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MNRE issues bidding Guidelines for setting up 1000 MW Wind Power Projects connected to ISTS scheme
Nov 03,2016

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued Guidelines for transparent bidding process for implementation of Scheme for setting up of 1000 MW Wind Power Project connected to inter-state transmission system (ISTS).

As per Guidelines the Wind Power Projects will be selected through open and transparent competitive bidding followed by e-reverse auction and the capacity may go higher than 1000 MW, if there is demand from Buying Entities. The implementing agency SECI has already floated RfS document for selection of bidders under the Scheme.

Discoms of non-windy State and UTs and also the bulk consumers of any State/UTs who intend to buy 10 MW or more can buy wind power under the Scheme.

PTC India, trading company selected by SECI under the scheme, will sign Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with wind projects at bidded tariff and back-to-back Power Sale Agreement (PSA) with Buying Entities at a pooled price of the total bids selected. The term of PPA and PSA will be 25 years.

Bidder can bid for a minimum capacity of 50 MW and maximum up to 250 MW. The selected bidder is required to injected wind power at ISTS interconnection point. Bidder is allowed to install 5% of additional rated capacity that will compensate auxiliary consumption and system losses up to interconnection point.

Provision relating to pass through of GST impact, part commissioning, efficiency in generation, performance monitoring have also been stipulated in the guidelines.

The Guidelines are available at http://mnre.gov.in/file-manager/grid-wind/Scheme-for-Setting-up-of-1000-MW-ISTS-connected-Wind-Power-Projects.pdf

BACKGROUND

Ministry sanctioned a Scheme for setting up of 1000 MW ISTS connected Wind Power Project on 14 June 2016.

The objective of the Scheme is to encourage competitiveness through scaling up of project sizes and introduction of efficient and transparent e-bidding and e-auctioning processes. It will also facilitate fulfilment of Non-Solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) requirement of non-windy states.

In order to facilitate transmission of wind power from these windy states to non-windy states provisions have been made in the Tariff Policy to waive the inter-state transmission charges and losses for wind power projects and Ministry of Power has already issued order in this regard.

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Ratings On India Affirmed At BBB-/A-3; Outlook Stable-S&P ratings
Nov 03,2016

S&P Global Ratings affirmed its BBB- long-term and A-3 short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of India. The outlook is stable.

Rationale

The ratings on India reflect the countrys sound external profile and improved monetary credibility. Indias strong democratic institutions and a free press, which promote policy stability and predictability, also underpin the ratings. These strengths are balanced against vulnerabilities stemming from the countrys low per capita income and weak public finances.

Indias governing parties have made progress in building consensus on a passage of laws to address long-standing impediments to the countrys growth. These include comprehensive tax reforms through the likely introduction in the first half of 2017 of a goods and services tax to replace complex and distortive indirect taxes. Other measures include strengthening the business climate (such as through simplifying regulations and improving contract enforcement and trade), boosting labor market flexibility, and reforming the energy sector.

We believe these measures, supported by Indias well-entrenched democracy, will promote greater economic flexibility and help redress public finances over time.

Indias external position remains a credit strength. The country has a floating exchange rate and limited reliance on external savings to fund its growth. While India experiences modest volatility in its terms of trade, we expect it to record a moderate current account deficit of 1.4% in 2016 (2.1% in 2015), and to average similar levels through 2018. Our forecasts are partly informed by our view of enhanced monetary policy credibility. In addition, we expect India to fund this deficit mostly with inflows without adding to debt.

We forecast that Indias external debt net of public and financial sector external assets will average only 5% of current account receipts over 2016-2018 (our forecasts reflect the adoption of the sixth edition of the IMFs Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual). Although we expect some decline in Indias external liquidity metrics in the next three years as its banks increasingly turn to external financing, we project that Indias gross external financing needs will remain below its current account receipts plus usable reserves through 2018.

The Reserve Bank of Indias foreign reserves reached US$369 billion as of September 2016 (or four-and-a-half months of current account payments, US$352 billion, in September 2015). The authorities also maintain contingent financing facilities of US$68 billion through bilateral swaps and contingency reserve arrangements.

A rating constraint is Indias low GDP per capita, which we estimate at US$1,700 in 2016. That said, Indias growth outperforms its peers and is picking up modestly. We expect GDP growth of 7.9% in 2016 (6.6% in per capita GDP) and 8% on average over 2016-2018 (6.7% in per capita GDP). We believe domestic supply-side factors will increasingly bind economic performance, and the government has little ability to undertake countercyclical fiscal policy given its current debt burden.

This debt load and Indias overall weak public finances are additional rating constraints. India has a long history of high general government fiscal deficits (averaging 8.8% of GDP over the past 20 years and 7% in the past five years). The deficits have not closed Indias sizable shortfalls in basic services and infrastructure. The countrys fiscal challenges reflect both revenue underperformance and constraints on expenditure. Indias general government revenue, at an estimated 21% of 2016 GDP, is low among rated sovereigns. Its expenditure constraints are mainly related to subsidies (about 2% of 2016 GDP) for food, energy, and fertilizers. Although we expect the administration to pursue medium-term fiscal consolidation, we foresee that planned revenues may not fully materialize and subsidy cuts may be delayed. In the medium term, we expect improved fiscal performance primarily from revenue-side improvements brought about by the coming introduction of the GST and administrative efforts to expand the tax base.

Indias high fiscal deficits have led to the accumulation of sizable general government borrowings (about 69% of GDP, net of liquid assets) and debt servicing costs (over a quarter of general government revenue). We project net general government debt to decline only modestly over our forecast horizon. A high proportion of Indias resident banking sectors balance sheet is exposed to the government sector via loans, government securities, or other claims on the government (partly for regulatory requirements, as banks are required to invest 22% of their net demand and time deposits in government securities).

This implies that there may be limited capacity for Indias banks to lend more to the government without further crowding out private-sector borrowing. Indias government borrowings are mostly denominated in rupees, which mitigates the risks. The small portion of external government debt is mostly sourced from official lenders over long terms and at concessional rates.

These fiscal figures do not include losses of electricity distribution companies. Although we expect their operations to improve with lower oil prices, they will remain exposed to Indias terms of trade. Hence, overall, we believe public finances are set to remain key rating constraints for some time.

India has a divided banking sector. Its private sector banks (about one-quarter of banking system assets) have better profitability, higher internal capital generation, and capitalization with lower-stressed assets than government-owned banks. We estimate public-sector banks need capital infusion of about US$45 billion (2% of GDP) by 2019, given their weaker profitability, to meet Basel III capital norms. The government has committed US$11 billion (0.5% of GDP) to support public-sector banks. The government may have to increase the allocation if the banks are not able to secure capital from alternative sources, such as equity markets, additional tier-1 bonds, and insurance companies. We include this assessment in our assumptions of the sovereigns fiscal balances. Our Bank Industry Credit Risk Assessment for India is 5 (with 1 being the highest assessment and 10 being the lowest).

Combining our view of Indias government-related entities and its financial system, we view the countrys contingent fiscal risks as limited.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made progress in lowering CPI inflation following the introduction in February 2015 of its medium-term inflation target band (with 4% CPI inflation n++ 2% as the principal nominal anchor for monetary policy). We expect the RBI to achieve the inflation target of 5% by March 2017 as it advances along a glide path to the medium-term inflation target. Further steps to strengthen policy formulation are being taken through the introduction of a monetary policy committee, improved communication, and efforts to strengthen monetary policy transmission (such as through new guidelines requiring banks to determine their lending rates using marginal cost of funds).

We believe these RBI measures will support its ability to sustain economic growth while attenuating economic or financial shocks. We see some risks that strong inflows to the financial sector combined with higher inflation in India vis-n++-vis its trading partners could pressure the real and nominal effective exchange rates, which in turn could hurt competitiveness, if not matched by strong productivity growth.

Outlook

The stable outlook balances Indias sound external position and inclusive policymaking tradition against the vulnerabilities stemming from its low per capita income and weak public finances. The outlook indicates that we do not expect to change our rating on India this year or next, based on our current set of forecasts.

Upward pressure on the ratings could build if the governmen

Remove anomalies before imposing GST across sectors, says ASSOCHAM-KPMG paper
Nov 03,2016

Sharp anomalies in the taxation rates and structure across different industries such as telecom, tobacco, textiles, food processing and tourism , should be addressed to as the country moves in a transition period for implementing the Goods and Services Tax, the ASSOCHAM-KPMG paper has said in a joint paper for the GST Council.

The exhaustive paper stated that taxation structure, say, for, tobacco industry should not be based on some emotive issues and be rational enough to check a huge amount of illicit trade which stays outside the taxation net. It said instead of subjecting the tobacco and tobacco products at a higher than the standard rate, the entire sector should be placed under the standard rate with the focus of bringing exempted items under the GST net to eliminate the rampant illicit trade. As per IMF report high rates of GST / VAT lead to manipulation and fraud.

Similarly, for the telecom sector, the paper cautioned that GST may negatively impact the working capital cost since initial landed price of purchases including imports may increase due to increase in tax rates. Cost of procurement of services may increase to more than 18 per cent from the current rate of 15 per cent, which will be a challenge for the industry, especially if CENVAT credit on passive infrastructure and fuel consumption is continued to be denied.

Likewise, the ASSOCHAM-KPMG also went into the impact of GST on the textile sector and suggested ways to find an ideal situation. It said in case, India opts for higher tax rates under the proposed GST regime, and then in the long-term, it will lose its market share to the developing and highly competitive economies.

Hence, it is recommended that India also implements policies that capitalize on the potential of its textile and apparel industry so that the country has a higher bargaining power in procuring export orders in the international trade vis-n++-vis other developing economies. Thus, the Government should make a conscious call to retain lower rate for this industry by introducing a special lower slab of 4 per cent to 6 per cent under the proposed GST regime along with full input tax credit of GST paid on goods and services used in the supply chain.

n++As we are in a transition period, several industry sectors are faced with challenges of adapting to new tax regime. While the GST is a path-breaking reform, its implementation should be calibrated in a manner to cause least disturbance to the existing taxation structure. The Government should unshackle its mind if it really wants to achieve the objectives of GST - Expanding the tax base, reduction in exemptions; mitigating cascading and double taxation, enabling better compliance through lowering of overall tax burden.

The Government should follow the recommendations of eminent economist like Dr. Vijay Kelkar and Dr. Arvind Subramanium, which suggest that moderate rate of taxes will expand the tax base resulting in high collections, which will be the success of GST. Otherwise it will be Old Wine in a New Bottle. n++ Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM said.

Elaborating, the paper said the tobacco industry has been the second largest contributor to Indian excise revenue after the oil and gas sector. The combined tax revenue collected from tobacco industry (Centre and States) was more than Rs 29,000 crore in FY 2014-15. Tobacco products are being cultivated in an area of about 4.68 lakh hectares (0.24 per cent) of total arable land in the country with a production of 800 million kgs13. The tobacco industry provides employment to nearly 4.5 crore people in India comprising farm labourers, farmers, traders, etc. Thus, the sector gives livelihood to a considerable size of the population, particularly rural women, the tribals and labourers who are under stress with no employment alternatives especially when India is experiencing jobless growth for the last many years.

Under the GST regime, it is proposed to levy both dual taxes as well as higher rate of GST. The endeavor should be to tax the hitherto untaxed/ insignificantly taxed segments of the tobacco industry i.e. tobacco products other than cigarette as the consumption of such products is way higher than that of legal cigarettes. Thus, levy of standard GST rates with excise duty on a wider tax base will yield a higher tax revenue collection than continuing with levy of high rates of taxes on only one segment of the tobacco industry i.e. cigarettes.

For tourism sector, at present, different abatement schemes addressing different situations are available under service tax such as 30 per cent in case of composite package and 60 per cent for dining in a standalone restaurant. This is leading to ambiguity and complexity in determining the value on which service tax is payable. In order to overcome such situation, uniform tax treatment i.e. one standard rate dealing with all the situations should be introduced. The rates should be moderate to remain competitive.

Besides, in current regime, all the taxes cumulatively applicable to restaurants (i.e. VAT, Service Tax and other applicable taxes) increases the value on which tax is payable to more than 100 per cent. Such a situation increases the tax cost substantially. Therefore, a mechanism should be introduced whereby value on which GST would be applied should not increase 100 per cent in any case.

As for the food processing, the industry is taxed at a concessional rate/ zero rate. GST is likely to be based on minimal exemptions regime leading to increase in the tax cost for the food processing industry and inflation. A distinction needs to be made based on the necessity. Taking from the example of Canada the food products, which are essential for human consumption, should be taxed at zero rate. As food comprises a major part of the WPI, which is nearly 14.3 per cent, an increase in tax on food items will adversely impact WPI leading to higher inflation in the country.

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Rs.10 Lakh for each mandi for setting up Waste Management Plants Under e-Nam Scheme: Shri Radha Mohan Singh
Nov 03,2016

Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh brief the media about the outcome of Swachhta Pakhwada and initiatives taken by the Ministry. Shri Singh informed that as per the directions of Honble Prime Minister of India, the Swachhta Pakhwada was observed this year from 16th to 31st October, 2016 in all the three Departments under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, namely Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Department of Animal Husbandry Dairying & Fisheries and Department of Agricultural Research & Education. Going out from the confines of the office premises Swachhta drive was carried out in Agricultural Mandis, Fish Markets & villages near each Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs). During the Pakhwada focus was laid to put certain measures that are dynamic and to be continued beyond Pakhwada period. Some of the activities carried out are as under:

n++ Cleaning drives were undertaken in 271 Agricultural Mandis. Further, Swachhta Action Plan has been prepared in which it was decided to make provision of Rs.10 lakh for each mandi for setting up waste management plants under e-Nam scheme. It was also decided that under one flagship scheme, namely RKVY, managed by DAC&FW one percent funds will be spent on Solid and Waste Management. Besides this, various offices under the three Departments were cleaned involving, inter alia, installation of sensors in toilets, installation of motorized grinder and weeding out of unwanted records, removing encroachments and all junk lying in the offices. Honble Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister was involved in cleanliness & plantation drive at DAC&FW (Hq.) in Krishi Bhavan on 26.10.2016 and at Agricultural Mandi in Chandigardh on 18.10.2016. Centers of All India Soil & Land Use Survey of India (SLUSI), a subordinate office under DAC&FW, involved local MPs/ public representatives in the Swachhta Activities. Further, a Compost pit has been inaugurated in SLUSI, Kolkata. Compost Machines are being installed in the Mandis in coordination with States.

n++ The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Fishery Survey of India (FSI), Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training, (CIFNET), National Institute of Fisheries Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT), Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fishery (CICEF), in coordination with State/UTs conducted the following major activities during the Swachhta Pakhwada:

i. Cleaning of 50 wholesale & retail Fish markets in 15 states was done and also awareness about maintenance of cleanliness was spread during this drive.

ii. Cleaning of Institute Buildings and premises by all the Subordinate institutes under Fishery Division.

iii. Awareness camps including Padayatra (procession) on hygienic Fish handling, maintaining cleanliness in fish markets, cleanliness in processing, cleanliness in marketing etc. and distribution of Pamphlets.

iv. Conducting of State level Workshops viz., (i) Recycling of waste through integrated fish farming for NE States at NFDB NE Center, Guwahati (ii) Waste Water Aquaculture, Nalban, Kolkata etc.

n++ Honble Members of Parliament, State Fisheries Minister from West Bengal, Mayors and Councilors from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Senior officials from the State Fisheries Department, District Collectors etc. actively participated in the Swachhta Pakhwada activities. Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Parshottam Rupala also participated in cleanliness activities at Amreli (Gujarat). Also, the Fish vendors, retailers, net makers, students, staff and trainees of the institutes, members of fisherman associations and general public were also involved in the various activities under taken during Swachhta Pakhwada across the State/UTs. The awareness camps/cleaning drives were taken up across the country with the help of State/UT Governments. Some of the notable activities were held in Bilaspur and Durg in Chhattisgarh, Guwahati, Silchar, Cachar in Assam, Bishnupur in Manipur, Nellore in Andhra Pradesh Cuddalore and Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu and also in Kolkatta Bangalore, Lucknow , Ranchi and Kochi.

n++ Department of Agricultural Research & Education/ Indian Council of Agricultural Research, celebrated Swachhta Pakhwada during Oct 16-31, 2016. The ICAR Head Quarters in New Delhi, all the 102 Research Institutes and 648 KVKs took active part in the Pakhwada activities and conducted a wide range of activities which included, cleaning of campuses, residential areas, villages and localities in their vicinity in addition to conducting Seminars, awareness camps, rallies, street plays and expert talks. Through KVKs and institutes promotion of Swachhta activities was done in 3040 villages with the active participation of farmers and village youth. Efforts were made to promote clean farming technologies and package of practices and make best use of farm waste. Central and local leaders, Senior Officers from the Institutes and the ICAR Headquarters participated in the events organised at various places across the country during the pakhwada. IARI, New Delhi has set up a team of sanitation inspectors in each block of their residential complex who organise the dry and wet waste generated from each household separately and recycle it appropriately through the participation of households. On 27th October, 2016 a special Seminar on the topic n++Creating Wealth from Agricultural Wastesn++ was organised at KVK Shikohpur (Gurgaon) in which Minister of State of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Sudarshan Bhagat was the chief guest. Various technologies making best use of agricultural wastes like, preparation of bio compost, vermin-composting, whey utilization, straw enrichment, waste water recycling, cotton waste management, fisheries waste management and engineering technologies were showcased. More than 350 farmers and Scientists participated in the event. Based on the daily and final reporting of the swachhta activities, the awards shall be given to the outstanding performers in the competitions announced for offices in ICAR Head Quarters, ICAR Research Institute and KVKs and these awards will be given on the foundation day of the ICAR.

n++ In order to sensitize state governments, a video conference was held on 27.10.2016 with representatives of States/ UTs and they have been briefed about the n++Swachhta Pakhwada Activitiesn++. They have also been requested to make adequate provisions in their existing Schemes to prepare Compost from farm wastes. Further, DD Kisan has been asked to make two films- one of Solid Waste Disposal Technology of NCOF and the second on Liquid Waste Disposal technology developed by ICAR. DD Kisan will show these films in their existing programmes.

n++ Rivers play an important role in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Ganga is a symbol of cleanliness as well as purity since time immemorial in India. To make the Ganga clean again, it is imperative that organic farming should be promoted in the townships and villages along the banks of the Ganga to minimize the use of harmful pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals in agriculture. This Ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 16th September 2016 with Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoU). Under this MoU, the people living in 1657 clusters of 1657 Gram Panchayats from Uttarakhand to West Bengal will be motivated to carry out organic farming to reduce use of polluting chemical fertilizers and pesticides to ensure that the Ganga is restored to pristine purity.

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Targets Termination of Contract with Welspun India Credit Neutral
Nov 02,2016

Target Corporation (Target) the second-largest discount retailer in the United States terminated its contracts with Welspun India (WIL: IND AA-/Stable) which may result in a one-time hit to profitability in FY17, however the long term credit profile of the company remains stable, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). WIL has initiated the review of the entire supply chain and processes through Ernst &Young and is in the process to strengthen its end to end systems for specialised products, namely from cotton procurement to spinning to processing and finishing.

As per discussions with the management, there will be a one-time impact on profitability in FY17, in case WIL bears the cost of the product recall and replacement or discounting. Ind-Ra believes that the one-time cost will not materially impact the credit profile of the company in the long term. The management has confirmed to Ind-Ra that other customers have continued their relationship / contracts with WIL.

Ind-Ra estimates that WILs credit metrics will not breach the negative triggers, namely the net debt/EBITDA being sustained above 3.0x in FY17-18, even after factoring in the one-time payouts and the loss of revenues from Target. Ind-Ra draws comfort from WILs strong liquidity, with cash and cash equivalent of INR6.26bn as at end September 2016 and low debt maturity of INR710m and INR1,990m in 2HFY17 & FY18 respectively. WILs interest out go is also low since most of the term debt drawn in the past is for capex which is covered under the Central and State Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme. WIL also has adequate access to fund based lines of bank facilities to support its working capital requirements.

The reason for Target terminating the contract with WIL was following a product specification issue with respect to provenance of Egyptian cotton in bedsheets. Target contributed to around USD90m of WILs revenues in FY16 (around 10% of WILs revenues). The quality issue was with respect to Egyptian cotton in one of the program of bedsheets valued at around USD8.50m in FY16. WILs overall shipment to Target under the said programme was around USD19m during the period July 2014 to August 2016. In FY16, the US geography contributed 70% of WILs revenues, including sales through Welspun Global Brands Ltd (WGBL; IND AA-/Stable) its sales and marketing arm (Ind-Ra has taken a consolidated view of WIL & WGBL).

Ind-Ra will continue to monitor the development and outcome of Ernst &Youngs review and any other action that may impact the credit profile of the company.

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Ind-Ra: Central Bank Meetings to Keep Market Cautious
Nov 02,2016

Debt and currency markets will focus on the slew of global data and on the outcomes of major central bank policy meetings. The 10-year G-sec yield could trade at 6.75%-6.85% (6.79% at close on 28 October 2016). The rupee is likely to trade at 66.55/USD-67.25/USD (66.78/USD at close on 28 October 2016).

Central Banks to Set Tone: A host of meetings of major central banks will set the market tone and determine investors risk appetite. The Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy unchanged. Global markets now await the US Federal Open Market Committees decision on 2 November 2016. Markets are pricing in only a remote possibility of rate movement this week (implied probability from federal funds futures rate probability at around 6%). The Bank of England meets for its monetary policy decision on 3 November 2016.

Bond Markets to Remain Range-bound: In the absence of any surprises on the global developments front, the domestic bond market will trade with a consolidation bias. Domestic investors are unlikely to heavily churn their portfolio ahead of global risks and may adopt a wait-and-watch approach. Foreign investors, on the other hand, have exhibited limited appetite for local bonds.

Risk Appetite to Drive Rupee Movement: The global risk appetite along with the markets ability to tide over FCNR (foreign currency non-resident) redemptions will have a deterministic impact on the rupee trajectory going forward. The near-term outlook for the rupee, against the backdrop of global developments, indicates potential volatility as investors reassess their outlooks. A clear indication by the Fed over its imminent rate hike could rein in any major appreciating bias of the rupee against USD.

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Ministry of Shipping sponsors safety training progarmme for ship recycling workers under Sagarmala
Nov 02,2016

As part of its Coastal Community Development Programme under Sagarmala, the Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned Rupees 10 Crore as part of the first instalment to the Gujarat Maritime Board for capacity building and safety training of 20,000 workers involved in the ship recycling activities at Alanag- Sosiya recycling yard in Bhavnagar district in Gujarat. The total project cost is estimated to be Rupees 30 Crore over a period of 3 years.

The initiative has been identified in the National Perspective Plan (NPP) of Sagarmala for the upliftment of the coastal community and aims to provide health and safety training to the skilled and semi-skilled workers which is required while performing their work at ship recycling yards. Due to the accident prone nature of the ship breaking activity, Gujarat Maritime Board has been running an indigenous Safety Training and Labour Welfare Institute at Alang and has trained about 1.10 lakh labors over the last 12 years. However, with the increased volume of ship recycling over last decade and to bring the training standards at par with the international regulations like UN Body -International Maritime Organization, it is imperative to enhance the capacity build-up and upgrade the existing training standards.

The safety training programme under Sagarmala has been specifically designed and conforms to the Common Norms for Skill Development Schemes under National Skill Qualification Framework notified by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in Gazette Notification dated 8th August, 2015. A new module has been proposed which would impart comprehensive training to workers about Occupational Safety & Hazards at workplaces that are likely to cause injuries, death or chronic occupational diseases.

In India, ship recycling has emerged as an activity of sizeable volume, supplying raw material to steel industry for both re-rolling and re-melting. The Alang Sosiya Recycling yard is the largest ship-recycling yard in Asia, which employs an average 15000,-25000 labourers at a time and generates about 35 lakh LDT (Light displacement) per annum. On an average 350 numbers of ships are recycled every year in which more than 3 million MT of steel is generated through recycling route.

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Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seizes about 23.5 metric tonnes of Mandrax Tablets (Methaqualone)
Nov 02,2016

In one of the biggest seizure of Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances, the officers of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), apex counter-smuggling agency of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), have seized about 23.5 metric tonnes of Mandrax Tablets (Methaqualone), a banned psychotropic substance under Schedule I of NDPS Rules, 1985. Active assistance of officials of Border Security Force at Udaipur has been taken by the officers of DRI for the operation.

Information was received that huge quantities of Mandrax Tablets have been concealed in a premises at Udaipur (Rajasthan) by one Mumbai-based mastermind. On 28th October 2016, a team of officers of DRI raided the premises of M/s Marudhar Drinks, Bhamasha Industial Area, Kaladwas, Udaipur.

During the search, DRI officers detected a hidden room filled with cartons of Mandrax tablets. The total number of tablets are estimated to be about 2 crore in numbers with a weight of about 23.5 metric tonnes (23500 kgs). The international market value of seized tablets is estimated to be over Rs. 3000 crores. This is one of the largest seizures of Methaqualone not only in India but also in the world. The mastermind of the syndicate has been arrested by DRI and follow-up operation is underway to nab others involved with the drug syndicate.

The major raw material for Mandrax is acetic anhydride which was manufactured by the syndicate at Shreenath Industries, Rajsamand. The other raw materials for Methaqualone, apart from acetic anhydride (manufactured at Shreenath Industries) are Anthranillic Acid (which was imported from Indonesia from Kandla Port by misdeclaring it as Mallic Anhydride), ortho toloudiene, phosporous trichloride, caustic soda (procured locally).

Methaqualone is a depressant, overdose of which can lead to coma and death. It is used as a recreational drug in Africa and Asia. It is commonly known as Mandrax, M-pills, buttons, or smarties and is usually smoked mixed with cannabis.

Relentless efforts put in by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has resulted in neutralizing 10 other factories across several States in the recent past manufacturing various types of synthetic drugs like Mephedrone, Ketamine, Alprazolam and precursor chemical like Ephedrine.

In last five years, DRI has seized more than 540 kgs of Heroin, and 7400 kgs of ephedrine along with other narcotics and psychotropic substances under NDPS Act 1985. DRI has been in active liaison with international enforcement agencies for combating the menace of drug abuse.

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Online submission of applications by urban poor for affordable houses from tomorrow
Nov 02,2016

In a significant initiative, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has enabled online submission of applications by the urban poor for affordable houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban) from tomorrow.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed today by the Ministry of HUPA and Common Services Centre e-Governance Services India of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in the presence of respective ministers Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Out of the over two lakh Common Services Centre across the country, about 60,000 located in urban areas will enable online submission of applications from November 3,2016 at a nominal cost of Rs.25/- per application. As per the MoU, CSCs will also facilitate printing of the acknowledgement receipt with beneficiary photograph which helps applicants in tracking application status. Beneficiaries have to visit the nearest CSC for seeking assistance for seeking benefits of PMAY(Urban) online. In case the beneficiary does not have Aadhar Card, CSCs will enable beneficiaries acquiring them. This process of applying online is e-KYC (Know Your Client) enabled which means applications are submitted after due verification.

Minister of HUPA Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu said on the occasion that Digital India Mission is transforming the country and collaboration with CSC SPV will help in bringing more urban poor under the ambit of PMAY(Urban) by addressing the difficulties associated in physical submission of applications to Urban Local Bodies, for want of adequate help and guidance. He said that while 13.70 lakh urban poor were sanctioned affordable houses during 2005-14, about 11 lakh houses have been already sanctioned for urban poor during the last one year and this will pick up further momentum through online applications.

Minister of Electronics and IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad said that CSCs are the front end soldiers of Digital India Mission and are engaged in empowering different sections of the society through skilling and online delivery of services.

The MoU was signed by Shri Amrit Abhijat, Joint Secretary, Ministry of HUPA and Shri Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd.

Through a similar MoU with the Ministry of Urban Development, CSCs have so enabled 15 lakh transactions helping beneficiaries apply on line for construction of toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas.

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Both promoter and buyer can terminate agreement in case of default by each other
Nov 02,2016

To ensure timely implementation of real estate projects, the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Agreement for Sale Rules, 2016 specify in black and white, the rights and obligations of both the promoters and buyers, including the right to terminate the agreement entered into by them in case of default by each other.

Agreement for Sale Rules notified by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation notified on October 31, 2016 seeks to eliminate the scope of such agreements being in favour of either of the parties. These Rules are applicable to the Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Chandigarh.

Under these Rules, a 20-page Agreement has been specified in which the date of delivery of possession to buyer is to be clearly mentioned and a schedule of payment as agreed upon by both parties is to be enclosed. Violation of these commitments is to be treated as default, in which case, promoter and buyer can terminate the agreement.

If the buyer defaults by not paying to the promoter for a specified number of demands made by promoter and such a default persists for an agreed upon number of months, promoter can terminate the agreement and cancel the allotment made to buyer. Promoter, can then deduct the booking amount and interest liabilities from the amount to be repaid to buyer.

If promote fails to give ready to move in possession of the apartment or fails to complete the project as per the stipulated time, amounting to default, buyer can then terminate the agreement and is entitled to refund of amount paid with interest in 45 days of such termination. In case, the buyer does not want to withdraw from such a delayed project, he needs to be paid interest till the project is completed. This however, does not apply if the development of project is delayed by force majeure conditions like war, floods, cyclone, drought, etc., which are beyond the control of promoter.

The Agreement to be entered into stipulates that the total price of apartment/plot shall be escalation free except when development charges are increased by the competent authorities.

Agreement provides for certain rights of promoters including timely payments as per the mutually agreed upon payment schedule, interest in case of delay in payments by buyer, additional payments for increase in carpet area up to 3% of corporate area originally offered to buyer and no liability on his part in case of delay in execution of project due to force majeure conditions.

The rights of buyers include timely delivery of possession of property by buyer, refund or payment of compensation with interest in case of delays, rectification of structural defects by promoter over a period of five years from the date of issuance of occupancy certificate etc.

The Agreement for Sale Rules, notified along with General Rules make it mandatory, disclosure of the number of apartment and the floor allotted to buyer, carpet area, number and the area of garage/covered parking, date of grant of commencement certificate by the competent authority, name of the authority that granted required approvals, Regulatory Authority with which the project is registered and such registration number, break up of cost including the cost of apartment, exclusive balcony or verandah, exclusive open terrace, proportionate cost of common area, preferential location charges, taxes and maintenance charges etc.

Underlining that timely execution of project is the essence of the Agreement to be entered in to, the Rules define the role and responsibilities of both buyers and promoters.

The Rules provide for amending the agreement with written consent of both the parties.

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Economy set to perform better in 2nd half of FY16: ASSOCHAM Bizcon survey
Nov 02,2016

Indian economy would be performing better in the second half of the current fiscal and the trend appears to have begun from the quarter beginning October, 2016 with 66.7 per cent of the latest ASSOCHAM Bizcon Survey respondents expecting uptick in sales, capacity utilization, though positivity on fresh investment is tentative.

Increased spend on infrastructure development, largely in the government is seen as the most important driver for a turnaround in the economic outlook for the current quarter and the last quarter of the financial year 2016-17.

The second best driver for the optimistic outlook is effective policy reforms followed by a stable foreign exchange rate of the Indian currency despite global head winds like uncertainty on account of the Federal Reserves next policy move and the most bitterly fought US Presidential elections.

While a big chunk of Bizcon Survey participants felt the present economic situation appears to be in a better shape than the previous six months on several parameters, the optimism is more pronounced for the second half of the current fiscal.

For instance on the parameter of industrial performance, the ASSOCHAM Bizcon done in September , noted over 83 per cent of the respondents believing things would look better in at the industry level in the ongoing six month period.

n++Good thing is, there is a clear turnaround in business confidence, which holds the key to new investment and consumer confidencen++, the chamber President Mr. Sunil Kanoria said. He said unlike the previous surveys, the latest round indicates a slight uptick even with regard to capacity utilization going forward and the order book. However, generation of new employment and improvement in wages is still some distance away.

The confidence was quite pronounced at the level of individual firms level, as about 89 per cent of the respondents expressed optimism about better days ahead.

In terms of the capacity utilization expectations, over 66 per cent participants shared the opinion that the industry would be operating at higher levels than 70 per cent of the plant or service facility capacities.

The majority (55.6 percent) of the respondents feel that there is an increase in the sales volume during July to September 2016 and also expecting better sales volume during October to December 2016. However, 38.9 percent of the respondents feel that their profits may not change in the short term (October to December 2016). n++The power to increase price on the part of producers and service providers would remain constrained till there is some more improvement in the consumer demandn++, Mr Kanoria said.

In the short horizon, the survey indicates that there will not be any change in the employment scenario in the industry. As majority (55.6 percent) of respondents believe that employment condition will not improve in the coming days.

In terms of the wage costs scenario, the majority of the industry (44.4 percent) opines that in the July to September 2016, there is no change in wages costs. Going forward as well, majority of the industry respondents (50.0 percent) feel that the wage costs will not change in future also (October to December 2016).

As many as, 38.9 per cent respondents felt that there was an increase in the raw material prices. In the shorter horizon industry is not confident about the raw material price witnessing much movement.

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Indian FMCG firms outpace MNCs in growth, revenue: ASSOCHAM-TechSci study
Nov 02,2016

During the FY 2016, domestic Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have performed significantly well vis-n++-vis the multinational companies in India, according to the just concluded study by ASSOCHAM-TechSci Research.

The combined overall revenue of selected eight MNCs during the FY 16 registered a total of $9436.66 million, whereas the combined revenue of selected seven Indian FMCG is $11066.46 Million, reveals the joint study.

The highest profit after tax margin of leading Indian FMCG is maintained at 25.48% by ITC as comparative to Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care among selected Leading MNC players in FMCG Sector in India, which maintained the highest profit after tax margin by 17.03% which is comparatively lower.

The study has observed performance analysis of selected Indian FMCG Companies that the ITC is leading amongst others with its recorded 25.48% After Taxes Profit Margin (PAT) during the Financial Year, 2016; as its Profit After Taxes is $ 1514.57 Million against revenue of $ 5944.79 Million. While Britannia Industries stands second among other selected ones in terms of generated revenue by $1222.75 Million during the FY 2016 and has registered growth in revenue by 10.76% as comparative to FY2015, however its After Taxes Profit Margin (PAT) is 9.43% which is comparatively lower than its peers in the sector.

The performance of Dabur India is next to ITC in terms of After Taxes Profit Margin (PAT) registered with 16.34% which is $ 144.54 Million against the revenue of $884.62 Million. In terms of After Taxes Profit Margin (PAT), the Godrej Consumer Products is close to Dabur India with 15.37% which is on the basis of $113.80 Million of PAT against revenue of $740.24 Million.

The Marico also performed closely with that of Godrej Consumer Products as the percentage of PAT margin remained 14.19% which comes out on the basis of the disclosed figure of PAT $107.98 Million against the $761.14 Million of revenue. About the performance of Amul, although the company has revenue $743.69 Million, which is slight more than Godrej Consumer Products but the PAT margin is least amongst others having just 0.32%. In case of Amul, the reason can be the fact of controlled prices and nature of milk and milk made products.

The Performance of Patanjali Ayurved has been unmatched and leaves behind all its competitors in the segment with record growth of 146.31% in the revenue on Y-o-Y basis. As the Patanjali Ayurved has achieved the revenue of $769.23 Million during FY 2016 against just $ 312.31 Million during FY 2015.

After analyzing the performance of selected Multi-National Companies of FMCG Sector in India, the study has observed that the Hindustan Unilever is leading with its revenue earned $4921.10 Million with 3.84% Y-o-Y growth in the revenue. But its PAT margin during the year is $628.06 Million i.e only 12.76% which is comparatively lower than its competitor. As data analysis shows that Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care is leading amongst others with its recorded 17.03% After Taxes Profit Margin (PAT) during the Financial Year 2016 because its Profit After Taxes is $ 65.10 Million against revenue of $ 382.20Million.

Where the performance of Glaxosmithkline Consumer Healthcare has recorded 15.94% PAT margin for having its After Taxes Profit of $105.68 Million against Revenue of $662.88Million, the Colgate-Palmolive (India) achieved 13.85% PAT Margin with its $88.69Million against revenue of $640.35 Million.

Gillette India achieved 10.19% PAT Margin for its just $32.77Million of PAT against $321.62 Million of revenue. The performance of Nestle India has declined during the FY2016 by 17.04% in the revenue achieved upto $1257.74 Million comparative to FY2015 when it was $1516.13 Million. Hence the Overall PAT margin during the year remained only 6.89%. The logic behind the data decline of Nestle India can be publicly known facts of post Maggy issue.

About the performance of PepsiCo India, there is 13.00% growth in the revenue during the FY16, when it has achieved $1250.77 Million as Compared to $1106.88 Million during FY15 and thereby the company could manage to reduce the negative Profit After Taxes from $43.08 Million in FY15 to $ 27.23 Million during FY16 however, company could not make it possible to have satisfactory overall profit as there was negative PAT margin by 2.18%.

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NHAI Awards Contract for 4-laning of Phagwara - Rupnagar section in the State of Punjab
Nov 02,2016

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has issued Letter of Award (LOA) for development of national highway section in the state of Punjab under phase IV of National Highways Development Projects (NHDP).

The details of project are as follows:

Sl. No.NH No.SectionLength Project Cost (Crore)Contractors name1344A4-Laning of Phagwara - Rupnagar section81 kmRs. 1444 croreM/s G.R. Infraprojects Ltd.

The 81 km long Phagwara - Rupnagar section passes through Banga Town and proposed Nawashahir bypass and terminates at Rupnagar. This will be the shortest route for movement between Amritsar and The City Beautiful, Chandigarh, two most important cities of Punjab and also tourist hub for Sikh pilgrimage. The project will help in expediting the improvement of infrastructure in Punjab and in reducing the time and cost of travel.

The project will have 4 structures (Grade separator/flyover), 1 major bridge, 22 minor bridges, one Vehicular Underpass and one Pedestrian Underpass. The project would be executed on Hybrid Annuity mode and scheduled time of completion of project is 30 months from the date of commencement.

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Kerala declared Open Defecation Free
Nov 02,2016

The State of Kerala became the third State overall and the largest State so far to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) (Gramin). The declaration was formally made by the Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, in a magnificent ceremony at the Central Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram. Shri Vijayan also distributed awards to and felicitated district collectors and other government officials who had been instrumental in bringing about this landmark achievement for the State.

With this, all 14 districts, 152 blocks, 940 Gram Panchayats and 2117 villages of the State have been declared free from open defecation. Freedom from open defecation has been proven to lead to significant health benefits in terms of incidences of water-borne diseases, especially in children, and provide safety and dignity for all, especially women and senior citizens. Kerala, with a rural population of approximately 3.5 crores, is also the largest State so far to have achieved the ODF Status, after Sikkim (~6 lakhs) and Himachal Pradesh (~70 lakhs).

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister, Shri Pinaray Vijayan, emphasized the importance of behaviour change communication in the efforts made by the State to achieve ODF status. He also underscored the need to sustain this status now that it has been achieved through a continued focus on sanitation.

Dr KT Jaleel, State Minister for Local Self Government, Welfare of Minorities, WAKF and Haj Pilgrimage, in his Presidential address, spoke about the importance of effective solid and liquid waste management to truly create a Swachh Bharat and Kerala.

In his welcome address on the occasion, the Chief Secretary, Shri SM Vijayanand emphasized the role of local governance in sustaining the ODF Status of the State and to focus on solid and liquid waste management in the next phase of efforts.

The Secretary, Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, in his address, lauded the State governments focused efforts on sanitation and congratulated the State on this landmark achievement. He assured that the Centre will continue supporting the States efforts towards creating a Swachh Bharat and Swachh Kerala in the next phase as well, as they continue their efforts to sustain ODF and focus on solid and liquid waste management.

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Indias manufacturing growth shifts up a gear: Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI
Nov 01,2016

Supported by stronger contributions from three of its five sub-components - new orders, output and stocks of purchases - the headline seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers IndexTM (PMITM) climbed to a 22-month peak in October. Rising from 52.1 in September to 54.4, the latest reading was indicative of a robust improvement in manufacturing business conditions that was in line with the long-run series average.

Once again, consumer goods producers outperformed their intermediate and investment goods counterparts, registering stronger rates of expansion for both output and new orders.

In October, output increased for the tenth straight month and at the quickest rate in nearly four years. Survey respondents attributed the latest rise in production to strong growth of new orders.

The amount of new work received by manufacturers grew markedly during October, with anecdotal evidence linking the latest rise to improved underlying demand. In fact, the rate of expansion was at a 22-month high. Data indicated that although foreign orders contributed to the upturn in total new work, the rate of growth in new business from abroad eased to a three-month low.

Outstanding business rose again during the latest survey period. The overall rate of accumulation was solid and the quickest in almost three years, with survey members reporting capacity pressures. In spite of this, businesses left employment unchanged.

Amid reports of orders being fulfilled directly from stocks, holdings of finished goods decreased again. That said, the rate of inventory depletion was modest and little-changed since September.

The average price of inputs rose markedly during October, with the rate of inflation quickening to the fastest since August 2014. Survey participants reported higher prices across a wide range of goods, but particularly highlighted steel, plastic and petrol.

Firms passed on to clients part of these higher cost burdens by raising their prices charged. The rate of output price inflation was the fastest in six months, but modest in the context of historical data.

Companies also attempted to offset the effects of marked input cost inflation by purchasing and storing a greater level of pre-production items. Buying levels grew at the strongest rate in 14 months, while stock levels increased at the fastest pace since July 2015.

Finally, the time taken for suppliers to deliver inputs was broadly unchanged (on average) in October.

Commenting on the Indian Manufacturing PMI survey data, Pollyanna De Lima, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report, said, October data provide positive news for Indias economy, as manufacturing output and new orders expanded at the fastest rates in 46 and 22 months respectively.

The sector looks to be building on the foundation of the implied pick-up in growth in the previous quarter. Supporting this was the RBIs MPC announcement of a further 25 basis-point reduction in its policy rate to 6.25%. The extended easing cycle, however, brought upside risks to inflation, with manufacturers seeing purchase costs rising at the quickest pace in over two years. Part of the increase in cost burdens was passed on to consumers by way of higher selling prices, which is likely to continue on an upward trend as we head towards the year end.

Nevertheless, the breadth of the upturn in manufacturing should assist in its sustainability. Although the consumer goods sector again outperformed its intermediate and investment goods peers, all three sectors reported strong and accelerated growth in October. The domestic market was the prime source of new business gains, but lets not forget that there is also a robust export component in these positive numbers.

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