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Indias pharma exports may reach $20 bn by 2020: Study
Jun 17,2016

Export of pharmaceutical products from India is likely to cross $14. billion (bn) mark this year and may reach about $20 bn by 2020, thereby registering a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about eight per cent, according to an ASSOCHAM-TechSci Research joint study.

n++However, growth in pharmaceutical products exports from India may decline by almost half i.e. from the level of CAGR of about 15 per cent clocked during 2010-14 to about eight per cent during 2015-2020 on account of delay in regulatory approvals in top markets of the US, Russia, Africa and others,n++ highlighted the study titled IPR in pharmaceuticals: Balancing, innovation and access, jointly conducted by ASSOCHAM and TechSci Research.

n++Consolidation of pharmacy players is leading to an increase in pricing pressures for generic companies existing in the US market which is expected to result in decline in year-on-year growth of pharmaceutical exports from India over next five years,n++ highlighted the ASSOCHAM-TechSci Research study.

Besides, a steep decline in currency in emerging markets like Africa, Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela is expected to add woes to drug manufacturing companies that supply pharmaceutical drugs to that region and are unable to generate high revenues on account of selling their drugs at a low priced currency.

India is the largest supplier of medicine to the US. Pharmaceutical exports from India to the US rose from $3.4 bn in 2013 to $3.7 bn in 2014, mainly due to increasing demand for high quality generic drugs in the market.

However, growth rate for exports of pharmaceutical products from India to the US is declining, due to increasing US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) scrutiny on the quality of pharma products coming from drug manufacturing plants located in India.

In order to boost growth rate of exports to the US, Indian companies will need to leverage their compliance to the USFDA regulations.

The exchange rate crisis in the country is affecting pharmaceuticals market in Russia. As such, stabilization of currency is of utmost importance in generating revenues through exports.

In addition, many Indian companies are operating through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Program (PBP) and hospital tenders, for supplying vital and essential drugs, for which prices are then regulated by the Russian government.

Similarly, Indias exports of pharmaceuticals to Africa are being affected due to port delays and prolonged custom valuation.

n++Pharmaceuticals exports are a major factor contributing to growth of this industry in India with the US and few fast growing markets like Brazil, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and in South-East Asia emerging as the main export markets for generic drugs,n++ said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the study.

n++Indias pharmaceutical industry has transformed from being mainly a generic manufacturer to providing complex drug formulations to foreign markets thereby registering a significant growth,n++ said Mr Rawat.

n++Pharmaceutical market in India is being driven by rapid socio-economic changes, rising sedentary lifestyle amid people and expected growth in number of people suffering from obesity, diabetes, cardiac problems and other related ailments,n++ he added.

Further, with a view to benefit and drive the growth of pharmaceutical research and innovation in India, the ASSOCHAM-TechSci Research study has recommended for data protection to be introduced as an Intellectual Property Right.

It has also suggested for digitisation of IPR for pharmaceuticals in India to strengthen online processing and maintenance of information database thereby making the process more systematic and convenient.

Though it would require allocation of more personnel for patent examinations and training sessions to be organised as part of resource development module, the study has emphasised that efficient management of IPR filings would help in building a stronger IPR framework in India.

Indias pharmaceutical market may reach $20 bn this year and about $55 bn by 2020 from about $18 bn as of 2014 thereby clocking a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 22 per cent.

Pharmaceutical sector in India will register higher growth during the course of next five years (22 per cent) as compared to a CAGR of about 14 per cent clocked by the sector during 2010-14.

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Demand for OPEC crude for 2016 remained unchanged and is projected to increase by 1.8 mb/d to average 31.5 mb/d
Jun 17,2016

OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report

Crude Oil Price Movements

The OPEC Reference Basket averaged $43.21/b in May, representing a gain of $5.35 over the previous month. ICE Brent ended up $4.31 at $47.65/b, while Nymex WTI rose $5.67 to $46.80/b. The ICE Brent-Nymex WTI spread narrowed significantly to 85n++/b in May from $2.21/b the month before.

World Economy

World economic growth is forecast at 3.1% for this year, after estimated growth of 2.9% the year before, both unchanged from the previous month. OECD growth in 2016 remains at 1.9%, slightly below the 2.0% seen in 2015. The forecast for the major emerging economies remains unchanged. China and India continue to expand this year at a considerable level of 6.5% and 7.5%, respectively. Brazil and Russia, however, are forecast to remain in recession this year, contracting by 3.4% and 1.1%, respectively.

World Oil Demand

World oil demand growth for 2016 remains unchanged from the previous report at 1.20 mb/d to average 94.18 mb/d. Other Asia, led by India, is anticipated to be the main contributor to oil demand growth in 2016. Similar to 2015, transportation fuels, supported by healthy vehicle sales and the low oil price environment, are projected to provide the bulk of expected growth. The 2015 growth estimate was also left unchanged at 1.54 mb/d to average 92.98 mb/d.

World Oil Supply

The forecast for non-OPEC oil supply in 2016 remains unchanged, with a contraction of 0.74 mb/d expected to average 56.40 mb/d. The downward revisions in Canada, Brazil and Colombia broadly offset upward revisions in the US, UK, Russia and Azerbaijan. Non-OPEC supply growth in 2015 was left unchanged at 1.47 mb/d. OPEC NGLs and non-conventionals are expected to increase by 0.16 mb/d to average 6.29 mb/d this year. In May, secondary sources show OPEC crude oil production decreased by 0.1 mb/d to average 32.36 mb/d.

Product Markets and Refining Operations

The high level of inventories in light and middle distillates, along with the approaching end of the spring maintenance season, offset the potential impact from events in Canada and France. This caused margins to edge lower in the Atlantic Basin, despite stronger gasoline demand in the region. Meanwhile, in Asia, refinery margins showed a slight recovery on the back of stronger regional gasoline and gasoil demand amid a peak in refinery maintenance.

Tanker Market

Sentiment in the dirty tanker market was generally weak in May. VLCC and Suezmax spot freight rates declined on the back of light tonnage demand and increased tanker availability. However, Aframax spot freight rates improved. Clean tanker freight rates declined on average, as a result of low freight rates reported for West of Suez. In May, global chartering activities dropped and sailings from the Middle East, and OPEC more broadly, were lower month-on-month.

Stock Movements

OECD commercial oil stocks rose slightly in April to stand at 3,046 mb. At this level, OECD commercial oil stocks are around 338 mb above the latest five-year average, with crude indicating a lower surplus of 194 mb and products broadly flat at 144 mb. In terms of days of forward cover, OECD commercial stocks stood at 66.4 days, some 7.1 days higher than the five-year average.

Balance of Supply and Demand

Demand for OPEC crude in 2016 is projected at 31.5 mb/d, unchanged from the last report and 1.8 mb/d higher than last year. For 2015, demand for OPEC crude is also unchanged, averaging 29.7 mb/d, which represents a decline of 0.1 mb/d from the previous year.

Estimate for 2015

Demand for OPEC crude for 2015 remained unchanged from the previous month to stand at 29.7 mb/d, representing a decline of 0.1 mb/d from the 2014 level. All quarters remained unchanged. 1Q15 fell by 0.8 mb/d, while 2Q15 and 3Q15 remained flat versus the same quarters last year. 4Q15 rose by 0.4 mb/d y-o-y.

Forecast for 2016

Demand for OPEC crude for 2016 remained unchanged from the previous MOMR and is projected to increase by 1.8 mb/d to average 31.5 mb/d. Within the quarters, both 1Q16 and 4Q16 were revised down by 0.2 mb/d and 0.1 mb/d, respectively, while 2Q16 was revised up by 0.1 mb/d. 3Q16 remained unchanged. 1Q16 and 2Q16 are expected to increase by 1.0 mb/d and 2.1 mb/d, respectively, while 3Q16 and 4Q16 are both projected to increase, rising by 2.2 mb/d and 1.8 mb/d, respectively.

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Storage status of 91 major Reservoirs of the country was 15% of total storage capacity as on June 16, 2016
Jun 17,2016

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on June 16, 2016 was 23.786 BCM which is 15% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This was 57% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 80% of storage of average of last ten years.

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

REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS:-

NORTHERN REGION

The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are 6 reservoirs under Central Water Commission (CWC) monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.01 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 4.12 BCM which is 23% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 42% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 29% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

EASTERN REGION

The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 3.25 BCM which is 17% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 28% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 16% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year but better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

WESTERN REGION

The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 27 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 27.07 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 2.96 BCM which is 11% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 20% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was21% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the storage of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

CENTRAL REGION

The Central region includes States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. There are 12 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 42.30 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 8.59 BCM which is 20% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 30% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 14% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the storage of last year but better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

SOUTHERN REGION

The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 31 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 4.86 BCM which is 9% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 22% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 19% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

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

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Shri Piyush Goyal Launches Ujala Scheme in Goa and Vidyut Pravah & Urja Mobile App
Jun 17,2016

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Shri Piyush Goyal today launched URJA- Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan Mobile app on the side-lines of ongoing two day Conference of Power Ministers at Cansaulim in South Goa. The app is developed by Power Finance Corporation on behalf of Ministry of Power for Urban Power Distribution Sector to enhance consumer connect with the Urban Power Distribution sector by providing information of IT enabled towns on important parameters which concern the consumers like outage information, timely release of connections, addressing complaints, power reliability etc.

The app will work as manifestation of Prime Ministers principle of good governance i.e. People focus, co-operative federalism.

The Union Minister also launched the Pradhan Mantri UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LED for all) Yojana in Goa with a target of replacing approximately 15 lakh LED bulbs, impacting nearly 5 lakh households. Under the scheme, consumers are entitled to 3 LED bulbs of 9W each at a subsidized rate of Rs.25/, as against a market price of Rs.300-350.

The Scheme launched in the distinguished presence of Goa Chief Minister Shri Laxmikant Parsekar will help save over 78 million kwh every year in the state and about Rs.850-1000 on annual electricity bills.

Besides, the Union Minister also launched n++Vidyut Pravahn++ App at the event.

Speaking on the occasion the Minister said the scope of n++DEEPn++ (Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price) e-Bidding and e-Reverse Auction Portal has been further expanded by covering banking mechanism and the medium term procurement of Power. The Union Minister said the Government will soon start 100 percent smart metering to curb the menace of power theft. He said currently there is a loss around 24 to 26 percent due to theft of Power.

The two day conference is expected to deliberate on Coal related issues, Hydropower policy, transmission related issues behind other issues.

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MHRD concurs with UGC recommendations to remove subjectivity and bring in more transparency
Jun 17,2016

Following recommendations received from the University Grants Commission for amendments to the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has concurred with the recommendations for notification.

The amended regulations are intended to remove subjectivity and bring in more transparency in the processes for establishment and functioning of such institutions. They seek to maintain the quality of education, to provide in more autonomy, and a framework for Government and UGC interface with the institutions.

There have been major changes in the application process, simplifying it and making it more objective. A recurring issue in representations received from industry and educationists has been the length of time taken to process applications, in some cases many years leading to unnecessary pendency, uncertainty.

Timelines have been assigned at different stages including information seeking by UGC (2 months), submission of reports by the Expert committee (3 months) and approval and advice of UGC (1.5 months) and Government decision (2 months).

The visit of the expert committee, essentially confirmatory of faculty availability and of the quality and infrastructure will be recorded and uploaded on the UGC website within 24 hours.

The regulations provide an impetus to accreditation and other measures of quality. Institutions seeking de-novo to apply for Deemed To Be Universities (DTBUs) would need to have the highest NAAC/NBA grading for two cycles or alternatively have the highest NAAC/NBA grading at the time of application and be in the top 20 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).

Prior to these new amended regulations, the application process of was fraught with uncertainty and opacity.

The regulations have brought in the Letter of Intent (LOI) concept wherein the applicant, society, trust or Section 8 Company will set up the institution and indicate its readiness for commencement of the academic operations, as per the plan presented and agreed within three years of the issue of LOI. Similar provisions have been made for off-campuses.

Recognizing that the land is a scare and valuable resource, the land requirement has been modified, to focus on the built up area. The earlier specifications in acres of land (5 - 10 acres) have been replaced with the stipulation with the minimum open space should be 40% of the total area, that academic infrastructure should be at least 15,000 sq. m. and that there must be accommodation for students and teachers.

Institutions, under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) can have a credit exchange matrix with other UGC recognized institutions for the benefit of their students.

Keeping in view the need to maintain academic currency and quality in the new provision, it has been mandated that such institutions will review the syllabus every 3 years at least.

This regulation makes it mandatory for the institution to have 3 cells - anti-ragging, anti discrimination and gender sensitization as well as an internal complaints committee for prevention of sexual harassment. There will be barrier free access for specially abled students in all places. There will also be adequate health care facilities for students, staff and faculty within the campus.

In the context of governance, there would be a GoI nominee on the Board of Management for DTBUs only in case it is controlled by the Central Government or receives more than 50% of its funding from the government. In other cases, the UGC will provide nominees from a panel of names recommended by a search committee of academic experts.

Under 2010 regulations, the Chancellors could not be a member of the society, trust or Section 8 Company not a close relative of its President. In the amended regulations this restriction has been removed.

Industry collaborations and research projects would not need specific approval of the UGC nor would be for new departments in core subjects for which the institution was established. It has been made mandatory for the DTBU to participate in the National Institutions Ranking Framework (NIRF) and in the Know Your College (KYC) portal and mobile app application. Responding to complaints from students, it has been decided that full fee would only be paid at the time of admission, and not during counseling or pre-admission process. No capitation fees will be allowed.

The ceiling of 6 off-campuses has been removed. After 5 years of its establishment, the institution may set up off-campuses provided it has got NAAC A accreditation. Similar provisions would apply for off-shore campuses with the additional stipulation that clearance of the MEA and MHA is requested.

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3.7% Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in May 2016 Over
Jun 16,2016

3.7% growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in May 2016 over the same period in 2015. Bangladesh accounts for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by USA and UK in April 2016. Rs.10, 285 crores Foreign Exchange earned through tourism in May 2016.

Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism on the basis of data available from Reserve Bank of India. The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FEEs from tourism during the month of May, 2016.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

n++ FTAs during the Month of May, 2016 were 5.29 lakh as compared to FTAs of 5.1 lakh during the month of May, 2015 and 4.65 lakh in May, 2014. There has been a growth of 3.7% in May, 2016 over May, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- May, 2016 were 36.36 lakh with a growth of 9.1% as compared to the FTAs of 33.32 lakh with a growth of 4.0% in January- May, 2015 over January- May, 2014.

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during May, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (20.48%) followed by USA (15.68%), UK (7.56%), Malaysia (3.74%), Sri Lanka (3.39%), China (3.24%), Japan (2.69%), Canada (2.62%), Germany (2.48%), Australia (2.42%), Singapore (2.23%), France (2.14%), Nepal (2.06%), Pakistan (1.73%), and Oman (1.66%).

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during May 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (26.37%) followed by Mumbai Airport (17.30%), Haridaspur Land check post (11.78%),Chennai Airport (9.03%), Bengaluru Airport (7.54%), Kolkata Airport (4.66%), Cochin Airport (3.89%), Hyderabad Airport (3.71%), Gede Rail (2.73%), Trivandrum Airport (1.76%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.68%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.67%), Attari-Wagah (1.38%), Goa Airport (0.82%), and Ghojadanga land check post (0.65%).

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism in India in Rs. terms and in US$ terms

n++ FEEs during the month of May, 2016 were Rs.10,285 crore as compared to Rs.9,505 crore in May, 2015 and Rs. 7,936 crore in May, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during May, 2016 over May, 2015 was 8.2% as compared to the growth of 19.8% in May, 2015 over May, 2014.

n++ FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during January- May 2016 were Rs. 62,333 crore with a growth of 14.4% as compared to the FEE of Rs. 54,471 crore with a growth of 7.3% during January- May, 2015 over January- May, 2014.

n++ FEEs in US$ terms during the month of May, 2016 were US$ 1.537 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.491 billion during the month of May, 2015 and US$ 1.337 billion in May, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in May, 2016 over May, 2015 was 3.1% compared to the growth of 11.5% in May, 2015 over May, 2014.

n++ FEE from tourism in US$ terms during January- May, 2016 were US$ 9.270 billion with a growth of 6.5% as compared to the US$ 8.705 billion with a growth 4.9% during January- May, 2015 over January- May, 2014.

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Indias current account deficit narrows to 0.1% of GDP in Q4FY2016
Jun 16,2016

Indias current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to US$ 0.3 billion (0.1% of GDP) in Q4 of 2015-16, significantly lower than US$ 7.1 billion (1.3% of GDP) in Q3 of 2015-16 and marginally lower than US$ 0.7 billion (0.1% of GDP) in Q4 of 2014-15. The contraction in CAD was primarily on account of a lower trade deficit (US$ 24.8 billion) than in Q4 of last year (US$ 31.6 billion) and US$ 34.0 billion in the preceding quarter.

Net services receipts declined on a y-o-y basis largely due to fall in exports of transport, financial services and telecommunication, computer and information services.

Private transfer receipts, mainly representing remittances by Indians employed overseas, amounted to US$ 15.7 billion, a decline from their level in the preceding quarter as well as from a year ago.

Net foreign direct investment moderated to US$ 8.8 billion in Q4 of 2015-16 from US$ 9.3 billion in Q4 of 2014-15. Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of US$ 1.5 billion in Q4 of 2015-16 as against a net inflow of US$ 12.5 billion in the corresponding period of last year; primarily reflecting net outflow in the debt segment.

Non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits, however, increased in Q4 of 2015-16 over their level in Q4 last year as well as the preceding quarter.

Foreign exchange reserves (on a BoP basis) increased by US$ 3.3 billion in Q4 of 2015-16.

BoP during April-March 2015-16

The CAD narrowed to 1.1% of GDP in 2015-16 from 1.8% in 2014-15, on the back of contraction in the trade deficit.

Indias trade deficit narrowed to US$ 130.1 billion in 2015-16 from US$ 144.9 billion in 2014-15.

Net invisible receipts declined in 2015-16, primarily reflecting moderation in both net services earnings and private transfer receipts.

Net FDI inflows during 2015-16 (US$ 36.0 billion) rose sharply by 15.3% over the level in 2014-15.

Portfolio investment, however, recorded a net outflow US$ 4.5 billion in 2015-16 as against a net inflow of US$ 40.9 billion last year.

In 2015-16, there was an accretion of US$ 17.9 billion to foreign exchange reserves (on a BoP basis) as compared with US$ 61.4 billion in 2014-15.

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Proposed Amendments to the Shipbreaking Code, 2013: Stakeholders Comments Called for
Jun 16,2016

In pursuance of the directions of the Honble Supreme Court in CWP 657 of 1995, in the matter of Research Foundation for Science Vs Union of India and another, Government of India in the Ministry of Steel had formulated and notified the comprehensive code for ship breaking and ship recycling, namely Shipbreaking Code, 2013, vide notification dated 7th March, 2013.

Modifications to the Shipbreaking Code, 2013, are being considered at present on the basis of practical experience of the users and suggestions received from different stakeholders, viz, shipbreaking industry, State Maritime Boards/Port authorities and other regulatory agencies. A copy of the Code, indicating the proposed changes has been uploaded on the website of the Ministry. (www.shipping.nic.in).

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Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal appeals for electrifying all households in the country-says farmers must have adequate timely power
Jun 16,2016

The Union Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Shri Piyush Goyal has said that his Ministry is committed to ensuring that every household is electrified and all farmers in the country get adequate and timely power in the country. Addressing the Conference of State Power, Energy and Renewable Energy Ministers at Goa he said making a difference to the lives of poor, rural people and farmers is important in achieving our goal of 24X7 power for all-industry, commerce, households, farmers- in the country by the year 2019. He also underlined that we are committed to cheaper adequate power in a sustainable efficient manner for the poor. He said it is easy if we work in the spirit of participation and cooperation. Shri Goyal said we learn from experiences of states and I am happy that this conference has developed into a good platform for exchange of ideas and understand each others problems. Laying a lot of emphasis on the North Eastern states he said unless we develop the East and north eastern states we will not be able to develop India. Commenting on the common pool purchase policy for larger equipments such as transformers, cables he hoped his Ministry will receive help from states. He said if some states feel they can do better in purchasing of equipment and machinery they are welcome however his Ministry is of the view that the centralized system with a common procurement committee is better. He expressed happiness that 2 states Karnataka and Goa are signing the UDAI agreement today. He took pride in the fact that no states have been discriminated except preferential treatment to the North east. Reacting to the agenda items for the conference Shri Goyal said that hydro and wind energy has been neglected areas and it is important to get them on track with long term plans for growth in the deliberations. Urban areas and our cities/towns also need 24x7 power. Sharing the Gujarat experience of reduction of power thefts he said the tariff increase there had been the lowest. It is not the poor who steal and its the bigger power thefts which had corruption. He appealed to all states to reduce power thefts and said there is great political benefit in stopping power theft while asking support for the program being suggested in the conference for doing this.

The two day bi-annual conference has been organized by the Ministry for Power and Coal. Ministers from 19 states and Secretaries and officials from as many as 27 states are attending the conference. The Coal Secretary Shri Anil Swarup informed that from a shortage situation sometime back, his Ministry is now facing a situation, where they have coal but there are not many takers for the 550 MT coal stock. He appealed to the generating companies in the states to stop importing coal and said the matter would be discussed at the conference. He said Coal India Ltd has set up processes for auction of coal to public and private entities and a dispute resolution mechanism has also been set up in his Ministry wherein disputes between states can also be resolved. Narrating a story the Secretary MNRE Shri Upendra Tripathy underlined the importance of differential pricing especially for the poor and underprivileged class.

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New Mangalore Port attracts more cargo from the hinterland
Jun 16,2016

The proactive business promotion drive by the port administration of New Mangalore Port Trust by conducting business/trade meets at various locations in the hinterland have started to yield positive results.

The Port had conducted a series of business meets at Mysore and Nanjangud where various export firms are located. The recent meet conducted in the month of June, 2016 with various export firms like M/s Ranga Rao & Sons (incense sticks), M/s J.K. Tyres, M/s Nestle India & M.K. Agrotech (edible oil) has contributed to the movement of new cargo through the port. Sending of stuffing material of J.K. Tyres and Agarbatti (incense sticks) by Ranga Rao & Sons has already started. Some companies like J.K. Tyres who are already using New Mangalore Port have assured to divert more cargo through the Port.

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Fitch: Gold Price Assumptions Raised amid Global Uncertainty
Jun 16,2016

Fitch Ratings raised its gold price assumption to $1,100/oz from $1,000/oz as uncertainty, driven by negative interest rates in parts of Europe and elsewhere, combined with reduced US rate hike expectations, have driven investment sentiment for gold in first-half 2016.

Our updated global gold price assumptions incorporate upward revisions for all forecast years, reflecting the current market price environment and evidence of price support during the forecast period. Gold prices are expected to continue to be supported by strong retail investment demand, continued central bank purchasing and global financial turmoil.

Price increases will likely be limited due to reduced inflation expectations and slowing Chinese and Indian economies, the two main drivers of jewelry demand. Purchases in these two economies are highly sensitive to price movements, with demand stalling as prices rise, but recoveries in either of these two markets should lead to increased long-term demand.

Gold is a highly financialized commodity, with supply and demand heavily influenced by investment and scrap sales, as very little is used for industrial production. Price forecasting is challenging, as changes in investment demand are driven by perceptions of currency, inflation and geopolitical risk.

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Job hunters, HR managers converging on social media: ASSOCHAM survey
Jun 16,2016

Social media has emerged as an important route for hiring fresh talent by the corporates which use the micro-blogging sites for background checks as also judging the overall persona of the candidates with maximum of the HR personnel depending on the LinkedIn as a recruitment tool, an ASSOCHAM survey has noted.

It noted that while 68 per cent of the HR managers looked into LinkedIn and/or Facebook or Twitter to have an idea about the candidates, the social media is also being used by the job hunters who are becoming conscious about their posts, pictures, academic and professional achievements posted online, reveals the ASSOCHAM survey.

According to the survey, LinkedIn is the top dog for social recruitment. The findings of ASSOCHAM survey reveals that a large number of corporates using social media for recruitment based on the responses received from human resource officials representing more than 650 small, medium and large businesses from the cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Dehradun etc.

The survey majorly focused on broad sectors such as BPO, IT/ITes sector, financial and other services, construction, real estate, hospitality, tourism, FMCG and infrastructure, media & advertising, manufacturing and textiles, logistics, transport operators etc.

About 68% of the human resource officials of various companies are using platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for hiring through social media sites and other digital mediums to find and hire new talent, reveals the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) latest survey. It reveals that social media has also been a valuable tool for recruiters and job seekers.

With employers increasingly using social media to recruit, it is a great medium for people looking for promotion or a new job to enhance their career, reveals the majority of the respondents.

The study found that as many 80-85 per cent among the high level job seekers and 40-45 percent among the low level job hunters are using some online medium for selling their professional and academic achievements in the corporate world, highlights the survey.

The Facebook is used as a tool to judge the behaviour and intellect of the candidate. An experienced HR personnel can make out from the kind of posts on the Facebook the level of intellect of the candidate. Besides, other behaviour traits such as the attitude towards society, women in particular, whether extrovert or introvert are easy to judge by a good review of the Facebook whereas the LinkedIn medium is more organised and cannot be taken as inadvertent, the ASSOCHAM survey observed.

n++Even though the social medium is a good first reference point, it cannot be fully relied upon by the HR managers, since there are chances of misrepresentation of the facts. There is no alternative to the internal checks and balance tools and further verification. After all, human resource is what makes or breaks the organisation, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat said.

The increased use of technology, especially advances in social media related technologies, has been relentless. n++Social media, for one thing, helps individuals reach out and build their job search network. They can find people in targeted companies and connect with those who can helpn++, reveals the paper.

One of the best aspects of LinkedIn is that the site gives users the opportunity to highlight their achievements by uploading work samples to their profile pages and adding rich media files, such as blog posts, videos and links to websites featuring their work, reveals the majority of the respondents.

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Aviation policy to attract investment in the sector: ASSOCHAM
Jun 16,2016

The new aviation policy is a turning point for Indias civil aviation sector as it frees the operators from the shackles of 5/20 rule for flying overseas. The step would surely attract more investment in the aviation which in any case had become quite viable after a sharp correction in the fuel prices, said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM.

The capping of the air fare would propel the regional connectivity and would provide an affordable alternate to the first class railways tickets which are not available on demand. However, capping of the fares should ensure that the operators are not made to suffer losses on the short haul routes. The economics of the concept should be properly worked out, added Mr. Rawat.

The decision comes along with other key initiatives taken by the Union Cabinet which include merger of the SBI associates with the parent banks and the steps to accommodate the promoters of the companies under heavy debt, said its Secretary General.

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No retrenchment on account of API & workload
Jun 16,2016

Shri. Vinay Sheel Oberoi, Secretary Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, briefed the media persons on 4th amendment to UGC (Minimum Qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education) Regulations, 2010, as approved by the UGC in its 516th meeting.

Highlights of briefing are under:

- No retrenchment on account of API & workload

- Direct teaching workload restored to 16/14/14 hours per week for Assistant Professors/ Associate Professors/ Professors

- Direct teaching hours to include Tutorials/ Practicals / Field Work also apart from Lectures/Project Supervision

- Mentoring by Professors and teachers to be also recognized while calculating direct teaching score.

- Achieving of minimum scoring in direct teaching dimension of API possible with these changes.

Regarding research dimension of API

- Cap on API, brought in by the 2nd amendment, removed.

- The UGC shall maintain a n++List of Journalsn++ for the consideration of Journals for API score. Inclusion of journals to this list will be considered by the UGC on the basis of its Standing Committee recommendations on a list, furnished by a University, and within 60 days of its receipt by the Standing Committee.

- The University shall identify the journals subject-wise through subject expert committees and forward the recommendations to UGC in the format prescribed by UGC for approval of the UGC Standing Committee.

- The UGC Standing Committee may also, suo motu, recommend journals for inclusion in the n++List of Journalsn++.

- The list of books for consideration of API calculation will be decided by the University and intimated to the UGC.

- Scoring in research dimension of API will also include writing policy documents of Central, State and local bodies.

Reappointment of college principals

External peer review, in the format specified by the UGC, shall be taken into account by the Selection Committee while considering a second term to the incumbent Principal of a College.

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India and Switzerland agree to move towards an early agreement for the implementation of AEOI between the two countries
Jun 16,2016

Fighting the menace of Black Money stashed in offshore accounts has been a key priority area for this Government. To further this goal, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met with the Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann at Geneva on 6th June 2016 and discussed the need for expeditious exchange of information for combatting tax evasion together with an early start to negotiations on the Agreement for Automatic Exchange of Information. As a follow up, Revenue Secretary Dr. Hasmukh Adhia and Switzerlands State Secretary for International Financial Matters Mr. Jacques de Watteville met here today and agreed to move towards an early agreement for the implementation of AEOI between the two countries. It was decided that experts of both the countries will meet before mid-September, 2016 to further discuss the modalities for the reciprocal bilateral implementation of AEOI between India and Switzerland with a view to reaching an agreement at the earliest, possibly by the end of the year. Once this agreement is signed, it will be possible for India to receive from 2018 financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland on automatic basis.

Noting the progress in bilateral tax cooperation since the last Secretary-level meeting in October 2014, the two Secretaries encouraged the competent authorities of both the countries to continue with regular bilateral meetings and contacts to further enhance the cooperation.The issue of requests based on n++stolen datan++ figured prominently in the talks and Revenue Secretary welcomed the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to amend the Tax Administrative Assistance Act in accordance with the OECD standard and provide administrative assistance in requests based on data obtained in breach of Swiss law. This is particularly significant in view of the recent challenges posed by the Panama Papers where voluminous information on offshore accounts has been placed in the public domain. The amended proposal is now with the Swiss Parliament. An early revision of the Swiss law in respect of stolen data would take the Indo-Swiss tax cooperation to a new level.

The two sides agreed to pursue the ongoing dialogue on tax and financial matters in a spirit of mutual friendship and cooperation. The text of the Joint Statement signed by the two Secretaries at the conclusion of the meeting is given below:

Joint Statement

In furtherance to the meeting of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Johann Schneider-Ammann at Geneva on 6 June 2016 and in continuation with the Secretary level talks in October 2014, Indias Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Switzerlands State Secretary Jacques de Watteville met today at New Delhi. They engaged in constructive dialogue on wide ranging bilateral and multilateral tax and financial issues. The talks reflected the increasing cooperation in tax matters as well as the strong political, economic and cultural ties between India and Switzerland. As a follow up of the meeting between the Indian Prime Minister and the Swiss President, representatives of both sides held in-depth discussions on current challenges relevant for both countries. Revenue Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville recognized the benefits of ongoing dialogue and mutual exchange for attaining effective and sustainable results in bilateral tax and financial cooperation.

Revenue Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville acknowledged the efforts made towards enhancing bilateral tax cooperation since the last high-level meeting in October 2014 and encouraged the competent authorities of both countries to continue with the regular bilateral meetings and contacts to further improve the cooperation under the Swiss-Indian Double Taxation Agreement, as revised by the Protocol of 30 August 2010. The Secretaries agreed that such contacts facilitate a common understanding of each others concerns so as to ensure that the requests are dealt with quickly and efficiently. To begin with, a team of officers from India would visit Switzerland for bilateral discussions towards expeditious resolution of pending exchange of information requests. On the issue of requests based on what Switzerland considers as data obtained in breach of Swiss law, Revenue Secretary Adhia, while reaffirming Indias position that Switzerland should share information in all cases in accordance with its treaty obligations, noted the progress made in a number of Indian requests based on investigations carried out independently of the stolen data. Secretary Adhia welcomed the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to dispatch to the Swiss Parliament a proposal to revise the Tax Administrative Assistance Act in order to clarify, in accordance with the OECD standard, the possibility to cooperate on requests based on data obtained in breach of Swiss law. A timely revision of the Swiss law in respect of stolen data would take the Indo-Swiss tax cooperation to a new level.

Reiterating their countries commitment to combat tax fraud and evasion within the applicable legal framework, Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville expect that the progress made by Switzerland in the field of administrative assistance in tax matters would be appropriately reflected in Switzerlands phase 2 review by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum). More generally, the Revenue Secretary and the State Secretary acknowledged the work of the Global Forum towards establishing a genuine worldwide level playing field for tax transparency. Referring to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting held in Washington D.C. in April 2016, the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London in May 2016 and in view of the recent challenges posed by the Panama Papers, Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville recognized the need to take firm collective action on improving basic, legal and beneficial ownership information of legal persons and legal arrangements, while underlining the importance of full implementation of FATF standards in this regard.

The discussions showed a convergence of views with regard to tackling offshore tax evasion. State Secretary de Watteville informed that Switzerland now has the necessary legal bases to begin with the implementation of automatic exchange of information (AEOI) under common reporting standard (CRS). Recalling the commitment of both the countries to the global standard on AEOI, Secretary Adhia and State Secretary de Watteville initiated discussions for the implementation of AEOI between the two countries and agreed to work towards concluding the agreement within a reasonable timeframe keeping in view their national parliamentary procedures and the need of a level playing field. They agreed that experts of both countries would convene swiftly at technical level not later than mid-September 2016 to further discuss the modalities for the reciprocal bilateral implementation of AEOI between India and Switzerland with the view to reaching an agreement at the earliest, possibly by the end of the year.

Both representatives expressed support for the work of the G20 and the OECD in the field of international economic cooperation. They shared the view that coordinated international actions, as in the case of tax base erosion and profit shifting, are central to achieving a sustainable development path, especially for developing countries. They welcomed the recent adoption of measures to address base erosion and profit shifting under the umbrella of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, as well as the establishment of an Inclusive Framework to assist and review the implementation of the BEPS package. Both sides look forward to working closely together under the new Inclusive Framework to ensure a smooth implementation of the minimum standard. Revenue Secretary Adhia and State Sec