n++However, in the medium to long term, the funds shuffled in an uncertain Britain and European markets could find way into the Indian markets, but in the immediate term, anything can happen and as a credible economy, we have to be ready and be on top of the situation,n++ ASSOCHAM said, adding he has full confidence in RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan to deal with the fast unfolding global events.

When it comes to merchandise trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) , there are no big issues in the short to medium term as in the case of exit , the Britain and EU would have to negotiate the terms of separation over a period of two years. That would give enough time to India policy makers and industry to re-align with the changing European landscape, the paper observed.

According to one school of argument, UK would find it easier to negotiate and sew up a Free Trade Agreement with India and similar arrangements with China and other fast emerging economies, unlike protracted India-EU trade negotiations stuck for over nine years without any tangible results. The India-EU trade deal is stuck also because of red tape and complicated bureaucracy and absence of convergence among different EU member countries interest. n++On the other hand, a trade opening pact can be reached with Britain within a matter of monthsn++, the ASSOCHAM paper said.

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NHAI to spend Rs. 58 Crore to mitigate impacts on Wildlife in Karnala Bird Sanctuary for widening of part of Panvel - Indapur section of NH-17
Jun 21,2016

NHAI has approved an estimate of Rs. 58.16 Crore to mitigate impacts on Wildlife in Karnala Bird Sanctuary (KBS) for widening of part of Panvel - Indapur section of NH-17. This section constitutes the direct connectivity from Mumbai to Goa. The highway stretch passes for about 1.5 km length within the Karnala Bird Sanctuary under Thane wildlife division of West Mumbai Wildlife Circle. NHAI applied for wildlife clearance for the project which was granted in the 34th meeting of the Standing committee of National Board of Wildlife. While recommending the proposal of NHAI, the State Government also agreed that the stretch of 3.5 km within and outside sanctuary area (1.5 Km within the sanctuary, and 1 Km on either side) would be a permanent bottleneck and will hinder the traffic speed on the highway, if it is not widened. The total length of the project is 84 Km, and the total project cost is Rs 943 crore. The State Government endorsed the proposal of widening the highway within the sanctuary, saying that this may also smoothen the traffic and reduce the fuel emissions from recurring traffic jams that may be harmful to the birds and other wildlife.

The KBS is covered with moist mixed deciduous forest and falls in the Western Ghat bio-geographic zone. The sanctuary is particularly rich in climbers and as many as 11 species are recorded from KBS. Among mammals, three species of primates (Common Langur, Bonnet Macaque and Rhesus macaque) are occurring in the sanctuary. Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Jackals, Hyaena, Jungle Cat, Squirrel, Porcupine and Indian Hare are reported from the sanctuary. KBS is particularly known for its rich avifauna and is home to over 146 species of resident and 37 species of migratory birds that visit during winter. Rare endemic birds of Western Ghats such as Malabar grey Hornbill, Ashy Minivet, three-toed Kingfisher and Malabar Trogon are reported from Sanctuary. Among other significant bird species the records of Malabar Whistling Thrush, long-billed Vulture, Indian Scimitar Babbler and Shaheen Falcon are significant.

The major mitigation measures being adopted by NHAI, as per the recommendations of the Wildlife Institute of India, include four wildlife passages (each 30 m wide and 3.5 m high) in the 1.5 km sanctuary stretch. Besides, seven number of box culverts (3m wide and 3m high) are also being provided. As there are no large animals in the KBS, box culverts may also create permeability for wildlife across habitat patches. In all, 27 nos. of structures shall be provided for total length of 3.5 km stretch, i.e., 12 falling within 1.5 km length in protected area, and remaining 15 on the 1 km stretch on each side.

NHAI approval also includes other wildlife management measures like retaining wall, fencing, signages, watch towers, provision of water for wildlife. An additional amount of Rs 15 lakh shall also be deposited in the fund of KBS for awareness raising among people through developing the nature interpretation centre.

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49% FDI under the automatic route shall add to ease of doing business and investment in the private security industry
Jun 21,2016

Expressing happiness on government announcement on liberalisation of FDI in private security industry Mr. Rituraj Sinha, Co- Chair, FICCI Committee on Private Security Industry said, n++The private security industry welcomes the announcement towards relaxation of foreign investment in the sector. Allowing up to 49 percent FDI under the automatic route shall add to ease of doing business significantly and is expected to expedite the investment process in the sector substantiallyn++.

n++However, the private security industry shall be engaging with the DIPP & MHA to understand the announcement regarding allowing up to 74% FDI in the private security sector under government approval route. Given that investment in the private security sector is capped at 49 percent as result of the provisions under the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act (2005), the Government decision to allow majority foreign ownership in private security industry up to 74 percent would require amendments to the PSAR Act (2005) priorn++, Mr. Sinha added.

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Taiwan seeks revival of FTA talks with India
Jun 21,2016

Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India, Mr. Chung- Kwang Tien on Thursday announced that Taiwan would want to revive the possibilities of working out free trade agreement with India for which a feasibility study was conducted three years ago.

Immediately after witnessing the signing of a protocol and cooperation agreement between PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Taiwan Chamber of Commerce here on Thursday, Mr. Tien also disclosed that Indian cabinet has already approved the cooperation agreement with Taiwan in the field of agriculture and horticulture including approving widening of civil aviation activities between the two countries on 15 June 2016).

In view of both countries wanting to broad-base their both economic and trade engagements, the idea for reworking free trade agreement between India and Taiwan would further cement their ties for manufacturing and services sector and create an ideal situation for moving towards the free trade regime between the two, pointing out that Taiwan is a late entrant into Indias economic landscape, which is so huge and wide, said Mr. Tien.

According to him, the two countries should intensify their trade and economic cooperation in electronics and IT among other things and gradually evolve for free trade agreement.

The agreement signed by the President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Mahesh Gupta and President, Taiwan Chamber of Commerce, Mr. G F Hao also aims at promoting trade and investment relations between the two countries as also constantly endeavour to improve co-operation with two Organisations.

The other objectives of the agreement comprise to assist in the organisation of trade and market research missions, conferences, symposia and other methods of trade promotional activity in each others country.

With this agreement in place, the two Chambers will organize seminars, conferences, exhibitions, trade fairs and other promotional activities to further business relations between the two countries and create and maintain a continuing exchange of information about economic developments and other matters affecting the business interests of their members.

This Agreement becomes effective on the day of signing, and shall remain operative until either of the two Organisations requests its termination in writing to the other Organisation at least three months in advance. Both Organisations will have the right to propose amendments if and when they consider such amendments necessary to improve the co-operation between them.

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More ambitious policies needed to address changes facing agriculture
Jun 21,2016

Governments need to implement more ambitious policies to address the global challenges facing agriculture, notably a shift away from direct support to farmers towards greater assistance for innovation systems that will improve productivity and sustainability, according to a new OECD report.

Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2016 finds that support to producers in OECD countries has roughly halved in intensity over the past 30 years, and now amounts to 17% of gross farm receipts. Average support levels in the emerging economies have increased from very low or even negative levels, to approach the average level of OECD countries.

The averages mask widely divergent levels of support across the countries:

n++Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Ukraine, the United States, and Viet Nam have support levels below - in some cases well below - the OECD average.

n++Support levels in the European Union (as a whole), the Russian Federation and Turkey are roughly at the OECD average, while China is just slightly higher.

n++Support levels in Indonesia are much higher, but still well below the highest levels of support provided by Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway and Switzerland.

Together, the 50 countries covered in this years report provided an annual average of USD 585 billion (EUR 469 billion) of support to their agricultural producers in the years 2013-15, and an additional USD 87 billion (EUR 69 billion) on general services supporting the sector.

The report shows that gradual progress has been made across the OECD in moving away from potentially distortionary policy instruments such as price support and input subsidies towards policies that do not directly influence farm production decisions. This has occurred to different degrees and at different speeds, with changes particularly slow in the group of countries with the highest levels of support and protection.

In parallel, some emerging economies are shown to be moving in the opposite direction, increasing the use of price and production-linked support policies. On average, 68% of support to farmers in countries studied was provided in the form of market price support, payments based on output or on input use without constraints. These measures distort production decisions and can significantly distort markets and trade.

The OECD points out the need for a reorientation of current food and agriculture policies, with a particular shift in the focus of farm policies to address the emerging opportunities and challenges confronting the sector: improving productivity growth, sustainable use of natural resources and resilience of farm households.

Investments in people - education, skills, and in some cases health services - as well as those in strategic physical infrastructure and agricultural innovation systems that are responsive to the needs of producers and consumers are required. Less public expenditure should be spent on direct support to farms, especially in the forms of support that are the most production and trade distortive, like market price support, payments based on output and input use, the OECD said.

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DebtFX: Currency and Bond Market To Stay Defensive
Jun 21,2016

While global markets gear up ahead of the United Kingdoms European Union referendum decision, the Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) governor Dr Raghuram Rajans decision to not continue for a second term will send jitters in domestic markets, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The rupee is likely to stay on the backfoot, on account of renewed volatility and is likely to trade in the range of 67.10/USD-67.85/USD this week (67.09/USD at close on 17 June 2016). The bond market too is unlikely to cheer the governors announcement and may trade in the range of 7.50%-7.58% this week (7.50% at close on 17 June 2016).

Rethinking of the Rate Outlook: The week started with the exit announcement of the RBI governor Dr Rajan. On the other hand, the United Kingdoms future with the European Union will be decided by the end of this week. The agency believes the forming of the monetary policy committee in coming months will further strengthen the sustainability of the policy stance of an institution over its leader. In this context, Ind-Ra expects initial nervousness in the market to settle down in the course of the week.

Rupee to Take a Knock: Dr. Rajan was at the helm of steering the rupee amid extreme volatility in the 2013 taper episode. His effective resignation could therefore push the currency on the backfoot as an immediate reaction. Ind-Ra believes that while the exit in itself may not trigger major incremental portfolio outflows, the medium-term impact would be more pronounced. At the same time, investors will also be concerned over the management of the upcoming redemption of the FCNR B deposits, against the backdrop of a regime shift at the RBI.

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14,00,740 Antiquities Documented & Data of 3.15 Lakhs of BH&S and Antiquities Uploaded on NMMA Website
Jun 21,2016

A total of 14,00,740 antiquities have been documented and Data of 3.15 lakhs of Built Heritage & Sites (BH&S) and antiquities has been uploaded on National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA) website. NMMA has documented 61,132 antiquities so far through Documentation Resources Centre. In addition, 15000 more antiquities were documented by 31st March 2016. Out of remaining raw data of 47,000 of 80,000 sites available with NMMA (32,832 templates were computerised during the year 2014-2015) on Built Heritage and Sites collected from IAR, INTACH, D-Forms etc., NMMA documented and computerised 45,000 Templates during the period April-December 2015. Browsing of the uploaded data may be done on NMMA website

Approximately 45000 sites (unprotected) with archaeological remains were documented by Research Associates engaged contractually by NMMA from Secondary Source like District and Imperial Gazetteers, journals published Catalogues brought out by State and University Archaeology Depts. un-published Universities thesis, Survey Report etc.

India has an extraordinarily rich, vast and diverse cultural heritage in the form of built heritage, archaeological sites and remains since prehistoric times. The sheer magnitude in number alone is overwhelming and these are the symbols of both cultural expression and evolution. There now appears to prevail a fundamental lack of knowledge, understanding and, perhaps, interest in our past: in what constitutes the heritage of India, the process that governed its coming into being, and how this heritage relates to the people. Its manifestations expressed in cultural forms are losing their traditional essence in rapidly transforming lifestyles in an era of industrial growth.

There is, however, no comprehensive record in the form of database where such archaeological resources in terms of built heritage, sites and antiquities can be referred. As a result this finite, non-renewable and irreversible resource of our country is fast disappearing without any record for the posterity. Therefore there is an urgent need for a proper survey of such resources, and based on that an appropriate archaeological heritage resource management and policy can be formulated. In view of the above, Prime Minister of India made an announcement on Independence Day, 2003 for setting up of a National Mission on Indias Tangible Heritage. Accordingly the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities was launched on 19th March 2007.

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INR1.4trn Refinancing Requirement Could Put INR11.8trn Debt at Risk in FY17
Jun 21,2016

240 of the largest 500 corporate borrowers contributing INR11.8trn to the total debt of INR28.1trn are exposed to a significant risk of refinancing INR1.4trn debt in FY17, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

The agency has bucketed these 240 entities into the ERR (elevated risk of refinancing) and Stressed (already in default) categories. INR5.1trn debt falls under the Stressed category and another INR6.7trn debt is under ERR for FY17. Ind-Ras analysis indicates that entities in the ERR category holding INR4.6trn of debt could already be delinquent while the other entities holding the balance INR2.1trn of debt are solvent and may be able to raise financing with additional collateral. They, however, remain exposed to downside risks in the event of liquidity stress and/or escalation in risk aversion by banks.

According to Ind-Ras analysis, 80% (INR1.7trn) of the FY17 refinancing requirements stems from 100 entities out of which 39 (INR527bn) entities belong to the Stressed category and 33 (INR600bn) belong to the ERR category. Ind-Ra believes entities in the ERR category whose total asset coverage ratio and/or interest cover ratio are below 1x will face difficulties in debt refinancing given banks (especially public sector units) risk aversion to such stressed assets and capital unavailability. The median credit metrics for the ERR category deteriorated over FY11-FY16 driven by increasing debt and lower growth in operating profits.

Entities in the HER (high ease of refinancing) and MER (medium ease of refinancing) categories (52% of total debt) have refinancing requirements of INR153bn and INR557bn, respectively, for FY17. Ind-Ra believes these entities would gain a competitive advantage with improvements in domestic demand. This is because of their stronger operating profitability, positive cash flows, and larger cash and liquid investments than those of the ERR and Stressed category corporates. These entities have stronger business and financial profiles, additional collateral or parental /or group support to manage repayments as well as plan for the next phase of growth capex and investments and acquisitions. However, most of these entities are unlikely to venture significantly into growth capex before 2HFY19. Ind-Ra elaborated this in itsCorporate Risk Radar report published in March 2016.

Capital intensive and commodity-linked sectors are primarily in the Stressed and ERR categories and would continue to pose risks to creditors during the course of FY17. On the other hand, the consumption and low leveraged sectors are primarily in the HER and MER categories and would continue to gain traction. The sectoral break-up of refinancing required indicates a significant concentration in leveraged sectors such as metal and mining, infrastructure and construction, oil and gas, power and telecom which together contribute 60% to the total debt and 47% to the total refinancing requirement.

Some of the ERR category entities benefit from group/parental support reflected in their investment grade ratings (39% having BBB- and above on the domestic scale). However, many are believed to have a significant downside risk, given that the cash flow improvements, if any, would likely be insufficient to improve the financial positions of these entities meaningfully in FY17. However, HER and MER categories have a high proportion (in excess of 85%) of investment grade entities benefitting from improving cash flows, flexibility of offering collateral or group/ or parental support.

The banking sector exposure to the ERR (FY15: 24.9%, FY12: 26.8%) and stressed (18.7%, 19.5%) groups has grown at a muted level since FY12, while the exposure to the HER (31.2%, 29.7%) and MER (25.2%, 24%) categories has increased. ERR and Stressed category corporates continue to have a high dependence on the domestic banking system. Given their weak credit metrics and negative free cash flow, their ability to access domestic capital markets or tap foreign currency markets is limited. Ind-Ra analysed the top 10 mutual funds houses have an exposure of INR670bn in the top 500 corporates. The exposure in the ERR category is 4% and in the Stressed category is negligible at 0.3%, while it is significant in the HER (45%) and MER (51%) categories.

Ind-Ra in its earlier report on refinancing risk of top 100 borrowers published in January 2014 had analysed the 100 largest corporate borrowers. In FY15, of the 20 entities identified to be the ERR category, four are currently in default and another 10 are under stress. The report has been extended to the top 500 borrowers and the categorisation will provide help banks and investors in their credit decisions.

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Number of yoga practitioners soars by up to 30% across metros in India: Survey
Jun 21,2016

Students, stressed-out young professionals, CEOs and retirees have embraced yoga in large numbers as gymnasiums across metros have seen a spurt in yoga practitioners willing to attain health and toning benefits of this ancient system of exercise and spiritual development, according to an ASSOCHAM survey-cum-analysis.

There has been a spurt in number of people that have taken up yoga by up to 30 per cent, most of whom have been inspired by many celebrities and media attention that it has garnered, noted a survey on Yoga or Gym, conducted by the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation in 10 metros - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai.

ASSOCHAM representatives interacted with 100 gym trainers/fitness professionals and about 1,000 people sweating it out at the gymnasiums across the aforesaid cities to ascertain which is a better workout regime.

The survey was conducted during the course of past two months in wake of the International Day of Yoga celebrated globally on June 21.

Majority of the gym trainers said that there has been an increase in number of female clients by over 50 per cent since they began conducting yoga sessions at their gymnasium and in general the number of yoga practitioners has fuelled by about 25-30 per cent during the course of past one year.

On being asked which is a better workout regime, about 25 per cent gym regulars said they had switched to yoga after first few sessions owing to increased flexibility, toning, strengthening and other such benefits of meditation and breathing exercises, noted the ASSOCHAM survey.

Besides, many even said that yoga has helped them fight everything from addiction and lower back pain to diabetes and aging, in addition to boosting overall well-being and stress relief.

Additional benefits like improved digestion and concentration together with less of fatigue and tiredness has helped people in performing better at work and some even said that they no longer feel guilty if at all they skip going to gym by a day or two as yoga can be practised at home and even at office.

However, majority of gym trainers advised to combine yoga and gym sessions to get desired results of physical benefits and mental stimulation.

Yoga has grown in India from an ancient spiritual practice to big business and premium lifestyle, considering that there are an estimated four crore yoga practitioners across the country spending about Rs 1,000 crore on designer yoga-wear, mats, towels, luxury retreats thereby promoting the fitness industry, said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the ASSOCHAM survey.

Yoga which can be traced back roughly 5,000 years, is a tradition that has stood the test of time, more so in a world of exercise trends and diet fads, said Mr Rawat.

One of the key reasons for increased popularity of yoga is that of late it has developed as a panacea for the ailments of modern society n++ tech overload, disconnection and alienation, insomnia, stress and anxiety, he added.

The sudden boom of interest in yoga will fuel the demand for getting more trained yoga instructors, yoga studios and gymnesiums across India in the coming future, further said Mr Rawat.

Yoga also holds significant potential to boost both domestic and foreign travellers inflow, especially in places like Rishikesh and others to become certified yoga instructors, demand of whom is likely to surge in wake of the growing popularity as yoga goes mainstream, highlighted the ASSOCHAM survey-cum-analysis.

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