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Enough funds for road building, orders worth Rs 5 lakh crore signed: Gadkari
Feb 13,2017

With the National Highway Authority of India having received a mandate from the Budget to raise Rs 70,000 crore through infrastructure bonds and easy availability of low cost overseas loans for the AAA rated NHAI, the governments road and highway building programme has enough cash to build the crucial infrastructure, Road Transport, Highway and Shipping Minister Mr Nitin Gadkari has said.

n++We have signed the contracts worth Rs five lakh crore for infrastructure, roads, ports. It is a very remarkable contribution from our investorsn++we do not have any problem, we are receiving public, private investment, we are receiving good response for the Public-Private Partnership, Build-Operate-Transfer and hybrid annuity (models)n++, Mr Gadkari said.

He said as many as 101 projects are ready for take off and funding the same would not be a problem. n++For NHAI, triple AAA rating is there. We already have permission from the Finance Minister for raising Rs 70,000 crore infrastructure bondsn++My toll income is Rs 10,000 crore per year. So, I can monetize for 15 years (and) I get Rs 2 lakh crore . There are 101 projects which are ready with where I am going to monetize and I will get Rs 1.25 lakh crore.. so money is not the problemn++, the senior Minister said.

Sharing a similar optimism for the port sector, Mr Gadkari said n++n++we are getting 3000 crore in dollar loans with 2.25 pc interest and we can raise Rs 50,000 crore without hedge with two per cent interestn++.

He made these optimistic observations in response to a question by ASSOCHAM. TV as how realistic the plans for the entire transport sector were when the private sector in particular, was facing a severe financial stress. The balance sheet stress is visible across different large contract firms in sectors such as roads, highways, ports ad, airports.

Mr Gadkari said his ministry was working on a number of waterway projects for improving the inland connectivity within big metros like Mumbai and for inter-city connectivity. During his recent visit to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum annual meeting, the minister said, he received a good response from the global investors for an array of infrastructure projects including water sports and skiing.

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Centre cautions Chief Ministers of vacuum if Real Estate Act timelines not met by April 30
Feb 13,2017

With buyers entitled to seek relief under the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act,2016 with effect from the first of May this year, the central government has cautioned the States of a serious situation of vacuum arising if necessary institutional mechanisms, as required under the Act were not put in place before that.

In the context of only four States and six Union Territories so far notifying the final Real Estate Rules and complaints of violation of some of the provisions of the Act by some States, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu last week urged the Chief Ministers to take personal interest in ensuring implementation of the Act in letter and spirit. In a letter dated February 9, 2017, to all the Chief Ministers of States, he stressed that n++Real Estate Act is one of the most important reforms for the sector, which would bring benefits to all stakeholders. It is therefore, my sincere request to please bestow your personal attention to this matter so that the Act is implemented in time and in the spirit with which it was passed by the Parliamentn++.

Shri Naidu also cautioned the Chief Ministers stating n++Appropriate Governments are required to establish the Real Estate Regulatory Authorities and the Appellate Tribunals, maximum by 30th April, 2017. The timelines are important as the Act would commence its full operation from 1st May, 2017and in the absence of Rules and Regulatory Authority and Appellate Tribunal, the implementation of the Act would be affected in your State, leading to a vacuum in the sectorn++.

The Minister in his two page letter to the Chief Ministers said that the Real Estate Act, 2016 was one of the most consumer friendly laws passed by the Parliament and its timely implementation is the responsibility of both the Central and State Governments and this would not only provide the much needed consumer protection, but would also give a fillip to the sector, benefitting all the stakeholders.

Ministry of HUPA had organized a consultative workshop with all the States/UTs on the 17th of last month to review the progress made by them and apprise them of their responsibilities under the Act and the timelines to be met to enable the consumers take benefits of the Act from the first of May this year and the need to ensure that the Rules were not in variance with the spirit of the Act.

Over 60 Sections of the Act were notified by the Ministry of HUPA on May 1st last year, including Section 84 under which States were required to notify Real Estate Rules by October 31st last year thereby setting the ground for implementation of the Act.

So far, Rules have been notified by only four States and for six Union Territories. Ministry of HUPA, mandated with the responsibility of making Rules for UTs without legislatures has done so for Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep while the Ministry of Urban Development has done so for Delhi. A few other States have been reported to have notified only Draft Rules seeking views and suggestions from stakeholders.

States that have notified final Rules are: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. The Ministry has received some complaints of violations of some of the provisions of the Act by some of these States resulting in dilution of the spirit of the Act. The Ministry has referred the complaints to the Committee on Subordinate Legislation of Rajya Sabha. In this back drop, Shri Venkaiah Naidu urged the Chief Ministers to ensure compliance with the Act, as passed by the Parliament. From May 1st this year, under the provisions of the Act, both buyers and developers of real estate property can approach Real Estate Regulatory Authorities seeking relief against the other for violation of the contractual obligations and other provisions of the Act. For this to happen, Real Estate Rules including the General Rules and the Agreement for Sale Rules, Real Estate Authorities and Appellate Tribunals were required to be in place and in a position to start functioning.

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Industrial production declines 0.4% in December 2016
Feb 10,2017

Indias industrial production declined 0.4% in December 2016 over December 2015, snapping strong 5.7% growth recorded in November 2016. The manufacturing sectors production declined 2.0% in December 2016 contributing to the overall decline in industrial production. However, the mining output increased 5.2%, while the electricity generation also moved up 6.3% in December 2016.

In terms of industries, seventeen out of the twenty two industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown negative growth during the month of December 2016 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

The industrial production rose 0.3% in April-December 2016, compared with 4.2% growth in the corresponding period last year. The manufactured product sector output declined 0.5%, while the mining and electricity generation improved 0.9% and 5.1% in April-December 2016.

As per the use-based classification, the basic goods output improved 5.4% in December 2016 over a year ago, but the output of intermediate goods declined 1.2%. The consumer goods output dipped 6.9%, while the output of capital goods also fell 3% in December 2016. Within consumer goods, the production of consumer durables plunged 10.3%, while that of consumer non-durables also slipped 5% in December 2016.

The IIP growth in November 2016 has been retained nearly unchanged at 5.7% in the first revision compared with the figure reported provisionally. Meanwhile, the growth in September 2016 has been also maintained unchanged at 0.7% at the final revision from first revision as well as its provisional figure.

The industry group Office, accounting and computing machinery has shown the highest negative growth of (-) 23.9% followed by (-) 22.9% in Other transport equipment and (-) 14.4% in Luggage, handbags, saddlery, harness & footwear; tanning and dressing of leather products.

On the other hand, the industry group Basic metals has shown the highest positive growth of 11.1% followed by 9.8% in Radio, TV and communication equipment & apparatus and 3.0% in Coke, refined petroleum products and nuclear fuel.

Some important items that have registered high negative growth include Woollen Carpets (-) 51.3%), Three-Wheelers (including passenger and goods carrier) (-) 43.3%, Ayurvedic Medicaments (-) 39.6%, Molasses (-) 37.9%, Rice (-) 32.8%, Propylene (-) 28.5%, Scooter and Mopeds (-) 26.3%, Transformers (small) (-) 26.1%, Air Conditioner (Room) (-) 25.7%, Motor Cycles (-) 24.6%, Leather Garments (-) 23.2%, Conductor, Aluminium (-) 21.1% and Pressure cooker (-) 20.4%.

Some important items showing high positive growth during the current month over the same month in previous year include Fruit Pulp 120.1%, Electric sheets 99.9%, Cable, Rubber Insulated 55.5%, HR Coils/ Skelp 50.4%, Vitamins 37.4%, Aviation Turbine Fuel 32.7%, Ship Building and Repairs 31.2%, Sponge iron 28.9%, Plates 22.3% and Tractors complete 21.4%.

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Non-expansionary Budget, Unlikely to Catalyse Investment Demand in FY18
Feb 10,2017

Despite fiscal deficit pegged at 3.2% of GDP, a deviation from the target of 3% set out in the Medium Term Fiscal Policy of FY17, Ind-Ra opines that the Union Budget FY18 is non-expansionary. In fact, the total expenditure to GDP ratio at 12.7% for FY18 is lower than 13.4% for FY17 revised estimate (RE).

As the capital expenditure has remained at about 1.8% of GDP in both FY18 and FY17RE, lowering of total expenditure has been on account of compression in revenue expenditure. Revenue expenditure to GDP ratio, therefore, declined to 10.9% in FY18 as compared to 11.5% in FY17RE. This has also led to improvement in the quality of deficit which is measured as percentage of revenue deficit in fiscal deficit. Although the quality of fiscal deficit is still nowhere close to the levels attained before the global financial crisis, it has been estimated at 58.8% for FY18, down from 81.0% in FY10.

Ind-Ra, however, believes the target for debt sustainability should be primary deficit and not fiscal deficit. From the point of view of debt sustainability two items that are critical are - (i) primary deficit (fiscal deficit net of interest payment) and (ii) rate spread (difference between the nominal growth of the economy and average interest rate on debt stock). Since FY11, rate spreads have reduced and primary deficit has increased leading to escalation in debt to GDP ratio. Reduction in primary deficit with some support from a stable rate spread can help India achieve general government debt to GDP ratio of 60% over the next three years as recommended by the N. K. Singh Committee.

Although the net tax/GDP ratio in FY17 improved to 7.2% from 6.9% in FY16 and is budgeted to increase to 7.3% in FY18, it is still nowhere close to the pre-global financial crisis level of 8.8%.

The budgeted growth in excise duty and service tax collection for FY18 appears to be conservative. Ind-Ra believes this has been done to keep the headroom available to offset the shortfall, if any, arising out of other tax/non tax heads such as disinvestment and still meet the fiscal deficit target.

Despite budgeted 10.7% growth in governments capital expenditure in FY18, Ind-Ra feels investment demand will remain muted as the government capex share in total investment is just about 5%.

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Large Corporates Pull Through from Cash Shortage, Demonetisation Impact Credit Neutral
Feb 10,2017

The impact of demonetisation on the credit profile of large corporates (revenue over INR2.5 billion) is neutral, with no major rating changes envisaged due to its after-effects, says India Ratings and Research (India Ratings). Based on a sensitivity analysis of all corporates in our portfolio India Ratings believes large corporates have sufficient liquidity buffers to meet debt servicing obligations.

The immediate impact of demonetisation on revenues of large corporates in 3QFY17 ranges from nil for the export-oriented sectors namely IT/ITeS, to a significant impact on the auto, real estate, gems and jewellery sectors, with a gradual recovery expected as cash availability improves in 4QFY17. Despite the cash shortage hurting some sectors significantly in 3QFY17, the impact on their credit profile is cushioned by the availability of sufficient liquidity (in the form of cash & equivalents or unutilised working capital limits) to meet the debt servicing obligations. India Ratings believes large corporates also have sufficient rating headroom to absorb the transitory impact on revenue, profitability and working capital.

The impact of demonetisation has been varied, depending on the extent and nature of cash usage within an industry. The revenue of sectors which are predominantly digital due to their focus on exports or business to business sales (for instance, IT/ITeS) is not impacted by the tight liquidity conditions. However sectors which are predominantly digital may also face temporary disruption due to of their employee payments, for instance, construction or supply chain payments historically which were done in cash.

Sectors which rely on consumer spending saw a fall in sales during the cash shortage period, with eventual recovery once normalisation of cash availability is achieved. The extent of impact would depend on the level of discretion involved in spending (impact on hospitals is lower compared to auto or luxury retail) and the proportion of transactions in cash.

A couple of sectors wherein the nature of cash usage is often considered dubious (such as real estate, gems and jewellery) faced a significant fall in sales during the cash shortage period, with a lasting impact on the sector and the sector adapting to a new normal, especially in the unorganised segment. Organised players and large corporates in such sectors will benefit in the long-run.

The sectors which are ancillary to the impacted sectors such as auto components, cement, steel or other metals will also see the ripple effects of demonetisation.

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Tax Collection Figures up to January 2017 show consistent trend of healthy growth
Feb 10,2017

The Tax Collection figures up to January 2017 show consistent trend of healthy growth. Following are the details of the Direct and Indirect Tax Collections for the month of January 2017 and upto the month of January 2017 and they show a positive growth.

Indirect Taxes

During January 2017, the Net Indirect Tax grew at the rate of 16.9% compared to corresponding month last year. The growth rate in net collection for Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax was 10.1%, 26.3% and 9.4% respectively during the month of January 2017, compared to the corresponding month last year.

The figures for indirect tax collections (Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs) up to January 2017 show that net revenue collections are at Rs 7.03 lakh crore, which is 23.9% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year. Till January 2017, about 82.8% of the Revised Estimates (RE) of indirect taxes for Financial Year 2016-17 has been achieved.

As regards Central Excise, net tax collections stood at Rs. 3.13 lakh crore during April-January, 2016-17 as compared to Rs.2.23 lakh crore during the corresponding period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 40.5%.

Net Tax collections on account of Service Tax during April-January, 2016-17 stood at Rs. 2.03 lakh crore as compared to Rs.1.66 lakh crore during the corresponding period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 22.0%.

Net Tax collections on account of Customs during April-January 2016-17 stood at Rs. 1.86 lakh crore as compared to Rs. 1.77 lakh crore during the same period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 4.7%.

Direct Taxes

The figures for Direct Tax collections up to January, 2017 show that net collections are at Rs. 5.82 lakh crore which is 10.79% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year. This collection is 68.7% of the total Budget Estimates of Direct Taxes for F.Y. 2016-17.

As regards the growth rates for Corporate Income Tax (CIT) and Personal Income Tax (PIT), in terms of gross revenue collections, the growth rate under CIT is 11.7% while that under PIT (including STT) is 21.0%. However, after adjusting for refunds, the net growth in CIT collections is 2.9% while that in PIT collections is 23.1%. Refunds amounting to Rs.1.41 lakh crore have been issued during April 2016-January 2017, which is 41.0% higher than the refunds issued during the corresponding period last year.

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Industry Seeks WTO DG Support for Advancing Trade Facilitation in Services
Feb 10,2017

n++Indias proposal on Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS), currently tabled at the WTO, is a welcome initiative as services are an essential tool for trade. There is a growing appetite amongst members to advance the TFS agenda and efforts need to be made to engage other members on these issuesn++, said Mr. Roberto Azevedo, DG WTO. n++There are number of ideas being discussed for easing flow of trade such as: movement of persons, cross-border information flows and development and technical assistancen++, he further added.

n++We must embrace and adapt to new realities,n++ he said, pointing out the need to make trade better rather than limiting it. He emphasized the importance of involving MSMEs in global trading networks to bridge gaps and inequities currently persisting in the global trading environment.

The Ambassador noted with regret the slowdown experienced by global trade growth, 1.7% in 2016, which is at its lowest since the 2008 financial crisis. He also mentioned the negative reaction of the global community with more inward looking policies, which he views as a setback for global trade. However, he noted the positive outlook for Indian trade due to various tax and fiscal reforms that the current government has undertaken.

The panel also consisted of Mr. Anup Wadhawan, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, who reiterated the Indian governments position to maintain the principle of special and differentiated treatment. He reiterated the need to maintain the multilateral trading arrangement which the WTO is also committed to.

Representing Indian industry, the CII President, Dr. Naushad Forbes, echoed the importance of free trade and the central role WTO plays in it. Multilateral negotiations are necessary for this. There is a need to ensure that firms have equal access to all countries for trade. For this, it is imperative that countries understand clearly the concept of Most Favored Nations (MFN) which embodies this principle in the GATT/WTO.

Industry members raised serious concerns about de-globalization and growing clamor for protectionism, particularly in US. Reinvigorating global trade by clearing misconceptions about the impact of trade on employment and the need for multilateralism were key to addressing this very concern.

Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, the Director General CII, who moderated this session, mentioned the need for the WTO to take the lead in an uncertain global trading environment. There are high hopes from the 11th Ministerial of the WTO which is to take place in Buenos Aires, scheduled towards the end of 2017.

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No decision taken on bank transaction tax; govt. examining recommendations received from Chief Ministers panel: Shaktikanta Das
Feb 10,2017

The government has not taken any decision with regard to the tax on bank transactions, though it has received a set of recommendations from the Committee of Chief Ministers, Economic Affairs secretary, Mr Shaktikanta Das said.

n++The government is carefully examining the report, no decision has been taken so far, as and when a decision is taken, naturally government will give it out,n++ said Mr Das.

Highlighting Indias strong fiscal foundation, he said, n++Fiscal deficit has gradually been brought down, it is necessary to find the right balance between requirements of public expenditure and fiscal consolidation by targeting those sectors of economy where you need to spend more.n++

He said that the government has certain fiscal constraints and it will be difficult for the government to reduce corporate tax rates to 25 per cent overnight because fiscal cost will be very high and government will not be able to do justice to various other sectors of the economy - agriculture, rural infrastructure and other areas.

Talking about Indias growth prospective, Mr Das said though the world scenario overall remains uncertain, the outlook for Indias growth is very positive.

n++We would expect the growth to be upwards of seven per cent on the back of various policy measures taken by the government both before and during the budget and which the government will continue to take in the coming months,n++ said the Economic Affairs secretary.

n++Our growth is premised on creating more job opportunities through increased infrastructure spending by carrying out reforms and new policy initiatives in sectors like - textiles, leather, footwear and other similar sectors by taking tax reform measures, by continuing with the policy of reforms,n++ he added.

With regards to taxation, he said that the government is very much committed to ensure that tax administration is taxpayer friendly. n++Emphasis of the government is on honouring the honest. The Revenue Department, CBEC (Central Board of Excise and Customs) and CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) are taking number of steps to ensure that there is no misuse of power, the annual performance reports of officers in the tax departments together with orders passed by officers of income tax are also being gone through by senior level officers.n++

He also said that private sector should also take stringent steps in this regard. n++While from the government side, we are taking steps, I think from the private sector and industry side we would encourage similar steps to be taken as the tax administration at the highest level, in the ministry is working towards bringing about greater accountability, transparency.n++

Highlighting the strong and robust reforms undertaken by the government on tax side, he said that the reform agenda of the government will continue as spelt out by the finance minister in this years budget.

On the issue of transfer of technology, Mr Das said that India has to use its markets and low-cost manufacturing capabilities to ensure that there is domestic manufacturing. n++We have to spend more on research and developing own technological capabilities.n++

In her address at the ASSOCHAM event, Union Textile Minister, Ms Smriti Irani said stressed upon the need for systematic reforms as the challenges faced by India over 70 years ago still stand.

n++Industry cannot grow at the cost of labour rights, as such the government has also ensured of safeguarding labours interest, besides state levies will be refunded to industry to fuel growth and create job opportunities,n++ said Ms Irani.

n++This government understands the need for entrepreneurship even of the not financially stable section of the society,n++ she said.

She added that another example set by this government is the declaration of rail and general budget together for the first time ever.

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Two key labour reform bills to come up in Parliament: Labour Minister
Feb 10,2017

As a part of Labour reforms, The Government would introduce two important bills relating to wages and industrial relations in Parliament in March for simplification and rationalisation of the Labour Laws, Labour Minister Mr.Bandaru Dattatreya said.

n++Next week at the inter-ministerial meeting under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitely, we will take the final decision and after that we will go to the Cabinet. In the March (leg of Budget Session) both the bills would be introduced and I am hopeful it would be passedn++, Mr.Dattatreya said. He said all 43 Labour Laws would be codified into four broad categories.

The Labour Minster said the Central Board of Trustees would consider the proposal to increase the EPFO portfolio in the share market from existing 10 % to 15% from the total corpus. At present as much as Rs. 17000 crore from the EPFO corpus of Rs. 8.70 Lakh crore has already been invested in the stock market.

The minister said the returns on EPFO investment into equities amounted to 8.7-9% annually.

Mr.Dattatreya said with the codification of Labour Laws the industry would see an end to the red tape and inspector Raj while the welfare of the workers would also be ensured.

In response to queries from the ASSOCHAM members, the minister said the minimum wages of skilled and unskilled workers have been fixed keeping in view the rising cost of living.

He also listed initiatives for women work force for whom the maternity leave is being extended from 12 to 23 weeks. The bonus limit for workers has also been increased along with the health benefits being extended by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

In his remarks ASSOCHAM President Mr. Sunil Kanoria said that a fine balance was required between welfare of the workforce and industrial productivity. He complimented the government for taking a number of steps in this direction.

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Rs 133.90 Crore Spent By All Major Ports Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Feb 10,2017

Under the Green Port Initiative, the Ministry has identified 12 activities to make the Major Ports more clean and green from the environment perspective. These initiatives include preparation of Environment Management & Monitoring Plan (EMMP), provision of equipment to monitor environmental pollution, acquiring dust suppression system, setting up of sewage and waste water treatment plants and garbage disposal plants, setting up projects for energy generation from renewable energy sources, make up any shortfall of Tier-I Oil Spill Response facilities, control of sea garbage, improve quality of harbor waters etc. Major ports have taken up preparation of EMMP, acquisition of equipment required for monitoring of environmental pollution including monitoring of Air water and Noise quality, Tree Plantation drives, Rainwater harvesting, Beautification of Parks, Installation of Mechanical Dust Suppression System (MDSS), improved collection and disposal of sludge from the ships and Ballast Water Management, procurement of Fog Cannons, Mist Machines and mechanised road sweeping machines, promoted usage of Bio-Diesel, set up Bio-Gas plants and sewage/waste water treatment plants/garbage disposal plants; solar and wind power plants. A total amount of Rs.133.90 Crore has been incurred by all Major Ports for executing such projects during 2014 - 2016. Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 22 action points have been taken up by all the Major Ports to maintain cleanliness at the Major Ports.

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India-UK Deal to Allow More Flights to Boost Tourism and Trade for Global India & Britain
Feb 10,2017

India and the UK signed a MoU to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries, following successful talks in India this week. Limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata have been scrapped, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers while providing a boost to trade and tourism for the UK and India. Building new links with important trading partners is a key part of the governments plans for a Global Britain, opening up new export markets and creating jobs and economic growth. The agreement also opened all destinations in the UK for Indian carriers for code share flights, and reciprocally the UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any International Airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.

The agreement was formally signed by Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on behalf of India and Lord Ahmad of U.K. during a visit to India where he led a delegation of British companies for the 2017 CAPA India Aviation Summit.

Indian Civil Aviation Minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, said n++The increase in number of flights between the UK and India is encouraging news for our businesses and tourists. We already enjoy strong ties with the UK and we welcome such continued association which in the long run will not only encourage business activity, but also people-to-people contact. I am sure that this agreement will bring direct and indirect benefits to many sectors of the economies of our two countriesn++.

Tourism from India makes an important contribution to the UK economy. In 2015, there were 422,000 visits from India to the UK, bringing more than n++433 million to the economy.

Aviation Minister of U.K., Lord Ahmad said: n++India is one of our closest allies and key trading partners and this new agreement will only serve to strengthen this crucial relationship. We are unlocking new trade and tourism opportunities which will boost our economies, create new jobs and open up new business links. This is great news for both the UK and India and is yet another sign that we are open for business and ready to build and strengthen our trade links.n++

India is a rapidly expanding and important market for aviation and the agreement signed today will allow airlines to develop new services and air routes. The final decision on additional flights between the UK and India is a commercial one for airlines.

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E-Bidding Process To Select Operator Started for UDAN Scheme
Feb 09,2017

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN on 21st October, 2016. The e-bidding process has already been started to select airline operator for mounting RCS operations. A Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) has been created to provide Viability Gap Funding (VGF) by the Government of India. The Central Government has imposed levy on some category of the scheduled domestic flights being operated in India to fund the RCF. No funds have been released to airline operator under the Scheme. Slot allocation is done as per Slot Allocation Policy.

The Airfare cap under RCS-UDAN for fixed wing aircraft ranges from Rs. 1420/- for 151 kilometers to Rs. 3500/- for >800 kilometers. MoCA has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on RCS-UDAN with 16 State Governments / UTs to provide concessions as mentioned in the Scheme. The bidding process has already been started to select airline operators for RCS operations. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) for Scheduled Commuter Operations.

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Beneficiaries under NFSA not yet enrolled for Aadhaar, require to make application for Aadhaar enrolment by 30 June 2017
Feb 09,2017

The use of Aadhaar as identity document for delivery of services or benefits or subsidies simplifies the Government delivery processes, brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly in a convenient and seamless manner and Aadhaar obviates the need for producing multiple documents to prove ones identity. Aadhaar Act interalia provides that the Central/State Govt while making expenditure from Consolidated fund of India for any subsidy, may require such individual to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo authentication.

Since, subsidized foodgrains under PDS and Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA etc. involves recurring expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, the Ministry Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has issued a Notification under Aadhaar Act on 8-2-2017 which requires individual beneficiaries having Ration Cards under NFSA to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication to receive subsidies under NFSA [ i.e. subsidised food grains or Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA]. This condition will also be applicable for all the new beneficiaries. This notification shall come into effect from 08-2-2017 in all States and Union Territories except the States of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.

Beneficiaries under NFSA who do not possess the Aadhaar Number or are not yet enrolled for Aadhaar, but are desirous of availing subsidies under NFSA are required to make application for Aadhaar enrolment by 30 June, 2017 and may visit any Aadhaar enrolment centre (list available at www.uidai.gov.in) to get enrolled for Aadhaar.

Till the Aadhaar is assigned to the beneficiaries of subsidises under NFSA, the entitlements shall be given to such individuals on production of Ration Card and either Aadhaar Enrolment ID slip or copy of his/her request made to State Govt for Aadhaar Enrolment alongwith any of the 8 documents i.e. Voter ID Card, PAN, Passport, Driving License, Certificate of Identity with photo issued by Gazetted Officer/Tehsildar on official letter head, Address card having Name and Photo issued by Deptt of Posts, Kisan Photo Passbook and any other document as specified by State/UT Govts. Beneficiaries can make their request for Aadhaar enrolment by giving their name, address, mobile number with Ration Card number and other details with their fair price shop owners or through the web portal provided for the purpose by State /UT Governments.

The Food Department of State/UT Government, shall make wide publicity through media and individual notices through the district food supply office or fair price shops, etc., to make the beneficiaries aware of the requirement of Aadhaar under the scheme. The State /UT Govt shall also advise beneficiaries to get themselves enrolled at the nearest enrolment centres available in their areas by 30th June, 2017 and a list of locally available enrolment centres shall be made available to them. State Govt shall also offer enrolment facilities for the beneficiaries and in case there is no Aadhaar enrolment centre located in the respective Block or Taluka or Tehsil, the State/UT Govt is required to provide enrolment facilities at convenient locations in coordination with the UIDAI or the existing Registrars of UIDAI or by becoming UIDAI registrar themselves.

The State/UT Government shall link the Aadhaar number of beneficiary with the Ration Card or with Bank Account for Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy within thirty days after receiving the same.

Provision has also been made that any member of eligible household listed in the Ration Card shall be entitled to receive the entire quantity of entitled subsidised food grains or Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA, if any one member of the household in the Ration Card fulfils the identification conditions in case Aadhaar number is not yet assigned to all such members of the household.

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23 Dreamliner Aircraft Already Acquired By Air India, 4 More to Come
Feb 09,2017

Air India has acquired 23 Dreamliners progressively from September, 2012 to 9th January, 2017. The Dreamliner aircraft have experienced technical reliability issues, since induction into Air India fleet. These issues, however, do not adversely affect the safety of the airplane due to the system design and in-built system redundancy. Further, regular improvements are incorporated as a part of reliability enhancement process.

One B787-8 aircraft will be delivered in July, 2017, two B787-8 aircraft in August, 2017 and the 27th B787-8 aircraft will be delivered in October, 2017.

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Agreement for Swapping of Coal
Feb 09,2017

The Inter-Ministerial Task Force has recommended shifting of coal linkage of Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSECL) of about 1.2 Million Tonne from South Eastern Coalfields (SECL) to Western Coalfields (WCL), leading to annual savings in transportation cost of about Rs. 100 crore to GSECL.

Apart from this, swapping of 1.3 MT coal linkage between GSECL and Sipat TPP of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has also been implemented with annual potential savings of Rs. 458 crore to GSECL. Presently, coal is supplied to GSECL against swapped quantities at the notified price of WCL. The terms and conditions of rationalization of coal linkage like swapping at mine and port etc. are mutually agreed between NTPC and GSECL. The provision of Third party sampling and analysis at the loading end is available and the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR) is the third party for sampling and analysis. The sampling process includes the number of samples, timelimit for analysis of samples and Referee sample analysis. Both the coal company and the coal consumer power utility equally share the cost of sampling and analysis at the loading end. The Referee sample analysis is done at a government laboratory.

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