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About 950 million Indians are out of reach Internet: ASSOCHAM-Deloitte study
Dec 27,2016

Mobile data plans in India are among the cheapest in the world and the average retail price of smartphones are steadily declining, yet the Internet is out of the reach of nearly 950 million Indians, according to ASSOCHAM-Deloitte joint study.

Internet penetration is increasing in India, the access to affordable broadband, smart devices and monthly data packages is required to spread digital literacy to make their ends meet, noted the study titled Strategic national measures to combat cybercrime, jointly conducted by ASSOCHAM and research firm Deloitte.

Existing government infrastructure assets should be further leveraged for provision of digital services at remote locations. Digital literacy needs to be increased by providing institutional trainings in schools, colleges and universities; accelerating partnerships with global technology leaders and using the workforce trained under Skill India to impart trainings. An integrated approach between Digital India and Skill India needs to be constructed to design programmes and impart training.

The government should increase awareness regarding the value add of technology to increase technology adoption. The benefits of technology such as increase in the standard of living of the weaker sections of society and enhancing financial inclusion should be communicated to citizens.

Private sector players should be incentivized to develop infrastructure, provide services and promote digital literacy as part of the Digital India program. Start-ups should be involved to create and customize apps to local needs to increase adoption of digital technology, adds the joint study.

India has over 1,600 languages and various dialects. This diversity has resulted in strong language barriers. In areas where people only use local languages, integration of local language and technology is required to drive digital literacy.

Fear of cybercrime and breach of privacy has been a deterrent in adoption of digital technologies in India. In order to encourage people to switch to digital means, it is important to provide awareness and education on cyber security, risks and safeguarding of information on the internet.

Mobile platforms and internet enabled programs should be used to improve the accessibility of training programmes. Credibility and recognition of certifications provided by various initiatives is key to successful development of digital literacy. Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) associated with sub-sectors should get industry inputs on curriculum, trainings and services. Further, industry players should be compelled to recognize the credibility of certificates issued, noted the study.

The various stakeholders (different government programs, ministries, institutions, industries etc.) involved in imparting digital literacy need to work in coordination to obtain the most effective implementation. This will require transparency of information, workflow management and timely updates on the progress of various factions.

A framework needs to be defined for participation of the private sector in skill development programs which defines the role of the private sector, expectations in terms of investments, content and job guarantees.

Skill training and digital literacy should be introduced as part of institutional trainings in schools, colleges and universities across India. Curriculum and interactive programmes should be mandated to ensure adequate digital skills of all graduates. Skill building for Digital India Building skills required to achieve the Digital India vision.

India faces a severe shortage of well trained and skilled workers. It is estimated that only 2.3% of the workforce in India has undergone formal skill training versus over 50% in the developed countries. This shortage is accentuated in the electronic and digital sectors. However, to achieve inclusive growth, skilled and well-trained manpower is critical. Several strides have been made towards developing the right skills required to support Digital India and e-governance initiatives.

The top barriers to adoption of technologies in the economically weaker sections of society as well as in MSMEs include cost and affordability. Most telecom operators so far have not invested significantly in development of high speed access networks in rural areas. Similarly, MSMEs also have low awareness of government and stakeholder schemes that could lead to numerous benefits.

A key hindrance to adoption of technology is the low rate of digital literacy in India. Several initiatives undertaken by the government and other organisations are expected to improve the digital literacy rate in the coming years which will in turn result in an increase in adoption of technology and digital services.

While there has been an increase in localized content and applications, content still remains limited in several local and regional languages. Most applications that exist have been driven by the government. Private sector involvement remains limited to proof of concepts (PoCs) in limited test environments.

The speed at which digital infrastructure (especially fiber networks) is being developed needs to be increased. Existing government infrastructure assets (e.g., post offices, government buildings, CSCs) should be further leveraged for provision of digital services at remote locations.

Digital literacy needs to be increased by providing institutional trainings in schools, colleges and universities; accelerating partnerships with global technology leaders and using the workforce trained under Skill India to impart trainings. An integrated approach between Digital India and Skill India needs to be constructed to design programmes and impart training.

The government should increase awareness regarding the value add of technology to increase technology adoption. The benefits of technology such as increase in the standard of living of the weaker sections of society and enhancing financial inclusion should be communicated to citizens.

Private sector players should be incentivized to develop infrastructure, provide services and promote digital literacy as part of the Digital India program. Start-ups should be involved to create and customize apps to local needs to increase adoption of digital technology.

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Coordination between the Central & State administration is important for smooth transition of GST regime so that taxpayer of country does not suffer
Dec 27,2016

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that there is an urgent need for change in mindset and India has to move towards a mindset of voluntary compliance. He said that the payment of legitimate taxes should be considered as part of the process and nobody should think that tax evasion is acceptable. The Finance Minister further said that the payment of due tax is a responsibility of every citizen. Addressing the young IRS Officers, the Finance Minister inspired them to be hardworking and efficient while ensuring integrity and credibility in their careers. The Finance Minister expressed his faith in the probationers to be able to carry-out the onerous task of smooth rolling-out and administering the new indirect tax administration system i.e. Goods and Services Tax (GST). Shri Jaitley impressed upon the gathering the importance of coordination between the Central and the State administrations in smooth transition from the old to the new Indirect Tax regime so that the taxpayer of the country does not suffer. The Finance Minister also reminded the officers that the economy of the country is undergoing major changes and that shall continue to challenge them to be capable officers at every stage of their career. The Finance Minster stressed on the Culture of Correctness and Fairness that every officer should follow in their work as Revenue Officers. He also wished NACEN well in the construction of the new Training Campus and Academy in Palasamudram, Hindupur, Andhra Pradesh. He concluded his address by motivating the officer trainees to train well and become officers who can lead this country into economic glory.

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Gartner Says by 2019, 20 Percent of User Interactions With Smartphones Will Take Place via VPAs
Dec 26,2016

Advances in various technologies will drive users to interact with their smartphones in more intuitive ways, said Gartner, Inc. Gartner predicts that, by 2019, 20 percent of all user interactions with the smartphone will take place via virtual personal assistants (VPAs).

The role of interactions will intensify through the growing popularity of VPAs among smartphone users and conversations made with smart machines, said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.

Gartners annual mobile apps survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2016 among 3,021 consumers across three countries (U.S., U.K. and China) found that 42 percent of respondents in the U.S. and 32 percent in the U.K. used VPAs on their smartphones in the last three months. More than 37 percent of respondents (average across U.S. and U.K.) used a VPA at least one or more times a day.

Apples Siri and Google Now are currently the most widely used VPAs on smartphones. Fifty-four percent of U.K. and U.S. respondents used Siri in the last three months. Google Now is used by 41 percent of U.K. respondents and 48 percent of U.S. respondents. VPAs usage is bound to accelerate as they add many new features, including integration for business services, further language support and appear across more devices, said Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner.

Gartner expects that, by 2019, VPAs will have changed the way users interact with devices and become universally accepted as part of everyday life. Today, VPAs are fulfilling simple tasks such as setting the alarm or retrieving information from the web, but in the near future these systems will be able to deliver more complex tasks such as completing a transaction based on past, present and predicted context.

This trend is also intensified by the acceleration of conversational commerce, but voice is not the only UI for VPA use. In fact, Facebook Messenger is allowing users to interact with businesses to make purchases, chat with customer services and order Uber cars within the app. Moreover, Tencents WeChat generates over $1.1 billion in revenue by offering its 440 million users an all-in-one approach, letting them pay their bills, hail cabs and order products with a text.

China represents the most mature market by far, where the increased dominance of messaging platforms is causing the traditional app market to stall. This trend is continuing to grow, not only among consumers but also among businesses or in the prosumer context. For example, Microsofts integration of Cortana into Skype will allow users to chat with their VPA. Cortana will then facilitate the interaction with a third-party bot to get things done, such as a hotel or flight booking.

We expect AI, machine learning and VPAs to be one of the major strategic battlegrounds from 2017 onwards, and make many mobile apps fade and become subservants of VPAs, said Ms. Zimmermann.

Voice and Gesture Become Increasingly Important Interfaces

With a predicted installed base of about 7 billion personal devices, 1.3 billion wearables and 5.7 billion other consumer Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints by 2020, the majority of devices will be designed to function with minimal or zero touch.

By 2020, Gartner predicts that zero-touch UIs will be available on 2 billion devices and IoT endpoints. Interactions will move away from touchscreens and will increasingly make use of voice, ambient technology, biometrics, movement and gestures, said Ms. Zimmermann. In this situation, apps using contextual information will become a crucial factor in user acceptance, as a voice-driven systems usability increases dramatically according to how much it knows about the users surrounding environment. This is where device vendors assets or partnerships in VPAs, natural language processing (NLP) and deep machine learning experts will matter.

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Dharmendra Pradhan directs Oil Marketing Companies to take all possible remedial measures to ease out the situation in Manipur
Dec 26,2016

In view of the economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) on vehicles going to Manipur from 1 November 2016, supplies of POL products have been severely constrained. MOS (I/C), Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today reviewed the stock position in the State of Manipur. He directed the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to take all possible remedial measures to ease out the situation.

Currently, the OMCs are moving supplies under heavy security protection via alternate route NH-35 (via Jiribum) after shifting supply base to Guwahati, from normal base at Tinsukia. So far, the OMCs have moved 8 (eight) convoys to Manipur which consisted of 975 TTs. Last convoy, which entered Manipur via Jiribum border on 25th December early morning, is now reaching Imphal. The OMCs and the Ministry are in constant touch with the State Government. The convoy movement is being done as per advice of State Government. Loaded TTs for the next convoy have already been lined up at Jiribum (Assam - Manipur border).

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Institution Mechanism necessary to Protect IPRs : PHD Chamber
Dec 26,2016

National Conference on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) held here under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recommended to the government that institutional mechanism is called for protection of IPRs in the absence of which remains the scope of piracy that goes on unabated.

In addition, the Conference also suggested that focus needs to be intensified for monetization of intellectual properties discovered and invented in universities and research institutions with their thick partnership with industry and industrial associations in the shape of final products with key element of innovation in it.

It was highlighted during the conference that a vast majority of academic institutions and universities do not have IPR Cell for patenting the innovations and therefore, such cells are need of hour to protect and patent the properties for their commercial launch and gains.

In his observations, Mr. Gupta emphasized that intellectual properties created by academia are pirated by vested interest and sold off less than half a price of theirs which leads to discouragement and disappointments.

Therefore, in the National IPR Policy should have regulations bend in favour of those that discover and create intellectual properties with their innovative spirits.

Dr. Chaturvedi in her presentation endorsed what Mr. Gupta advised further emphasizing closer academic and industry partnership for proper commercialization and monetization of intellectual properties.

Mr. Renaud Gaillard also stressed that the innovation happening in India and within its academics and research institutions should also be promoted with a collaborative approach between India and France.

Prof. Prabuddha Ganguli, IPR Chair, Tezpur University stressed on the role of sensitizing students in the IRP ecosystem. The pace of technology is changing the landscape of IPR in a vibrant manner, so academia and industry should create institutional linkages for the progression of IPR in India.

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SBI index crashes to all time low in December 2016
Dec 26,2016

The yearly SBI Composite Index for December 2016 crashed to all time low of 45.5 (Moderate Decline), compared to last months revised index of 50 (Low Growth). Meanwhile, the Monthly Index increased to 49.4 (Low Decline) in December 2016 from 48.3 (Low Decline) in November 2016. As per the Index, the IIP growth may continue to remain in the negative territory in December 2016.

The SBI Composite Index, a leading indicator for manufacturing activity in Indian Economy aims to foresee the periods of contraction and expansion. The Composite Index has mainly two indices namely SBI Monthly Composite Index and SBI Yearly Composite Index. A consistent negative (positive) month on month forecast in the index will lead to negative (positive) growth rate in year on year index after a while.

The impact of demonetization on different sectors of industries is largely negative in the short term. Though as the situation improves, it will help them to grow smartly in the long run. Retail sales during the month of November 2016 were down in the range of 20-40% due to currency crunch and negative sentiments on account of uncertainty post Governments monetary initiative. Even the festive season shifted early by almost a month this time, which also resulted in lower sales during November due to post-festive sluggishness.

Overall, the SBI research department feel that the effect of demonetisation is more of short term nature, say a quarter or two in most of the sectors, except real estate, jewellery, luxury goods etc., and will normalize thereafter.

Due to weak credit off-take and huge money inflows, SBI research expect a faster rate of MCLR transmission by banks in the coming days as inflation trajectory is expected to remain benign with CPI inflation at sub-4% for coming months till January 2017. Though inflation may increase thereafter (post January 2017), it may not be more than 4.5% by March 2017.

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Food Processing Sector Unlikely To Suffer Higher Taxation Even Post GST, Special Secretary, MOFPI
Dec 26,2016

Special Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Mr. J P Meena on Wednesday assured the industry that the GST regime is unlikely to adversely affect this sector with higher taxation slabs as the available indications suggests that it would continue to be taxed at existing rates even post GST.

He further stressed that the Ministry of Food Processing Industries is insisting on with the Ministry of Finance that this sector should be subjected to minimum taxation even post GST for its further growth as also to ensure that investments in it continue to be attractive so that linkages between agri-producer and manufacturers are established in a manner that lead to production of quality products with reasonable prices.

Mr. Meena also said that the government was going to put and evolve policies and schemes that would promote food processing industries so much as also to bring down agri wastages by 50% in next 5-6 years from currently estimated annual losses of Rs.1 lakh crores.

n++With the pro-active policies of the government of the day and its commitment to further improve upon them, the average level of FDIs into food processing sector in the last three years has been to an extent of $500 million per annumn++, said Mr. Meena.

According to him, the mega food parks that have been coming up across the country in 42 locations are the major source of FDIs into food processing sector in which sufficient and adequate infrastructure to set up processing units is available though government will further improve on such an infrastructure.

Mr. Meena called upon the industry to improve their quality of processing to let India excel even on exports front as the government has already asked the food regulator FSSAI to streamline its safety standards and align them with CODEX norms so that Indias quality of food processing products become unquestionable.

n++Whereas FSSAI has streamline several of its safety standards, it is also in the process of further introducing new norms so that quality products come out from food processing units that could be of global standards and also facilitate Indias exports on this frontn++, said Mr. Meena.

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India received largest FDIs from Singapore in Fiscal 2015-16: PHD Chamber & KPMG
Dec 26,2016

India received the maximum FDI inflows from Singapore in fiscal 2015-16 followed by Mauritius, USA, Netherlands and Japan, respectively US $ 13.69 billion, 8.35 billion, 4.19 billion, 2.64 billion and 2.61 billion, according to a report on Foreign Direct Investment in India jointly prepared by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and KPMG.

The report highlights the recent liberalization in FDI policies & regulations, and advocates for continued efforts by government to sustain the current momentum.

The 2 year period from October 2014 - September 2016 has recorded a 60% increase in FDI equity inflows, a notable achievement.

Emphasizing on sector specific FDI inflows, the report suggests that on an average between 2000 and 2016 approximately 40% of FDI inflows has gone into services, telecom, construction and computer software and hardware with pharmaceuticals, chemicals and automobile sectors each receiving close to 5% of the countrys total FDI inflows.

The PHD Chamber internal analysis indicates that FDIs are related to ease of doing business in India and therefore, in its federal structure, an effective project monitoring group need to be activated in all States and UTs to encourage the bureaucracy to adopt a progressive approach towards investment proposals so that India sees multiplication in them.

It is also highlighted in the report that Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh together attracted more that 70% of total FDI inflows to India in the last 15 years.

Maharashtra received FDI amounting to US$9.5 billion during April 2015 - March 2016 against US$6.36 billion in between April 2014 - March 2015. During April 2000 and September 2016, the state received cumulative FDI totaling US$92.84 billion, constituting 30% of the countrys FDI.

According to the report, Delhi received FDI inflows to the tune of US$12,743 million during April 2015 - March 2016 against US$6,875 million in April 2014 - March 2015. From April 2000 to September 2016, the state received FDI totaling US$65,652 million, constituting 21% of the countrys FDI and the second highest among states.

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DTC Bus Fare Likely To Fall Shortly: Imran Hussain
Dec 26,2016

In a bid to put a partial curb in overall pollution levels, the government of NCT of Delhi is likely to curtail existing bus fare rates under Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to maximize commuting in and around Delhi, according to the Minister of Environment & Forest, Food Supplies and Elections, Mr. Imran Hussain.

Mr. Hussain also said that the AAP Government would also intensify efforts for third party audit to combat pollution which would enhance plantation of additional trees.

According to him, n++the Delhi Government is likely to curtail the DTC bus fare shortly to encourage and motivate the commuting lot of four wheeler vehicles, beat car and any other such mode of transport to shift away to CNG buses that would be comfortable and even luxurious. This could be one measure that could contain the vehicular pollution in and around Delhin++.

The Minister, however, did not elaborate on this any further nor did he explain as to by when the bus fare would be reduced and to which extent.

Mr. Hussain also praised the initiative of the Road Transport and Highways Minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari as per which the state governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab should put in collective efforts with the Central Government to combat the menace of rising pollution on finding out solution on the issue of stubble burning in these states since it causes and contributes a great deal to pm levels in air pollution.

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Demonetization Will Lead To Wider Spread Of Technology Apps For Masses: PHD Chamber
Dec 26,2016

n++With introducing demonetization, Prime Minister Modi is emphasizing Indians to adopt technology and the products created by it particularly in Indias rural landscape for financial inclusion and banking transactions, fruits of which would be imminent shortlyn++ was the crux drawn out of a Seminar on Fin Tech Startups - Time to Unleash Potential under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Seminar objectively concluded that demonetization has also provided a unique opportunity for fin tech startups to unleash their potential to connect with rural India for financial inclusion as well as smother banking transactions.

Thirdly, it held that demonetization would amount to a major push without any fiscal incentives from the government for fin tech to sell off their products and apps to recalcitrant and disobedient user of technology with little training to rural folks to go digital with enthusiasm and happiness.

The Seminar concluded with a positive note that with a slight twist in our mindset can bring about a revolution for adoption of evolving technologies to apply their use in our day-to-day transactions on many front. It was also felt that the government needs to incentivise the fin tech startups, what it ought to do invest human resource on vigorous training to impart the knowledge to adopt and use technology.

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102 Villages Electrified Last Week; 11,429 Villages Electrified till date under DDUGJY
Dec 26,2016

102 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 19thto 25thDecember 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY). Out of these electrified villages, 17 villages belong to Assam, 9 to Bihar, 10 to Chhattisgarh, 29 to Jharkhand, 5 to Manipur, 30 to Odisha and 1 each to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In view of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modis address to nation, on Independence Day, Government of India has decided to electrify remaining 18,452 un-electrified villages within 1000 days i.e. by 01 May, 2018. The project has been taken on mission mode and strategy for electrification consists of squeezing the implementation schedule to 12 months and also dividing village electrification process in 12 Stage milestones with defined timelines for monitoring.

11,429 villages have been electrified till date. Out of remaining 7,023 villages, 698 villages are uninhabited. 3,775 villages are to be electrified through grid, 2,502 villages to be electrified through off-grid where grid solutions are out of reach due to geographical barriers and 48 villages are to be electrified by State Government.

Total 1654 villages were electrified during April 2015 to 14 August 2015 and after taking initiative by Government of India for taking it on mission mode, 9,775 additional villages have been electrified from 15thAugust 2015 to 25thDecember, 2016. In order to expedite the progress further, a close monitoring is being done through Gram Vidyut Abhiyanta (GVA) and various actions are also being taken on regular basis like reviewing the progress on monthly basis during the RPM meeting, sharing of list of villages which are at the stage of under energization with the state DISCOM, identifying the villages where milestone progress are delayed.

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Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 554 Lakh Hactare
Dec 26,2016

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 23rd December, 2016 stands at 554.91 lakh hectares as compared to 523.40 lakh hectare this time in 2015.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 278.62 lakh hectares, rice in 9.33 lakh hectares, pulses in 138.25 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 50.63 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 78.08 lakh hectares.

The area sown so far and that sown during last year this time is as follows:

Lakh hectare 

CropArea sown in 2016-17Area sown in 2015-16Wheat278.62259.37Rice9.3313.27Pulses138.25125.73Coarse Cereals50.6354.91Oilseeds78.0870.12Total554.91523.40

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CII-Triveni Water Institute inks MoU with the Water Research Center, Tel Aviv University, on Improving Indian Water Scenario across States and Regions
Dec 26,2016

CII-Triveni Water Institute, CIIs Center of Excellence on Water and the Water Research Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel, entered into Memorandum of Understanding, during the 9th India-Israel Forum. The MoU was signed by Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, and Prof Joseph Klafter, President, Tel Aviv University.

The MoU enhances cooperation of the two countries on planning, designing, and implementing new and innovative tools and technologies that improve management of water in India. It identifies opportunities and geographical areas where WRC-TAU and CII-TWI will pool expertise and derive workable, scalable solutions in the water sector in India, for the benefit of the community at large. This includes technology, management, policy reforms and advance tools and techniques.

It covers various sectors namely, irrigation, industry, domestic water use, wastewater management, municipal sewage recycle, improving water use efficiency, training and capacity building, and most importantly implementing of strategies in drought prone areas of India. CII-Triveni Water Institute and Water Research Center, TAU together will work towards improving the water scenario across several states and regions of India.

Prof Klafter, TAU, mentioned that learnings from Israel, customized and applied to water sector in India will further strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries. Political will and scientific considerations will lead to successful applications. In situ treatment technologies will also have a key role to play on a decentralized basis.

Mr Nikhil Sawhney, Member, Advisory Board, CII-Triveni Water Institute, and Managing Director, Triveni Turbine, mentioned that models of Public Private Partnerships, Awareness Generation, Policy reforms and Pricing that were applied and helped convert a desert country like Israel into Water surplus country will be further studied for adoption in India. The MoU would help advancing these.

Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said that the MoU opens doors to new state-of-the-art techniques and technologies that will be customized and implemented. He mentioned that combination of Intelligent Policy, Advanced Technology, and Stakeholder Participation will certainly bring about the much desired change in the sector. CIIs WATSCAN, Water Scanning Tool, will be used and further strengthened for selection, and implementation of Water management strategies in the country.

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Let FCI, other Govt bodies issue transferrable instruments to farmers to mitigate note ban distress: ASSOCHAM
Dec 26,2016

In order to mitigate the problems of farmers and those engaged in allied activities like poultry farming and horticulture, arising out of the demonetization, the ASSOCHAM has suggested issuance of Transferrable Receipts (TRs) by agencies like the Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and other Central and state entities against procurement of the farm produce.

n++In the first place, the government should instruct FCI and other central agencies like NAFED to procure a whole lot of farm produce and issue the farmers/growers TRs which should be then honoured at all the farm related stores. These TRs can become some kind of Paytm tools and be then aggregated by one nodal agency; preferably FCI,n++ the ASSOCHAM said.

It said with the help of the state governments, the TRs should be allowed to trade without much hassles, maybe upto a limit of Rs 50,000. Since these instruments are to be originated at the FCI level, it would be easy for the Central Government to guard against its misuse for exchange of scrapped money. In any case, most of the scrapped notes have returned into the banking system and now the problem largely relates to shortage of new currency.

n++Likewise, the TRs can also be issued by some agencies like Tea Board, Fisheries boards, Jute Boards and Rubber Boards and then some of the retail chains can be roped in for honouring the same. It would also work on the model of Sodexo lunch coupons n++, said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.

He said with most of the products being decanlised , even state owned companies like the State Trading Corporation should join the FCI in this operation, while the MMTC which had remained engaged in fertilizer imports can be useful in reaching out to farmers directly or through cooperative stores for supply of urea or other nutrients in exchange of the TRs.

n++We urge the Prime Ministers Office, the Agriculture Ministry, the Finance Ministry, Commerce Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India to work on this model in a matter of few days, along with the state agencies,n++ the chamber said.

It said some of the marginal farmers and growers of horticulture produce are facing the problem of selling their produce with the unscrupulous elements taking advantage of the situation. n++Extra ordinary situation demands extra-ordinary solutions; so this model of TRs should be tried so that the farm distress is mitigated and wide support is forthcoming for the bigger war against black money and corruptionn++, Mr Rawat said.

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I&B Ministry revises timeline for Phase III & Phase IV of Cable TV Digitization
Dec 26,2016

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is extending the cut-off date for Phase IV of Cable TV Digitization to 31 March, 2017 in lieu of uncertainty in the market due to pending court cases and unsatisfactory progress of installation of Set Top Boxes (STBs) in Phase IV areas. Digitization in rural areas was targeted to be achieved by 31st December, 2016 under Phase IV. A notification in this regard will be issued shortly.

Ministry is also providing additional time for the remaining subscribers in Phase III areas to switch over to digital mode of transmission by 31st January, 2017 on account of ongoing court proceedings.

In Phase III areas, digitization in remaining urban areas in the country was to be completed by 31st December, 2015. However, some MSO Associations/individuals had moved various High Courts and obtained either extension of cut-off date / stay on the operationalization of the Notifications of the Ministry dated 11 November 2011 and 11 November 2014. The matter when raised before the Honble Supreme Court by the Ministry, transferred all the cases to the Delhi High Court for hearing and disposal vide its order dated 01 April 2016. Honble High Court of Delhi has disposed-off most of the cases and it is very likely that the remaining cases would also be finally disposed-off in very near future.

The Ministry will be issuing instructions to all the Broadcasters, Multi System Operators (MSOs), Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and the Authorised Officers to ensure that no analog signals would be transmitted over the cable networks in Phase III areas after 31st January, 2017. It is also made clear that no further extension of time would be allowed.

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for switch-over of the existing analogue Cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) in four phases. Digital switch-over has already taken place in Phase-I and II areas.

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