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Spurt in Imported Coal Prices to Negatively Impact the Power Value Chain
Nov 07,2016

The 60% rise in imported coal prices (Richard Bay Index) between April - October 2016 is likely to negatively impact the power sector value chain, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The distribution companies (discoms), independent power producers (IPPs) with non-escalable fuel cost, merchant IPPs and ports relying on imported coal for the bulk of their volumes will face volume and profitability pressures. The increase in imported coal prices was more pronounced in October 2016, wherein prices rose by 25% to around USD85/t from USD68/t in September 2016.

Distribution Companies

Ind-Ra notes, that historically the ability of the distribution companies (discoms) to pass on fuel cost increases to the end-consumers has been limited and delayed due to the political intervention in the tariffs. The regulatory commissions can allow a pass-through of such costs, by way of power purchase and fuel cost adjustment (PPFCA), since power purchase cost is an uncontrollable expense for the discoms. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that most state regulatory commissions have not allowed for such PPFCA adjustments on an actual and timely basis, which has led to an escalation in the power purchase cost of discoms, without a commensurate increase in revenues.

Merchant IPPs

Ind-Ra expects merchant IPPs which sell power through the merchant route, to be impacted significantly since the prices on the exchanges/bilateral trades have not moved up at the same rate (2% mom), as the rise in variable cost of generation (25%) in October 2016, on account of the imported coal price increases (Figure 2). Thus leading to a significant compression in their gross margins, which have fallen to zero in October 2016 (Figure 2). Hence the viability of merchant IPPs on imported coal is doubtful in the current price scenario.

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Imports from China seen decelerating by 20% in the coming months: PHD Chamber
Nov 07,2016

Demand for Chinese products in India is decelerating month after month and imports from the country would see a major hit in the coming months finds a survey conducted by PHD Research Bureau of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Survey has been conducted in the various consumer and industry segments across the country and around 2000 responses were analysed from the consumption segment and more than 100 industry stakeholders participated in the survey study.

Demand for industrial products such as raw materials etc is declining by 10-15% and demand for consumption goods is less by 20-25% said the survey study.

Dr. Mahesh Gupta, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Indian production capabilities are incasing and becoming competitive as compared with China because of many reasons such as improvement in the ease of doing business. Also, there is a significant shift in the consumption pattern of Indian consumers from the Chinese products to domestic products.

India has been dramatically improving in all the global frontiers with its accomplishments in the Global Competiveness Index by moving 16 spots up to 39th place from 55th place earlier, Ease of Doing Business Ranking (130th) and improvements in goods market efficiency, business sophistication, and innovation which reflects there is a rising accentuation in global competitiveness of India, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta

Indias imports from China increased more than 500% from US$10bn to US$61bn during the last ten years from 2005 to 2015. Chinas share in Indias imports increased from 7% in 2005 to around 16% in 2015 said the analysis by PHD Research Bureau.

However, the trend has been reversed and growth of imports from China decelerated by 8% in the first six months of the current financial year 2016-17.

The growth of imports from China has been decelerating and is in the negative trajectory in the recent months; no enthusiasm is seen in the upcoming months too.

Despite the festive season imports from China decelerated (-) 14.5% in the month of September 2016 whereas imports from World decelerated (-) 2.5%.

Majority of the decline in imports has been witnessed in products such as ships and boats, tobacco products, aquatic products, pearls and precious stones, musical instruments and parts thereof, mineral fuels and oils, lead and articles thereof, cocoa products, and wool and products thereof, further revealed the analysis.

Analysis highlighted the pivotal role of investments for the long term sustainable goals.

FDI inflows from China to India between April 2000 and March 2015 stood at USD 288.512 billion wherein Chinas share was roughly 0.47% which rightfully indicates that China is not a significant and substantial investor in India as compared to Singapore, Mauritius and Switzerland.

As the Make in India programme is getting pace month after month, we can anticipate a significant improvement in the balance of trade with China, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta.

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SEA requests the Government to initiate Market Intervention Operation to buy groundnut shell at MSP
Nov 07,2016

This year, during the current kharif season, country will be harvesting a bumper groundnut crop of about 55.0 lakh tonnes against 32.3 lakh tonnes last year. The total production of groundnut in shell as per trade estimate would be about 70.0 lakh tonnes for the current oil year against last year 45.0 Lakh tonnes. Government has fixed Minimum Support Price for groundnut in shell at Rs.4,220 per quintal, whereas due to bumper crop, the prices has already fallen below MSP and farmers are forced to sell in distress at Rs.3,700/- to Rs.3,800/- per quintal which is likely to go down further with the full arrival pressure, discouraging and disappointing the groundnut farmers.

To support the groundnut farmers, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) has strongly requested the Government to initiate Market Intervention Operation (MIO) to buy groundnut shell at MSP and also allow immediately the export of groundnut oil in bulk to support the price level.

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Centralised registration system under GST is imperative for ease of doing business: CII President
Nov 07,2016

Model GST Law suggests multiple registrations in each State for supply of goods and services. n++This has the potential to result in huge burden of complexity as companies operate in many different States. Businesses in the services sector such as telecom, banking, insurance, airlines, e-commerce, undertake pan-India operations, meeting requirements of each State through different registrations, audits and compliances would be a massive taskn++, said Dr Naushad Forbes, President, Confederation of Indian Industry. Dr Forbes further stated that n++a centralized registration system should be instituted under GST. States could be offered credits through the Integrated GST (IGST) mechanism. Such a system would greatly simplify ease of doing business and foster better tax compliance.n++

On multiple GST rates, CII has said that GST rates structure can be absolute limit of four rates as suggested by the Government, and over time, the Government should commit to converge to one or two rates. Further, CII has said that it is also important that the bulk of goods and services should fall within the standard rate of 18% and only as exception to go to the higher rate of 28% and a lower rate for essential goods such as unprocessed food items, etc. CII agrees with the proposal that the higher rate of 28% should apply only to demerit goods and the term n++Luxuryn++ goods should not be used to define this category, stated the CII Release.

CII has further suggested that the Cess needs to be levied only at the final product and total tax including Cess on demerit goods should be kept within the present overall indirect tax incidence.

GST Law does not clarify if administration of GST for assessment and audits is to be undertaken by the Central Government or by State governments. n++It would be challenging for companies to meet the requirements of dual administration by both the Central and State governments, while maintaining consistency across different filings. Likewise, it could be an additional burden for the administration in terms of duplication and costs. There should be a single administration process, either by the Center or the State, which would be acceptable to both. This would action the intention of making India a common market with single audit and assessmentn++ said Dr Forbes. He further added that for all purposes of calculating taxes under GST, only the invoice value should be considered.

Dr Forbes further emphasized on the transition to GST issues and stated that n++transition is expected to entail a period where companies have higher inventories and it is necessary to deal with these stocks of goods in terms of applicable tax. GST Law does not clearly specify if credit is available on excise duty and central sales tax paid on inventories of domestic goods, and on countervailing duty (CVD) paid for imported goods. Clarity on this aspect needs to be providedn++, said the CII President.

Introducing a national tax reform of the magnitude that impacts every consumer and millions of producers is certainly not an easy endeavour. n++We commend the Central and State governments for strong commitment to the GST. In turn, CII pledges to partner with the government to ensure smooth, hassle-free, and efficient roll-out of the GST so that all stakeholders derive the maximum benefitn++, stated Dr Forbes.

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Improvement in Ease of Doing Business Ranking Inspiring: PHD Chamber
Nov 07,2016

While appreciating the importance in Ease of Doing Business to the rank of 130 by the World Bank, Dr. Mahesh Gupta, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that lot of things at the ground level are becoming visible and the business community is enthusiastic to enhance its growth trajectory going forward.

India is now ranked at 130th among 190 economies by the World Bank.

Implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code would improve the ranking further. It is also expected that the goods and services tax will help make significant improvement in Indias ranking next year, he said.

Going ahead, President, PHD Chamber, Dr. Mahesh Gupta suggested that the Government must focus on the reforms in labour laws and decriminalization of businesses as stringent labour laws are a major roadblock to enhance production possibility frontiers and employment generation in the economy.

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Industry Role Imperative for Smooth GST: Commissioner, Central Excise
Nov 07,2016

n++While the ultimate consumer is actually paying the tax under GST, industry is a part of the tax collection mechanism. To give way to a smooth and perfect GST, every link in the value chain and the supply chain has to work seamlessly, without any distortion,n++ said Mr Sanjiv Srivastava, Commissioner, Central Excise, CBEC, Ministry of Finance.

Mr Srivastava elaborated that a tax reform, if not properly implemented, might lead to increased litigation. Moreover, every sector of industry has different challenges and issues regarding the new regime. Making an amendment in the GST Law in India would be a difficult task since changes would be required in all State laws as well as the Central law. The Government is therefore targeting a unique tax system, which would take care of such issues without any detriment to revenue or to the industry, he stressed.

Mr Robert Tsang, Partner-Tax, India GST Implementation Leader, Deloitte, highlighted that the implementation of GST in India will be complicated. n++The devil will be in the detail,n++ said Mr Tsang, who also mentioned two fundamental international principles that will be relevant here. First, the OECD GST guidelines specify a destination principle, which signifies that a supply should be taxed wherever goods end up or services consumed.n++ Second is the principle of neutrality of the tax: n++GST should not be a cost to a business in a supply chain, only a cost to the final consumer of the good or service.n++ Mr Tsang noted, n++These two principles underline our Model GST Law too - so use them.n++

Finally, he added, n++The journey to GST is not a short one, and does not end in April next year. We should be prepared to keep sailing on the GST seas for at least the next 18 months, and be prepared for both calm waters and storms.n++

Throwing light on the industry point of view, Mr D D Goyal, Executive Vice President, Maruti Suzuki, stressed that in the wake of GST, we can expect the pain points in the present indirect taxation regime to be addressed. With one common tax rate for every state, GST is all set to make business transactions tax neutral. Mr Goyal also raised concerns arising in the GST regime such as transitional provisions, which the industry expects Government to resolve.

n++With the rates already being decided by the GST Council on 3rd November, and the vexed issues and law to be decided shortly, GST is probably all set to be implemented on 1st April 2017. GST is the most important milestone in the history of India, from an indirect tax perspective. GST is not just a tax reform, it is a complete business reform,n++ said Mr Harishanker Subramaniam, Chairman, CII Core Group on GST.

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Nearly 50% jump in demand for air purifiers in Delhi-NCR: Survey
Nov 07,2016

Air purifier market in India has seen a spike of about 50 per cent in its demand in wake of poor air quality in Delhi-NCR post-Diwali, noted a quick ASSOCHAM survey.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) conducted a survey to gauge the hike in demand for air purifying kits across 200 electronic and general stores in Delhi-NCR in past four days.

n++There has been an explosion in demand for air purifiers which has jumped nearly 50 per cent as air quality in and around Delhi has become hazardous post-Diwali festival,n++ said majority of electronic and general stores representatives selling such items.

n++The demand for air purifier in India has been growing rapidly across metros in India but as the smog problem became severe in Delhi after Diwali the demand for such kits has become really huge and is likely to grow steadily,n++ said many of the store managers.

However, many of these said that people looking to install air purifiers in their homes get disappointed owing to high costs and term it more of a luxury product. As such most of such customers are only enquiring and their number is growing by the day.

The demand is more from offices, industrial and commercial establishments, said many of these.

As per market experts, the air purifier market in India is still in nascent stage and is estimated at about Rs 250 crore but has been growing by leaps and bounds since past one year owing to rising awareness about impact of air pollution.

n++The national capital has been facing problem of haze for quite some time, pollution, allergens and firecrackers together have further caused significant deterioration in Delhis air quality,n++ said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chambers survey.

n++All these factors together with growth in infrastructure development activities, growing sales of automobiles, urabnisation and industrialisation provide a lucrative market for air purifiers to enhance overall quality of air in commercial, industrial as well as residential settings across the region,n++ said Mr Rawat.

n++Demand for air purifier installations is likely to grow exponentially as they become popular and would be installed in shopping complexes, malls, offices and homes and almost everywhere, more so as health problems like asthma and other lung related diseases are also growing rapidly,n++ he added.

n++Significant rise in per capita disposable income of consumers is also likely to drive air purifier sales,n++ further said Mr Rawat.

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India, UNISDR sign Statement of Cooperation on Sendai Framework
Nov 05,2016

India and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction signed a Statement of Cooperation during the second day of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016.

The Statement underlined the guiding principles, objectives and areas of cooperation between India and UNISDR towards the effective implementation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), which was adopted at the Third World Conference on DRR at Sendai in Japan in March, 2015.

India will partner with UNISDR to work towards strengthening the capacity of Asian countries in ensuring risk resilient development. It will also facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences, and collaborative efforts towards addressing critical regional challenges.

The cooperation aims to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework through Training and capacity building for Asian countries; promoting international and regional cooperation to reinforce political commitment, facilitate knowledge sharing and strengthen the capacity of UNISDR for monitoring and review of the Sendai Framework.

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Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution proposes exclusive zone for street vendors in each city
Nov 05,2016

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has proposed exclusive zone for street vendors in each city. The Ministry has decided to pursue the State Governments to allocate a place and to provide sanitation facility to ensure clean and hygienic food to consumers. This was announced by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution while addressing a press conference here today after the conclusion of Swachhta Pakhwada organized by his ministry during 16-31 Oct 2016. The Minister said that that one of the objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission is to create a permanent mechanism through new and innovative schemes. Shri Paswan mentioned, in pursuance of this, the Department of Consumer Affairs has decided to launch two new schemes related to Swachh Bharat Mission i.e. (i) Clean Consumer Fora and (ii) Clean Market.

The Union Minster said that under the scheme Clean Consumer Foran++ financial assistance will be provided to Consumer Fora for sanitation facility while under the n++Clean Market Schemen++ the VCOs will be associated and asked to adopt a market place where they can carry out awareness activities on Swachhta and also cleanliness of the market place in association with the market association/local authorities including provision of sanitation facilities for consumers and with exclusive sanitation facilities in each market place for street vendor. Financial assistance will be provided to VCOs

During the Swachhta Pakhwada (16-31October 2016) some of the significant activities carried out by the Department of Consumer Affairs as follows.

The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs inaugurated a Consumer Mela on 20th October, 2016, during the Swachhta Pakhwada, at Central Park, Connaught Place, New Delhi with the main objective of bringing the consumers and the companies face to face so as to resolve the grievances to the extent possible and also to make the consumers aware about their responsibility towards Swachhta. During the Consumer Mela, the Minister administered Swachhta Oath to over 2000 visitors and participants and appealed to the people to keep their surroundings clean. Nukkad Nataks on consumer awareness and Swachhta and Poster making competition by School children were also organized during the event.

Consumer Awareness Week was also launched during the Consumer Mela and observed during 20-27 October, 2016, which not only focused on the rights of the consumers but also on their responsibilities, including towards cleanliness. All State Governments and stakeholders requested to observe the Consumer Awareness Week in their respective states. Activities related to Swachhta were also carried out by the field offices/organisations of the Department.

During the Pakhwada the activities carried out by Department of Food and Public Distribution are as under:

n++ The pakhwada was started with oath of swachhta being administered in all the offices of the department and its organizations.

n++ The Minister of State, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri C.R. Chaudhary participated in the cleanliness drive organized at Ghewara Depot of FCI. Message of Swacchta was delivered by the Minister of State.

n++ During the pakhwada awareness processions were carried out and cleanliness drives in public spaces were carried out.

n++ Banners & Stickers advocating swachhta were used by all the organizations of the department to create awareness in the public

n++ Running trophy/awards instituted during the last pakhwada were continued. Cleanest sections were awarded in the department as well as FCI.

n++ Weeding out and recording of old records were carried out including review of recorded files in the record room.

Other Action Taken

n++ Rs. 200 lakhs contributed towards n++Swachh Bharat Koshn++ during 2015-16 by CWC.

n++ Rs. 133.25 lakhs contributed towards Namami Ganga by CWC.

n++ 50 Rain Water Harvesting Systems have been completed at a cost of Rs. 85.60 lakhs during 2015-16 by CWC .

n++ Letters have been issued to various sugar factory and distilleries to undertake cleanliness drive in the factory & surrounding areas.

Further Action

n++ Sanitation and water supply facilities in 51 FCI Depots will be upgraded/provided.

n++ An amount of Rs. 178 lakhs has been provisioned for n++Swachh Bharat Koshn++ during 2016-17

n++ 100 Rain Water Harvesting Systems have been planned for construction by CWC in the next two years.

n++ CWC has also planned to construct toilets blocks in ten schools.

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Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 81 Lakh Hactare
Nov 04,2016

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 4th November, 2016 stands at 81.55 lakh hectares as compared to 88.92 lakh hectare this time in 2015.

             Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 4.28 lakh hectares, rice in 9.51 lakh hectares, pulses in 24.16 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 13.84 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 29.79 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 2015-16Wheat4.282.76Rice9.516.25Pulses24.1630.07Coarse Cereals13.8429.92Oilseeds29.7919.91Total81.5888.92

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ECI launches online survey to assess level of awareness among Overseas Indian voters
Nov 04,2016

In order to assess level of awareness about the registration and voting process, ECI has initiated an online survey for Overseas Indian Citizens.

The objective of the survey is to study and determine the registration and participation rates among overseas electors. The unique survey, launched by ECI in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) will help in gathering opinions and voting preferences of Overseas Indians.

The survey shall help in not only identifying information gaps but also in finding the preferred methods of voting which can subsequently be shared with the Government and Legislators.

Apart from the survey, ECI has also launched an online competition, as a part of the initiative, to engage with the target population and seek their contribution to the cause - Every Indian Vote counts. Under the competition, participants can upload their original entries in categories like Slogans, Songs, Posters, Photographs, Essays and Short Film and Audio Visual formats. The winning entries will get round trip to India and a lifetime chance to be honoured by the Election Commission of India on National Voters Day, 25th January 2017 in New Delhi.

The survey shall run through the month of November-December 2016 while the online Competition will run through the month of November.

Dr Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner in his message to overseas Indians said n++I invite you to join this historic initiative of the Election Commission of India (ECI) for expanding the frontiers of electoral participation. In our constitutional scheme of government by the people, every voice matters, every Indian vote counts. We systematically want to address additional challenges that our overseas citizens might face for which we, in partnership with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, are conducting an online survey to first understand these challenges so as to design our interventions accordingly. We invite you to enrich the process of our communication with the overseas citizens of this country. We would be delighted to feature your ideas in our Overseas Voters Campaign. We believe that the citizens must create a dialogue of their own to foster a vibrant democracy. Thus, join us in ensuring that n++No Voter is left behind. Let your voice be heard; express your creativity, share your dreams with fellow citizens and learn more.n++

BACKGROUND

The provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 was amended w.e.f. 10.02.2011 to make special provisions for citizens of India residing outside the country to get enrolled as an elector in the constituency in which his/her place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located.

Despite there being 11.4 million non-resident Indians across the world, at present only around 16000 of them are registered on the electoral roll as Overseas Indian electors. Election Commission of India is now taking up steps to reach out to the overseas Indians so that they get enrolled and also vote in elections in their respective constituencies.

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Surge in Global Yields to Keep Indian Bond Markets Circumspect
Nov 04,2016

Emerging global risks will keep the domestic debt markets on the defensive and limit gains, given that Indian corporate bond spreads have already narrowed to near a one year low, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The agency believes that an uptick in global yields and several upcoming high-impact events globally will limit the softening of domestic bond yields and keep the rupee volatile. Indian corporate bonds are in a sweet spot presently (generic one-year bond spread over Government securities (G-sec) averaged at 37bp in October 2016, while five-year spread averaged 39bp* -lowest in 2016)- limiting the scope for incremental outperformance from hereon. The focus for the Indian DebtFX markets will shift from the Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) accommodative monetary policy to two major drivers: (1) global developments and consequent risk appetite (2) incremental G-sec purchases through open market operations (OMOs).

Surge in Global Yields Signals Caution, Rupee to be Conduit of Transmission

The scope for G-sec yields to soften incrementally is limited, as globally government bond yields inch higher. The narrow spread between G-sec and developed market yields will keep the domestic debt market circumspect, as globally, economies brace for a potential reversal in yields from the June 2016 lows. Central banks of major developed economies expanded their monetary policies, as the countries battle deflationary pressures amid the fragile growth outlook. The low-rates phenomena pushed global bond yields to multi-year lows in June 2016. However, as central banks are left with fewer policy tools, the need for fiscal support has resurfaced. This has unsettled global bond investors - leading to a sharp surge in government bond yields.

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Gartners 2016 Hype Cycle for ICT in India Reveals the Technologies that are Most Relevant to Digital Business in India
Nov 04,2016

The technology lag that once existed between India and other major technology markets continues to narrow, according to Gartner, Inc. The Gartner Hype Cycle for ICT in India, 2016 shows that more local vendors are entering both emerging and mature technology segments in India, including areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and software as a service (SaaS).

When comparing the technology entries for India and the rest of the world, we noticed that the overall technology lag - that is, global traction versus India traction - is gradually closing. India has evolved from an ICT environment that was about 18 months to two years behind global trends at the start of the decade, to one in which most trends are in sync with global trends, said Santhosh Rao, principal research analyst at Gartner. Its clear that many of the technologies on the 2016 Hype Cycle for ICT in India also appear in the global ICT Hype Cycle.

The Hype Cycle for ICT in India, 2016 identifies 25 key technologies at various states of maturity that are most relevant for information technology in India and positions them on the Gartner Hype Cycle. This provides a snapshot of technologies that CIOs and senior IT leaders in Indian enterprises should consider when transitioning to digital businesses.

Beginning its ascent of this years Innovation Trigger is DevOps. The rise of digital business is driving increased awareness among Indian infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams about DevOps which focuses on rapid IT service delivery. The fundamental principles of DevOps aim to build an agile and flexible bridge between the development and operations functions of IT. These principles encourage a culture of innovation, small and quick releases, failing fast and inexpensively, learning from failures and supporting systems of innovation in a pace-layered approach.

Just ahead of DevOps on the Innovation Trigger is Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing in India today manifests itself in four areas: crowdsourced communities for application development services; innovation platforms; hackathons and initiatives by local and central government. Crowdsourcing offers the potential to open up innovation efforts by stimulating and capturing creative ideas from outside an organization. This approach can dramatically increase the available human insight that can be applied to a task or challenge. Government organizations are particularly well-positioned to take advantage of the willingness of citizens to help in areas that reflect their local environments or special interests.

Poised just past the peak of this years Peak of Inflated Expectations, heading for the Trough of Disillusionment, is the IoT. The IoT can benefit Indian enterprises in multiple ways, but for successful IoT implementation, Indian organizations will first have to understand the business use case for which they want to use IoT. Success will also depend on aligning the IT and operation technology (OT) resources, processes and people carefully. Therefore, experimenting with pilot projects to understand the implications on people, process, technology and the business is an essential first step for Indian organizations.

The Indian economy is in good shape, and government initiatives such as Make in India and Digital India, are positive measures that are driving investment in India by multinational companies, said Pankaj Prasad, principal research analyst at Gartner. The computer software and hardware segments had a foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow of $5.9 billion during the period from April 2015 to March 2016. This is an increase of nearly 150 percent compared with the same period last year, and Gartner expects these investments to gather further momentum toward the end of 2016.

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ASSOCHAM urges for setting up road transport regulatory authority
Nov 04,2016

Apex industry body ASSOCHAM has mooted a proposal to the Union Government to constitute an appropriate authority either at the Central or state level to fix the ceiling on road freight rates and breaking local monopolies.

n++Transporters charge exorbitant rates for movement of iron ore and other raw materials from mines and ports to steel plants, besides they also prevent free competition through their dominating presence in local areas,n++ said ASSOCHAM highlighting the double whammy being faced by the domestic steel sector.

ASSOCHAM also submitted various suggestions to the Union Steel Ministry to bring back Indias steel sector on growth trajectory.

n++There is an urgent need to withdraw import duty of five per cent imposed upon metallurgical coke and coking coal to restore competitiveness of the domestic steel industry,n++ ASSOCHAM highlighted in a paper submitted to the Union Steel Ministry highlighting various issues that are restricting growth of the sector.

It also urged the Steel Ministry to bring down rate of royalty on iron ore to reduce the cost of raw materials for steel plants.

n++About 15 per cent royalty rate on iron ore together with district mineral foundation (DMF) at 30 per cent translates into royalty burden on end user of 19.5 per cent of iron ore cost,n++ it noted.

The apex chamber requested to reduce the DMF rate for new mines from 10 per cent for captive consumption of iron ore.

Considering that higher transport costs result in higher costs of production of steel in India, there is an urgent need to bring down freight tariff rates by up to 25 per cent across all raw material and steel products to gain competitive edge.

It is also imperative to prevent import of cheap steel in India through a combination of minimum import price (MIP) and import duties/safeguard duties on a sustained basis.

ASSOCHAM has also suggested that inclusion of pig iron, sponge iron and billets in the list of products covered under MIP since protection for upstream primary reduction of iron is equally vital.

Further, banks should extend working capital loans to steel companies on a priority basis, especially those which have not defaulted on interest payment, while structural problems relating to high debts of various steel companies would take time to resolve.

There is also a need to create a special funding mechanism for providing capital for brown-field expansion of capacities at the existing steel mills, more so as commercial viability of brown field expansion of steel plants is significantly higher than greenfield plants.

Sharing certain budget proposals, ASSOCHAM has reiterated its demand to accord strategic industry status to steel sector. Besides it also suggested to bring import duty on coking coal and metallurgical coke down to zero.

A comprehensive package for steel sector should be unveiled encompassing special financing arm for providing capital for expansion of capacities, easy extension of working capital loans, long-term policy on freight tariffs and augmenting transportation infrastructure capacity to meet needs of steel production.

Besides it should also include total revamp of process for grant of statutory approvals for mines and steel plants, long-term policy to prevent cheap imports of steel products and security of raw materials.

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Launch of web based system for submission of documents for release of grant-in-aid under Scheme for Integrated Cold Chain
Nov 04,2016

Food Processing Industries Minister Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal while addressing a press conference on the activities undertaken during the Swachchhta Pakhwada said that time has come to show by act and not only by words that cleanliness is next to godliness. Highlighting the objective of n++Swachchh Bharat Missionn++, the vision of Honble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi to make India clean by the year 2019; the year when we celebrate Gandhijis 150th birth anniversary, Honble Minister said that the goal of n++Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharatn++ can not be achieved without ensuring total cleanliness of our offices, schools, colleges, villages, cities, rivers etc. She also exhorted everyone to contribute in achieving this goal. Smt. Badal further said that we are integrating swachchhata into our schemes and promoting the concept of swachchh abattoir in Shimla, which will be implemented in other projects in the coming time.

As a part of the Governments initiative to observe Swachchhta Pakhwada during 16-31 October, 2016, Ministry of Food Processing Industries also organized various special events during the Pakhwada through active involvement of the officials and other stakeholders of the ministry. A special Swachchhta Pledge taking event, Essay & Debate Competitions for employees of MoFPI and Special drive for weeding out of old files/papers as per the Government norms was organized by the ministry. In a meeting held in Panchsheel Bhawan that houses the ministry, Secretary, FPI, Shri Avinash Srivastava sensitized the promoters of Cold Chain Projects on the importance of Swachchhta and hygiene in their project area. NIFTEM, a deemed university under MoFPI, organized events like street vendors sensitization camps, cleanliness and hygiene drive in campus, hostel and a swachchhta awareness rally. IICPT at Thanjavur, another institution under the ministry, observed Swachchhta Pakhwada through cleanliness drive, beautification and tree planting activities within the campus and organized activities like Essay Competition, Workshops, Food Safety awareness camp for street vendors, skits etc., for highlighting benefits of swachchhta. Industry bodies like CII, PHD Chamber of Commerce and ASSOCHAM organised several programmes and workshops to create awareness on good hygiene practices.

The Minister also launched web based system for submission of documents for release of grant-in-aid under Scheme for Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure. Launching the software, the minister said that this robust e- Governance tool for online filing of claim for release of grant to a project this is an important initiative towards n++Digital Indian++ campaign. Smt. Badal said that it will help in effective monitoring of progress of the project and also ensure transparency in disbursal of funds to implementing agencies alongwith reduction of supporting documents, paper-work. Earlier, in June, 2016, similar software was launched for the Mega Food Park Scheme. Based on the experience gained, the software has been upgraded and now launched for the Cold Chain scheme also. It is an investor friendly initiative taken by the ministry. The minister also launched the new look website of the Ministry.

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