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CSL Constructing Four Passenger-cum-Cargo Vessels for A&N Island under Make in India Initiative
May 15,2017

Cochin Shipyard (CSL) is constructing four passenger-cum - cargo vessels for Andaman & Nicobar Administration under the Make in India initiative of Government of India. As per orders placed by the A&N Administration, two of these vessels will have a capacity of 500 persons-cum-150 tonne cargo and the remaining two will have a capacity of 1200 persons-cum-1000 tonne cargo.

These vessels will have state of the art facilities for passengers and comply with latest international/national rules and regulations. They will be fitted with diesel electric propulsion plants driving two azimuth thrusters for good manoeuvrability.

The smaller vessels of 500 passenger capacity will be ocean going for all weather operation, and be employed in Northern and Southern group of A&N Islands or for inter island service They will also be capable of making occasional voyages between mainland and islands. The construction of these vessels is on.

The construction of the larger set of vessels with 1200 passenger capacity will start in June, 2017. These vessels will ply between mainland and the islands and will also be capable of making international voyages.

The construction of these vessels is going on in full swing and the progress is being closely monitored by a committee with members from Cochin Shipyard, Shipping Corporation of India and Andaman and Nicobar Administration with the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Shipping as Chairman of the Committee. All efforts are being made to put the vessels into service ahead of their scheduled delivery year of 2020.

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Historic low Tariff of Rs. 2.44 per unit discovered in Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park in auction by SECI
May 15,2017

History is created today, as the record low tariffs achieved in the auction concluded on 09.05.2017 for Bhadla Phase-IV Solar Park, Rajasthan has been broken, with even lower tariff of Rs. 2.44 per unit discovered in the auction carried out by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for 500 MW capacity in Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park, Rajasthan. The park is being set up by M/s Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan, a joint venture between the Govt. of Rajasthan and M/s IL&FS Energy Development Company Limited. This tariff is fixed for 25 years with no escalation and the bidders have sought no VGF from the Government. The winners are M/s ACME Solar Holdings Pvt. Ltd. (200 MW) at a tariff of Rs. 2.44 per unit and M/s SBG Cleantech One Ltd. (300 MW), quoting a tariff of Rs. 2.45 per unit.

The entire solar power will be consumed in the State of Rajasthan and power sale agreement with the State Distribution Companies is already tied up. The developers are responsible to connect to the pooling sub-station of solar park. The developers will be paying solar park charges of Rs.45.2 lakh per megawatt towards land, connectivity (from pooling substation to state network) and other infrastructural facilities. The projects are likely to be completed in about 12-13 months.

The earlier lowest tariff of Rs. 2.62 per kWh, was discovered recently in the auction conducted by SECI for 250 MW Bhadla Phase-IV Solar Park in Rajasthan.

It is understood that this fall in solar tariffs is the result of combination of various factors, most important being the decision of the Government of India to cover solar power by SECI under the ambit of Tripartite Agreement for payment security against defaults by State distribution companies. Other factors contributing are about 7-8% higher yield in Rajasthan due to better solar radiation conditions, drop in module prices in International market, and strengthening of Indian rupee against US dollar.

For the present bid, the bids were submitted by 24 bidders for a capacity of 5500 MW which is 11 times of the bid capacity. Bid received overwhelming global response including developers from Finland, France, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Japan. This became possible only due to constant endeavor at SECI to streamline the bidding process with highest level of transparency and integrity under the guidance of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

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UJALA - UK (UK Joins Affordable LEDs for All) by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL) in launched
May 15,2017

Worlds largest efficient lighting programme, UJALA - UK (UK Joins Affordable LEDs for All) by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL) launched in London, United Kingdom. During the event, MoUs were signed between Indian High Commission and EESL and between the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA) and the Indian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association (IEEMA) to strengthen bilateral industry cooperation and exchanges between India and the UK.

Informing about the scale at which the EESL LED programme is expanding, the Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal said that, the EESL LED programme in India has grown 140 times in less than 2 years and I dont think we will find any parallel to that anywhere in the world. EESL would achieve the turnover target of $1.5 million by 2019, concomitant with the Government of Indias target under the UDAY scheme and 100% rural household electrificationn++. Shri Goyal further stated that even in the Developed countries like the US and Europe, there is a great potential for incorporating energy efficiency measures like the EESL LED programme, especially looking at the climate change scenario in the present context. Indias share in the Global LED market has increased from a mere 0.1% a few years back to around 16% today, it was informed.

Talking about the potential energy savings by implementing the LED programme in India, Shri Goyal said that lighting alone consists of 15% of the total energy needs of the population across the country, especially the lower middle class families, which is about 180 billion units of energy. As India moves towards becoming a 100% LED Nation, the potential savings would be around 112 billion units, in other terms reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 79 million tonnes every year. Consequently, Indias peak load will reduce by about 20 GW and our consumers will save around $6.5 billion worth in electricity bills annually, the Minister added.

Describing the strategy for scaling up the LED penetration in UK, Shri Goyal said that India was able to significantly reduce the purchase price of the LED by increasing efficiency and not giving subsidies to the consumers. The scheme has sustained itself on the savings achieved by increasing energy efficiency in the whole lifecycle of the LED bulbs. n++Government of India has fine tuned the process, brought down the costs of manufacturing and sold nearly 230 million LED bulbs whereas the private sector, in the same period, sold about 330 million LED bulbs, effectively replacing about 560 million incandescent bulbs in the last 2 years. The consumers are the direct beneficiaries by saving on electricity bills and reducing the carbon footprint on the environment for the future generations, he added.

The Minister requested the Government of UK to get EESL in touch with all the stakeholders like local distribution companies, e-commerce companies, hotels, industry, large businesses, supermarket chains etc. and replicate Indias model in the UK so as to achieve a similar kind of scale up that the programme has witnessed in India as a zero investment model. He stressed that a massive deployment of this LED programme throughout the world will go a long way in fighting climate change and make the world a better place to live in for the future generations. The Minister urged all the dignitaries present to become ambassadors of this Energy Efficiency programme for a better tomorrow.

The Minister also suggested to the Government of the UK a target of replacing at least 100 million incandescent bulbs with LEDs by March 2019 and reduce the individual household consumption of energy by at least half. Further, it was informed that as a beginning to UJALA-UK operations, EESL has started the retrofitting of the facade and other lights of the High Commission of India in UK and the India House which would lead to considerable energy savings. EESLs engagement with the UK will cover a broad spectrum including marketing of the world class energy efficiency products, services, investments and raising capital, scouting for new energy efficiency technologies and partnering with British companies to establish presence in third world country markets.

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Implementation of the expanded India-Chile PTA on 16 May 2017
May 15,2017

India and Chile have entered into another milestone in their trade relations as an agreement on expansion of India-Chile PTA which was signed on 6th September, 2016 is finally being implemented on 16th May, 2017. The Union Cabinet had approved the expansion of PTA in April, 2016.

The expanded PTA would immensely benefit both sides as a wide array of concessions has been offered by both sides on a number of tariff lines which will facilitate more two way trade.

India and Chile had earlier signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) on March 8, 2006 which came into force with effect from August, 2007. The original PTA had a limited number of tariff lines wherein both sides had extended tariff concessions to each other. Indias offer list to Chile consisted of only 178 tariff lines whereas Chiles offer list to India contained 296 tariff lines at 8-digit level.

The expanded PTA has a wider coverage wherein Chile has offered concessions to India on 1798 tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) ranging from 30%-100% and India has offered concessions to Chile on 1031 tariff lines at 8-digit level with MoP ranging from 10%-100%. These tariff lines were based on HS 2012 when the negotiations had been concluded. With the implementation of the HS 2017 Nomenclature with effect from 1st January, 2017, both sides have aligned their Annexes on Indias Schedule of Tariff Concessions, Chiles Schedule of Tariff Concessions and the Schedule on Rules of Origin as per HS 2017 Nomenclature for issue of Notification. This would facilitate exporters of both sides to take the advantage of tariff concessions as per the expanded PTA immediately which covers around 96% of bilateral trade.

Chile is the fourth largest trading partner of India in LAC region after Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. Indias bilateral trade has grown substantially to reach a level of US$ 3,646.45 million during 2014-15 as compared to US$ 2,655.35 million in 2011-12 as per the Department of Commerce statistics. However, during year 2015-16, bilateral trade declined by (-) 27.60% and stood at US$ 2,639.99 million with exports US$ 679.32 million and imports US$ 1,960.67 million. The decline in bilateral trade was due to extraneous reasons such as fall in prices of crude oil and international commodities. During the last few years, bilateral trade has been in favour of Chile because of import of high volume of copper ore which constitute more than 88% of the imports from Chile.

Indias exports to Chile are diverse which consist of transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, yarn of polyester fibres, tyres and tubes, manufacture of metals, articles of apparel, organic/inorganic and agro chemicals, textiles, readymade garments, plastic goods, leather products, engineering goods, imitation jewellery, sports goods and handicrafts. Major items of Import from Chile are copper ore and concentrates, iodine, copper anodes, copper cathodes, molybdenum ores & concentrates, lithium carbonates & oxide, metal scrap, inorganic chemicals, pulp & waste paper, fruits & nuts excluding cashews, fertilizers and machinery.

Keeping in view that Chile is the founding member of the Pacific Alliance to which India is an Observer Member, implementing the expanded PTA could deepen its engagement with the emerging trade bloc.

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WPI inflation dips to 3.85% in April 2017
May 12,2017

The Wholesale Price Index (Base: 2011-12=100) inflation dipped to 3.85% in April 2017 as compared to 5.29% (provisional) for the previous month and (-) 1.09% during the corresponding month of the previous year.

The index for primary articles group rose by 0.4% in April 2017 over March 2017. Within the primary articles group, the food articles group index rose by 0.6% due to higher price of beef and buffalo meat (11%), tea (11%), peas/chawali (8%), moong (5%), fruits & vegetables, poultry chicken and pork (2% each) and masur, arhar, bajra, gram and milk (1% each). However, the price of barley (8%), betel leaves (7%), egg (6%), ragi (2%) and wheat, urad and condiments & spices (1% each) declined.

The index for non-food articles group declined by 0.3% due to lower price of raw jute (10%), rape & mustard seed (4%), raw rubber and floriculture (3% each), raw cotton and sunflower (2% each) and cotton seed (1%). However, the prices of castor seed (9%), copra (coconut) (5%), guar seed (4%), raw silk, groundnut seed and soyabean (2% each) and mesta, safflower (Kardi Seed), fodder and gingelly seed (1% each) moved up.

The index for fuel and power major group declined by 1.9% in April 2017 over March 2017 due to lower price of naphtha and furnace oil (7% each), aviation turbine fuel (ATF) (5%), petrol (4%), high speed diesel (HSD) and bitumen (3% each), kerosene (2%) and LPG (1%). However, the prices of coking coal (1%) and petroleum coke (3%) moved up.

The index for manufactured products group remained unchanged at its previous month level in April 2017. Within the group, the Manufacture of Food Products group declined by 0.1% due to lower prices of molasses, soyabean oil, spices (including mixed spices), maida, gram powder (besan) and sunflower oil (1% each). However, the price of salt (2%) and mustard oil, powder milk, basmati rice, gur, bagasse and castor oil (1% each) moved up.

The index for Manufacture of Beverages group rose by 0.1% due to increase price of bottled mineral water.

The index for Manufacture of Tobacco Products group declined by 0.1% due to lower price of other tobacco products (3%). However, the price of biri and cigarette (2% each) moved up.

The index for Manufacture of Textiles group rose by 0.2% due to higher price of fabric, polyethylene, bed linen/bed spread and cotton dyed/printed textile (1% each). However, the prices of woolen woven cloth, terry towel and carpets and other floor coverings of textiles (1% each) declined.

The index for Manufacture of Wearing Apparel group rose by 0.6% due to higher price of manufacture of wearing apparel (woven), except fur apparel (1%).

The index for Manufacture of Leather and Related Products group rose by 0.2% due to higher price of waterproof footwear and canvas shoes (2% each) and gloves of leather (1%).

The index for Manufacture of Wood and Products of Wood and Cork group rose by 0.3% due to higher price of wooden panel, lamination wooden sheets/veneer sheets (1% each).

The index for Printing and Reproduction of Recorded Media group declined by 0.4% due to lower price of hologram (3D) (17%) and printed form & schedule, printed labels/posters/calendars and newspaper (1% each).

The index for Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical Products group declined by 0.2% due to lower price of poly propylene (PP) (4%), mono ethyl glycol and oleoresin (3% each), insecticide and pesticide and phthalic anhydride (2% each) and polyester film (metalized), explosive, safety matches (match box), poly vinyl chloride (PVC), liquid air & other gaseous products, sodium silicate, plasticizer, ethylene oxide, organic solvent and catalysts (1% each). However, the price of XLPE Compound, adhesive tape (non-medicinal) and hydrogen peroxide (2% each) and ammonia gas, ammonium phosphate, camphor, sulphuric acid, powder coating material, acrylic fibre, agro chemical formulation, paint and shampoo (1% each) moved up.

The index for Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals, Medicinal Chemical and Botanical Products group rose by 0.1% due to higher price of ayurvedic medicaments and digestive enzymes and antacids (1% each), However, the price of Antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory formulations(1%) declined.

The index for Manufacture of other Non-Metallic Mineral Products group rose by 0.1% due to higher price of porcelain crockery (1%). However, the price of marble slab (2%) declined.

The index for Manufacture of Basic Metals group rose by 0.1% due to higher price of aluminium powder (2%) and MS bright bars, stainless steel bars & rods, including flats, aluminium castings, lead ingots, bars, blocks plates and MS castings (1% each). However, the price of brass metal/sheet/coils, copper metal/copper rings and copper shapes-bars/rods/plates/strips (1% each) declined.

The index for Manufacture of Fabricated Metal Products, Except Machinery and Equipment group declined by 0.6% due to lower of electrical stamping- laminated or otherwise (8%), stainless steel razor (2%) and steel drums and barrels, steel container and steel door (1% each). However, the price of jigs & fixture (1%) moved up.

The index for Manufacture of Computer, Electronic and Optical Products group rose by 0.1% due to higher price of microscope (5%) and watch (1%).

The index for Manufacture of Electrical Equipment group rose by 0.1% due to higher price of PVC insulated cable and light fitting accessories (2% each) and aluminium/alloy conductor, air coolers, fluorescent tube, electrical relay/conductor, generator parts, batteries and electric mixers/grinders/food processors (1% each), However, the price of microwave oven and connector/plug/socket/holder-electric (3% each), rubber insulated cables (2%) and electric filament type lamps, ACSR conductors and insulating & flexible wire (1% each) declined.

The index for Manufacture of Machinery and Equipment group rose by 0.1% due to higher price of pressure vessel and tank for fermentation & other food processing (3%) and evaporator, soil preparation & cultivation machinery (other than tractors), sugar machinery, chillers and pharmaceutical machinery (1% each). However, the price of solar power system (solar panel & attachable equipment) (3%) and filtration equipment, hydraulic pump and threshers (1% each) declined.

The index for Manufacture of Other Transport Equipment group declined by 1.6% due to lower price of motor cycles (3%).

The index for Manufacture of Furniture group rose by 0.2% due to marginally increase in the price of plastic fixtures.

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CPI inflation dips to 3% in April 2017
May 12,2017

The all-India general CPI inflation dipped to record low of 2.99% in April 2017 (new base 2012=100), compared with 3.89% in March 2017. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was lower at 3.02% and urban area 3.03% in April 2017 as against 3.75% and 3.96% in March 2017. The core CPI inflation rose plunged to 4.44% in April 2017 from 4.83% in March 2017. The cumulative CPI inflation was lower at 4.52% in April-March FY2017 compared with 4.91% in April-March FY2016.

Among the CPI components, inflation of food and beverages fell to 1.21% in April 2017 from 2.54% in March 2017 mainly contributing to the dip in CPI inflation. Within the food items, the inflation slipped for fruits to 3.78%, pulses and products (-) 15.94%, vegetables (-) 8.59%, sugar and confectionery 11.37%, meat and fish 1.90% and cereals and products 5.06%. The inflation also declined for spices to 1.71%, oils and fats 3.14%, prepared meals, snacks, sweets etc 5.49% and non-alcoholic beverages 3.16%. On the other hand, inflation rose marginally for egg to 3.44% and milk and products 4.74% in April 2017.

The inflation for housing eased marginally to 4.86%, while that for miscellaneous items dipped to 4.25% in April 2017. Within the miscellaneous items, the inflation for transport and communication eased to 4.01%, personal care and effects 4.23%, education 5.32% and recreation and amusement 3.30%, while its was flat for household goods and services at 3.90% in April 2017.

The inflation for clothing and footwear rose slightly to 4.58% in April 2017, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light increased to 6.13% in April 2017.

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HUDCO Initial Public Offering (IPO) over-subscribed by more than 79 times; Bids worth Rs. 97000 crores received for issue size of Rs. 1200 crores
May 12,2017

The HUDCO Initial Public Offering (IPO) saw an exceptional level of interest and the Issue as a whole was oversubscribed by more than 79 times. Bids worth Rs. 97,000 crores were received for an issue size of Rs. 1,200 crores. This is the highest level of oversubscription witnessed in a divestment by Government of India through IPO route. The HUDCO IPO is the first IPO by a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under disinvestment since April 2012.

The Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIB) category was subscribed more than 55 times with about 38% demand from Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs). Non-institutional category was subscribed more than 330 times. The retail category also saw a strong demand of more than 10 times.

The IPO received more than 20 lakh applications, which is the highest number of applications received in an IPO post Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) making mandatory use of Applications Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA) mode for all categories of investors.

The HUDCO IPO was open for subscription from 8th May to 11th May. The price band was fixed at Rs. 56 - Rs. 60 per equity share of the face value of Rs.10, with a discount of Rs. 2 for retail investors and the employees of the Company. A total of 20.4 crore shares were offered by Government of India including employee reservation of 38.7 lakh shares and 50% of the net offer being reserved for QIBs.

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CSO revises Base Year of All-India Index of Industrial Production From 2004-05 to 2011-12
May 12,2017

The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation revised the base year of the all-India Index of Industrial Production (IIP) from 2004-05 to 2011-12. The new base year has been selected keeping in view the base year of other macroeconomic indicators namely Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Consumer Price Index (CPI). Several changes have been made in the new series of the IIP in order that new IIP is able to reflect the changes in the industrial sector in a more representative and robust manner.

The salient features of the new series with base 2011-12 are as under:

n++ IIP in the new series will continue to consist of three sectors viz. Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity, as in the existing series.

n++ The National Industrial Classification 2008 will be followed in the new series for the purpose of classification of products as per industries.

n++ The Use-Based Classification has been revised to reflect the industrial segments and production more accurately as well as to map the products more accurately as per their use in the industries. The new use based classification includes Primary Goods, Intermediate Goods, Infrastruture/Construction Goods, Capital Goods, Consumer Durable Goods and Consumer Non Durable Goods

n++ The coverage of the new series of IIP is limited to the Organized Sector only.

n++ For enabling dynamic revision of the methodology of IIP including the item list and the panel of factories during the currency of a base year, a Technical Review Committee, chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Statistics &PI, will be constituted.

n++ Due to the increasing significance of the electricity generation from renewable sources, it has been decided to include the same in the electricity generation figures for compilation of IIP in the new series.

n++ The new series show higher growth rates in most months in the period April 2012 to March 2017, as compared to the existing series which is attributable to (i) shifting of base to a more recent period; (ii) increase in number of factories in panel for reporting data and exclusion of closed ones and (iii) inclusion of new items and exclusion of old ones.

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Central Government notifies Exemption from Quoting Aadhaar / Enrolment ID to certain individuals
May 12,2017

The Central Government vide notification dated 11th May, 2017 has notified that the requirement of quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID shall not apply to the following individuals if they do not possess the Aadhaar / Enrolment ID:

I. An individual who is residing in the state of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya.

ii. An individual who is a non-resident as per the Income-tax Act, 1961.

iii. An individual of the age of eighty years or more at any time during the previous year.

iv. An individual who is not a citizen of India.

Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, as inserted by the Finance Act, 2017 provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number with effect from 1st July, 2017. Section 139AA (3) of the Act empowers the Central Government to notify the person(s) or State(s) to which the requirement of quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID shall not apply.

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Fitch: Prospects for Bad Loan Clean-Up at Indian Banks Improving
May 12,2017

Recent regulatory actions in India suggest the authorities are making a more concerted push to tackle banks bad loan problems, says Fitch Ratings. We believe that asset resolution will be a dominant theme in the sector over the next few years.

In the short term, this is likely to create provisioning costs that will mean continued pressure on bank profits, and it is possible that further losses will push some weaker banks closer to breaching minimum capital requirements, unless they receive pre-emptive capital injections. However, the increased powers given to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to clean up asset quality, and to intervene in banks at an earlier stage when risks build, represents an important positive step toward ensuring a healthy banking system in the future.

The governments recent step to enhance the RBIs powers appears to be a signal to the regulator to assume a more interventionist approach to directly tackle banks slow progress on bad loan resolution. RBI direction that pushes banks into initiating insolvency processes against borrowers could help to break a deadlock caused by concerns among bank officials that decisions on troubled borrowers will attract investigation by anti-corruption agencies. Meanwhile, the RBI has made it easier for the majority of a borrowers joint creditors to agree and implement resolution plans without being blocked by a minority of creditors. These changes follow the RBIs revisions to its prompt corrective action framework last month, which gave it more tools to intervene in struggling banks at an earlier stage.

Regulation to speed up resolution is the logical next step to follow the asset-quality review and other measures that increased recognition of bad loans over the last two years. This was important as there has been little evident progress on bad-loan resolution, while the NPL stock has continued to rise, albeit at a slowing pace. We believe this natural progression reflects stronger intent and willingness from the authorities to address the problem. There will be significant implementation challenges, but asset resolution is likely to strengthen over the next few years.

The resolution of non-performing loans is likely to require significant haircuts if the re-priced loans are to attract attention from private investors and asset-reconstruction companies. State banks, which hold the bulk of stressed assets, are likely to report low returns on assets for FY17 and any material recovery is likely to be delayed as resolution crystallises losses and forces a higher level of provisioning.

Further losses at some of the weakest small- to medium-sized state banks could pressure them to shrink, or to eventually exit the system by entering into forced mergers. We expect the authorities to manage this in a way that is least disruptive for the financial system, but the process will entail risks for investors of capital securities, at least in the case of weakest banks. We believe it has become more likely that the number of state banks will fall in the medium term.

The large state banks will also face higher provisioning costs and we expect them to eventually receive more capital from the government than has already been budgeted. However, very weak loan growth could mean that banks will require less new capital by FYE19 than we had previously estimated. Bank loan growth reached a multi-decade low of around 5% in FY17, and looks set to remain low for the next one to two years.

Demonetisation has had a net beneficial impact on the sector by triggering a sharp influx of low-cost deposits, and there are signs that banks are retaining a higher proportion of these deposits than they had initially predicted. The resulting decline in funding costs may not be enough to counter the pressures of income loss and weak growth, but should allow banks some more room to absorb higher provisions and lessen the impact on their capital.

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NHAI Masala Bond Launched at London Stock Exchange
May 12,2017

The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri. Nitin Gadkari launched the NHAI Masala Bond issue at the London Stock Exchange. The NHAI issue witnessed an overwhelming response from a wide range of investors, some of them being first timers to participate in the Masala Bond market. The initial benchmarked issue of INR 1500 crore was upsized to INR 3000 crore by yesterday 3.00 PM (GMT) at a price yielding 7.30% annually in view of the highly positive response from the investor market. The transaction marks the largest ever 5 year issuance and the largest inaugural transaction in Masala Bond market. Some of the leading investors were still showing interest in the NHAI issue who may be brought into the fold in the near future.

It is interesting to note that the NHAI Masala Bond issue has attracted investors from across the spectrum with Asia contributing 60% of the subscription and the balance 40% coming from Europe. Further, 61% of the amount comes from the Fund Managers or Insurance, 18% from the Banks and 21% from the private banks. The spectrum of investors shows bright prospects of the Masala Bond as an instrument of raising rupee denominated resources internationally. On this occasion London Stock Exchange presented a Memento to Shri Nitin Gadkari.

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Water level of 91 major reservoirs of the country goes down by two per cent
May 12,2017

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on May 11, 2017 was 37.718 BCM, which is 24% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 26 for the week ending on May 04, 2017. The level of May 11, 2017 was 125% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 103% 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 4.34 BCM which is 24% 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 was 29% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year but is less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

EASTERN REGION

The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 6.92 BCM which is 37% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 27% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 23% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

WESTERN REGION

The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 27 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 27.07 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 7.78 BCM which is 29% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 16% 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 better than the storage of last year and is equal to 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 14.36 BCM which is 34% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 25% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 22% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

SOUTHERN REGION

The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 31 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 4.32BCM which is 8 % of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 12% 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 Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana. States having equal storage than last year for corresponding period is AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states). States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

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Two Schemes to be launched this year by Ministry of Minority Affairs: Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
May 12,2017

Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that his ministry will launch two schemes in this year. The USTTAD Samman Samaroh will be launched during Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya birth centenary under which the artisans and craftsmen of the Minorities will be honoured. The other scheme Campaign for Education will be launched on the anniversary of former president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on 15th October 2017. This campaign will be held during 2017-18 and one hundred districts have been identified for this.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi today on the achievements of the Ministry of Minority Affairs during three years of NDA regime Shri Naqvi said that the Government has been successful to bring the poor, backward and weaker sections of the Minorities into the mainstream of the development through n++3En++- Education, Employment and Empowerment. He emphasized that our n++Empowerment without Appeasementn++ policy has created an n++atmosphere of development and trustn++ among Minorities. Schemes/programmes such as n++Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centren++, n++Usttadn++, n++Nai Manziln++, n++Nai Roshnin++, n++Seekho aur Kamaon++, n++Padho Pardesn++, n++Progress Panchayatn++, n++Hunar Haatn++, multi-purpose n++Sadbhav Mandapn++, n++PMs new 15 point programmen++, n++Multi-sectoral Development Programmen++, n++Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarshipn++ for girls, etc. have ensured development of every needy person belonging to the Minority communities.

The Minister said that keeping in view the socio-economic-educational empowerment of Minorities, the Government have increased Budget of the Minority Affairs Ministry to Rs 4195.48 crore for 2017-18, which is Rs 368.23 crore more than the 2016-17 Budget of Rs 3827.25 crore. In 2012-13 the budget of the Ministry was Rs 3135 crore, in 2013-14 Rs 3511 crore, in 2014-15 Rs 3711 crore and in 2015-16 the budget was Rs 3713 crore. He said that about 70 per cent of the 2017-18 Budget, will be spent on programmes/schemes aimed at educational empowerment and skill development of Minorities.

Shri Naqvi said that the Modi Government is committed to provide quality education to students belonging to Minority communities and keeping this in mind, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is establishing 5 world class educational institutions which will provide education in technical, medical, Ayurved, Unani etc. fields across the country. A high-level committee, constituted on 10th January, 2017 to frame roadmap including places where these institutes will be established, will soon submit its report. Our target is to start academic session in these institutes from 2018. We have proposed 40 per cent reservation for girls in these institutions. About 100 Navoday Vidyalaya type schools will also be opened in Minority concentrated areas in the coming months. To ensure better education to every person belonging to poor sections a campaign n++Tehrike Taleemn++ is being launched. Under which every needy person will be provided resources and facilities.

During the last three years, the Ministry has created infrastructure development projects such as 33 Degree Colleges; 1102 school building; 15,869 additional class rooms; 676 hostels; 97 ITIs; 16 Polytechnics; 1952 drinking water facilities; 8532 Aanganwadi Centres; 2090 health centres; 223 Sadbhav Mandaps (during last 6 months); 18 Gurkul type residential schools (in last six months). Besides, 47,986 pucca houses have been constructed under PM Awas Yojana.

During the last three years, scholarships worth Rs 4740 crore were given to 1.82 crore students. Rs 116 crore were given to 32,705 students under free coaching scheme for competitive exams, while Rs 166 crore were distributed among 1,38,426 girl students under n++Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarship. Money of all these scholarships have been transferred directly into bank accounts of the students through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode leaving no room for any leakage.

Shri Naqvi said that during the last three years, over 5.2 lakh youths including about 40 per cent women, have been covered under various job-oriented skill training schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs at an expenditure of Rs 578 crore. Under n++Seekho aur Kamaon++, over 2 lakh youths have been provided employment oriented skill training and employment with an expenditure of more than Rs 300 crore; 1.99 lakh women have been provided various leadership development training under n++Nai Roshnin++ and 70,000 youths have been covered for training and employment opportunities under n++Nai Manziln++ scheme. Thousands of Minority communities schools and Madrasas have been connected with n++3Tn++- Teachers, Tiffin and Toilets during last three months. These educational institutions also include institutions run by Gurudwaras and those run by Jain, Buddhist and Parsi community.

The Minister of State (I/C) for Minority Affairs said that while on one hand n++Progress Panchayatn++ have proved to be a strong mission to fulfil our commitment to n++Sabka Sath Sabka Vikasn++ and n++Antyodayan++, on the other hand n++Hunar Haatn++ is providing encouragement, market and opportunity to master artisans belonging to Minority communities. Two n++Hunar Haatn++ have been organised by the Ministry so far. More than 35 lakh people (about 26 lakh visitors at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place, about 9 lakh visitors at Pragati Maidan) visited these two n++Hunar Haatn++.

Shri Naqvi said that with the theme n++Craft Aur Cuisine Ka Sangamn++, the second n++Hunar Haatn++ was unique in the sense that it showcased crafts and traditional cuisines brought from different parts of the country at n++Bawarchikhanan++. The first n++Hunar Haatn++ had been organized from 14 to 27th November at India International Trade Fair in November 2016. After huge success of these two n++Hunar Haatn++, the Minority Affairs Ministry has decided to establish n++Hunar Hubn++, to organize such events, in every state. Several states have come forward to provide land for the project. Next n++Hunar Haatn++ will be organized at Puducherry, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Gauhati, Ahmedabad, Jaipur.

Shri Naqvi said that joining n++Digital Indian++ campaign launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has made all its schemes and programmes digital/online. Even entire Haj process has been made online this time and also a Haj mobile app has been launched. A total of 1lakh 70 thousand pilgrims will go to Haj from India this year. Saudi Arabia Government has increased Indias Haj quota by 34,005. Its a significant increase in our countrys Haj quota after several years.

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Income Tax (IT) Department simplifies linking PAN with Aadhaar for taxpayers using Income Tax India website
May 12,2017

No need to login or be registered on the E-filing website for linking The Income Tax (IT) Department has made it easy for taxpayers to link their PAN with Aadhaar. Responding to grievances of taxpayers regarding difficulties in linking PAN with Aadhaar as their names did not match in both systems (e.g., names with initials in one and expanded initials in another), the IT Department has come out with a simple solution now.

In case of any minor mismatch in Aadhaar name provided by taxpayer when compared to the actual data in Aadhaar, a One Time Password (Aadhaar OTP) will be sent to the mobile registered with Aadhaar. Taxpayers should ensure that the date of birth and gender in PAN and Aadhaar are exactly same. In a rare case where Aadhaar name is completely different from name in PAN, then the linking will fail and taxpayer will be prompted to change the name in either Aadhaar or in PAN database.

There is no need to login or be registered on E-filing website. This facility can be used by anyone to link their Aadhaar with PAN.

This facility is also available after login on the e-filing website under Profile settings and choose Aadhaar linking. The details as per PAN will be pre-populated. Enter Aadhaar number and ENTER NAME EXACTLY AS GIVEN IN AADHAAR CARD (avoid spelling mistakes) and Submit.

Taxpayers are requested to use the simplified process to complete the linking of Aadhaar with PAN immediately. This will be useful for E-Verification of Income Tax returns using OTP sent to their mobile registered with Aadhaar.

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CBDT invites comments from stakeholders on Draft Income Computation and Disclosure Standards on Real Estate Transactions by 26th May 2017
May 12,2017

The Committee constituted by the Finance Minister to suggest the areas in respect of which further Income Computation and Disclosure Standards (ICDS) may be notified under the Income Tax Act, 1961 (the Act) has suggested the notification of ICDS in respect of Real Estate Transactions and submitted the draft of the same.

The draft ICDS submitted by the committee is based on the Guidance Note issued on Real Estate Transactions issued by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). For the purposes of providing uniformity and certainty and harmonising the same with provisions of the Act, the committee suggested certain changes in draft ICDS.

The draft ICDS on Real Estate Transactions along with the significant changes suggested in ICDS vis-n++-vis the Guidance Note issued by ICAI are uploaded on the Income-tax website at http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) invites comments from stakeholders on the draft ICDS on Real Estate Transactions, which may be submitted to Director TPL-III by e-mail at dirtpl3@nic.in by 26th May, 2017.

Section 145(2) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (the Act) provides that the Central Government may notify Income Computation and Disclosure Standards (ICDS) for any class of assessees or for any class of income. Accordingly, Central Government notified 10 ICDS vide Notification No. S.O. 3079 (E) dated 29th September, 2016. These ICDS inter-alia contain provisions relating to valuation of inventory; construction contracts; effects in changes of foreign exchange rates, borrowing costs etc. These ICDS are applicable from assessment year 2017-18 (previous year 2016-17) in respect of specified assessees for computation of income under the head n++Profits and gains of business or professionn++ or n++Income from other sourcesn++.

The Finance Minister had constituted a Committee comprising of experts from accounting field, departmental officers and representatives from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to suggest the areas in respect of which further ICDS may be notified under the Act.

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