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Adani Transmissions Acquisition of Reliance Infrastructures Assets Rating Neutral
Oct 13,2016

Adani Transmissions (ATL) proposed acquisition of Reliance Infrastructures three operating transmission assets is unlikely to impact the rating on its debt facilities, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

The three operating transmission assets proposed for acquisition benefit from the revenue sharing mechanism applicable for interstate assets, which is implemented by the Central Transmission Utility (Power Grid Corporation of India). The acquisition would decrease the counterparty concentration in consolidated ATLs assets, since Maharashtra based utilities contribute between 60% and 65% of ATLs consolidated revenue presently. Ind-Ra would review the final terms of acquisitions and also any future investments.

The rated debt under the obligor group is protected by a waterfall mechanism, whereby cash flows from the operating assets under Adani Transmission India and Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company are first available for servicing the rated debt before being invested in new projects or used for any other purpose, after complying with the defined financial covenants.

ATL has signed a binding term sheet with Reliance Infrastructure for acquiring the assets and expects to complete the transactions by 1QFY18, subject to statutory and regulatory approvals.

ATLs outstanding ratings are as follows:

- INR35.8bn non-convertible debentures: IND AA+/Stable

- INR12bn commercial paper (outstanding INR9.25bn): IND A1+

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Commerce Minister requests for expeditious clearances for import of Indian Rice and a Green Channel for import of Indian Pharmaceutical products
Oct 13,2016

The Commerce and Industries Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman and Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister for Ministry of Finance and Commerce, China exchanged notes on trade and commerce and agreed that the mounting bilateral trade deficit has been a cause for concern for India which seeks greater market access for its goods for a long term sustainable trade relationship.

Commerce Minister requested for expeditious clearances for import of Indian Rice and a Green Channel for import of Indian Pharmaceutical products to China - especially those which already have USFDA and EUFDA accreditation. She also requested the Chinese Vice minister to consider demonstration IT/ITeS projects for Indian companies - which have acquired global acclaim. She expressed concerns at the long drawn procedures for clearances which tend to frustrate the Indian companies seeking business opportunities in China.

Sitharaman requested for buying missions to India to source amongst other things, Indian Tobacco and oil meals.

The two leaders in consonance with the apex level meetings convened by the Prime Minister Modi and Xi Jinping, agreed that measures on providing greater market access for Indian goods and services in China need a demonstrative action.

The Chines Vice Minister assured that China would act on the concerns expressed by India regarding market access for Indian goods in the Chinese markets. He informed that recently China has quickened the pace of granting clearances to Indian Pharma companies for import of Indian Pharma products.

The Chinese Vice Minister further requested the cooperation of India in the various multilateral fora where China and India are engaged - the RCEP and assured that Indias concerns on a Single undertaking will be duly taken on board with services being an integral part of the cooperation agreement.

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Need factor market reforms in at least 12 champion states: Amitabh Kant
Oct 13,2016

Speaking at a discussion on Fuelling Indias Growth Engine: Manufacturing, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, said that Indias manufacturing must penetrate global markets, given that Indias market share in global exports is still low.

Kant added that factor market productivity is key for the competitiveness of Indian products and hoped that states would bring in reforms in land and labour markets. He said that India needs at least 12 champion states to usher in these reforms. He stressed that Indian companies need to push the limits on innovation in sectors such as defence, electronics and hardware.

Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Forge, stated said that India is competitive in manufacturing with most skill sets widely available and raw material costs no different from the rest of the world. India needs better infrastructure rather than incentives, he felt. While the global environment has been a hurdle for exporters, Indian companies must meet the requirements of domestic markets so that imports can be reduced.

Kalyani felt that the Make in India brand has successfully established itself globally and it is only a matter of time before companies are able to convert it to an opportunity. In the defence sector, he said that Make in India would soon become a reality.

Johan C. Aurik, Global Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board, A.T. Kearney, USA, expressed optimism about Indias current economic conditions. He advised that rather than imitate China, India should produce for the domestic markets. Technology advances such as robotics and artificial intelligence are having a huge impact on manufacturing, he added.

According to Sanjeev Sharma, Managing Director, ABB India, a robust eco-system exists in India and technology absorption is taking place at a rapid rate. With high-end software development and cutting-edge R&D, he expressed confidence about the cost of doing business.

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India - Sri Lanka FTA to be expanded to include services and investment: Sri Lankan Prime Minister
Oct 13,2016

Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka stated that his government and the Government of India were working to expand the India - Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement to include services and investment as well.

He added that the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) which has been under negotiation between the two countries should be concluded by the end of the year.

He stated that as these agreements come into force, India would have access to not just the Sri Lankan market but also to markets in Singapore, Japan and China among others as Sri Lanka was in the process of negotiating Free Trade Agreements with several countries.

In addition, he invited Indian companies to invest in Sri Lanka especially in areas such as infrastructure development including ports, airports and power, digital infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries and skilling among others. He stated that the aim of his government was to convert Sri Lanka into a Logistic, Finance and Business hub of South Asia.

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State (IC) for Commerce and Industry, Government of India, the reforms being undertaken by India is making it a more attractive place for companies to do business.

The Minister highlighted three major reform measures undertaken by the Government in the recent past which has helped improve the Indias competitiveness in the world. These include the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which she stated would integrate 800 transactions onto a single platform.

The second major initiative she highlighted was that of JAM or Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile. This initiative ensures financial inclusion of those who are unbanked, direct transfer of benefits to recipients and connectivity.

The third initiative she highlighted were the various measures that the Government was taking to improve the Ease of Doing Business in the Country. The Minister mentioned that the states have adopted this initiative and are working to improve processes and regulations to help improve the ease of doing business in the country.

Prof. Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman, World Economic forum stated that according to the WEFs Global Competitiveness Index, India was now one of the 40 most competitive economies in the world thanks to the reform measures that had been undertaken.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, stated that the measures taken by the Government had helped improve the ease of doing business in the country.

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Gartner Says Worldwide Semiconductor Capital Spending to Decline 0.3 Percent in 2016
Oct 12,2016

Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is projected to decline 0.3 percent in 2016, to $64.6 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. (see Table 1). This is up slightly from the estimated 0.7 percent decline in Gartners previous quarterly forecast. The market is expected to return to growth in 2017, increasing 7.4 percent.

As we enter the final quarter of 2016, we find growth returning to the semiconductor manufacturing industry, with a slightly improved capital investment outlook for 2016 from the last quarters forecast, said David Christensen, senior research analyst at Gartner. The outlook for equipment has improved significantly as logic manufacturers focus their spending on ramping fabs for the introduction of high-volume 10-nanometer production in 2017 and memory producers are focusing on the move to 3D NAND flash.

China remains something of a wild card, after the announcement of multiple fab projects that will aid overall growth through the end of the decade, while a stronger U.S. dollar in 2016 will remain a key factor in determining revenue growth of semiconductor manufacturers.

Table 1: Worldwide Semiconductor Capital Spending and Equipment Spending Forecast, 2015-2018 (Millions of Dollars) 

2015201620172018Semiconductor Capital Spending ($M) 

64,750.8

 

64,586.5

 

69,342.9

 

71,265.2

Growth (%)0.3-0.37.42.8Wafer-Level Manufacturing Equipment ($M) 

33,248.1

 

35,383.1

 

37,701.7

 

38,695.7

Growth (%)-1.16.46.62.6Wafer Fab Equipment ($M)31,485.433,557.135,695.036,460.4Growth (%)-1.36.66.42.1Wafer-Level Packaging and Assembly Equipment ($M) 

1,762.7

 

1,825.9

 

2,006.6

 

2,235.3

Growth (%)4.13.69.911.4

Source: Gartner (October 2016)

As with previous years, smartphones, mobile devices, solid-state drives (SSDs) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will remain the principal drivers of the semiconductor market for the immediate future, particularly for foundries that manufacture most of the wafers of logic chips for these devices. Although unit shipments of smartphones have slowed down, the fast migration to 4G LTE in high-end smartphones has driven the wafer demand of advanced process technologies, while the adoption of fingerprint sensors, touch display drivers and active-matrix dynamic light-emitting diodes (AMOLEDs) by Chinese smartphones has made full use of 200mm foundries 0.18-micron capacity.

From a device perspective, DRAM conditions in the first half of 2016 were worse, but the market hit bottom at midyear. There is now tightening supply, and better demand has pulled the market into an undersupply for the second half of the year. At the start of 2017, a weaker demand environment will create a brief technical oversupply, but the industry will then move back into an undersupply for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

After nearly three years of oversupply, there was a pronounced shortage of NAND in the third quarter of 2016, and 3D NAND production ramp challenges persist. 2017 is expected to see a favorable supply/demand balance that loosens up by the end of the year. Substantial capacity additions during the second half of the year along with 3D NAND technology maturation from some vendors will contribute to the favorable supply/demand balance. 2016 spending on wafer-level manufacturing equipment will be up 6.4 percent, driven by logic manufacturers ramping to 10nm and memory players moving to 3D NAND.

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An important part of the Digital India Programme, it is a significant effort towards greater transparency in policymaking-FICCI
Oct 12,2016

Welcoming the enhanced dashboard for Foreign Trade Data, Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI said, n++We are encouraged to see the dashboard on foreign trade data, launched by Commerce & Industry Minister today. An important part of the Digital India Programme, it is a significant effort towards greater transparency in policymaking. This will go a long way in making trade-related information and statistics available for all stakeholders in a user-friendly mannern++. Complimenting Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Dr Singh added n++To have such a comprehensive and exhaustive dashboard of complex trade data is a major initiative. Besides playing a critical role in improved data analytics, it will be an easy-to-understand tool for the business community and immensely.

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Bank Urged to Expand Work on Global Risks
Oct 12,2016

The World Bank Group must become n++better, stronger, and more agilen++ to confront major global challenges over the next 15 years, while also working to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

That was a key message of the Development Committee, a ministerial-level forum of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, in a communiqun++ released at the close of the institutions Annual Meetings.

The committee representing the Bank Groups 189 member countries said the global development landscape will face n++critical shiftsn++ in the future, driven by climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, migration, and fragility, conflict and violence, urbanization and demographic changes. Addressing these changes will require more collaboration with others and more resources, it said.

Acknowledging an environment of n++sluggishn++ global economic growth and geopolitical and economic uncertainties, the committee also called on the Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to work with countries to n++enhance synergy among monetary, fiscal and structural reform policies, stimulate growth, create jobs, and strengthen the gains from multilateralism for all.n++

The committees message capped two days of meetings of the Bank and IMF shareholders - including most of the worlds countries. Ahead of the meetings, the Bank Group released a flagship report on poverty, shared prosperity, and inequality, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim outlined his vision to accelerate development and the fight against poverty for his second term in a speech at the Brookings Institution.

Kim said the Bank is increasingly involved in development challenges beyond its traditional mandate, including major new initiatives to address the refugee crisis, climate change, and the threat of pandemics.

Challenges, he said, include technological change and the automation of work, which could impact jobs and the ability of developing countries to compete globally. By 2030, its projected that almost half of the worlds poor will live in countries affected by fragility and conflict. Emerging markets and low-income countries currently face an annual infrastructure financing gap of up to $1.5 trillion, said Kim.

He asked member countries at the Annual Meeting plenary session to give the Bank flexibility to n++solve the most important problems and make sure we have the financial capacity to change the world for the poorest and the most marginalized.n++

Over the last 70 years, the World Bank has been able to leverage $15 billion in paid-in capital to provide $600 billion in loans, and so increase the amount of assistance available to developing countries. The Bank Groups private sector focused arm, IFC, leverages its capital 20 times, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Association (MIGA) leverages its shareholder equity 39 times, according to a paper on the Banks n++forward look,n++ submitted to the Development Committee.

The committee said that it would consider options to strengthen the financial position of the Bank no later than the 2017 Annual Meetings October 13-15, 2017, in Washington.

It urged the Bank Group to n++help create markets, particularly in the most challenging environments, and to mobilize private resources, including through guarantees, especially for quality infrastructure, and for small and medium enterprises.n++

Kim, who was appointed last month to a second term as president of the Bank, outlined a plan to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth, increase investments in human capital, and foster resilience to global shocks and threats.

He said private sector financing will be critical and the Group would aim to mobilize private sector investment in the most challenging sectors and countries, and do n++much more to tackle some of those risks that constrain the private sector in these markets.n++

n++I want you to know that going forward, we will be much more aggressive in putting on the table, capital and specific instruments that can reduce risk. In doing so, we feel that we can create new markets and encourage investors to venture into countries and projects that they never would have considered before,n++ Kim said at Brookings

The Development Committee welcomed a plan to increase the financing capacity of the World Banks fund for the poorest countries, the International Development Association, also known as IDA. n++We advocate for a strong IDA18 replenishment, with a broadened donor base. We welcome the innovative financing and policy package, including the proposal to enable IDA, which has recently received milestone triple-A ratings, to tap into capital markets to complement its resources.n++

More than half the worlds poor live in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence, where IDA support is particularly important, it added.

The Development Committee also asked the Bank and IMF to help countries access finance for adaption to climate change, as well as mitigation and improved disaster risk management.

It urged the Bank to n++focus on building resilience while expanding insurance schemes and increasing investments in climate-smart land use, green infrastructure, and sustainable cities.n++ Kim announced assistance for Haiti during the Meetings to respond to damage from Hurricane Matthew, as well as $20 million from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, developed with assistance of the World Bank.

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Transport services account for lions share of 71% in investments attracted by infra sector: Study
Oct 12,2016

Transport services have garnered highest share of over 71 per cent in terms of investments worth over Rs 53 lakh crore attracted by infrastructure sector from both public and private sources across India as of 2015, noted a recent ASSOCHAM study.

n++Miscellaneous services sector which includes storage and distribution, education, health, recreational and other such services accounts for second highest share of about 13 per cent in total investments attracted by infrastructure sector by states across India, followed by communication (five per cent), wholesale and retail trading (five per cent), information technology (four per cent) and hotels & tourism (two per cent),n++ highlighted the ASSOCHAM study titled Analysis of infrastructure investment in India.

n++Total investments attracted by infrastructure sector across India have increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 10 per cent between 2010-2015 thereby increasing from over Rs 32 lakh crore to over Rs 53 lakh crore,n++ noted the study prepared by The ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB).

While investments attracted by transport services sector have increased at maximum growth of over 13 per cent during the aforesaid period, followed by miscellaneous services (6.5 per cent), communication (5 per cent), wholesale and retail (two per cent), hotels and tourism (two per cent) and IT (one per cent).

n++Public sector accounted for highest share of 59 per cent in the total investments attracted by infrastructure sector, this is worrisome as India needs to look for more private sector participation in perking up infrastructure across the country, but it is seen that over the years reliance on public sources have increased,n++ said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chambers study.

n++So far public investments have been the dominant form of infrastructure financing in India, but this is expected to change as large deficits and other commitments together with social obligations will constrain governments financial flexibility, thus there will be a greater need to mobilise private sector capital that can be invested into infrastructure,n++ said Mr Rawat.

At the state level, public sector investment shows that in 2015 public sources had highest share of over 95 per cent in investments attracted by Chhattisgarh in infrastructure sector followed by Bihar (92 per cent), Uttarakhand (87 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (80 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (77 per cent) amid top five states in terms of public investments.

Though in West Bengal (59 per cent), Tamil Nadu (58 per cent), Odisha (50 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (47 per cent), Gujarat (27 per cent) and Haryana (10 per cent) public investments share was below that of the countrys average share thereby implying that these six states would be leading in terms of private sectors contribution to infrastructure sector, noted the study.

Projects report cost escalation & delay in implementation:

Investments attracted by the transport services sector have registered steep cost escalation of 47 per cent thereby exceeding the actual cost of projects by a whopping Rs five lakh crore, besides these projects are also facing an average delay of over 44 months

Investment projects attracted by Telangana in transport services sector have registered highest cost escalation rate of about 89 per cent and are facing delay of over 51 months as of 2015.

Punjab (65 per cent), Jharkhand (59 per cent), West Bengal (58 per cent) and Gujarat (56 per cent) are other among top five states to have recorded high cost escalation rate in delayed transport services investment projects.

Suggestions:

In its study, ASSOCHAM has suggested various measures like reducing delay in creating businesses, obtaining approvals, enforcing contracts; providing sufficient legal protection for investors; ensuring more transparent and predictable government decision making thereby minimising political and regulatory risks.

Co-ordination between government agencies together with a single window clearance system should be implemented with specific guidelines for time bound approvals. Besides, land acquisition and environment clearances continue to remain critical concerns for infrastructure developers as such these issues should be addressed proactively to balance the interests of all stakeholders.

There is also an urgent need to fill-up the skills related gap in handling infrastructure projects and the government should create a skill ecosystem in partnership with private players with a view to formalise professional training for project managers, suggested ASSOCHAM.

It also added that there is a need to improve depth and liquidity of corporate bond market to provide additional source of funding for infrastructure companies.

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Gold to further shine despite a golden run, says ASSOCHAM paper
Oct 12,2016

In the backdrop of continuous global political and financial risks coupled with revival in demand in the domestic market, gold prices are likely to stay firm in the range of Rs 30,500 -33500 per 10 grams despite the yellow metal having had a golden run up of about 25 per cent since January this year, an ASSOCHAM Paper has pointed out.

The prices, at present are ruling at Rs 31,000-31,500 for 24 carat purity gold in major Indian cities, even as the festive demand seems to be picking up. n++Going forward, the festive demand will get a further push from the wedding season, which is the main contributor to gold consumption in India. The upside in the short term of a few months is seen between Rs 1,500-2000 while the downside could be limited to Rs 1,000-2000 per ten grams, the paper said.

While India has been among the two biggest consumers of the gold in the world along with China with imports in the past going even up to 1,000 tonnes per annum, the inflows this year have been quite low on a combination of factors including a prolonged strike by jewellers who vehemently protested imposition of excise duty on jewellery in the Budget and continuation of 10 per cent customs duty on imports despite expectations of reduction. Gold imports between January and September aggregated 270 tonnes this year against 658 tonnes in the corresponding period of last calendar year, adds the ASSOCHAM paper.

n++The moot question among the buyers and analysts is whether scope for any further run is left when gold has seen so much of a rally, the best among all the assets classes - including quantitative easing led stock markets. Revival in Indian consumption, financial risks in the Chinese economy, tapering tantrums of the US Federal Reserve as also close American Presidential elections are all seen as the push factors for the gold to remain as a safe haven,n++ the ASSOCHAM Paper noted.

Reading the trends and watching the global developments, the chamber Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said,n++ gold is finding a strong support levels in the international markets and is expected to stay above USD 1200 mark, as a starting point for the next possible rally. All in all, given the state of play in equity, debt and properties, gold would stand out for quite some timen++.

Yet another reason for the investors to seek refuge in gold by global markets is the prolonged phase of negative interest rates by a large number of central banks, which act as a big disincentive to the investing public to park their funds in banks which erode their wealth, rather than adding to the same.

n++The outlook for the precious metal remains upbeat taking into consideration several factors including reduced pace of the US Fed rate hikes , increased adoption of negative interest rates most recently in Japan , increased inflows in gold ETFs(equity trade funds) and decline in gold productionn++.

Back home, along with the official channels, smuggling of gold has seen up tick due to continuation of high import duties. The industry has been demanding lowering of duties to encourage official imports.

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Worldwide PC shipments declines 5.7% in third quarter of 2016: Gartner
Oct 12,2016

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.9 million units in the third quarter of 2016, a 5.7% decline from the third quarter of 2015, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the eighth consecutive quarter of PC shipment decline, the longest duration of decline in the history of the PC industry.

PC manufacturers faced many challenges, which included weak back-to-school demand, and ongoing low demand in the consumer market, especially in emerging markets.

There are two fundamental issues that have impacted PC market results: the extension of the lifetime of the PC caused by the excess of consumer devices, and weak PC consumer demand in emerging markets, said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. According to our 2016 personal technology survey, the majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again.

In emerging markets, PC penetration is low, but consumers are not keen to own PCs. Consumers in emerging markets primarily use smartphones or phablets for their computing needs, and they dont find the need to use a PC as much as consumers in mature markets.

The PC market continues to consolidate, as the top six vendors combined for a record high 78% of PC shipments in the third quarter of 2016 (Table 1). Lenovo continued to be the worldwide market leader based on preliminary PC shipments, but HP Inc. is nearly tied for this top spot, and these rankings could change when final shipment results are published. Lenovo has recorded six consecutive quarters of year-over-year shipment declines, while the nearest competitors, HP Inc. and Dell, have recorded shipment growth since the second quarter of 2016.

Table 1: Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q16 (Thousands of Units)Company3Q16 Shipments3Q16 Market Share (%)3Q15 Shipments3Q15 Market Share (%)3Q16-3Q15 Growth (%)Lenovo1443420.91478920.2-2.4HP Inc.1405820.41374418.82.3Dell1011114.7985613.52.6Asus53977.852717.22.4Apple49467.257097.8-13.4Acer46136.753707.3-14.1Others1538622.31835925.1-16.2Total6894510079098100-5.7Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums (such as Microsoft Surface), but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels. Source: Gartner (October 2016)

The stabilization of the PC business market was a key factor for HP Inc.s shipment growth, as a majority of its revenue was generated from the business segment. Dells shipment growth exceeded the regional average in most regions.

In the United States, PC shipments totaled 16.2 million units in the third quarter, a 0.3% decline from the same period last year (Table 2). This is the second consecutive quarter of flat year-over-year PC shipment growth.

Mobile PCs, which include notebooks, two-in-one PCs and Windows tablets, showed low-single-digit year-over-year growth, but the overall results were offset by a decline of desktop shipments, Ms. Kitagawa said. Traditionally, the third quarter has been driven by back-to-school PC sales, but back-to-school marketing campaigns have become less effective for driving PC sales. With so many PCs already in the consumer market, U.S. consumers do not feel the need to buy new PCs; many parents hand down old PCs to their kids. While our PC shipment report does not include Chromebooks, our early indicator shows that Chromebooks exceeded PC shipment growth.

Table 2: Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q16 (Thousands of Units) Company3Q16 Shipments3Q16 Market Share (%)3Q15 Shipments3Q15 Market Share (%)3Q16-3Q15 Growth (%)HP Inc.479329.7464928.73.1Dell387424381323.51.6Lenovo228414.1198212.215.3Apple207612.9232514.3-10.7Asus8245.17834.85.3Others230014.2265716.4-13.4Total1615210016208100-0.3Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs

Ministry of Railways signs MoU with Government of Odisha For Cost Sharing of Two New Railway Line Projects in Odisha
Oct 12,2016

Ministry of Railways signed MoU with Government of Odisha For Cost Sharing of Two New Railway Line Projects in Odisha. This was signed in the presence of Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Union Minister for Railways and Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha. On this occasion Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Jual Oram, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs and Member of Parliament from Odisha were also present. The signatories of the MoU were Shri SC Jain, ED Works from Ministry of Railways and Shri Sanjeev Rastogi, Principal Secretary, Government of Odisha. The MoU was signed for sharing cost of laying two new lines in Odisha viz. Jeypore - Malkangiri and Jeypore - Nabarangpur.

The two new line projects viz. Jeypore- Nabarangpur and Jeypore- Malkangiri was included by Indian Railways in the Railway budget 2016-17 subject to requisite approvals from the Odisha government. Government of Odisha has agreed to partly bear the cost of these projects as detailed below:

n++JEYPORE - MALKANGIRI (130 Km)- 25% of total cost

n++JEYPORE - NABARANGPUR (38 Km)- entire land cost and 50% cost of construction.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Suresh Prabhu said that Orissa is a focus state for Indian Railways. The speed of implementation of projects will take Odisha ahead in rail connectivity. Odisha has minerals, tourism potential, etc. But development is lacking due to lack of connectivity. State Government alone cannot bring in connectivity. So Indian Railways is doing its part to improve the connectivity in Odisha. To improve the connectivity infrastructure in a particular state, Indian Railways is now forming Joint Venture with that State Government. Sharing of ownership will lead to more leverage in creating connectivity in the State. 11 Railway Stations including Bhubaneswar in Odisha is planned to be taken for Railway Station Redevelopment. Indian Railways is planning ways of developing Odisha as a tourism hub through IRCTC. Indian Railways through its PSU, IRCTC has also planned to market products of tribal SHGs in Odisha. Indian Railways has also planned to open a Rail Factory in Kalahandi.

Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha has said that Odisha occupies an important place on the map of Indian Railways. For the first time an all time high of Rs. 4880 Crore has been provided to Odisha. He also said that the rail connectivity in Odisha is way less than the national average and he is glad that this Government has given priority to his state for improving the rail connectivity. The two projects viz, Jeypore - Malkangiri and Jeypore - Nabarangpur will serve the most backward, Naxal affected and tribal areas of the state. Odisha Government will be providing land free of cost for these projects.

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas has said that these projects will connect the Western Odisha for the first time. Development in Western Odisha was lacking only due to the lack of connectivity and this project will help in boosting the development in this part of the state.

Shri Jual Oram, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs has said that this project will connect the most backward areas of the state and bring in the development to the tribal people of the area. These project will help the tribal people in selling their products to faraway places and help in their development.

Detailed Project Report (DPR) for JEYPORE - NABARANGPUR has been prepared while the same for JEYPORE - MALKANGIRI is under preparation. Once the DPRs are examined by Ministry of Railways, requisite approvals will be sought.

Salient features of new BG line between Jeypore - Malkangiri (130 km)

The proposed new railway line between Jeypore - Malkangiri will serve the remote areas of Koraput and Malkangiri districts of Western Odisha, which have no railway connectivity. Entire line will be passing through hilly terrain and thick forests.

The important towns en-route are Boipariguda, Tanginiguda, Maithili, Pandripani Road. The total Route Km of the proposed new line is 130 Km connecting district headquarters of Koraput and Malkangiri. Out of 130 Km of this route, 45 Km falls in Koraput District and 85 Km in Malkangiri District. The alignment passes through 12 stations including three passenger halts at Tanginiguda, Govindapalli & Maithili.

The line is proposed with overhead electrification, standard-III interlocking, Multi Aspect Color Light Signaling (MACLS) and Optic fiber communication.

Construction of new line involves about 4,00 lakh cum of earth work in formation, 98 bridges (22 major, 61 minor & 15 RUBs). Level crossings have been eliminated by proposing all road crossings with Limited height subways (7 Nos), ROBs (15 Nos) and RUBs. There are four nos. of Tunnels comprising a total length of 2600m approximately at location of very deep cuttings.

Salient Features Of New BG Line Between Jeypore - Nabarangpur (38 Km)

The area from Jeypore to Nabarangpur is well irrigated by canals. The important town en- route is Boriguma, approximately 18 Km from Jeypore, i.e. almost half way to Nabarangpur. There are five railway stations including two passenger halts at Ambaguda Road and Kaliaguda.

Construction of new line involve about 98 lakh cum of earth work in formation, 60 bridges (9 major, 40 minor & 11 RUBs). Level crossing have been eliminated by proposing all road crossings with Limited height subways and RUBs.

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Indirect Tax Collections up to September 2016 show an increase of 25.9% over the corresponding period last year
Oct 12,2016

The figures for indirect tax collections (Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs) up to September 2016 in the current Financial Year 2016-17 show that net revenue collections are at Rs 4.08 lakh crore which is 25.9% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year i.e. 2015-16. Till September 2016, 52.5% 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.1.83 lakh crore during April-September, 2016 as compared to Rs.1.25 lakh crore during the corresponding period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 46.3%.

Net Tax collections on account of Service Tax during April-September, 2016 stood at Rs. 1,16,975 crore as compared to Rs. 95,780 crore during the corresponding period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 22.1%.

Net Tax collections on account of Customs during April-September 2016 stood at Rs. 1.08 lakh crore as compared to Rs. 1.03 lakh crore during the same period in the previous Financial Year, thereby registering a growth of 4.8%.

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HIMANSH, Indias Remote, High-Altitude Station opened in Himalaya
Oct 12,2016

Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps, as this region is aptly called the n++Water Tower of Asian++ is the source of the 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, power and drinking water for over 700 million people live in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh- nearly 10% of the worlds population. Understanding the behaviour of these glaciers and their contribution to the sustainable supply of water for mankind and agriculture is one of the grand challenges of Indian scientific community.

As part of the Indian governments initiatives to better study and quantify the Himalayan glacier responses towards the climate change, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences has established a high altitude research station in Himalaya called HIMANSH (literally meaning, a slice of ice), situated above 13,500 ft (> 4000 m) at a remote region in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

The station houses many instruments to quantify the glacier melting and its relation to changing climate. Some of the instruments that are available at this research facility include, Automatic Weather Stations for weather monitoring, water level recorder for quantifying the glacier melt, ground penetrating radar to know the thickness of glaciers, geodetic GPS systems to study the glacier movements, snow fork for studying snow thickness, steam drill, snow corer, temperature profilers, as well as various glaciological tools. Further, the researchers would be using this as a base for undertaking surveys using Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision.

The ongoing initiatives by NCAOR would contribute to the integrated study the glaciers in the upper Indus basin (Chandra basin) in Himachal Pradesh and their contribution to discharge. According to the UN data, the contribution of snow/glacier melt in annual stream runoff is substantially higher (>40%) in Indus basin as compared to Ganga and Brahmaputra basins (

Beneficiary of Venture Capital Fund scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) Entrepreneurs launches his product
Oct 12,2016

Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State (I/C) for AYUSH launched n++Elixir for Lifen++, an Ayurvedic Proprietary Medicine at a function here today. Shri Giriraj Singh, Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises was the Special Guest. This product has been produced by a beneficiary of the Venture Capital Fund Scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) Entrepreneurs launched by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in 2014-2015. The beneficiary M/s Mallur Flora & Hospitality Ltd. No. 11, RBI Colony, Bengaluru has been financed by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India (IFCI) and Department of Welfare Govt. of Karnataka (KFSC).

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched the Venture Capital Fund Scheme for Scheduled Caste (SC) Entrepreneurs in 2014-2015. 50 SC entrepreneurs have till now benefitted from the scheme. The Scheme has helped the entrepreneurs in achieving economic empowerment.

The objective of the Venture Capital Fund Scheme for Scheduled Caste are as follow:-

1. It is a Social Sector initiative to be implemented nationally in order to promote entrepreneurship among the scheduled caste population in India.

2. Promote entrepreneurship amongst the Scheduled Caste who are oriented towards innovation and growth technologies.

3. To provide concessional finance to the scheduled caste entrepreneurs, who will create wealth and value for society and at the same time will promote profitable businesses. The assets so created will also create forward/ backward linkage. It will create chain effect in the locality.

4. To increase financial inclusion for SC entrepreneurs and to motivate them for further growth of SC communities.

5. To develop SC entrepreneurs economically.

6. To enhance direct and indirect employment generation for SC population in India.

Estimated SC Entrepreneur Population

As per Census 2011, the SC population is 20.13 crore, which constitutes 16.62% of the total population in India. There is a huge potential in such a large economy like ours for such schemes out of which SC population can prosper and get opportunities to progress into the main stream. Although, there is no reliable data on the profile of SC Entrepreneurs, but still, as per the rough estimates of various stake holders such as Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) etc. there are 1000 Dalit entrepreneurs with combined turnover of Rs. Sixty Thousand Crore. There are approx. 50 companies with turnover of Rs. 10 crore or more. Hence, there is a huge demand for providing concessional finance to such companies which can uplift these businesses and such entrepreneurs.

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Indias industrial production declines 0.7% in August 2016
Oct 10,2016

Indias industrial production declined 0.7% in August 2016 over August 2015, while recording decline for second straight month. The manufacturing sector production fell 0.3%, while the mining output dipped 5.6% contributing to dip in industrial production. However, the electricity output also rose at moderate pace of 0.4% in August 2016. A decline in IIP and manufacturing output was primarily led by sharp 49.4% plunge in the output of small item - cable, rubber insulated, excluding which IIP grew 2.3% in August 2016.

As per the use-based classification, the basic goods output rose 3.2% in August 2016 over a year ago, while the output of intermediate goods moved up 3.6%. The consumer goods output increased 1.1%, but that of capital goods plunged 22.2% in August 2016. Within consumer goods, the production of consumer durables increased 2.3%, while that of consumer non-durables rose 0.2% in August 2016.

The IIP growth in July 2016 has been revised downwards to (-) 2.5% in the first revision compared with (-) 2.4% reported provisionally. Meanwhile, the growth in May 2016 has been revised upwards to 1.3% at the final revision from first revision of 1.1%, while it is also higher compared with 1.2% reported provisionally.

In terms of industries, 7 out of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown negative growth during the month of august 2016 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

The industry group electrical machinery & apparatus has shown the highest negative growth of (-) 49.4% followed by (-) 22.4% in furniture; manufacturing and (-) 6.6% in wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur.

On the other hand, radio, TV and communication equipment & apparatus has shown the highest positive growth of 15.2%, followed by 14.6% in other transport equipment and 12.4% in basic metals.

Some important items showing high negative growth during the current month over the same month in previous year include cable, rubber insulated (-) 86.2%, sugar machinery (-) 65.5%, woollen carpets (-) 35.7%, gems & jewellery (-) 31.0%, rice (-) 25.3% and h r sheets (-) 24.7%.

Some important items that have registered high positive growth include fruit pulp (762.0%). air conditioner (room) (59.1%), instant food mixes (ready to eat) (46.5%), ship building and repairs (41.1%), h r coils/ skelp (39.5%), scooter and mopeds (33.3%), stainless/ alloy steel (31.8%), c r sheets (29.7%), purified terephthalic acid (29.2%) and boilers (22.8%).

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