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High expectations riding on new UP Government: ASSOCHAM
Mar 21,2017

Faced with high expectations created by a massive mandate given to the BJP, the incoming Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has to meet immediate challenges of ensuring much better electricity supply in the coming summer, give urgent relief to Bundelkhand and find a lasting solutions for arrears of sugarcane farmers, the ASSOCHAM said today.

The Uttar Pradesh has a sizeable annual budget of about Rs 3.5 lakh crore with a deficit of about Rs 50,000 crore. Though there is a scope for bettering the state balance sheet, its fiscal situation is not as bad as some states, the chamber said.

The top priority of the new government should be to drastically improve the quality and quantity of power supply in the ensuing summer. Like several parts of the country, the challenge is not as much generation and availability of power but the financial health of the power utilities, mostly in the state ownership.

The new government should immediately take recourse to the UDAY scheme of the Centre and bring the state utility to robust health so that the users in both rural and urban areas are given better power supply. As is provided in the new scheme of things, fresh investment should be made in separate supply channels to the farmers who, for welfare reasons, have to be given the electricity supply at the concessional rates and the financial load can be taken by the state government, rather than the individual power utility.

n++Being an agricultural state, Uttar Pradesh has a huge potential in diverse agro activities like live stock, milk production and processing, food processing . For instance, abundant supply of potatoes in districts like Kannauj and mango in areas like Maliabad, need a modern processing facilities which should be encouraged in the private sector by way of fiscal and other support. Likewise, lot more agro hubs and mandis should be built in the state,n++ ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said.

As of now, the state produces about 360-400 lakh tonnes per annum and is the number one producer of milk in the country.

The state has several large sized cities like Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Noida, Agra, Meerut, Moradabad, Meerut , which need to be modernized and upgraded in terms of infrastructure. While initiatives like metro rail have been taken, they must be enlarged and lot more investment be made in city infrastructure including sanitation, drinking water, urban waste management.

n++A drive down the state presents a bad picture of heaps of plastics not only in cities but also in villages, creating an environment hazards, including the ground water,n++ the chamber said.

Since the same BJP is now in power in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, a better coordination should be achieved between the two states to give a better deal to the Bundelkhand areas which have suffered for long due to water scarcity and general backwardness.

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Moodys: Liquidity-Stress Index down again in March, extending overall declining trend
Mar 21,2017

Moodys Liquidity-Stress Index (LSI) edged lower again in March, extending its overall improving trend, the rating agency says in its most recent edition of SGL Monitor. The index declined to 5.6% in mid-March from 5.7 in February. The decreasing LSI bodes well for a lower US speculative-grade default rate, which Moodys forecasts will fall to 3.1% by next February, from around 5.4% today.

Moodys Liquidity-Stress Index falls when corporate liquidity appears to improve and rises when it appears to weaken.

The LSI has been steadily improving for a year now, except for a short-lived uptick in January, said Senior Vice President, John Puchalla. Speculative-grade companies continue to benefit from generally solid fundamentals, including modest US economic growth and robust credit markets fueled by investor appetite for higher yields.

New high-yield bond and loan issuance in the year to date is at least twice as high as it was this time last year, Puchalla says in LSI Stable Amid Robust Issuance. Bond issuance so far totals about $70 billion and loan issuance around $190 billion, according to Dealogic. February was a particularly busy month, with the momentum carrying into March. While M&A activity has been modest, refinancing activity is heavy as issuers continue to capitalize on good market conditions to push out maturities at favorable pricing.

So far in March, there have been three upgrades and three downgrades of Moodys speculative-grade liquidity (SGL) ratings. Operating weakness contributed to the downgrades, but appear to reflect company-specific issues rather than any more broad-based industry shifts. The number of SGL rating downgrades remains far below the level of early 2016, when Moodys undertook a major ratings review of the energy sector.

Meanwhile, Moodys Covenant-Stress Index slipped to 3.6% in February from 3.9% the prior month, also resuming a steady decline after a brief uptick in January. The index measures the extent to which US speculative-grade companies are at risk of violating debt covenants, and continues to indicate that the risk of their doing so is very small.

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ASSOCHAM-Crisil study suggests three pronged strategy to deepen bond market in India
Mar 21,2017

A three pronged approach based on - facilitating larger institutional investment in corporate bonds together with weaning companies away from bank loans and ensuring facilitative policies and infrastructure from perspective of both issuers and investors is imperative for comprehensive development of debt market in India, suggested a recent ASSOCHAM-Crisil joint study.

n++Setting up of a dedicated team of experts or department within the Ministry of Finance to facilitate development of the corporate bond market and following up on relevant implementation initiatives will help,n++ suggested the study titled, Giving debt its due, jointly conducted by ASSOCHAM and Crisil thereby highlighting the need to put in facilitative policies and requisite infrastructure.

As part of facilitating larger institutional investment in corporate bonds - mutual funds, insurance companies and pension funds have best chance of channelling financial savings. While bank financing is by far the most preferred mode of funding, as such more companies should come out with bonds.

n++The Indian bond market has not grown the way it should have due to structural constraints - dominance of banks in lending, risk appetite of investors limited to higher ratings, regulatory arbitrage between loans and bonds and prescriptive regulatory limits on investments,n++ noted the study.

Factors such as dominance of banks in lending, risk appetite of investors limited to higher ratings, regulatory arbitrage between loans and bonds, and prescriptive regulatory limits on investments are hindering the growth of corporate bond market in India.

n++Also, retail (individuals) participation in debt markets is almost non-existent, even though the Indian investor psyche is skewed towards fixed income instruments - with as much as 47 per cent of the annual household financial savings flowing into bank fixed deposits,n++ said the report.

Highlighting the importance of a thriving corporate bond market, it said, n++It would be a win-win for both industry participants and investors - issuers will benefit from being able to generate stable funding at low costs, while investors can get secure and predictable cash flows with higher returns compared with plain-vanilla bank fixed deposits.n++

The report further stated that in the long run, this also offers economic benefits to the country as a whole, and is growth-conducive as it becomes especially important for funding the governments ambitious infrastructure agenda, which will require an estimated Rs 43 trillion in the five fiscals to 2020.

Considering the major role of individual investors, the study highlighted the urgent need to promote vigorous investor education and awareness initiatives as part of encouraging measures undertaken by regulators.

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Moodys: Demonetization adds to short-term adjustment pressure on Indias non-bank finance companies, but will not derail their growing franchise
Mar 21,2017

Moodys Investors Service says that non-bank financial companies (NBFCs) in India (Baa3 positive) will demonstrate broadly stable asset quality, but delinquencies will likely rise over the next 1-2 quarters, as demonetization adversely affects collections across asset classes.

While the 90+days delinquency rate in the commercial vehicle (CV) loan segment largely stabilized in the first half of the fiscal year ending 31 March 2017, such delinquencies should build up in the near term due to the adverse impact of demonetization and tighter recognition norms for non-performing assets (NPAs), says Alka Anbarasu, a Moodys Vice President and Senior Analyst.

Moodys also notes that the growth in loans against property (LAP) has outpaced overall retail credit growth in recent years, but relatively loose underwriting practices -- combined with intensifying competition -- will translate into higher asset quality risk for this segment.

Furthermore, over the past 3 years, NBFCs have gained some market share in the origination of retail lending, on the back of the faster growth exhibited by such entities when compared to the banks.

This is particularly the case when compared to public sector banks, which face significant challenges on their asset quality and overall solvency profiles.

Nevertheless, we expect that competitive pressures from the banking sector will remain intense as banks are increasing targeting of the retail segment to offset weakness in their corporate lending. In addition, retail lending, particularly housing loans, is more capital efficient for the banks, adds Anbarasu.

And, while the NBFCs capitalization levels are adequate, with average Tier 1 ratios in excess of 14%, capital generation will lag credit growth. Access to external capital will therefore be key in sustaining the NBFCs growth momentum.

On funding, Moodys expects that the NBFCs funding profiles will broadly remain stable, and funding costs should moderate gradually, given the reduction in systemic rates.

In addition, the NBFCs profitability and capital, as well as funding and liquidity levels, will stay broadly stable. Moodys conclusion is despite the fact that n++ in line with the global trend n++ the funding and liquidity profiles of Indian NBFCs present key downside risks, particularly because of their dependence on confidence-sensitive market funding.

Moodys also says that the NBFCs will maintain well-matched asset-liability profiles n++ despite their weak funding profiles n++ a situation which will protect them against downside risks. However, adverse market events have exposed them to volatility in refinancing and remain a key credit challenge.

The NBFCs are growing at a fast pace, and have gained market share in the origination of retail credit. And, their share of LAP pose a potential source of risk, with such loans growing at a rapid compound annual growth rate of about 25% over the last four years compared to 17% for overall retail credit. Moodys says that the NBFCs exposure to potential risks from LAP is broadly offset by their share of stable mortgage loans, because favorable demographics and economics, tax incentives for home loans and an increasingly affordable housing segment support asset quality. Moodys expects that the loss given default for both home loans and LAP will be limited, in light of the underlying collateral.

The performance of individual NBFCs varies widely, even as the sector as a whole shows better performance when compared to the banks. In addition, within segments n++ such as for housing finance companies n++ variation is also widespread, reflecting the nature of portfolios, as well as the ability to manage costs.

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Inland Water Transport to Reduce Overall Logistics Cost
Mar 21,2017

Inland Water Transport (IWT) mode is widely recognized as an environment friendly and cost effective mode of transport.  As per RITES Report of 2014 on Integrated National Waterways Transportation Grid (INWTG), one litre of fuel moves 24 tonne - km on road, 95 tonne-km on rail and 215 tonne-km on IWT.  The comparative inter modal costs are given below:-

Mode

Pre tax freight

(Rs. per tonne Km)

Post Service tax freight

(Rs. per tonne km)

Railways

1.361.41

Highways

2.502.58

IWT

1.061.06

The significant cost saving shows that the promotion of Inland Water Transport (IWT) is expected to have a positive impact on reduction in overall logistics cost.  However, as compared to roads and railways, development of transportation on national waterways is still in infancy stage. 

The Three National Waterways (NWs) viz. Ganga-BhagirathiGôHooghly river system (NW-1), River Brahmaputra (NW-2) and West Coast Canal (NW-3) have been developed with targeted depth, fixed and floating terminals with mechanized facilities for cargo loading, unloading and Navigational Aids.  Vessels are plying on these waterways.

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Moodys: Mild Growth for Global Oilfield Services and Drilling Sector on Increased Oil Prices, Upstream Spending
Mar 21,2017

Moodys Investors Services has revised its outlook to stable from negative for the formerly beleaguered global oilfield services and drilling sector, with 2017 EBITDA anticipated to grow between 6-8% after two years of extreme stress and declining earnings. The revised outlook comes as oil prices and upstream spending show continued signs of recovery, buoyed by expected improvements in OFS operating margins from very depressed levels and an expansion of upstream drilling budgets -- a sign of increasing optimism on the part of upstream companies.

While OFS companies will remain stressed in regions with high production costs and excess service capacity, the broader operating environment will become less dreadful as higher energy prices keep spurring US rig activity and stabilizing international markets, says Sajjad Alam, a Moodys Vice President.

Even so, Moodys analysts caution that not all OFS segments and markets will stabilize or recover uniformly, with certain businesses and markets expected to suffer further erosion of revenue and EBITDA. Oilfield activities are expected to accelerate in US and Canadian markets and stabilize in most onshore international markets, but will continue to decline offshore during 2017. For its part, onshore equipment utilization is showing positive signs of recovery, and analysts expect OFS companies to regain some pricing power as soon as the second half of 2017n++particularly in the US, where equipment oversupply is easing. Nevertheless, in a reflection of the OFS recoverys unevenness, in deepwater and ultra-deepwater markets, reduced investments and project deferrals are likely to persist at least through mid-2018.

Given their scale, number of high quality assets, varied product offerings and broad geographic footprint, large and diversified companies are expected to disproportionately capture most of the incremental margins and will likely expand their market share during the industrys recovery, Moodys says. The five largest Moodys-rated OFS issuers, all showed top-line growth in fourth quarter 2016, after experiencing steep revenue losses for seven consecutive quarters.

But for smaller, specialized and regionally focused OFS companies, tough business conditions will persist in 2017, offering limited operating and financial flexibility. As of March 2017, more than half of Moodys-rated OFS companies have very weak credit quality, with a rating of Caa1 or lower. And while many of these same companies will try to amend loan covenants, restructure debt or seek protection from bankruptcy courts to stay afloat, Moodys says a slow or tepid recovery which makes it harder to repair the balance sheet quickly enough to avoid default may challenge these firms ultimate survival prospects.

Moodys outlook for a sector reflects the rating agencys expectations for the fundamental business conditions in the industry over the next 12 to 18 months. Moodys would change the global OFS outlook to positive should the sectors EBITDA growth accelerate faster than 10% annualized over the next 12-18 months, based on a quicker recovery in OFS pricing and margins than expected. Conversely, the outlook would be revised to negative on expected softer drilling and completion activity and a further lapse in OFS pricing power that would cut EBITDA by 10% or more.

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Government Aims To Make India A Global Biotech Hub By 2020
Mar 21,2017

The Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences, Mr. Y. S. Chowdary, has said that biotechnology will be the leader among the knowledge based industries of the 21st century. He said producing affordable products will be major issue for India. He called for efforts to set up a proper ecosystem with sustainable systems, particularly in hubs of rural India.

Mr. Y. S. Chowdary, further said that - n++Research and innovation has been one of the key areas emphasized by the Prime Minister. Globally, BIRAC has been hailed as one of the most effective government measures to create an enabling environment for research and development to flourish in a country. We aim to develop India into a global innovation hub by 2020 and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has paved the way to deliver on that mandate.n++

BIRAC is a not-for-profit public sector enterprise, set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India which acts as an interface agency to support emerging biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation, to address nationally relevant product development needs. Through the course of five years, BIRAC has supported over 618 projects, 850 start-ups, entrepreneurs, biotech companies and organizations and 20 incubators across the country, resulting in over 66 products and technologies and 120 Intellectual property rights being generated.

BIRAC supports entrepreneurs and start-ups at different stages of innovation - from the ideation stage to managing intellectual property rights and finally to the commercialization of products. Different initiatives of BIRAC target different stages of the innovation ecosystem from ideation stages to proof-of-concept and late stage validation to product development. BIRAC has 9 flagship schemes that are supported by funding from the Department of Biotechnology, and manages 7 collaboratively funded programs with international partners, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Nesta, the Wellcome Trust and USAID, among others. Social Innovation is a key focus for affordable and accessible product development.

Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology and Chairman, BIRAC said that Innovation and research must be directed toward addressing the most pressing problems of society. Were proud that BIRAC and the Department of Biotechnology are spearheading this effort in the biotechnology domain. Since its inception in 2012, BIRAC has created nearly two dozen incubators across the country and supported over 350 start-ups. We firmly believe that social entrepreneurship is the key to creating an inclusive society and our government is committed to providing all the necessary support.

The science and technology sector will play a key role in the governments Start-Up India Action Plan. The DBT, in line with the Start-Up India Action Plan has undertaken a number of initiatives centered on the three pillars of an ideal innovation ecosystem - funding, mentoring and capacity building, and the infrastructure to translate scientific research into commercial products. To this end, BIRAC implements its mandate through a wide range of high impact initiatives, providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, facilitating technology transfer, and supporting intellectual property management and handholding schemes for biotech firms to make them globally competitive.

Dr. Renu Swarup, Senior Adviser, Department of Biotechnology and Managing Director, BIRAC said that through initiatives such as Start-Up India and the Science and Technology for Harnessing Innovations or SATHI, the government is ushering in supportive policies and removing regulatory barriers to create an atmosphere of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. The world as a whole stands to gain with Indian innovators stepping up and changing the way we address the grand challenges we face today. We are proud that BIRAC has created an enabling environment for the biotechnology industry to prosper.

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n++Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhin++ medical services launched for ESIC beneficiaries of Delhi/Noida on pilot basis
Mar 21,2017

Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has launched the n++Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhin++ medical services for ESIC beneficiaries of Delhi/Noida on a pilot basis w.e.f 1st November, 2016. Under this scheme Insured Persons (IPs) and their families may seek primary medical care services including consultation and medicines, for common/routine ailments from any of the ESI dispensary in Delhi/Noida Also patient may be referred from any ESIC dispensary to any ESIC Hospitals in Delhi/Noida for secondary care.

ESI Corporation intends to extend such medical services in other parts of the country depending on the outcome of above pilot project.

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Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) to be merged with State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure greater banking services
Mar 21,2017

The Government of India has decided to merge the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with the State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure greater banking services outreach to a larger number of women, at a faster pace. The objectives of affordable credit to women as well as propagation of women-centric products need to be quickly achieved through a wider network and lower cost of funds.

The decision to merge BMB with SBI has been taken in view of the advantage of the large network of SBI among other things. In the three years since BMB was established, it has extended loans of Rs 192 crores to women borrowers, while the SBI group has provided loans of about Rs.46,000 crore to women borrowers. SBI has a large outreach of more than 20,000 branches and lowest cost of funds in the sector. Out of the total workforce of around 2 lakh employees in SBI, 22% are women. SBI group already has 126 exclusive all-women branches across the country while BMB has only seven. The proportion of administrative and managerial cost in BMB is much higher to reach the same coverage. For the same cost, a much higher volume of loans to women could be given through SBI.

The Union Government is committed to enhance the access to financial services to the population at large and women in particular. Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, preference is given to women for overdraft facility. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana had 73% women borrowers in the previous financial year.

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Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) to be merged with State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure greater banking services
Mar 21,2017

The Government of India has decided to merge the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with the State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure greater banking services outreach to a larger number of women, at a faster pace. The objectives of affordable credit to women as well as propagation of women-centric products need to be quickly achieved through a wider network and lower cost of funds.

The decision to merge BMB with SBI has been taken in view of the advantage of the large network of SBI among other things. In the three years since BMB was established, it has extended loans of Rs 192 crores to women borrowers, while the SBI group has provided loans of about Rs.46,000 crore to women borrowers. SBI has a large outreach of more than 20,000 branches and lowest cost of funds in the sector. Out of the total workforce of around 2 lakh employees in SBI, 22% are women. SBI group already has 126 exclusive all-women branches across the country while BMB has only seven. The proportion of administrative and managerial cost in BMB is much higher to reach the same coverage. For the same cost, a much higher volume of loans to women could be given through SBI.

The Union Government is committed to enhance the access to financial services to the population at large and women in particular. Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, preference is given to women for overdraft facility. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana had 73% women borrowers in the previous financial year.

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National Highways Declared in Uttar Pradesh
Mar 21,2017

The total length of National Highways (NHs) in the country is about 1,13,298 km. State roads are declared as new NHs from time to time on the basis of well established principles; the criteria for State roads for declaration as new NHs include roads running through length / breadth of the country, connecting adjacent countries, National Capitals with State Capitals / mutually the State Capitals, major ports, non-major ports, large industrial centers or tourist centers, roads meeting very important strategic requirement in hilly and isolated area, arterial roads which enable sizeable reduction in travel distance and achieve substantial economic growth thereby, roads which help opening up large tracts of backward area and hilly regions (other than strategically important ones), achieving a National Highways grid of 100 km, etc.

The receipt of No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the State Government, regarding transfer of assets and liabilities of new NHs declared in State of Uttar Pradesh during 2014, 2015 and 2016, is an essential prerequisite for entrusting these to the agencies such as State Public Works Department (PWD), National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), etc., for taking up maintenance and development works on such new NHs. The Ministry has received NOC from the State Government of Uttar Pradesh in respect of new NH No. 219, No. 227A, No. 334A, No. 334B and No. 731A only and these NHs have been entrusted to the State Government of Uttar Pradesh recently in December, 2016. The Ministry has allocated an amount of Rs. 19.05 crores during year 2016-17 under Ordinary Repair (OR) sub head under Maintenance & Repair head (M&R) to meet the contingency for keeping all the NHs including these newly entrusted NHs in traffic worthy condition. The further development of these newly entrusted NHs are taken up depending upon the availability of funds, inter se priority, traffic count and approved annual plan.

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National Highways Declared in Uttar Pradesh
Mar 21,2017

The total length of National Highways (NHs) in the country is about 1,13,298 km. State roads are declared as new NHs from time to time on the basis of well established principles; the criteria for State roads for declaration as new NHs include roads running through length / breadth of the country, connecting adjacent countries, National Capitals with State Capitals / mutually the State Capitals, major ports, non-major ports, large industrial centers or tourist centers, roads meeting very important strategic requirement in hilly and isolated area, arterial roads which enable sizeable reduction in travel distance and achieve substantial economic growth thereby, roads which help opening up large tracts of backward area and hilly regions (other than strategically important ones), achieving a National Highways grid of 100 km, etc.

The receipt of No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the State Government, regarding transfer of assets and liabilities of new NHs declared in State of Uttar Pradesh during 2014, 2015 and 2016, is an essential prerequisite for entrusting these to the agencies such as State Public Works Department (PWD), National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), etc., for taking up maintenance and development works on such new NHs. The Ministry has received NOC from the State Government of Uttar Pradesh in respect of new NH No. 219, No. 227A, No. 334A, No. 334B and No. 731A only and these NHs have been entrusted to the State Government of Uttar Pradesh recently in December, 2016. The Ministry has allocated an amount of Rs. 19.05 crores during year 2016-17 under Ordinary Repair (OR) sub head under Maintenance & Repair head (M&R) to meet the contingency for keeping all the NHs including these newly entrusted NHs in traffic worthy condition. The further development of these newly entrusted NHs are taken up depending upon the availability of funds, inter se priority, traffic count and approved annual plan.

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Employees Enrolment Campaign launched by EPFO to extend social security benefits to all eligible workers
Mar 20,2017

An Employees Enrolment Campaign has been launched by Employees Provident Fund Organisation during the period 01 January 2017 to 31 March 2017, in order to extend social security benefits to all the eligible workers in the country. During the Campaign, various financial incentives are being offered to establishments to enroll their workers.

An employer, whether already covered or yet to be covered, can enroll employees who remained un-enrolled for any reason between 01 April 2009 and 31 December 2016 by making a declaration of such employees during the campaign period. Such declaration shall be valid only in respect of employees who are alive as on 1st January, 2017 and no proceedings under section 7A of the Employees Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions (EPF & MP) Act, 1952 or under paragraph 26B of the Employees Provident Funds (EPF) Scheme, 1952 or under paragraph 8 of the Employees Pension Scheme, 1995 have been initiated against their establishment or employer, as the case may be, to determine the eligibility for membership of such employees. For the declaration made under this campaign, the employer shall be responsible to remit the employers contribution, interest under section 7Q of the Act and damages. As an incentive, the following shall apply to the declarations made under the campaign: -

(i) The employees share of contribution if declared by the employer not to have been deducted shall not be required to be paid.

(ii) The damages to be paid by the employer in respect of the employees for whom declaration has been made under this campaign shall be at the rate of Rupee 1(one) per annum.

(iii) No administrative charges shall be collected from the employer in respect of the contribution made under the declaration.

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EPFO takes various steps for speedy settlement of claims
Mar 20,2017

The Employees Provident Funds Organization (EPFO) has taken various steps for speedy settlement of claims which inter alia include:

n++ Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar) and Composite Claim Form (Non-Aadhaar) has been introduced by replacing the erstwhile Claim Forms No. 19, 10C and 31, with a view to simplify the submission of claims by the subscribers. The Composite Claim Form has been further simplified to include self-certification by EPF subscribers. The Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar) can be submitted to the EPFO without attestation of their employers.

n++ EPFO has mandated to settle claims within 20 days.

n++ Online Transfer Claim Portal (OTCP) has been introduced to facilitate seamless transfer of claims.

n++ An online payment facility has been developed for employers for payment of dues. The internet banking (INB) facility enhances efficiency and payment and ensures anytime, anywhere online access while usage of existing internet bank account to make payments online.

n++ National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) has been introduced for payments.

The Employees Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions (EPF & MP) Act, 1952 is applicable to every establishment employing 20 or more persons which is either a factory engaged in any industry specified in Schedule-I of the Act or an establishment to which the Act has been made applicable by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.

There was a total of 17.14 crore Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts as on 31 March 2016. 12.21 lakh accounts were pending for updation. As per consolidated Annual Accounts of EPFO for the year 2015-16, the closing balance in Interest Account as on 31st March, 2016 is Rs. 45,135.25 crore.

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Four Sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams to mitigate Cyber Security Threats in Power Systems
Mar 20,2017

Government of India, in line with National Cyber Security Policy 2013, has created sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to mitigate cyber security threats in power systems.

Government of India through Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology(MeitY) and National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) has taken several steps to make power utilities and key stakeholders aware to take precautions against cyber threats.

For cyber security in power systems, four Sectoral CERTs, CERT (Transmission), CERT (Thermal), CERT (Hydro) and CERT (Distribution) have also been formed to coordinate with power utilities. The relevant stakeholders of Smart Grid have been advised to identify critical infrastructure and use end to end encryption for data security.

All utilities have been asked to identify a nodal senior executive as its Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to lead the process of strengthening organizational systems with respect to cyber security and implement an Information Security Management System as recommended by rules framed under the Information Technology (IT) Act 2008.

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