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Over 69 million consumers shopped online in 2016: ASSOCHAM-Resurgent study
Jan 10,2017

In 2016, about 69 million consumers purchased online and the number is expected to cross 100 million by 2017 with the rise of digital natives, better infrastructure in terms of logistics, broadband and Internet-ready devices to fuel the demand in e-Commerce, according to an ASSOCHAM-Resurgent India study.

As per the findings of the joint study, Bangalore has left behind all other cities in India shopping online in the year 2016. While Mumbai ranks second, Delhi ranks third in their preference for online shopping.

In other cities like Bangalore, 69% of its population chose to buy daily routine products through e-shopping in 2015-16, which will go to 75% this year for apparel, gift articles, magazines, home tools, toys, jewellery, beauty products & sporting goods categories.

Likewise, Mumbai share was 65% in the last year, which might go up another 70% in this year for electronic gadgets, accessories, apparel, gifts, computer peripherals, movies, hotel booking, home appliances, movie tickets, health & fitness products and apparel gift certificates etc whereas, Delhi, 61% of its population chose to buy daily routine products through e-shopping in 2015-16, which will go to 65-68% by the year end.

The ASSOCHAM- Resurgent India joint study reveals, Indian e-Retail looks even more promising which is Up from $3.59 billion in 2013 to $5.30 billion in 2014 (a phenomenal increase of 48%), by the end of 2018, it is expected to touch $17.52 billion (with growth of 65%). The e-retail sale continues to register an unprecedented growth and increase by leaps and bounds over the 2013-2018 period.

In 2017, mobile commerce will become more important as most of the companies are shifting to m-commerce. Mobile already accounts for 30-35% of e-commerce sales, and its share will jump to 45-50% by 2017, adds the report.

E-commerce is big business and getting bigger every day. Online shopping has been embraced by Indians with close to 25-30 million adults making a purchase via the internet in the last year. The paper said, online shoppers and buyers starting with a base age of 18 are become more involved with ecommerce in their early teens, adds the paper.

In 2016, it showed that a higher amount was being spent on average for popular categories such as apparel by 85 per cent, mobile phones by 68 per cent and cosmetics by 25 per cent, when it comes to online shopping. There was also a significant increase in spending on categories such as watches by 75 per cent and artificial jewellery by 65 per cent. Computer and consumer electronics, along with apparel and accessories, account for the bulk of Indias retail e-commerce sales.

There is a surge in the number of people shopping on mobile across India with tier II and III cities displaying increased dominance. In fact, 50% of our traffic is coming from mobile and a majority of them are first time customers, adds the paper.

The year 2017 will see large scale growth in the Indian e-commerce sector with increased participation from people across the country. This industry will continue to drive more employment opportunities and contribute towards creating more entrepreneurs through the e-commerce marketplace model, noted the study.

As per the joint study, the total retail sales in India will likely to increase from the $717.73 billion during CY 2014 to touch $1,244.58 billion by 2018. The total retail sales is growing at an impressive rate of 15%, registering a double digit growth figure year after year.

Challenges for the e-Commerce

The phenomenal growth of the e-Commerce sector is accompanied by certain challenges:

Absence of e-Commerce laws

Low entry barriers leading to reduced competitive advantages

Rapidly changing business models

Urban phenomenon

Shortage of manpower

Customer loyalty

Opportunities for the e-commerce:

Reduction of money transactions in all sectors.

Improvement of Net banking facilities across the country.

Implementation of demonetization policy.

Government policies on banking and financial sectors.

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Bilateral Meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister and H.E. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
Jan 10,2017

Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed the Japanese delegation led by H.E. Hiroshige Seko, Minister, Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI), Japan and recalled that the recent visit of Honble Prime Minister of India to Japan in November, 2016 was very successful in further strengthening the partnership between the two countries. She hoped to look forward for a meaningful discussion with the Japanese delegation in the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Summit. She stated that the pace of implementation of India- Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has been rather steady and needed to be enhanced with faster pace to tap the huge potential of India- Japan bilateral trade.

H.E. Hiroshige Seko, Minister, Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, Japan, while welcoming various steps taken by the Govt. of India for Make in India and other initiatives for Indias Growth, said that there is a huge potential for Indo- Japanese Cooperation. He mentioned that 25 Japanese companies are participating in Vibrant Gujarat Summit with great enthusiasm. The Japanese side requested that the issue of Transfer Pricing assessment and other ones as raised by Japan Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India (JCCII)from time to time need to be resolved for attracting greater Japanese Investments in India. The Japanese business delegates briefed about their business presence in India and intimated that they wanted to diversify their business in India in Sectors such as Agriculture, Power, Electronics, Railways, Logistics Sectors, manufacturing of ATMs etc. and wanted to contribute to the development of India.

The Japanese side expressed interest in enhancing co-operation in the area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) between India and Japan and intended to train Indian IPR examiners in Japan. They expressed the need for a high level meeting between India and Japan on IPR cooperation. Minister of METI, Japan also extended an invitation to 100 IPR Examiners for training in Japan.

Smt. Sitharaman requested the Japanese side to take steps to increase Indian Exports to Japan in Sesame seeds, Surimi fish and Indian generic drugs. She said that the Japanese Industrial Townships (JITs) in India would be transformational and will bring in significant Japanese investments and further strengthen India- Japan Economic Cooperation. On the Logistics front she mentioned that India plans to build Logistics University wherein the cooperation from Japan would be needed.

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To ensure implementation of GST by 1 April 2017, CBEC has initiated process of migration of its existing Central Excise/Service Tax assesses to GST
Jan 09,2017

Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) has initiated the process of migration of its existing Central Excise/Service Tax assesses to GST with effect from 9th January, 2017.

As part of its efforts to ensure implementation of GST by 1st April, 2017, CBEC has taken steps to ensure that its existing taxpayers are migrated to GST in a simple, user-friendly and smooth manner. Once the existing registered Taxpayers (both Central Excise as well as Service Tax) login to CBECs Web Portal www.aces.gov.in, a facility will be given in a secure manner to access the provisional login ID and password given by Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN). Thereafter, using the same, they can log in to GST Portal (www.gst.gov.in) to fill the required fields and submit scanned documents.

However, if they have already initiated the process of migration to GST as a VAT assesse under STATE COMMERCIAL TAX department, no further action is necessary. PAN is mandatory for migration to GST. Hence, if the existing Central Excise/Service Tax Registration Code does not have PAN, then PAN has to be obtained from Income Tax Department and the Registration details have to be updated in the ACES Portal www.aces.gov.in

CBEC has made available a 24x7 HELPDESK (TOLL-FREE NO 1800-1200-232, EMAIL: cbecmitra.helpdesk@icegate.gov.in) for the purpose of assisting existing Central Excise/Service Tax assesses. GSTN also has a Help Desk number: 0124-4688999 and GSTN email address is: help@gst.gov.in A Step-by-Step Taxpayers User guide for Migration is available at www.aces.gov.in and at www.cbec.gov.in

CBEC is also sending Emails/recorded telephonic messages to all registered Central Excise/Service Tax assesses requesting them to migrate to GST. Outreach programmes such as Awareness Workshops/ Training for Central Excise/Service Tax assesses are being organized all over India at the Commissionerates and Divisional offices of CBEC.

All existing Central Excise/Service Tax assesses are requested to migrate as early as possible, latest by 31st January, 2017.

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Tamil Nadu becomes 21st State to join UDAY
Jan 09,2017

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal presided over the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) Scheme with the Government of Tamil Nadu and its Discom TANGEDCO, for operational and financial turnaround of the DISCOM. The signing ceremony was held in the august presence of the Shri P. Thangamani, Minister for Electricity, Prohibition & Excise, Government of Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu would derive an overall net benefit of approximately Rs. 11,000 crores through UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in AT&C and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. The state also signed 24X7 Power For All document on the occasion. With Tamil Nadu joining the cause, 92% of countrys Discom debt has been covered under UDAY

By signing the MOU under UDAY, the State Government is taking over 75% of debt of Rs. 30,420 crores of TANGEDCO. The scheme also provides for the balance debt to be re-priced or issued as State guaranteed Discom bonds, at coupon rates around 3-4% less than the average existing interest rate. The State would have savings of about Rs.950 cr. in annual interest cost through reduction of debt and through reduced interest rates on the balance debt.

UDAY lays stress on improving operational efficiencies of the DISCOMs. Tamil Nadu and TANGEDCO have committed to bring about operational efficiency through compulsory feeder and distribution transformer metering, consumer indexing & GIS mapping of losses, upgrade/change transformers, meters etc., smart metering of high-end consumers, reduction in transmission losses and increased power supplies in areas with reduced AT&C losses. The reduction in AT&C losses and transmission losses to 13.5% and 3.7% respectively is likely to bring additional revenue of around Rs. 1,601 crores to TANGEDCO.

Demand Side interventions in UDAY such as usage of energy-efficient LED bulbs, agricultural pumps, fans & air-conditioners and efficient industrial equipment through PAT (Perform, Achieve and Trade) would help in reducing peak load, flatten load curve and thus help in reducing energy consumption in Tamil Nadu. The gain is expected to be around Rs. 2,304 crores.

The Central government would also provide incentives to the State Government and the Discom for improving the power infrastructure in the State and for lowering the cost of power. The State would get additional/priority funding through the Central schemes such as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), Power Sector Development Fund (PSDF) or such other schemes of the Ministries of Power and New & Renewable Energy, if they meet the operational milestones outlined in the scheme.

The State shall also be supported through additional coal at notified prices and in case of availability through higher capacity utilization, low cost power from NTPC and other CPSUs. Other benefits such as coal swapping, coal rationalization, correction in coal grade slippage, availability of 100% washed coal would help the state to further reduce the cost of power.

The State would gain around Rs. 4,320 crores due to these coal reforms. With the financial turnaround through financial and operational efficiencies, TANGEDCOs rating would improve, which would help in raising cheaper funds for its future capital investment requirement. This is expected to provide interest cost saving of around Rs. 60 crores for TANGEDCO in 3 years.

The ultimate benefit of signing the MOU would go to the people of Tamil Nadu. Higher demand for power from DISCOMs would mean higher Plant Load Factor (PLF) of generating units and therefore, lesser cost per unit of electricity thereby benefitting consumers. Availability of 24x7 power for all would increase the economic activity and improve employment opportunities in the State.

UDAY was launched by the Government of India on 20th November, 2015 to ensure a permanent and sustainable solution to the debt-ridden Distribution utilities to achieve financial stability and growth, now has 21 States in the Club after Tamil Nadu coming on board.

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Cold wave spell over plains of northwest India
Jan 09,2017

With the eastward movement of the current Western Disturbance as an upper air cyclonic circulation lying over north Pakistan & neighbourhood, dry northwesterly cold winds at lower & middle levels very likely to prevail over plains of northwest India from 10th night to 13th January morning.

Under these circumstances, the prevailing minimum temperatures over plains of northwest India are very likely to fall further by 2-4n++C till 13th morning.

Cold Wave Warning:

n++ Cold wave at a few places with severe cold wave conditions at isolated places are most likely to prevail over Punjab, Haryana and northern parts of Rajasthan from tomorrow, the 10th night to 13th morning.

n++ Cold wave conditions at isolated places are also most likely to prevail over West Uttar Pradesh from 11th morning to 13th morning.

Ground Frost Warning:

n++ Considering the trends in minimum temperatures from 10th morning to 13th morning, ground frost conditions are also very likely to occur at isolated pockets over Punjab, Haryana and north Rajasthan during the same period.

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No additional levy on use of cards at petrol stations says Petroleum Minister
Jan 09,2017

MoS (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan said neither the customers nor petrol pump dealers will bear additional charges on digital transactions at petrol stations. He said that the Government had issued guidelines in February 2016 stating that the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charge will not be passed on to the consumers and that the stakeholders will take appropriate steps to absorb the MDR charges.

The Government has stepped in after the issue on levy on digital transaction at petrol stations was raised by association of petrol pump dealers. Shri Pradhan said that there will be no additional levy on digital transaction at petrol stations even after 13 January, 2017. He also said that the Petrol pump transaction fee is a business model between the banks & oil marketing companies which they will resolve.

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Export of Oilmeals more than doubled in December 2016 ; down by 13% in April to December 2016
Jan 09,2017

The export of oilmeals during December 2016 has jumped; more than doubled due to large demand of Non-GMO Soybean Meal from France and reported at 194,309 tons compared to 84,218 tons. This was stated by The Solvent Extractors Association of India.

The overall export of oilmeals during April to December 2016 is reported at 856,798 tons compared to 987,842 tons during the same period of last year i.e. down by 13% .

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Over 10 million downloads of BHIM App in 10 days
Jan 09,2017

In a span of 10 days there have been over 10 million downloads of the BHIM App.

BHIM App has made transactions faster & easier, thus making it popular among the youth. The App is also beneficial for traders.

The BHIM App is a fine example of Make in India & how technology is being effectively used to end the menace of corruption & black money, the Prime Minister said.

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Asia is growing at a steady pace, but more needs to be done to achieve development that is both sustainable and inclusive-ADB President
Jan 09,2017

Asian Development Bank (ADB) operations for Asia and the Pacific reached an all-time high of $31.5 billion in 2016, a 17% increase from $26.9 billion in 2015, according to preliminary figures released. Approvals of ADB loans, grants, technical assistance, and cofinancing have been growing steadily over the years as development needs in the region continue to rise.

n++The increase in our development financing to Asia and the Pacific is reflective of our strong commitment to reducing poverty and improving peoples lives in the region,n++ said ADB President Takehiko Nakao. n++As ADB celebrates 50 years of development partnership with its member countries, we will strive to remain the regions premiere development bank by providing financing, knowledge, and partnership.n++

n++Asia is growing at a steady pace, but more needs to be done to achieve development that is both sustainable and inclusive,n++ Mr. Nakao added. n++ADB will continue to improve by becoming a stronger, better, and faster bank to help the region achieve its development objectives.n++ The region faces many challenges such as implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, increasing inequality, rapid urbanization, aging, and disaster risk management.

Approvals of loans and grants for sovereign (government) and non-sovereign (primarily the private sector) operations by ADB itself reached a record $17.5 billion n++ a 9% increase from $16.0 billion in 2015. Non-concessional loans from ADBs Ordinary Capital Resources (OCR) amounted to $14.4 billion. Concessional loans and grants from the Asian Development Fund (ADF) reached $3.1 billion, with $2.6 billion going to loans and $518 million to grants. Technical assistance, meanwhile, increased by around 20% to $170 million from 2015s $141 million figure.

Among ADBs operational highlights last year were the approval of several groundbreaking projects such as the contingent disaster risk financing in the Cook Islands, the first privately-financed solar project in Cambodia, results-based lending for an elderly care project in the Peoples Republic of China, the development of Indias first coastal industrial corridor, and the $500 million counter-cyclical support to Azerbaijan. ADBs Office of Public-Private Partnership entered into three new transaction advisory mandates to prepare and structure PPP projects in 2016.

The strong showing of ADBs operations was based on the larger financing capacity generated by the anticipated merger of the banks two main financial instruments n++ ADF and OCR n++ which formally took effect on 1 January 2017. With this innovative reform, ADBs annual approvals of loans and grants will increase up to $20 billion by 2020.

For the period 2017-2020, a successful ADF replenishment, concluded in May 2016, will allow ADB to substantially increase support to the regions poorest countries. The replenished ADF will also enable ADB to provide grant resources for disaster risk management and regional health initiatives.

Total disbursements of ADB loans and grants reached $12.5 billion in 2016 n++ the highest ever. This strong performance is tied to the reforms ADB has implemented to fast track procurement and implementation processes.

Cofinancing also expanded, reaching $13.9 billion in 2016 from $10.7 billion in 2015, a growth of 29%. This is on the back of ADBs greater partnerships and collaboration with various development stakeholders in the Asia and Pacific region.

Some of the strong partnerships ADB undertook in 2016 include cofinancing with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for a road project in Pakistan and natural gas project in Bangladesh. Agreements were also signed with other development partners including an innovative guarantee agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to increase ADB financing by $500 million over the next 10 years, and a landmark agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to finance private sector infrastructure projects for $6 billion.

ADBs knowledge work was strengthened in 2016 through newly established sector and thematic groups. Important forums on sustainable transport, food security, clean energy, and green business were held. In addition, ADBs legal office hosted a symposium for Asian supreme court judges on law and climate change, and its anticorruption office started supporting tax integrity and transparency of developing member countries in line with international efforts.

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Tax collection figures for the period April -December 2016 show a positive trend as Direct Taxes grow by 12.01% and Indirect Taxes grow by 25%
Jan 09,2017

Direct Tax and Indirect tax collection figures for the period April 2016 to December 2016 have shown a positive trend as Direct Taxes grow by 12.01% and Indirect Taxes grow by 25% over the corresponding period last year i.e. April-December 2015.

The details in this regard are as follows:

Direct Taxes

The figures for Direct Tax collections up to December, 2016 show that net collections are at Rs. 5.53 lakh crore which is 12.01% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year. This collection is 65.3% 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 10.7% while that under PIT (including STT) is 21.7%. However, after adjusting for refunds, the net growth in CIT collections is 4.4% while that in PIT collections is 24.6%. Refunds amounting to Rs.1,26,371 crore have been issued during April-December, 2016, which is 30.5% higher than the refunds issued during the corresponding period last year.

After accounting for the third instalment of advance tax received in December, 2016, the collections under advance tax stand at Rs.2.82 lakh crore, which is 14.4% higher than the figures for the corresponding period of last year. CIT advance tax is growing at 10.6% while PIT advance tax has registered a growth of 38.2%.

Indirect Taxes

The figures for indirect tax collections (Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs) up to December 2016 show that net revenue collections are at Rs 6.30 lakh crore, which is 25% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year. Till December 2016, about 81% of the Budget Estimates of indirect taxes for Financial Year 2016-17 has been achieved.

As regards Central Excise, net tax collections stood at Rs. 2.79 lakh crore during April-December, 2016 as compared to Rs.1.95 lakh crore during the corresponding period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 43%.

Net Tax collections on account of Service Tax during April-December, 2016 stood at Rs. 1.83 lakh crore as compared to Rs.1.48 lakh crore during the corresponding period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 23.9%.

Net Tax collections on account of Customs during April-December 2016 stood at Rs. 1.67 lakh crore as compared to Rs. 1.60 lakh crore during the same period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 4.1%.

During December 2016, the net indirect tax (with ARM) grew at the rate of 14.2% compared to corresponding month last year. The growth rate in net collection for Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax was -6.3%, 31.6% and 12.4% respectively during the month of December, 2016, compared to the corresponding month last year. The de-growth in customs collections appear to be on account of a decline of gold imports by about 46% (in volume terms) in December 2016 over December 2015.

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Moodys and ICRA: Indian banks weak asset quality continues to pressure profitability and capitalization profile
Jan 09,2017

Moodys Investors Service and its Indian affiliate, ICRA, see subdued prospects for Indias banks, with both identifying asset deterioration as a key challenge over the medium term.

Asset quality will remain a negative driver of the credit profiles of most rated Indian banks and the stock of impaired loans. Non-performing loans (NPLs) and standard restructured loans will still rise during the horizon of our outlook, says Alka Anbarasu, a Moodys Vice President and Senior Analyst.

According to Moodys, such pressure on asset quality largely reflects the systems legacy problems, as relating to the strong credit growth seen in 2009-2012, when the investment plans of Indian corporates rose significantly.

Nevertheless, aside from these legacy issues, the underlying asset trend for Indian banks will be stable because of a generally supportive operating environment. While corporate balance sheets stay weak, a further deterioration in key credit metrics such as debt/equity and interest coverage ratios has been arrested.

We expect the pace of deterioration in asset quality over the next 12-18 months should be lower than what was seen over the last five years, and especially compared to FY2016, even as we consider those remaining problem loans which have not been recognized as such in several large accounts, says Anbarasu.

In this context, Moodys also considers the Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) asset quality review (AQR) in 2015 as a particularly important catalyst in pushing banks to recognize some large accounts as being impaired. As a result, Moodys now estimates that the true level of impaired loans for Indian banks to be around 1-1.5 percentage points higher than the latest reported numbers.

Given the magnitude of stressed assets in the system, Moodys expects the banks to increase their focus on resolving some of the large problem accounts.

In this regard, we expect an increased pace of debt restructuring under the various schemes offered by the RBI, including the scheme for the sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A), strategic debt restructuring (SDR) and the 5:25 scheme, says Anbarasu. Nevertheless, weak reserving levels and continued pressure on profitability will limit the ability of the banks to proactively resolve problem assets under these schemes.

From ICRAs viewpoint, a muted level of credit off-take -- on the back of weak demand, increasing competition and greater disintermediation -- will continue to exert downward pressure on lending rates.

Such a development will be partly offset by the fall in the cost of funds, but stubbornly high operating expense levels and elevated credit costs will continue to dent profitability matrices for the banks, says Karthik Srinivasan, an ICRA Senior Vice President.

And while bank profitability is not expected to be as weak as the levels seen in FY2016, the weakness in asset quality will continue to drag on profitability indicators, with return on equity remaining in the single digits for FY2017 and FY2018, says Srinivasan.

ICRA further notes that, as of September 30, 2016, while all the public sector banks had met the minimum common equity tier 1 (CET 1) requirement of 6.75% applicable by March 2017, six also reported Tier 1 capital of less than 8.25%, the regulatory minimum. Furthermore, the overall capitalization levels of most of the public sector banks remains moderate to weak, given that they need to attain the regulatory minimum Tier 1 requirement of 9.5% by March 2019.

The Indian governments current plan of infusing INR450 billion during FY2017-FY2019 -- of which INR164.14 billion have been already infused in the current year -- is below ICRAs estimates of capital requirements of INR1,500-1,800 billion until FY2017-FY2019.

According to ICRA, of this total of INR1,500-1,800 billion, the banks can raise around INR800-950 billion by issuing AT1 instruments, with public sector banks having issued AT1 aggregating to around INR200 billion in the current year.

ICRA believes that the continued level of investor appetite will remain the key factor determining future AT1 issuances, as the risk of servicing the coupon payments on these bonds has increased considerably, especially for the weaker public sector banks. This is because substantial losses in this sector in the last few quarters have significantly depleted revenue reserves.

In this context, the government may need to materially increase the quantum of capital infusions into the public sector banks, in view of the fact that investor appetite for common equity remains subdued, as evidenced by weak share price multiples.

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India may get caught in cross fire of US-China trade war: ASSOCHAM
Jan 09,2017

In an escalating trade war triggered by the US President elect Donald Trump with Mexico and China, India may find itself in the cross fire with collateral damage to its economy, particularly to sectors such as information technology and select goods exports to the American market, an ASSOCHAM Paper has said.

n++Though China and Mexico are in direct firing line of Donald Trump, India needs to watch out and must build bridges with the upcoming American administration and assuage the concerns about the American jobs,n++ the chamber said on a status paper on the regime change in the US.

Those who thought the Trump threat to the American companies against job outsourcing to China and Mexico, particularly in the manufacturing, was only an election rhetoric are in a for a rude shock. n++The Trump threat to protect the US interest in an inward looking manner is for real now. The manner in which Ford has announced scrapping of its USD 1.68 billion plan to set up a manufacturing plant in Mexico shows that Trump means business when it comes to carrying out the threat of heavy border tax on the US firms which, as he calls it, ship the jobs abroad,n++ the paper said.

ASSOCHAM said, n++India should not sit and watch the trade war among the big economies, mainly the US and China from the sidelines. We must take pro-active steps to ensure that we remain on the right side of the upcoming US administration; or else the impact could be on the Indian services exports to the American firms.n++

According to the paper, the collateral damage for India would not only come from the US but also from China. n++With its economy being aggressively export driven, particularly in manufacturing, China would look for alternative export destinations outside the US in Europe and Asia. In the coming months, after inauguration of Trump to the White House, China would double up dumping of its goods to countries like India as it gets entangled with the US over trade barriers,n++ it said.

The dumping from China has been quite severe in the recent few years in areas like steel aggravating the problems of the Indian industries.

Under the given circumstances, the Indian government along with trade bodies like apex business chambers, influential think tanks, opinion leaders and a large diaspora must work for an effective lobbying to explain to the US policy makers as to how free trade, more so, in services would help both the US and the Indian companies.

n++If the US gives jobs to Indians in back-end operations, India gives a huge market to the giants like Google, Microsoft and Intel who are all now looking at the digital expansion in the Indian economy. So, it is a win-win situation for both the countries,n++ the ASSOCHAM Secretary General said. India imports as significantly as it exports to the US in goods and services.

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Agent/sales person least trustworthy for those buying insurance: ASSOCHAM study
Jan 09,2017

Insurance agent is taken as the least trustworthy source in the sales process of an insurance policy across different policy segments both among the financially literate and financially non-literate consumers, an ASSOCHAM study has found.

Among the first set of people with no specific knowledge of insurance and finance and those who fall in the age group of 18 to 60 years, 72 per cent of those covered in the study said their agent/sales person was the least trustworthy source in the sales process of an insurance policy.

The second least trustworthy source in the sales process was the insurance company itself, though the percentage on this count was much less at 29 per cent.

The second set of people who are financially savvy and can get better interpretations of the insurance policies find their agent and sales person as the least trustworthy in the sales value chain. As many as 34 per cent of this set of people, aged 25 -40 years, found the agents lacking on trust, followed by the insurance company itself.

Likewise, misrepresentation of benefits was also an area of concern. On this count, the more let down was felt by those who are financially savvy and are in the age group of 25-40 years. As many as 65 per cent of them, who were covered in the ASSOCHAM study, found the issues on this score. Besides, those in the age group of 18-60 years and those who are not so financially savvy, also found the problem of misrepresentation of benefits. Forty three per cent of them said there are problems with regard to misrepresentation of benefits.

n++There is a need for simplification of processes and procedures of insurers to take away the awe and fear of the common man on different products. Demystification of insurance concept is a necessary requirement for people to take to this in a large way, particularly, in the background of low financial literacy,n++ ASSOCHAM said.

He said the industry also needs to do a few things to hasten up the process of insurance inclusion. The product space is cluttered with a large number of complex policies. n++There must be simple, standard vanilla products in personal products.n++

The study suggested that since the insurance agent or the sales person is the face of industry, n++It is of utmost importance that we select these ambassadors very cautiously. Right from spreading the awareness to conducting the need analysis for a sale, to servicing the customers request in time, to explaining and supporting customers in times of claim, sales representative must do it.n++

The lack of information of our customers is what creates the disconnect; once that is taken care of all, apprehensions will slowly begin to disappear.

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2 Lakh Street Lights Replaced in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation Area
Jan 09,2017

Union Minister of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal will dedicate the Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP), currently running in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area, to the Nation in New Delhi on 9th January, 2017. It is the Worlds Largest Street Light Replacement Programme, which is being implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

The SLNP programme is presently running in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. A total of 15.36 lakh street lights have already been replaced in the country with LED bulbs, which is resulting in energy savings of 20.35 crore kWh, avoiding capacity of 50.71 MW and reducing 1.68 lakh tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum. The energy efficiency market in India is estimated at US$ 12 billion that can potentially result in energy savings of up to 20 per cent of current consumption, by way of innovative business and implementation models.

Under the SLNP, SDMC area alone accounts for over 2 lakh street light replacements. The cumulative annual energy savings in SDMC through this programme is 2.65 crore kWh which has helped to avoid capacity addition of 6.6 MW, resulting in a daily reduction of 22,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. Additionally in Delhi, under Phase II of the street lighting programme, EESL has signed a tripartite agreement with BSES and SDMC to install 75,000 more street lights with more focus on installation in parks.

In the SDMC Project, EESL is addressing complaints from various sources viz., registered from BSES helpline, night patrolling team by EESL, mobile vans, e-mails, social media and other sources including Ward Councilors. Additionally, EESL is putting stringent complaint redressal mechanism and Centralized Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) to enable remote operation and monitoring of the street lights. CCMS provides real time information on energy consumption and remote monitoring of the street lights.

On the occasion, Shri Goyal will also launch the mobile app called EESL SL Complaint App for SDMC, wherein users can now lodge complaints about faulty street lights. These complaints will be addressed to within a period of 48 hours.

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Income-tax Rules amended to provide- bank shall obtain & link PAN or Form No. 60 in all existing bank accounts (other than BSBDA) by 28 February 2017
Jan 09,2017

Income-tax Rules have been amended to provide that bank shall obtain and link PAN or Form No. 60 (where PAN is not available) in all existing bank accounts (other than BSBDA) by 28 February 2017, if not already done. In this connection, it may be mentioned that RBI vide circular dated 15 December 2016 has mandated that no withdrawal shall be allowed from the accounts having substantial credit balance/deposits if PAN or Form No.60 is not provided in respect of such accounts. Therefore, persons who are having bank account but have not submitted PAN or Form No.60 are advised to submit the PAN or Form No. 60 to the bank by 28.2.2017.

The banks and post offices have also been mandated to submit information in respect of cash deposits from 1 April 2016 to 8 November 2016 in accounts where the cash deposits during the period 9 November 2016 to 30 December 2016 exceeds the specified limits.

It has also been provided that person who is required to obtain PAN or Form No.60 shall record the PAN/Form.No.60 in all the documents and quote the same in all the reports submitted to the Income-tax Department.

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