Friday, 21 July 2017

New President Ram Nath Kovind is a stickler for the rule book


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Ram Nath Kovind was elected as the 14th President of India on Thursday. He is the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader to elected to this position.

Kovind, who resigned as the governor of Bihar on 20 June, enjoys cordial relations across political parties, and is known for a non-confrontational working style and scrupulously following the rule book.

These facets of Kovind became apparent when Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar broke ranks with opposition parties and decided to support Kovind.

“The Bihar chief minister had to support him. Not only does Kovind enjoy good relations with Kumar but as the governor of Bihar, he was instrumental in getting support for Kumar’s liquor ban policy. Many political leaders from various parties, including the BJP, didn’t agree with the idea initially, but it was Kovind who intervened and spoke to all political parties. Kovind told Bihar political leaders that something good was being done and all political parties must support Kumar’s decision,” said a senior leader of Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) or JD(U).

Finance Minister releases National Trade Facilitation Action Plan


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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley released the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan and said the WTO-Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) coming into force on February 22, 2017, was a major milestone for the global trading system. Jaitley further said India looks forward to ensuring compliance with the TFA, according to a Finance Ministry statement.

"This Action Plan gives a time bound map, not only for implementing TFA but also for India's initiatives for trade facilitation and ease of doing business which goes beyond TFA," the statement quoted the finance minister as saying. Jaitley was speaking after releasing the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP) here.

According to Ripples Advisory Private Limited, Indore, the national action plan aims to transform cross border clearance ecosystem through efficient, transparent, risk based, coordinated, digital, seamless and technology driven procedures which are supported by state-of-the-art sea ports, airports, and land borders.

Sebi signs pact with ESMA for info exchange on CCPs

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Markets regulator Sebi today said it has entered into a pact with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) for the exchange of information concerning Central Counterparties (CCPs). Central counterparties are entities that help facilitate clearing and settlement activities. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and ESMA under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

"The MoU establishes cooperation arrangements, including the exchange of information regarding Central Counterparties (CCPs) which are established and authorized or recognized in India by Sebi, and which have applied for EU recognition under EMIR," the regulator said in a release. EMIR provides for the signing of a cooperation arrangement between ESMA and the relevant non-EU authorities, whose legal and supervisory framework for CCPs have been deemed equivalent to EMIR by the European Commission. The signing of MoU is one of the conditions for recognition of third country CCPs by ESMA under EMIR.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Volvo Auto India launches V90 Cross Country

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Volvo Auto India on Wednesday launched the V90 Cross Country priced at Rs 60 lakh (ex-showroom, India).

"The car is equipped with features that is unparalleled in the segment and, as part of the product strategy to provide feature-rich standard equipment, we expect V90 Cross Country to bring a healthy contribution to our portfolio," said Tom von Bonsdorff, Managing Director, Volvo Auto India.

The new car was launched along with the opening of the company's new dealership which is the fourth facility in the NCR region and 18th in the country.

Essar Steel not singled out for insolvency process

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The RBI told the Gujarat High Court that Essar Steel was not singled out for insolvency proceedings and all big defaulters with over Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans are being subjected to the process with an aim of resolving the bad loan problem plaguing the Indian banking system.

Arguing before Justice S G Shah, the central bank's counsel Darius Khambatta also said that the non-performing assets (NPAs) of Essar Steel rose from Rs 31,671 crore on March 31, 2016 to Rs 32,864 crore on March 31 this year. Essar Steel was still very far from completing its loan restructuring process, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lawyer said. 

BEML signs MoU with NLSIU for capacity enhancement


Defence Public Sector unit BEML Limited has said that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Law School of India University (NLSIU) for capacity enhancement. BEML Chairman and Managing Director Deepak Kumar Hota and NLSIU Vice Chancellor Prof (Dr) R Venkata Rao have signed the MoU on behalf of respective Organisations, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Under the MoU, BEML would avail the services of NLSIU inter-alia for improved qualitative business documentations including Legal Consultancy Services. NLSIU is a pioneer educational and research institution having global reputation in the legal front and sponsored by Bar Council of India. Bharat Earth Movers Limited, now known as BEML, is an Indian Public Sector Undertaking, with headquarters in Bengaluru.

RBI keeping a close watch on transactions involving cryptocurrencies


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The Reserve Bank is keeping a close watch on transactions involving cryptocurrencies, Governor Urjit Patel is understood to have told the members of the Parliamentary panel on finance. During the more than three-hour long meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance here, the members raised concerns about rising number of transactions in various cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, litecoin and NEM.

They also wanted to know from the governor whether the use of cryptocurrencies is legally permitted, a member said as per the PTI report. Members, including BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, said rise in usage of virtual currencies is a matter of concern as it is difficult to establish the source of funds. Responding to the concerns raised, Patel told the members that the RBI is keeping a close watch on such transactions. He also told the panel that an inter-disciplinary committee has been formed to discuss the legality of cryptocurrencies, according to panel members who did not wish to be named.

Cement prices to increase by 7% on QoQ basis

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The average cement prices are expected to rise by 6 per cent YoY and 7 per cent on QoQ basis across the country despite volume decline in the southern and central regions. The eastern region is likely to see a strong growth in demand for the key building material. Commenting on the issue, an ICICI Securities Official told the media, "Average pan-India cement prices are likely to be up 6 per cent YoY and 7 per cent QoQ, led by the western region where prices are likely to be up 10 per cent YoY and 15 per cent QoQ.

Prices across other regions are likely to be up 3-7 per cent both YoY and QoQ." “The average cement prices stood at Rs 283 per 50 kg bag in the north Indian market in Q4FY17. Among other markets, cement prices per bag were Rs 292 in east, Rs 268 in west, Rs 298 in central, Rs 322 in the southern market in Q4 of the last fiscal.