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Sunday, February 07, 2016

MCX


MCX

​January jolt! Mutual fund AUM ​crashes by Rs 11.2 billion


The latest plunge in equities, which began as the world ushered in 2016 and China tripped the global markets, shaved assets under management (AUM) of mutual funds by Rs 11.21 billion, or 10 basis points, to Rs 12.74 trillion in January, according to data from the Association of Mutual Funds in India.
​​What saved the blushes were income, liquid funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including gold-related ones.
Not surprisingly, equity funds were battered, and their AUM fell 5.25% to Rs 3.84 trillion, marking the biggest percentage decline in the last 35 months. In absolute terms, AUM shrank Rs 213.12 billion, or the most in 7 years, as mark-to-market losses surged. The Nifty 50, the market bellwether, declined nearly 5% in January.
Yet investors seem to keep the faith, as shown in a net inflow of Rs 29.14 billion. This, however, is the lowest absolute growth in 20 months. Since May 2014, equity funds have been seeing net inflows as investors bet on a rebound in the India economy.
Balanced funds remain attractive
AUM of balanced funds fell 2.5%, or Rs 10.72 billion, to Rs 411.21 billion primarily led by losses in equity assets. However, investors don’t seem perturbed as the category still managed to attract Rs 8.80 billion, marking the 20th consecutive month of net inflows. Represented by the CRISIL Balanced Fund Index, the category lost nearly 3% in value in January.
Global funds see 20th month of outflows
Redemption pressures persisted for global funds -- or fund of funds that invest abroad – as concerns over global recovery continued to spook investors. The category saw its 20th straight month of outflows in January. Its AUM, which had touched an all-time high of Rs 32.26 billion in June 2014, has shrunk 42% since to Rs 18.77 billion.
Income and liquid funds rebound after December decline
For income funds, AUM climbed 3%, or Rs 166 billion, to Rs 5.72 trillion, driven by inflows and mark-to-market gains. January saw an inflow of Rs 150 billion, which is a rebound considering that in December 2015, there was an outflow of Rs 258.75 billion. AUM of liquid funds edged up 1.6%, or Rs 37.32 billion, to Rs 2.37 trillion, aided by net inflows of Rs 24.55 billion.
Pricier gold lends shimmer
Gold ETFs surged almost 6%, or Rs 3.23 billion, to Rs 60.96 billion, led by gain in underlying asset prices. Gold prices, represented by the CRISIL Gold Index, rose 6.9% in January. The category, however, continues to haemorrhage, clocking an outflow for the 32nd straight month at Rs 0.81 billion.
ETFs continue to get a provident fund lift
AUM of ETFs swelled to a new high at Rs 126.45 billion, primarily gaining from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s decision to invest in the equity market through them. AUM rose 6.4%, or Rs 7.58 billion, led by an inflow of Rs 13.85 billion. Gains, however, were capped by mark-to-market losses.

Top Picks for 2016


Top Picks for 2016

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Why is Petrol Diesel Prices so high ?


Record production in the United States (US), weakened demand from the Eurozone and emerging economies like China and Brazil, and Iran’s entry into the international market have effectively slashed the price of crude oil for India, from $106 per barrel in July 2014 to $26 in January 2016—a 75% drop over 15 months.

So, why are you not seeing evidence of this price-cut at your local petrol and diesel station?

The answer: As global crude prices reach a 11-year low, the Centre and state governments steadily increase excise duties and value-added tax, shoring up their revenues and keeping fuel prices high for retail consumers.

Although India imports more than 80% of its fuel requirement, which means declining global prices should, theoretically, have seen sharp declines in retail petrol and diesel prices, Indian consumers of petrol and diesel now pay about double the global rate.

A series of taxes, oil-company profits and other commissions

Retail prices of petrol and diesel prices in three states—Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat—show a variation of less than 10% during the current financial year, 2015-16, according to an IndiaSpend analysis.

For instance, the petrol price in UP rose Rs 2 per litre, when global oil price halved over the same period.

Indian prices stay high because oil marketing companies (OMCs), such as Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Reliance Industries Ltd., add their margins, the central government adds excise, state governments add their own (value-added) taxes, and the dealers (petrol pumps) get their commission.

The total of these is the retail price of the fuel you pay.

Excise hiked five times in three months; diesel duty hiked 140%

The excise duty on petrol and diesel has been hiked five times over the last three months, increasing the excise duty on petrol by 34%. On diesel, excise duty has increased by 140%.

The price at which OMCs sell petrol to dealers (petrol pumps) has been halved in two years. Over the same period, retail petrol prices have come down only by 15%.

The value-added taxes imposed by states have more or less remained the same, but excise duties—both basic and additional—imposed by the Centre have doubled between 2014 and 2016.

You pay more taxes on diesel and petrol than price of fuels

The addition of central taxes on diesel is higher than those on petrol. Central taxes per litre of diesel rose to four times its value in April 2014—from Rs 4.52 per litre to Rs 17.33 per litre in February 2016.

Retail consumers pay more tax on petrol and diesel than its actual price.

Of the price you pay for a litre of petrol, 57% goes to the government as tax. Of the Rs 44 per litre of diesel, 55% is tax.

If the excise duties on diesel had not been increased these two years, diesel would have cost Rs 32 per litre today.

The direct effect of oil prices on cost of transportation of goods and thus consumer inflation has been demonstrated by research from Integrated Research and Action for Development (an autonomous research institute), as journalist and economist Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar wrote in this blog.

Research on inflation in Turkey and Sri Lanka has underlined the effect of fuel prices on inflation.

Lower fuel prices can keep inflation in check, according to this report in Business Standard.

The author is Abhishek Waghmare, Indiaspend.org.

PLFs of power plants to remain at 22 year low: Ind-Ra



Plant load factors (PLFs) of power companies are unlikely improve in FY17 from the 61.7 per cent in 9MFY16, despite improving fuel supply since demand growth for electricity is expected to stay muted says India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra). All India thermal plant PLFs have been consistently declining and have fallen 21.5 per cent since the peak of 78.6 per cent in FY08. Ind-Ra expects electricity demand to grow by 4-5 per cent and power generation growth of 5-6 per cent in FY17, with deficits remaining low at 3-4 per cent. India has added 80GW of coal based generation capacity over FY11-FY15, which gives room for higher generation given the improvement in domestic coal supply and low international coal prices. Industrial demand however which constitutes 40 per cent of the demand has witnessed a muted growth. Moreover, the current focus on use of efficient devices (LEDs and agricultural pumps) is leading to lower demand. In the Corporate Outlook FY17 a recent report released on 1 February 2016 Ind-Ra Has maintained a stable-to-negative outlook on power sector for FY17. Ind-Ra has also maintained a Stable outlook on most of its rated power sector entities for FY17, as the agency expects its rated entities will continue to manage fuel and state power utilities risks due to a favourable tariff mechanism, their comfortable liquidity and support from the central and state governments. Lower PLFs have resulted in lower incentives for regulated generators as their incentives for the control period FY15-FY19 have been linked to PLF, compared to the earlier availability based incentive. Additionally, a low PLF would lead to lower than benchmark operating parameters for station heat rate and secondary fuel consumption thus lowering the overall plant efficiency. Financially weak discoms have preferred load shedding rather than supplying power to the consumers, as they are incurring losses on every unit of power supplied as reflected in the revenue gap of Rs 1.14/kwh in FY14.

CPWD to generate 42.50 MW solar power by Sept, 2016



State-controlled construction major, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) will generate 42.50 MW of solar energy across the country besides replacing energy inefficient electrical fittings in 20 government buildings in Delhi by September, 2016 and in rest of the country later, according to an official statement. “These initiatives of CPWD are estimated to result in a total saving of Rs.115 cr per year,” the ministry of urban development said in a statement. Efforts of CPWD in this regard and the consequent gains in terms of saving in energy consumption were reviewed today by Madhusudhan Prasad, Secretary (Urban Development). CPWD earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for generation of solar power for installation of grid connected rooftop Solar Photo Voltaic panels in all government buildings maintained by CPWD across the country. Consequently, SECI awarded works to 14 bidders for undertaking works in 16 states. 10 MW of solar power will be generated by May,2016 in Phase-I covering Delhi (3 MW), Uttar Pradesh (2 MW), North-East and UTs(2 MW) and 1 MW each in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the ministry informed. As part of measures to promote efficient use of energy in all the Government buildings, CPWD has begun to replace energy inefficient fittings with LED bulbs and 5 star air conditioning systems approved by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. This will be completed in 20 buildings in Delhi by September, 2016. These measures are estimated to result in a total saving of 11.41 crore units of power and Rs 103 cr in energy cost per year, said the ministry. In Delhi, a total of 16,613 LED lamps have so far been installed in 261 of 268 government bungalows and 408 of 546 flats of MPs. The remaining will be done so during the budget session of Parliament.

India's handicraft exports grow 10 pct in Apr-Dec



Country's handicraft exports grew 10 per cent to Rs 14,782 crore during the first nine months of this fiscal notwithstanding a slowdown globally, the Textile Ministry said today. In comparison, the handicraft shipments stood at Rs 13,460 crore during April-December 2014. "In dollar terms, the value of exports has increased by 3 per cent, from USD 2,215 million during April-December 2014 to USD 2,282 million during April-December 2015," an official statement said. The data showed the size of the artmetal wares grew 6 per cent to Rs 3,943 crore, followed by woodwares 10 per cent to Rs 2,564 crore, handprinted textiles & scarves 18 per cent to Rs 699 crore, imitation jewellery 14 per cent to Rs 1,599 crore and miscellaneous handicrafts 12 per cent to Rs 4,033 crore. Overall, during the April-December period of the current fiscal, exports in the segment dipped 18 per cent to USD 196.6 billion as compared to USD 239.9 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to data released by the Commerce Ministry.

Cadila Healthcare Q3 profit surges 38.2 pct at Rs 389.6 cr



Pharma major Cadila Healthcare Ltd on Friday reported a growth of 38.2 per cent in its consolidated net profit after taxes (PAT) at Rs 389.6 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2015, on the back of robust sales in the US market. “The consolidated net profit of the drug firm stood at Rs 281.9 crore during the same period a year ago,” said Cadila Healthcare Ltd in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange on February 05, 2016. Further, its total income increased by 10.8 per cent at Rs 2,453.9 crore during Q3 2015-16, as compared to Rs 2,214.9 crore during the same period last year. During the quarter, the company’s business in the US posted sales of Rs 1072 crore registering a growth of 20 per cent. The company filed 20 ANDAs with the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) during the quarter, the company said in a statement. In the Indian formulations market, the company launched 12 new products, including line extensions, of which 1 product was the first to be launched in India, it added. Buoyed by earnings, shares of the company closed at Rs 326.80 apiece, up 4.74 per cent, from previous close on BSE

Domino's Pizza India crosses the 1000th restaurant milestone



Jubilant FoodWorks’ Domino’s Pizza, India’s Pizza delivery expert and market leader in the chained pizza segment has inaugurated its 1000th restaurant at Unity One Mall, Janakpuri, New Delhi. With the 1000th restaurant, India joins the USA - home country of Domino's Pizza where the brand has been operating since 1960 - to become the only other country with over 1000 restaurants, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock exchange. Having crossed the milestone of 1000 restaurants, the company’s team is focused on further catalysing the expansion process to make Domino's Pizza the most loved brand in the country. “Jubilant FoodWorks team is focused on further catalysing the expansion process to make Domino’s Pizza the most loved brand in the country,” the Indian franchisee said. Commenting on the development, J. Patrick Doyle, President and CEO, Domino’s Pizza, said, “India is a key market for Domino’s Pizza and having reached the milestone of 1000 restaurants is a remarkable achievement by the Domino’s team in India.” Meanwhile, shares of the company closed trading at Rs 1171.80 apiece, down 0.77 per cent from the previous close on BSE.

Eicher Motors net profit zooms 76 pct in Dec quarter



Commercial vehicles maker Eicher Motors today reported 76.1 per cent increase in its consolidated net profit at Rs 270.8 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, riding on robust sales. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 153.77 crore in the year-ago period, Eicher Motors said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. During the quarter under review, total income of the company increased 45 per cent to Rs 3347.32 crore from Rs 2308.86 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. The company, which has a joint venture with Sweden's Volvo, said total domestic sales of Eicher Trucks and Buses (5 Tonne and above) stood at 10,480 units in the period under review as against 7,740 units in the year-ago quarter, a growth of 35.4 per cent. On the other hand, sales of Volvo Trucks were at 353 units as against 264 units in the same quarter previous year, up 33.71 per cent. Total sales of the JV - VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) - were at 12,687 units in December quarter as against 9,492 units in the same period of the previous fiscal, up 33.65 per cent. Commenting on the performance, Eicher Motors Managing Director & CEO Siddhartha Lal said, "This has been a stellar quarter for VECV, the best ever over the last couple of years. VECV has not just registered growth across its product segments, it has also outpaced the industry thereby gaining market share." In the motorcycle segment, the company's arm Royal Enfield posted sales of 1,25,690 units as against 82,215 units in the year-ago period, up 52.87 per cent. He said the company had lost production of 11,200 motorcycles due to disruption at its manufacturing facilities because of the flood. The brand continues to have a robust demand for its products and has a very strong order book, he added. The company said in order to align with government requirements, its board of directors has extended the current financial year up to a period of 15 months - January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016. Subsequently, each financial year of the company shall commence on April 1 and end on March 31 every year. Meanwhile, shares of the company closed trading at Rs 18128.45 apiece, up 7.01 per cent from the previous close on BSE.

NHPC restores unit-2 of Chutak Power Station



Indian hydro power generation company NHPC Ltd on Friday said that unit-2 of the Chutak power station in Jammu & Kashmir has been restored on February 04, 2016. Since October 25, 2015, the company’s unit 2 of Chutak Power Station was under complete shutdown due to problem in water parts. In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company informed, “Unit 2 of Chutak Power Station in Jammu & Kashmir which was under complete shutdown due to problem in water parts from October 25, 2015 has started generation on February 04, 2016.” Meanwhile, shares of the company closed at Rs 20.40 apiece, up 2.51 per cent, from previous close on BSE.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Friday usually fine! Flat start for indices


What you risk reveals what you value. - Jeanette Winterson
 
Fridays have usually been cheerful for the indices despite the subdued sentiment which prevails broadly. The Indian equity market breached a three-day losing streak and ended higher after a bounce in crude oil prices. We won’t debate on why higher crude prices should benefit  but that seems to be the only plausible explanation for recent upmove. The budget session of Parliament Budget session of Parliament will begin from February 23. The Union Budget will be presented on February 29. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expects that the opposition parties will "see reason" and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is held up in Rajya Sabha.
 
The indices are set to open on a flat note. Investors may choose to take risks at lower levels given the speed at which stocks come tumbling down intra-day. The next hurdle for the Nifty is seen at 7570 hurdle which support should set in around the 7480 levels. Results will continue to flow on tap today are Lupin, Bosch, Cadila Healthcare, Carborundum, Cox & Kings, Deepak Nitrite, Divi’s Lab, Eicher Motors, Elgi Equipments, Radico Khaitan and Tata Power among others.
 
Asian markets are not exuding confidence for now. Nikkei has lost over a percent while China's CSI300 is marginally lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 0.7% while South Korea's Kospi is flat. US stock indices finished with modest gains on Thursday after swaying in and out of the positive territory throughout the session. Dow gained 0.5%,  S&P 500 rose 0.2% and Nasdaq was flat up 0.1%. Crude-oil futures reversed early gains and settled 1.7% lower at $31.72 per barrel. Initial jobless claims rose to 285,000 in the last week of January but remained at a low level. Any number below 300,000 is considered a sign of a strong labor market.
 
The productivity of US businesses fell at a 3% annual pace in the fourth quarter, marking the biggest decline since the start of 2014. Orders for goods manufactured in US factories slid 2.9% in December, the Commerce Department said. Investors will be closely watching Friday’s non-farm payrolls data for clue about the state of the US economy.
 
With increase in technology spending estimated by global technology analysts, NASSCOM expects the double digit growth story to continue in FY2017. The IT-BPM industry export revenue is expected to grow by 10-12 per cent in FY2017 reaching revenues of USD 119-121 billion.
 
Releasing the guidelines on steel overcapacity cut, China has decided to cut crude steel capacity by 100 - 150 million tonnes within next 5 years. The Chinese cabinet said today that the steel prices have tumbled to multi-year lows and debt of Chinese steel companies have shot up. This move aims at combating this situation. 
 
The Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha, stressed upon the priority to provide the universal pension security including income security, health and life insurance to the people at large. He said that he believed in the philosophy to empower Indians with tools and knowledge to take ownership of their own retirement. 
 
Honda is recalling an additional 2.2 million Honda and Acura vehicles, according to reports. Report says that the recall is a big chunk of the 5 million additional vehicles to be repaired for Takata inflator problems that U.S. safety regulators announced last month.
 
Gold futures advanced on Thursday, as sustained weakness in the US dollar and safe haven demand for the yellow metal lifted prices to their highest level since late October.
 
Among stocks to watch: 
 
Tata Steel: Tata Steel Ltd, Indian multinational steel-making company, reported consolidated net loss of Rs.2,127.23 crore for the quarter ended Q3FY16. The company’s consolidated revenue stood at Rs. 28,039.02 crore, down by 16.63% yoy.
 
Lupin: The pharma company will announce its Q3 numbers today. IIFL forecasts the company’s net profit for Q3 FY16 to plummet to Rs. 428.6 crore, at 28.7% yoy, bu to rise 4.8% qoq.
 
Reliance Infrastructure: RInfra announced the signing of Share Purchase Agreement with Birla Corporation, the flagship Company of the M P Birla Group in relation to 100% sale of its subsidiary Reliance Cement Company Private Limited.
 
Cairn: The Petroleum Ministry on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that its empowered committee of secretaries (ECS) has decided against granting permission to Cairn India to export crude oil from its Barmer oil & gas block in Rajasthan.
 
Oil & Natural Gas Corporation: ONGC said that it would soon finalise the revised cost estimate for the development of its K-G basin discoveries.
 
Tata Power: The company will announce its Q3 numbers today. IIFL forecasts the company’s net revenue for Q3 FY16 to soar to Rs. 10,074 crore, at 14.4% yoy and 5.6% qoq.
 
Fortis Healthcare: Fortis Healthcare has announced that its Board of Directors have approved the acquisition of a 51% economic interest in Fortis Hospital Ltd (FHTL), a subsidiary of the Religare Health Trust (RHT).
 
Tata Teleservices: Tata Teleservices registered a net loss of Rs. 79.6 crore vs Rs. 155.7 crore qoq.Total income of the company declined 0.6% to Rs. 742 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 vs Rs. 747 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2015 while other income was reported at Rs. 11.1 crore vs Rs. 25 crore qoq.
 
Tata Motors: Tata Motors launched Signa range of commercial vehicles for haulage and construction segments.
 
Thomas Cook (India): The company reported consolidated net loss of Rs. 13.53 crore for the third quarter ended on December 31, 2015-16. 
 
Torrent Pharmaceuticals: The company’s consolidated revenue stood at Rs. 1,539 crore, up by 31.76% yoy but down by 8.99% qoq.
 
Gillette India: The company’s standalone revenue stood at Rs. 508.38 crore, up by 1.99% yoy and 5.53% qoq.
 
Great Eastern Shipping Company: The company’s consolidated revenue stood at Rs. 947.74 crore, up 7.97% yoy but down 8.29% qoq
 
ABB India:  The company has posted a net profit of Rs. 1294 mn for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs. 841.60 mn for the quarter ended December 31, 2014.
 
Godrej Consumer Products: Godrej Consumer Products has entered into an agreement with Canon Chemicals Limited, for the acquisition of a majority equity stake in its business in Kenya. Canon Chemicals Limited, a Kenya based company, manufactures and distributes products in the personal and home categories. Its major brand is Valon, a petroleum jelly.
 
Eicher Motors: Eicher Motors will announce its Q3 numbers today. IIFL forecasts the company’s net revenue for Q3 FY16 to soar to Rs. 3,326 crore, at 45% yoy and 6.5% qoq.
 
Talwalkars Better Value Fitness: Talwalkars Better value Fitness Ltd, Integrated in chain of Gyms, fitness clubs and health club, reported consolidated net profit of Rs.5.41 crore for the quarter ended Q3FY16, registering growth of 20.73% yoy.
 
JK Lakshmi Cement: JK Lakshmi Cement Ltd posted a net loss of Rs. 36.70 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to net profit of Rs. 184.80 mn for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. 
 
Sanofi India: The company’s standalone revenue stood at Rs. 568.70 crore, up 11.1% yoy but down 2.92% qoq.
 
Gujarat State Petronet: Gujarat State Petronet Ltd, state-run public sector natural gas transmission company, reported standalone net profit of Rs. 123.47 crore for the quarter ended Q3FY16, registering growth of 39.05% yoy and 13.77% qoq.
 
Hawkins Cookers: Hawkins Cookers Ltd posted a net profit after tax of Rs. 6.6 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs. 3.1 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. 
 
Whirlpool: Whirlpool of India Ltd, a consumer electronic company, will announce its Q3 results today. IIFL forecasts the company’s net revenue for Q3 FY16 to soar to Rs. 7,480 crore, at 3.7% yoy and 4.8% qoq.  
 
MT Educare: MT Educare, leading education support and coaching service, reported consolidated net profit of Rs.7.84 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, registering growth of 33.79% yoy.
 
Kaveri Seed: Kaveri Seed Company Ltd posted a net profit after taxes, minority interest and share of profit of associates of Rs. 92.304 mn for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs. 357.860 mn for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. 
 
Mphasis: The company’s consolidated revenue stood at Rs. 1,516.70 crore, witnessing decline of 2.61% qoq but growth of 7.51% yoy.
 
Nitin Fire Protections: The company’s revenue stood at Rs. 387.95 crore, down by 3.05% yoy but down 12.95% qoq.
 
Esab India: Esab India, world's largest supplier of welding and cutting equipment, reported standalone net profit of Rs.4.96 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, registering decline of 2.75% yoy.
 
Other news in the media:
 
Tata Motors launched Signa range of commercial vehicles for haulage and construction segments. (ET)
 
Maruti Suzuki India will launch its smart urban compact car Ignis and premium sports hatchback Baleno RS around the festival season this year. (ET)
 
ONGC has sent an urgent message to Petroleum Ministry, saying the natural gas prices according to a formula approved by the BJP-led government was not viable to develop its KG basin discoveries. (ET)
 
The government told the Delhi High Court its empowered committee of secretaries has decided that Cairn India, the petroleum arm of London-listed Vedanta Resources, cannot be allowed to export excess crude oil production from its Rajasthan oil field (BS)
 
Gurdeep Singh has taken over the charge of Chairman and Managing Director of state-run power generator NTPC. (ET)
 
CIL is planning to acquire coal mines in South Africa in partnership with local government amid falling prices of assets globally. (ET)
 
Zydus Wellness is trying to push its market leading brand Sugar Free beyond coffee cups and tea sips. The company is keen that Indians adopt Sugar Free in their daily life, the myths regarding sugar substitutes notwithstanding, said chief operating officer Tarun Arora. (ET) 
 
Godrej Consumer has acquired a majority stake in Kenya-based Canon Chemicals. Having already acquired other African companies in the last few years, the latest buy is a continuation of the company’s strategy to expand into emerging markets which have higher growth potential. (BL)
 
Leading international insurer, RSA, announced a new seven-year partnership with IT major Wipro Ltd to deliver its IT infrastructure requirements across the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia. (ET)
 
The Budget Session of Parliament will commence on February 23 that will focus largely on the financial business of the government, which will present the General Budget on February 29. (BL)
 
The minister for road transport, highways and shipping, Nitin Gadkari invited suggestions from the auto industry to take ahead the scrappage policy, aimed at replacing 10-year-old vehicles with modern fuel efficient ones that conform to emission standards. (BS)
 
The Government has asked the pension regulator PFRDA to ensure that full range of investment products including alternate investment funds (AIFs) are made available for Indians saving for their retirement. (BL)
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate on Friday the Rs 100 bn gas cracker project in Assam. (ET)
 
In keeping with the Narendra Modi-led NDA government's plan to reach out to people directly, the government has launched a YouTube channel for Finance Ministry.  (ET)
 
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas plans to extend financial partnerships to startups engaged in the oil sector to give a boost to the 'Startup India' initiative. (BL)

GST to become a reality soon: FM



The Finance Minister has said that he hoped that the opposition parties will see reason and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is held up in Rajya Sabha, will become a reality soon. Commenting on the issue, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the media, "It (GST) has been supported by most political parties and I am sure others will also see reason and this law will become a reality very soon." "We want to rationalise our direct tax system in order to make it one of the most competitive regimes in the world comparable with what competitive economies elsewhere have," he added. He further said that reform was a continuous process and there was no finishing line for that as it has to go on and on because challenges keep coming up. GST, which will subsume all indirect taxes such as excise duty, service tax and sales tax into one uniform rate, is stalled in the Rajya Sabha as the Congress is pressing for three changes.

Not only government, MNCs too responsible for tax rows: Raghuram Rajan



Blaming multinational corporations squarely for tax controversies, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan said their indulgence in avoidance and evasion results in prolonged legal battles, according to the PTI report.

Addressing the issue of tax havens, Rajan wondered aloud as to what makes a bulk of intellectual property reside in Cayman Islands, quipping that no one has seen scientists in so large numbers in the Caribbean isles.

"Occasionally, there is government excess, but they are not the only ones who commit excesses," he said, delivering the 13th Nani Palkhivala lecture on 'Strengthening the free enterprise in India'.

"Multinational corporations complain all the time of excessive demand about excessive taxation, but it is also true that MNCs across the world tend to find tax avoidance and sometimes tax evasion as an appropriate technique and therefore, there is a constant fight between governments and MNCs," he said.

In remarks that come within a week of Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuring all retrospective taxation such as the infamous Vodafone case being an issue of the past, Rajan said the movement on taxation within the country has been "positive and in right direction".

"The movement has been positive and in right direction, including the great debate on retrospective taxation which has allowed us to clarify our thinking on this issue and the government has stated its position very clearly on the way forward."

The academic-turned central banker said he hopes that the Bankruptcy Code gets passed in the upcoming Budget session of Parliament. The code will help facilitate credit for both large enterprises as well as smaller ones which have suffered the most under laws like the Sarfaesi Act.

"It would make it much easier for the smaller firm to get credit and also allow the large firm to get credit because now there is a way for the lenders to recover the money in the Bankruptcy Code," he said.

Rajan said the government is also working on a plan to have unique IDs for businesses on the lines of the ambitious Aadhar programme for individuals, which will help establish credit histories and make it easier for the better-behaved firms access credit.

India's exports may fall to $265-270 bn in FY16: FIEO



The country's exports will range between USD 265-270 billion in 2015-16, sharply lower than the USD 310.5 billion achieved in the previous fiscal, exporters' body FIEO said according to the media report.

"According to our assessment exports for the current fiscal will range between USD 265-270 billion. If this trend continues it may lead to job losses," FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai told PTI.

Exports contracted for the thirteenth month in a row in December 2015 as outward shipments shrank 14.75 per cent to USD 22.2 billion amid a global demand slowdown.

Sahai demanded that the corpus of the exports development fund which currently stands at Rs 200 crore should be enhanced to Rs 3,000-5,000 crore as it was inadequate.

"The export development fund which currently has a corpus of Rs 200 crore is inadequate and should be enhanced to 0.5 to 1 per cent of export value which is anywhere between Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 crore. Commerce Ministry has supported this demand. We are now awaiting a response from the Finance Ministry," he said.

During April-December period of the current fiscal, exports dipped 18 per cent to USD 196.6 billion as compared to USD 239.9 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the data released by the Commerce Ministry.

Besides, FIEO signed an agreement with TUV Rheinland India Pvt Ltd, a group company of TUV Rheinland, Germany to support its members in better understanding the requirements related to standardisation, conformity assessment, product & consumer safety, etc.