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Pollution to cripple NCR economy; Golden triangle tourism to be hit: ASSOCHAM
Nov 09,2016

With Delhi and NCR getting the descriptive titles like gas chamber and the worlds most polluted city, the entire area of National Capital Region encompassing not only Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad but also right up to Meerut, Panipat, Bhiwadi and Rohtak is likely to face a crippling economic impact more in sectors like tourism, transport, automobile and real estate, an ASSOCHAM paper has said.

While it may be difficult to hazard a figure of economic loss since the exact period of dangerous levels of pollutants would depend on the weather conditions along with administrative measures, there is no doubt that several billions of dollars of fresh investment and GDP loss would occur, besides causing a loss of confidence among the citizens, said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.

In the immediate run-up, the ongoing tourism season which is yet to pick up, could see a maximum hit with the Delhi and NCR pollution making global headlines and creating an impression to avoid the area for visitors. The maximum foreign tourists visit the Golden Triangle of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur (entire Rajasthan). The ASSOCHAM feedback from tour operators and hoteliers clearly point out a deep concern over the negative impact the pollution can cause to the economy.

n++If urgent steps on emergency scale are not taken, the economic impact arising out of the health issues could be catastrophic for the NCR, one of the important pillars of the national economy. Besides, this is also a wakeup call for other regions around Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata, adds ASSOCHAM Secretary General.

There are already requests from global tour operators to Indian counterparts to re-align the itinerary of the international tourists to the Golden Triangle. Instead of the tourists dividing period of stay between Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan, there have been enquiries where the visitors can avoid Delhi, excepting the touch-down options at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital.

Along with the tourism, the transportation linked to the tourism, would also take a hit if investment and tourists traffic gets a setback. The transportation is one of the key contributors to the national economy in the services sector. Both transportation and tourism are highly employment-oriented and jobs may be a casualty of the pollution, the ASSOCHAM paper noted.

n++Surely, the maximum impact would be felt by the Delhi economy which had the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Rs 558745 crore in 2015-16 at current prices. The GSDP of Delhi has been among the fastest growing in the country, but such a growth cannot be taken for granted,n++ the paper cautioned.

The chamber suggested a holistic set of measures for short-term and long -term to tackle pollution in the NCR. n++It should not be taken as a Delhi problem or a Noida problem; it must be handled at the top level in all the neighbouring states of Haryana, UP, Punjab and Rajasthan along with active intervention of the Centren++.

Besides, measures like ban on construction activities are sustainable as it affects the daily wage earning construction workers because causing delays in national projects like Delhi Metro, adds the chamber.

n++The challenge lies in changing the adversity of pollution into an opportunity for good health by sustainable development modeln++, the ASSOCHAM said.

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Indo-Japan MOU for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)
Nov 09,2016

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India has been approved by the Cabinet. The advancement of academic research in the field of Earth Sciences for the benefit of the peace and human welfare is the prime objective of the MOU.

The collaboration with JAMSTEC will not only enhance capability in the field of atmospheric and climate research, ocean technology observation and hazard mitigation but also provide much needed exposure and hands-on experience to Indian scientists.

The cooperation between parties and under Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be pursued primarily through joint survey, cruise and research and development activities, exchange of scientific visits, joint scientific seminars, workshops and meetings or exchange of information and data.

Earlier, a Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed between Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) in 2014 to encourage collaboration in the areas of mutual interest. A joint statement was signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Japan during the annual summit meeting held in New Delhi during 11-13 December, 2015.

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New Green Urban Transport Scheme on the anvil with Central assistance of Rs.25,000 cr
Nov 09,2016

Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today said that the Central Government is working on new policy initiatives to encourage private investments in climate friendly and sustainable public transport systems like Metro rail, Non-motorised Transport and other low carbon emitting systems in urban areas. He spoke on the inadequate and inefficient public transport infrastructure in urban areas after inaugurating the four day Urban Mobility India Conference and Expo at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Various aspects of n++Planning Mobility for Citys Sustainabilityn++ will be discussed by about 2,500 delegates from India and abroad including Mayors and Municipal Councilors, during the conference.

Shri Naidu said that the new initiatives under consideration include Green Urban Transport Scheme, new Metro Rail Policy, revision of Metro Acts and Standardisation and Indigenisation of Metro systems, aimed at increased private sector participation.

The Minister informed that the Green Urban Transport Scheme seeks to encourage growth of urban transport along low Carbon path for substantial and measurable reduction in pollution, provide a permanent and sustainable framework for funding urban mobility projects at National, State and City level with minimum recourse to budgetary support by encouraging innovative financing of projects. Under this Scheme, provision of Non-motorised Transport infrastructure, increasing access to public transport, use of clean technologies, adoption of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and private sector participation in urban transport projects will be increased. He said, this scheme is being considered for for implementation in cities each with a population of five lakhs and above and all capital cities, Central assistance of about Rs.25,000 cr is estimated to be required which would in turn trigger private investments to meet the resource needs, over the next five years.

Shri Naidu said that in view of the growing demand for metro rail systems in urban areas, a new Metro Policy would soon be unveiled to meet the demand through increased private sector participation. This Policy mandates preparation of Comprehensive Mobility Plans of cities mandatory to ensure last mile connectivity with metro stations. It also seeks to bring in more innovativee models of implementation besides increased standardization and indigenization to induce competition. the Minister said new Metro policy seeks to ensure integration of metro projects with over all mobility needs in urban areas. He informed that the Central government has so far provided an assistance of over Rs.65,000 cr including sovereign debt to metro projects in different cities of the country. As of now, 325 kms. of metro rail is in operation in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Jaipur. About 517 kms of metro rail projects are under execution and another 449 kms under planning stage, the Minister informed.

The Minister said that the existing two Metro Acts made in the context of Kolkata and Delhi Metros are being integrated envisaging more delegation of powers to State Governments besides promoting PPP and private initiatives.

Stressing on the need for holistic planning to improve the citys mobility, liveability and sustainability, Shri Naidu said n++Urban transport planning shall be people centric and aim at moving people instead of moving cars. All sections of people shall be ensured access to efficient public transport through inclusive planningn++.

Expressing concern over one road accident every minute and one accident death every four minutes in urban areas and half of the victims being pedestrians, cyclists and those using two wheelers, Shri Naidu called for an affordable, comfortable, reliable and safe public transport to reduce demand for private motorized vehicles. He stressed on the need for promotion of Non-motorised transport infrastructure for encouraging walking and cycling. NMT as a viable alternative mode of mobility would be effective if there is a close relationship between work and living place, he noted and called for proper land use zoning, development control and building regulations to ensure success of public transport system in cities.

The Minister stated that under new urban sector initiatives of Smart Cities Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Non-Motorised Transport is being encourages on a large scale.

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Five hundred and one thousand rupee notes will no longer be legal tender
Nov 09,2016

In a historical move that will add record strength in the fight against corruption, black money, money laundering, terrorism and financing of terrorists as well as counterfeit notes, the Government of India has decided that the five hundred and one thousand rupee notes will no longer be legal tender from midnight, 8th November 2016.

The Government has accepted the recommendations of the RBI to issue Two thousand rupee notes and new notes of Five hundred rupees will also be placed in circulation.

Notes of one hundred, fifty, twenty, ten, five, two and one rupee will remain legal tender and will remain unaffected by the decision.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi made these important announcements during a televised address to the nation on the evening of Tuesday 8th November 2016. He said that these decisions will fully protect the interests of honest and hard-working citizens of India and that those five hundred and one thousand rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become worthless pieces of paper.

The Prime Minister said the steps taken by the Government would strengthen the hands of the common citizens in the fight against corruption, black money and counterfeit notes.

Fully sensitive to some of the difficulties the common citizens may face in the coming days, the Prime Minister has announced a series of steps that will help overcome the potential problems.

Persons holding old notes of five hundred or one thousand rupees can deposit these notes in bank or post offices from 10th November onwards till 30th December, the Prime Minister announced. There are also some limits placed on the withdrawals from ATMs and bank for the very short run.

Shri Modi stated that on humanitarian grounds notes of five hundred and one thousand rupees will be accepted at government hospitals, pharmacies in government hospitals (with prescription of a doctor), booking counters for railway tickets, government buses, airline ticket counters, petrol, diesel and gas stations of PSU oil companies, consumer cooperative stores authorized by the state or central government, milk booths authorized by state government and crematoria, burial grounds.

Shri Modi emphasized that there is no restriction on any kind of non-cash payments by cheques, demand drafts, debit or credit cards and electronic fund transfer.

In his address the Prime Minister shared the insight into how the magnitude of cash in circulation is linked to inflation and how the inflation situation is worsened due to the cash deployed through corrupt means. The Prime Minister added that it adversely affects the poor and the neo-middle class people. He cited the example of the problems being faced by the honest citizens while buying houses.

A time-tested commitment to eradicate black money

The Prime Minister has time and again said that the Government is committed to ensure that the menace of black money is overcome. Over the past two and a half years of the NDA Government, he has walked the talk and led by example.

The very first decision of the Prime Minister led NDA government was the formation of a SIT on black money.

A law was passed in 2015 on disclosure of foreign bank accounts. In August 2016 strict rules were put in place to curtail benami transactions. During the same period a scheme to declare black money was introduced.

The efforts have borne fruit. Over the past two and a half years, more than Rs. 1.25 lakh crore of black money has been brought into the open.

Raising the issue of black money at the world stage

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again raised the issue of black money at the global forum, including at important multilateral summits and in bilateral meetings with leaders.

Record growth in last two and a half years

The Prime Minister said that the efforts of the Government have led to India emerging as a bright spot in the global economy. India is a preferred destination for investment and India is also an easier place to do business in. Leading financial agencies have shared their optimism about Indias growth as well.

Combined with this, Indian enterprise and innovation has received a fillip due to the Make in India, Start up India and Stand up India initiatives that seek to celebrate enterprise, innovation and research in India.

The historic announcements made by the Prime Minister will add value to the already thriving efforts of the Central Government.

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MOU on Defence Salary Package Signed between Indian Army and Corporation Bank
Nov 08,2016

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Indian Army and Corporation Bank on the Defence Salary Package today. The signing ceremony was chaired by the Adjutant General, Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma, and was attended by top officials of Corporation Bank headed by Gopal Murli Bhagat, Executive Director.

The MoU is tailor made to suit the requirements of serving soldiers, pensioners and families and includes free / concessional services including free drafts, free cheque books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS / NEFT, free ATM cards, Unlimited transactions on all ATMs including that of other Banks. Some important features of the MoU include Personal Accident Insurance Cover of Rs 5 & 10 lacs, Air Insurance Cover of Rs 5 to 50 lacs and Term Life Insurance Cover of Rs 5 & 10 lacs. All the facilities are also extended to the pensioners except Term Life Insurance Cover.

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Minister of Railways flags off 15069/15070 Gorakhpur-Badshahnagar Express (daily)
Nov 08,2016

The Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, in a programme on 08.11.2016 at Rail Bhawan flagged off 15069/15070 Gorakhpur-Badshahnagar (Lucknow) Express (daily) through Video-Conferencing. Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain was specially present to grace the occasion. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A. K. Mital, Member Traffic, Railway Board Shri Mohd. Jamshed, other Railway Board Members and senior officials were also present on the occasion at Rail Bhawan end. Local Members of Parliament of Gorakhpur and other districts were also present to grace the flag off function at Gorakhpur end.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that Uttar Pradesh is a big and populous State and thus it requires better railway network. He said that Gorakhpur is a big city which has historic importance too, this new intercity train service will help the Gorakhpur people to grow in social and economic terms.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain said that the rail is the cheapest mode of travel in India. Thus, Railways intends to expand rail network throughout the length and breadth of the country so that every citizen can be benefitted. He said that Railways will introduce some more new trains services soon.

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India-UK trade agreement to spur trade at USD 20 billion by 2020: PHD Chamber
Nov 08,2016

Prospective bilateral agreement and growth avenues would push trade between India and UK to USD 20 billion by 2020 from the current level of at around USD 14.3 billion in 2015-16, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

India and UK are bound by invigorating business and investment opportunities and the close economic linkages based on the fundamentals of understanding and support, said dr. Gupta.

Among various products, Indias thrust products in the UK includes knitted and non-knitted articles of apparels (20.33%); mechanical appliances and machinery (7.64%); pearls and precious stones (5.88%); Vehicles and parts thereof (5.53%); footwear and the like (5.44%); pharmaceutical products (5.15%); electrical equipment (4.49%); articles of iron and steel (3.45%) of the total exports to UK.

UKs thrust products in India includes pearls and precious stones (29.42%); mechanical appliances and machinery (13%); iron and steel (7.86%); electrical equipment (6.49%); optical, photographic, cinematographic and similar instruments (5%); aluminum and articles thereof (4.12%); beverages, spirits and vinegar (3.80%) of the total exports to India.

Dr. Mahesh Gupta also added that Indian exports into UK are mainly focused on Consumer Goods, viz. nearly 65% of the total exports. On the other hand, nearly 43.5% of the total imports from UK are focused on Intermediate goods.

Although the trend in Indias exports to UK has remained in favour of consumer goods over the years, Indias import from UK underwent dramatic shift from raw materials, viz. 36.5% of the overall imports from UK during 2007, to intermediate goods, viz. 43.5% presently.

Dr. Mahesh Gupta said that though Indias penetration in the UKs market has remained consistent, UKs penetration rate revealed signs of substantial revival in the recent past. Also, Indian products hold significant footprint in the UKs market based on the intensity index of India in UK.

Indias export pattern has become more and more aligned with the import pattern of UK over time. Both nations witnessed a favorable complementarity scenario, which exhibits substantial potential trade gains for both the nations, further added Dr. Mahesh Gupta.

Also, the basket of exportable products from India remained opulently diversified compared to the importable basket from UK over time, thereby rendering Indian exporters relatively less susceptible to volatility in a turbulent trade scenario.

He also indicated about the lower than expected intra-industry trade figures between the two nations and to push trade further, both nations must engage in higher intra-industry trade in the medium to long run. Also, it is essential to reduce the exorbitant trade cost between India and UK for agricultural products to provide that much needed impetus to the agrarian exports.

Dr. Mahesh Gupta said that with further liberalization of FDI policy in different segments and the advent of GST next year, FDI from UK is expected to touch a new growth trajectory. Undoubtedly, collaboration of India and UK in the realm of investment and business can truly transform both the nations entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In the past 16 years, UK has invested nearly USD 22 billion in various forms of Foreign Direct Investment in India. UK is, presently, ranked 3rd biggest investor in India, and going by the trend, holds the potential to attain the top position, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta.

Dr. Mahesh Gupta further elaborated that majority of Indias investment in UK were in the Manufacturing sector, viz. around USD 766.32 million; followed by Financial, Insurance and Business services (USD 298.27 million); Transport, Storage and communication services (USD 81.77 million) among other significant investments in UK.

Going ahead, it is essential for both the parts to become proactive and become prompt in finalizing the bilateral agreement to rejuvenate the falling trend in trade. Both nations should continuously meet and engage in discussions related to mitigating bilateral trade issues, defence ties, renewable energy, skill development and other vital areas.

Going ahead, growth prospects for trade and development between two countries are very promising and sustainable, not only for the coming years but for the coming decades, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta.

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First LNG fuelled bus in the country launched by Shri Dharmendra Pradhan in Kerala
Nov 08,2016

For the 1st time in the Country, an LNG fuelled bus has been launched today by the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan in the presence of Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan at Thiruvananthapuram. It has been a joint effort of Petronet LNG (PLL), Indian Oil Corporation and Tata Motors to introduce LNG as a fuel in commercial vehicles in the state capital. The LNG fueled bus is being launched as part of a plan of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to use LNG directly for mass transportation and to reduce carbon emissions in the Country simultaneously generating savings. The launch also coincided with the fourth meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) holding Transport portfolios.

LNG fueled Bus was brought to PLL Kochi LNG Terminal for LNG filling. LNG fuel tank was provided by M/s Chart Industries, USA. As it is a pilot project, the LNG-driven bus will run on trial basis before it can be certified for commercial application.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan complemented the Chief Minister and the people of Kerala for the beginning of a new era of gas-based transportation in the State.The Government of India has already announced that it is planning to use LNG, which is cheaper than diesel, as a fuel for Railways and long-haul transportation. The KSRTC, which has a fleet of 6,000 buses, has already announced plans to use natural gas. LNG is greener as well as more economical as compared to Diesel. LNG is more suitable for heavy duty segment like Trucks and Buses.

LNG is an environmentally friendly fuel with less number of Nox, Sox and particulate matters, as compared to any other automotive fuel. Co2 emission is also lesser than Diesel. Introduction of LNG in transport segment will also help India to meet its COP21 commitment.

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has already released draft notifcation for use of LNG as an automotive fuel. Final notification is expected to be released soon. Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) has formed an expert committee to form regulations for installation of LNG Fuel tank and dispensing stations, which is also expected to be released at an early date.

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Himachal Pradesh gets Centres nod for Pneumonia Vaccine
Nov 08,2016

n++We have achieved a new milestone towards expanding the coverage of full immunization in Himachal Pradesh aimed at reducing child mortality.n++ Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare stated this as the Health Ministry approved introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) under Universal Immunisation Programme. Himachal Pradesh will be among four other states where Pneumonia Vaccines will be introduced along with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in a planned manner from 2017.

Shri Nadda further said that this will give a unique opportunity to the State to demonstrate the combined effect of Diarrhoea Vaccine (Rotavirus) and Pneumonia Vaccine (PCV) reduction intervention on the overall child mortality and morbidity in the State. n++I am sure Himachal Pradesh will be hugely benefitted with this new PCV Vaccine. We want our children to be healthy and this intervention is one step forward in ensuring that,n++ Shri Nadda added.

It may be recalled that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had earlier this year introduced Rotavirus Vaccine to combat diarrhoea in the four states of the country - Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.

n++Adding this life-saving vaccine such as PCV and Rotavirus to our immunization program will not only improve the health of our children but will also reduce hospitalization and other conditions associated with diarrhoea and pneumonia such as malnutrition, delayed physical and mental development among children. Reduced hospitalization reduces the economic burden on the family and the health cost burden on the countryn++, Shri Nadda said.

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World Bank USD 500 Million Green Bonds Support Global Climate Action
Nov 08,2016

The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - IBRD) announced today that it has raised USD 500 million with World Bank green bonds to support the financing of global climate action. This comes at a time when global leaders are preparing for COP22, and implementing the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that will enter into force on November 4, 2016. The lead order of USD 250 million for this transaction was from the Maryland State Treasurers Office. The remainder of the bonds were placed with US institutional investors, including Blackrock and PIMCO. n++This is the States first investment in green bonds, and builds on the States efforts to increase awareness for climate finance and carbon disclosure,n++ said Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp. n++By buying World Bank green bonds, the State is investing in a high-quality product that meets the objectives of maximum security and highest investment returns, while at the same time supporting global climate action. It is also a message to our citizens, that the State of Maryland supports climate policies in all areas of government.n++ n++PIMCO views the World Banks green bonds as an opportunity to help our clients achieve their investment objectives while also supporting the World Banks important global sustainability efforts,n++ said PIMCOs Scott Mather, Chief Investment Officer U.S. Core Strategies. n++We welcome the efforts of the international community to tackle our generations most pressing challenge of climate change through the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that enters into force tomorrow. Mobilizing financing through the capital markets is a key part of the solution that the World Bank Treasury has been leading since 2008, with its green bond transactions and other capital market activities. Were very pleased that the State of Maryland and other institutional investors are supporting these climate finance efforts with their investments in high-quality, liquid World Bank bonds, said World Bank Vice President and Treasurer, Arunma Oteh.Since the World Banks first green bond launched in 2008, the World Bank has issued 127 green bonds in 18 currencies, totaling approximately USD 9.6 billion equivalent. World Bank green bonds offer investors an opportunity to support environmental solutions while benefiting from the triple-A credit strength of the World Bank. World Bank green bonds support the financing of projects in member countries that meet specific criteria for low carbon and climate resilient growth, seeking to mitigate climate change or help affected people adapt to it. The types of eligible projects include renewable energy installations, energy efficiency projects, and new technologies in waste management and agriculture that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help finance the transition to a low carbon economy. They also include financing for forest and watershed management and infrastructure to prevent climate-related flood damage and build climate resilience.

Issuer: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

Rating: Aaa/AAA

Amount: USD 500 million

Settlement date: November 22, 2016

Maturity date: November 22, 2021

Issue price and redemption amount: 100%

Early redemption option: on November 22, 2017 and quarterly thereafter

Coupon type: 1.75% (payable semi-annually on May 22 and November 22 each year)

Lead manager: TD Securities (USA) LLC

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Government of India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) sign $48 Million Loan to improve Assams Power Distribution System
Nov 08,2016

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $48 million loan to help Assam state continue its drive to improve access to efficient and reliable power in the national capital.

This is the second tranche loan of the $300 million multi tranche financing facility for the Assam Power Sector Investment Program that was approved by the ADB Board in July 2014. The project will help Assam to enhance capacity and efficiency of its power distribution system to improve electricity service to end users. The first tranche loan of $50 million was signed in February 2015.

n++Increased access to reliable and modern power supply for remote communities can help meet growing demand. This loan will help strengthen the states distribution system, improve energy efficiency and reduce technical and commercial losses,n++ said Ms. M. Teresa Kho, Country Director of ADBs India Resident Mission, who signed the loan agreement on behalf of ADB.

n++Given that a sustainable power supply is critical for facilitating growth and creating employment opportunities, this project will help Assam attract investment and tap its economic potential, in addition to reducing power outages,n++ said Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions) in the Ministry of Finance, who signed the agreement for Government of India. Ms Z. Rahman Ahmed, Secretary (Power), Govt. of Assam, signed the loan agreement on behalf of the state government along with Mr. P. Gupta, MD, Assam Power Distribution Company (APDCL).

The project, which is expected to be completed by December 2019, will help APDCL add an additional substation capacity, expand and improve medium voltage network, reduce system losses by 3% and enhance energy efficiency through renovation and modernization of existing 33/11 kV substations. Part of the loan will be used to strengthen institutional capacity of APDCL through setting up independent meter testing laboratories, load dispatch centers and installing centralized uniform billing system to 1.2 million customers.

The loan of $48 million from ADBs ordinary capital resources makes up to 80% of the total project cost of almost $60 million, with the Government of Assam providing counterpart finance of $12 million. The loan has a 25-year term, including a five-year grace period with an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADBs LIBOR-based lending facility.

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DebtFX: US Presidential Elections in Focus
Nov 08,2016

Both global and domestic markets are likely to be singularly focused on the outcome of US presidential elections, to be held on 8 November 2016, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Domestically, currency and debt markets are likely to take cues from global developments, amid this otherwise data-light week. The 10-year G-sec yield could trade at 6.78%-6.89% (6.82% at close on 4 November 2016). The rupee is likely to trade at 66.50/USD-67.30/USD (66.71/USD at close on 4 November 2016).

Risk-Off Sentiments Trigger Market Correction: The keenly awaited US elections will set the tone for the markets this week. In the run-up to elections, both equity and debt markets have corrected as both lead candidates have close possibilities to win the elections. Additionally, uncertainties over timeline and modalities of Brexit have kept investors sentiments cautious. This is evident in the recent appreciation of Swiss franc and Japanese yen, which are largely viewed by investors as a safe haven to hedge against the US dollar volatilities.

Bond Yields to Remain Anchored: Governments upcoming repurchase auction (INR150bn) will alleviate some pressure on demand-supply dynamics in the debt market - as a combined gross supply of over INR410bn is scheduled this week in the form of both central and state government borrowings. Easy interbank liquidity conditions suggest limited need for durable liquidity injection, keeping scope for open market purchase operations dim in the near term. Incremental scope for yields to soften significantly from the current juncture is limited on account of two major factors (1) front-loaded open market operations by the Reserve Bank of India (2) global volatility as key events unfold.

Transmission of Global Risks to Keep Rupee under Radar: Notwithstanding the swings in major global currencies and initiation of FCNR (foreign currency non-resident) deposits redemption, the rupee has exhibited a relatively steady performance. A resurgence of risk-aversion sentiment globally will impact emerging market currencies, in general - exposing rupee to potential pressure. However, the impact is likely to be cushioned in the absence of any kneejerk and panic-selling pressure from foreign investors.

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Smog hitting employees at India Inc. hard and fast in Delhi-NCR: Survey
Nov 08,2016

Smoggy atmosphere across Delhi-NCR has started taking a toll on peoples health and is hampering their ability to do their jobs efficiently, according to a just-concluded quick survey by ASSOCHAM.

The Social Development arm of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) interacted with human resource professionals in about 150 companies working in different industries both in public and private sectors in and around Delhi to evaluate impact of air pollution on companies financial health in India Inc.

The survey was conducted during the course of past one week.

Most of the HR professionals said they are facing staff crunch ranging between 5-10 per cent with growing number of employees calling in sick.

Persistent cough, burning eyes, itchy throat and respiratory/lung-related problems like asthma and bronchitis are the main reasons as to why many employees are not turning up for work, said many of HR representatives.

Though many HR professionals said they have installed air purifiers across their office and have advised their staff to use face mask but the severity of air pollution has certainly impaired performance through changes in respiratory, cardiovascular, and cognitive function.

Though many private companies are allowing their employees to work from home while recuperating from their illness, the survey noted.

As per studies, the most harmful for sedentary office workers is particulate matter, which can seep-in buildings through windows and vents thereby entering the blood stream and central nervous system, affecting concentration and mental performance.

n++Air pollution in Delhi-NCR is not just devastating the environment but harmful amount of gases, dust, fumes and odour are causing breathing problems to people,n++ said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the chambers survey.

n++Companies should offer employees flexible working hours to cope with this problem,n++ said Mr Rawat.

n++Environment and air pollution related issues might hurt brand India and hit sectors like tourism, outdoor recreation as people tend to stay away from polluted areas so as not to breathe in dense and toxic air,n++ he said.

n++Sick days together with visits to hospital might impact middle class people the most as high levels of pollution are linked to serious chronic illnesses, like heart disease and lung cancer, which are costly to treat,n++ added Mr Rawat.

n++Sunshine and good air have become luxury for Delhiities who have been dealing with anxieties over pollution, traffic, living costs, property values and the general stress,n++ he said further.

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Tapping value added to finance urban infra projects through innovative Value Capture Financing
Nov 08,2016

In the context of growing demand for resources to finance ongoing urban infrastructure expansion, the Ministry of Urban Development will soon come out with a policy framework for an innovative resource mobilization through Value Capture Financing (VCF). This seeks to enable States and city governments raise resources by tapping a share of increase in value of land and other properties like buildings resulting from public investments and policy initiatives, in the identified area of influence.

The Ministry will soon have inter-ministerial consultations on Value Capture Financing based on the feedback from the States. Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development) held final round of consultations with States in this regard last week.

The Ministry is keen about integrating VCF into project feasibility assessment for systematic and large scale adoption of capturing a part of potential increase in the value of land and other properties resulting from the proposed investment. The Ministry has identified ten ways of VCF out of which only a couple are being currently used for project financing by some States.

The proposed VCF policy framework that works as a guide to State and city governments will assist in assessing the scope of resource mobilization, identifying the area of influence of proposed projects and optimizing resource mobilization.

The different instruments of VCF are ; Land Value Tax, Fee for changing land use, Betterment levy, Development charges, Transfer of Development Rights, Premium on relaxation of Floor Space Index and Floor Area Ratio, Vacant Land Tax, Tax Increment Financing, Zoning relaxation for land acquisition and Land Pooling System.

While Betterment levy and Development charges are being currently used to some extent in States, the other instruments also have substantial scope for resource mobilization.

Traditional resource mobilization through direct sale of land, the most fundamental asset owned and managed by States and Urban Local Bodies is an inefficient form of resource mobilization and the Ministry is keen about land monetization more effectively though value capture. This innovative mechanism could also be used by central Ministries investing heavily in building national highways, railway projects, power generation and port infrastructure development.

Some cases of current use of VCF tools are:

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and City and Industrial Development Corporation Limited (CIDCO) have used different Value Capture methods including Betterment levy to finance infrastructure development in the urbanizing areas. Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have made Land Value Tax applicable to urban areas too under which increase in land value is tapped through increased revenue tax. West Bengal has formulated a system to capture gains from land use conversion. Area based Development charges are being resorted to in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra have made enabling provisions for enabling Transfer of Development Rights to buy additional FSI/FAR. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) enables realization of investments through increased taxes in the area of influence of a project and has been proposed by some cities under Smart City Plans.

Andhra Pradesh Government has resorted to Land Pooling for acquiring land for its Amaravati Capital Project under which farmers have given land in return for developed land parcels. Gujarat and Haryana also used this tool for some projects.

Ministry of Urban Development is working to develop a comprehensive VCF framework so that it can be used efficiently and optimally across the country as a method of financing infrastructure and enhancing the finances of urban local bodies.

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Proposed Regulation on Criteria for Leasing of Foreign Registered Aircraft by Indian Operators for Operation by Indian Crew
Nov 07,2016

To boost the growth of the civil aviation sector and in particular the regional air connectivity scheme, DGCA has proposed a new regulation on criteria for leasing of foreign registered aircraft by Indian operators for operation by Indian crew. This regulation will enable operators to import foreign registered aircrafts and operate them on foreign registration with Indian crew. This will also make the aircraft leasing environment user friendly.

The proposed regulations lay emphasis on airworthiness, training, operation and safety oversight aspects. Before such arrangement would be permitted, both the State of Operator and the State of Registry would have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on oversight responsibility. This proposal is at a draft stage and is being put up for public consultation. It is likely to be finalized by the second week of Dec 2016.

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