|February 18 to February 22, 2013|
Union Budget 2013-14: FMs Math worked; will the Economy follow suit?
As promised, the Finance Minister has confined the fiscal deficit to 5.2 per cent in FY13 and as expected, this arithmetic achievement is in line with his topmost agenda of averting a country rating downgrade. This transient appeasement of rating agencies, however, is the result of substantial Plan expenditure cuts across ministries in the last few months, a by-product of which is slower GDP growth in H2 FY13. No wonder, the Q3 FY13 GDP growth figure just released stands at a dismal 4.5%. While many of our expectations were met (read our pre-Budget note), one cant help feel that the Budget has missed out on several counts. For one, it failed to address the problem of the Current Account Deficit, which admittedly was a bigger worry for the FM compared to fiscal deficit. Secondly, the FMs steps to encourage financial savings left a lot to be desired. In times of falling savings rate, the need was a substantial increase to Section 80C. This would have also made gold relatively unattractive. Instead, hes only offered an additional interest deduction up to Rs1 lac for those first-time home loan takers up to Rs25 lacs, besides Rs2,000 tax credit to income brackets up to Rs5 lacs. Not much was done for equity investments either. Rather than simplifying the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) for the debutante retail investor community, hes merely increased the investment amount and time under the said scheme. Sure, Securities Transaction Tax was reduced but was accompanied by introduction of Commodity Transaction Tax.
Further, the FMs blind eye to expenditure cuts has justifiably not gone well with the market. The FM projects total expenditure to rise by 16.4% yoy in FY14 (compared to 9.7% in FY13) which means hes banking on higher tax revenues and asset sales to achieve the fiscal deficit of 4.8%. Through this ambitious stance, obviously the result of political pressure from his government ahead of the forthcoming general elections, hes only risked a slippage in the said fiscal deficit target. A more credible strategy would have been to keep non-Plan expenditure under check. It is also interesting to note that the non-Plan expenditure is most likely to balloon on account of under-reported subsidies. The target of a 10.3% yoy fall in subsidies looks far-fetched in a pre-election year. The assumed drop in petroleum subsidy depends on wishful eventualities crude oil price levels remain unchanged, INR doesnt depreciate and gradual diesel prices deregulation continues. Despite the imminent implementation of the food security bill, the government has budgeted for a mere Rs100bn increase in food subsidy. Furthermore, rise in diesel will inflate food costs, procurement will be higher in the election year and minimum support prices can go up as well. Assumption on flat fertiliser subsidy also looks unrealistic and prone to slippage especially in the event of good monsoons...Read More
Highlights of the Union Budget 2013-14
Finance Minister P Chidambaram is presenting the Union Budget 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha.
Chidambaram's budget speech
I rise to present the Budget for the year 2013-14.
I recall my last tenure as Finance Minister and acknowledge with gratitude the splendid support that I received from all sections of the House as well as the people of India. Today, more than ever, I seek the same support as we navigate the Indian economy through a crisis that has enveloped the whole world and spared none.
I intend to keep my speech simple, straight forward and reasonably short.
I. THE ECONOMY AND THE CHALLENGES
I shall begin by setting the context. Global economic growth slowed from 3.9 percent in 2011 to 3.2 percent in 2012. India is part of the global economy: our exports and imports amount to 43 percent of GDP and two-way external sector transactions have risen to 108 percent of GDP. We are not unaffected by what happens in the rest of the world and our economy too has slowed after 2010-11. In the current year, the CSO has estimated growth at 5 percent while the RBI has estimated growth at 5.5 percent. Whatever may be the final estimate, it will be below Indias potential growth rate of 8 percent. Getting back to that growth rate is the challenge that faces the country.
Let me say, however, there is no reason for gloom or pessimism. Even now, of the large countries of the world, only China and Indonesia are growing faster than India in 2012-13. And in 2013-14, if we grow at the rate projected by many forecasters, only China will grow faster than India. Between 2004 and 2008, and again in 2009-10 and 2010-11, the growth rate was over 8 percent and, in fact, crossed 9 percent in four of those six years. The average for the 11th Plan period, entirely under the UPA Government, was 8 percent, the highest ever in any Plan period. Achieving high growth, therefore, is not a novelty or beyond our capacity. We have done it before and we can do it again.
I acknowledge that the Indian economy is challenged, but I am absolutely confident that, with your cooperation, we will get out of the trough and get on to the high growth path. I shall now outline our plans and priorities.
Our goal is higher growth leading to inclusive and sustainable development. That is the mool mantra...Read Entire Speech
Union Budget: Whats in for aam janata
Finance Minister P Chidambaram unveiled the Union Budget 2013-14 in Parliament today. While the 1 hour and 45 minute speech highlighting the expenditures and revenues was a massive task, we cut through the business jargon to help you understand in simple terms what the Budget has for you.
Income slabs remain same
Income tax slabs have been left untouched this year in view of the objective of widening tax base and increasing tax compliance. The income tax slabs remain the same as FY12-13. The same tax slab rates for taxpayers this year, implies zero savings as far as the basic payment of income tax is concerned.
The prices of commodities have been rising constantly but there has been no rise in the income tax slab. Real tax payers are the salaried class and the middle class people. An increase in the tax slab would have at least mitigated their hardships and benefitted them.
However, tax relief of Rs. 2,000 tax credit has been given to individuals with income between Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh. About 1.8 crore tax payers are expected to benefit to the value of Rs. 3,600 crore because of this announcement. However, the amount of Rs. 2,000 tax credit is almost negligible considering the very high inflation.
On the other hand, a surcharge of 10% has been imposed on the super-rich with annual incomes of Rs. 1 crore or more per annum. The surcharge will cover individuals, HUFs, firms and all entities with similar tax status and would be valid for FY13-14 only. Surcharge of 10% on super-rich is not going to affect large numbers as only 42,800 persons in the whole country admitted to a taxable income of exceeding Rs. 1 crore per year. However, it will add substantial amount to the government revenues.
Education Cess & Tax free bonds
Education cess for all tax payers would continue at 3%. But tax-free infrastructure bonds of Rs. 50,000 crore would be allowed to be disbursed in 2013-14.
Tax-free bonds are secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures issued by government entities to individuals and institutional investors to mobilize funds needed for projects in the infrastructure development sector. The Budget announced the intention to introduce inflation-indexed bonds or certificates. The details of these financial instruments will be announced later...Read More
FY13 Q3 GDP grows at decade low of 4.5%
The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter (October-December) Q3 of 2012-13, both at constant (2004-05) and current prices, alongwith the corresponding quarterly estimates of Expenditure components of the GDP. The details of the estimates are presented below.
ESTIMATES OF GDP BY ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
At constant (2004-05) prices
Quarterly GDP at factor cost at constant (2004-05) prices for Q3 of 2012-13 is estimated at Rs. 14,11,594 crore, as against Rs. 13,51,252 crore in Q3 of 2011-12, showing a growth rate of 4.5 per cent over the corresponding quarter of previous year. Quarterly estimates and growth rates of 2011-12 have undergone revision on account of revision in annual estimates of 2010-11 and 2011-12. The revision in annual estimate of 2010-11 is mainly on account of using ASI data for 2010-11 and the new series of IIP for 2011-12 in the manufacturing sector. These changes have also resulted in changes in estimates of trade, hotels and restaurants sector. The economic activities which registered significant growth in Q3 of 2012-13 over Q3 of 2011-12 are, financing, insurance, real estate and business services at 7.9 per cent, construction at 5.8 percent, community, social & personal services at 5.4 per cent, trade, hotels, transport and communication at 5.1 per cent and electricity, gas & water supply at 4.5 per cent. The growth rate in agriculture, forestry & fishing, mining and quarrying and manufacturing is estimated at 1.1 per cent, (-) 1.4 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively in this period...Read More
Union Budget 2013-14 is a balanced one with no major surprises: Max Life Insurance
Given the current fiscal and economic constraints the Finance Minister was facing this Union Budget 2013-14 is a balanced one with no major surprises. The fiscal deficit of 5.2% of GDP in the current financial year is in line with his promise and market expectations. The Finance Minister has also announced his intent to further reduce fiscal deficit to 4.8% by Financial Year 2014 which indicates the governments commitment towards greater fiscal discipline. With respect to financial inclusion and increasing insurance penetration the Union Budget has disappointed the life insurance industry with no measures taken to incentivise long-term savings and protection. The budget has not provided a separate limit for tax exemption for life insurance and pension or increased the exemption limits under section 80C. Life Insurance plays a critical role in providing long-term funds for infrastructure development by channelising domestic savings and could have helped in funding Rs.1 trillion planned to be invested in infrastructure during the 12th 5 year plan. However, the Finance Minister''s assurance that Insurance Amendment, and PFRDA Bills will be presented in this session, and the proposal to set up Standing Council of experts for reforms in Financial sector to compete internationally, shows his commitment towards the financial services sector. The budget proposal to allow Insurance and Pension companies to directly trade in debt segment is a welcome move. This will allow institutional participation in the exchange traded bond market...Read More
Budget has balanced near term priorities and long term growth drivers: ICICI Bank
The budget has balanced near term priorities and long term growth drivers. The progress in fiscal consolidation is indeed welcome. At the same time, the budget has articulated various measures to facilitate and boost investment in the country, such as the investment allowance deduction and ensuring fuel supply for thermal power plants. Measures for further expanding and deepening financial markets and facilitating foreign participation have also been announced. The budget is one part of overall economic policymaking and the budget presented today is a certainly a step forward in the series of initiatives announced by the government in recent months...Read More
Budget 2013 is about stability, positivity: HCL Infosystems
"Budget 2013 is about stability, positivity and I believe is a better budget then last year. This budget has stressed on some vital areas such as youth, education and skill development. Infusion of funds in the education sector without change in education cess, certainly is a step towards the nation's development. Furthermore, employment and productivity were well addressed too, as government plans to promote youth skill development for jobs; exemption of service tax will continue to encourage human development. There was not much spotlight on IT and technology as such but, its good to see the serious intent of the government to pass a GST law. Moreover, the governments move to modernise and develop infrastructure will be much appreciated by the industry. "
Click here to read all......Budget Reactions 2013-14
Indian economy likely to grow between 6.1% to 6.7%: Economic Survey
Indian economy is likely to grow between 6.1% to 6.7% in 2013-14 as the downturn is more or less over and the economy is looking up. Following the slowdown induced by the global financial crisis in 2008-09, the Indian economy responded strongly to fiscal and monetary stimulus and achieved a growth rate of 8.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but due to a combination of both external and domestic factors, the economy decelerated growing at 6.2% and an estimated 5% in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively. The Economic Survey 2012-13, presented by the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha predicts that the global economy is also likely to recover in 2013 and various government measures will help in improving the Indian economys outlook for 2013-14. While Indias recent slowdown is partly rooted in external causes, domestic causes are also important.
The slowdown in the rate of growth of services in 2011-12 at 8.2%, and particularly in 2012-13 to 6.6 percent from the double-digit growth of the previous six years, contributed significantly to slowdown in the overall growth of the economy, while some slowdown could also be attributed to the lower growth in agriculture and industrial activities. But despite the slowdown, the services sector has shown more resilience to worsening external conditions than agriculture and industry. For improved agricultural growth, the survey underlines the need for stable and consistent policies where markets play an appropriate role, private investment in infrastructure is stepped up, food price, food stock management and food distribution improves, and a predictable trade policy is adopted for agriculture. FDI in retail allowed by the government can pave the way for investment in new technology and marketing of agricultural produce in India. Fast agricultural growth remains vital for jobs, incomes and food security.
The survey points out that the priority for the Government will be to fight high inflation by reducing the fiscal impetus to demand as well as by focusing on incentivizing food production through measures other than price supports. But unlike the previous year, when food inflation was mainly driven by higher protein food prices, this year the pressure has been coming mainly from cereals. On the Balance of Payments and External Position, the survey highlights that with net exports declining, Indias balance of payments has come under pressure. Moreover, in the current fiscal, foreign exchange reserves have fluctuated between US$ 286 billion and US$ 295.6 billion, while the rupee remained volatile in the range of Rs 53.02 to Rs 54.78 per US dollar during October 2012 to January 2013...Read More
Railway Budget 2013-14 Read Pawan Kumar Bansals full speech
Speech of Pawan Kumar Bansal introducing the Railway Budget, 2013-14 26th February 2013
Madam Speaker, I rise to present before this august House the Revised Estimates for 2012-13 and a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure for 2013-14. I do so with mixed feelings crossing my mind. While I have a feeling of a colossus today, it is only ephemeral and is instantaneously overtaken by a sense of humility. Democracy gives wings to the wingless, cautioning us all the while, that howsoever high or wide our flight may be, we must remain connected to the ground. For giving me this opportunity, I am grateful to the Honble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi and pay my homage to the sacred memory of Sh. Rajiv Gandhi who introduced me to the portals of this highest Temple of Indian democracy.
Madam Speaker, as I proceed, my thought goes to a particularly severe cold spell during the recent winter, when it was snowing heavily in Kashmir valley, and suspension of road and air services had brought life to a grinding halt. Photographs in Newspapers showing a train covered with snow emerging from a similar white background, carrying passengers travelling over the recently commissioned Qazigund -Baramulla section instilled in me a sense of immense pride.
I recall here the inspirational words of Christine Weatherly:
"When you travel on the railway,
And the line goes up a hill,
Just listen to the engine
As it pulls you with a will.
Though it goes very slowly
It sings this little song
'I think I can, I think I can,'
And so it goes along."
That is the strength of this organization, supported by determination, commitment and dedication to duty demonstrated by each member of the 14 lakh strong Rail Parivar...Read More
Highlights of Railway Budget 2013-14
Railways minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday steered clear from hiking passenger fares in his maiden rail budget, hike in tatkal reservation scheme. Bansal presented the rail budget for 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha, informing the House that losses of Indian Railways is mounting. Stressing on financial sustainability of the Indian Railways, Bansal said the loss amounted to Rs. 225 hundred crores. "The growth of Indian Railways is inextricably linked with the growth of the country," Bansal said in his budget speech in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament. "It must remain financially sustainable. Resources generated must be ploughed back." The minister said railways remained the single most important catalyst in India's growth story and was a vital organisation integrating the nation from Baramulla in the north to Kanyamumari in the south. Bansal expressed grief over the loss lives due to the recent stampede at the Allahabad station and said a concrete safety plan would ensure that travel on Indian Railways is hassel free.
Here are the Highlights of the Rail Budget 2013-14:
Mayhem in the mid cap
Mayhem in the mid-cap continued on Wednesday as stocks of many companies tanked to phenomenon lows. The rumour mill is red hot with the talk of heavy sale of pledged shares as promoters of some mid-cap companies go bankrupt; this is the rationale being projected by media reports and experts behind the unexplained sell off in that category. But the market regulator SEBI wants to put the assertion to a test and has launched a probe into the mystery of the mid-cap when a similar carnage happened on Monday and intensified on Tuesday when CNX Nifty index fell over 100 points during the intra-day trade for the first time since May 2012. Over a dozen mid-cap shares fell on Monday and Tuesday even as stocks such as Core Education and Technologies fell as much as 61%. UK Sinha, Chairman of the market regulator SEBI has promised to revamp insider trading regulations shortly. "Like we revisited the takeover code, similarly the insider trading regulations will be revisited. The committee is being appointed shortly and I hope that within a year the reforms will take place." Sinha was quoted as saying by reports. Market experts are too pointing fingers at an insider trading angle. To arrest the volatility in the market BSE capped the lower circuit limit of 12 scrips which were badly hit in Tuesdays sell off. Aanjaneya Lifecare, Bhagwati Banquets & Hotels, Gemini Communications, Sudar Industries are the stocks which are allowed a maximum movement of 10%. While companies such as D B Realty, 7seas Technologies, Bhoruka Aluminium, Broadcast Initiatives, Vardhman Polytex and W H Brady & Co Ltd would be allowed an up/down movement of 5% in day. And the circuit limit of Jolly Plastic Industries is capped at 2%. Some of the stocks that were the biggest losers in the intra-day trade at BSE were: Core Projects(-42.3%), Onelife Capital(-20%), PG Electroplast(-19.9%), Plethico(-19.9%), Rushil Decor(-19.9%), Gravita India(-19.97%), Frontline Bsns(-19.95%), JINDALCOTEX(-19.95%), SYNCOM HEAL(-19.58%), Nath Pulp(-16.9%), Hindustan Tin(-15.54%). Core projects fell a staggering 42% today after witnessing a free fall of 61% on 25 February. The stock is currently trading at Rs.57.55 down by Rs.54.95 at 1450hrs on BSE in the days trade. The stock touched a high of Rs. 117.75 and a low of Rs.56.30. Total traded quantity at the counter stood at 73.4 lakh...Read More
Economy Probe: January 2013
» GDP growth, as per advance estimates, is estimated at 5% in FY13 compared to 6.2% in FY12 (first revised estimates). The growth rate for H1 FY13 is 5.4%.
» During 1 Jan-13 Feb 2013, cumulative rainfall received for India is 17% below normal.
» Food grains (rice & wheat) stocks held by FCI and state agencies were 66.19 million tonne as on February 1, 2013.
» IIP growth declined 0.6% during December 2012 compared to 2.7% in December 2011.
» During Apr-Dec 2012-13, IIP growth was 0.7% compared to 3.7% in Apr-Dec 2011-12.
» Eight core infrastructure industries registered growth of 2.6% in December 2012 compared to 4.9% in December 2011.
» Broad money (M3) for FY13 (up to January 25, 2013) increased 10.1% compared to 10.5% during the corresponding period of the last year. The Y-o-Y growth as on January 25, 2013 was 12.7% against 14.8% in the previous year.
» Cumulative growth of exports & imports, in US dollar terms, during April 2012-January 2013 fell 4.9% and 0.01%, respectively.
» Foreign currency assets stood at $262.5bn in end January 2013 against $259.2bn in end January 2012.
» Rupee appreciated against US dollar, Pound sterling and Japanese yen and depreciated against Euro in the month of January 2013 over December 2012.
» WPI inflation for all commodities for the month of January 2013 declined to 6.62% from 7.18% in the previous month.
» Gross tax revenue increased 15% to Rs. 6.81 trillion in Apr-Dec 2012 compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.
» Tax revenue (net to Centre) rose 15.2% to Rs. 4.84 trillion during Apr-Dec 2012.
» As a proportion of budget estimate, fiscal deficit during Apr-Dec 2012 was 78.8% and revenue deficit was 85.1%.
» Sensex closed at 19,015 points compared to 17,445 points on 27 February 2012a growth of almost 9%...Read More
Women are an underserved market for mobile financial services: study
A study released today by the GSMA mWomen Programme and Visa Inc. entitled, Unlocking the Potential: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets, shows that women in developing countries represent a significant underserved market and commercial opportunity for mobile financial service providers. The study, focused on women in Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan,Papua New Guinea and Tanzania, was undertaken to gain additional insight into how financial institutions and mobile network operators can better support the complex financial lives of women at the base of the pyramid. Around the world more than 2 billion people, the majority of whom are women, lack access to basic financial services. The study, led by Bankable Frontier Associates, found that women often also face an additional burden of having primary responsibility for managing the household finances. These resource-poor women must overcome numerous challenges in managing their finances: incomes are low, irregular and unpredictable, and formal financial tools hard to access...Read More
How do your student loans affect your mortgage?
By the end of 2012, the average student loan debt was $27,000. That's 5% higher than it was in 2010 certainly not good news for people trying to finance their educations right now! In fact, most people will take several years to pay off all of that debt. But is it also bad news for people trying to qualify for a mortgage? Specifically, will your student loan debt stand between you and your dream home? It doesn't have to! If you've read the mortgage advice from the real estate experts at Realtypin.com, you know that lenders will evaluate all of your debts (like your student loans, car payments, credit card bills, etc.) before they approve your mortgage application. So, if you have a ton of student loan debt hanging over your head, it may take a little extra planning ahead of time to get your mortgage application approved, but it doesn't have to be impossible.
Here's what you need to do:
Make your payments consistently
As frustrating as it may be to write that check every month, it's the best thing you can do! First, by making your student loan payments every month, you're showing a mortgage lender that you're responsible. In fact, it can even give your credit score a boost! If you miss even one payment, a lender could have reason to believe that you'll miss mortgage payments and deny your application! As an added benefit, every time you mail off another check, you're paying down your debt. That means you'll have less and less debt that will count towards your debt-to-income ratio when you apply for a mortgage which increases your odds of getting approved...Read More
Walnut consumption lowers risk of type-2 diabetes in women : reports
Recent research published online by the Journal of Nutrition, found an inverse relationship between walnut consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in two large prospective cohorts of U.S. women: the Nurses Health Study (NHS) and NHS II. The researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health followed 58,063 women (5277 years) in NHS (19982008) and 79,893 women (3552 years) in NHS II (19992009) without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. They found two or more servings (1 serving= 28 grams) of walnuts per week to be associated with a 21% and 15% lower risk of incident type 2 diabetes before and after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) respectively. Diabetes is estimated to affect 12.6 million women in the United States and 366 million people worldwide, and the numbers are expected to rise to approximately 552 million globally by 2030. Diet and lifestyle modifications are key components in fighting this epidemic, and recent evidence suggests that the type of fat rather than total fat intake plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Specifically, a higher level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), found significantly in walnuts, has been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Compared with other nuts, which typically contain a high amount of monounsaturated fats, walnuts are unique because they are rich in PUFAs which may favorably influence insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes. Walnuts are different among nuts specifically in that they are uniquely comprised primarily of PUFAs and are the only nut with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5 grams of ALA per 1 ounce/ 28 gram serving)...Read More
Government committed to fight Inflation, says Finance Minister
The Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that looming large over our efforts to stimulate growth is inflation. Presenting the General Budget 2013-14 in Lok Sabha today, Chidambaram said that some inflation is imported. Supply demand mismatch, for example in oilseeds and pulses, also pushes up inflation, he said. Aggregate demand is another cause of inflation. The battle against inflation must be fought on all fronts, he asserted. Chidambaram said, in the past few months Governments efforts have brought down headline WPI inflation to about 7.0% and core inflation to about 4.2%. He further stated that food inflation is worrying and the Government shall take all possible steps to augment the supply side to meet the growing demand for food items.
Several measures announced to strengthen Capital markets
Terming the Indian markets as amongst the best regulated the Finance Minister announced several measures to strengthen the capital market regulator SEBI on the eve of its Silver Jubilee. The DepositoryParticipants authorized by SEBI will now register different classes of portfolio investors subject to compliance with KYC guidelines doing away with different procedures and avenues for many categories. SEBI will simplify the procedure for the Foreign Portfolio Investors and prescribe uniform registration and other norms by converging the different KYC norms. In order to remove the ambiguity between FDI and FII in accordance with international practices, an investor with a stake of 10% or less will be treated as FII whereas the one with more than 10% stake will be treated as FDI. The FIIs will also be permitted to participate in exchange tradedCurrency Derivatives segments to the extent of their Indian rupee exposure in India. FIIs will also be permitted to use their investments in Corporate Bonds and Government Securities as collateral to meet their margin requirements. Angel investors provide both experience and capital to new ventures.SEBI will prescribe requirements for angel investor pools by whichthey can be recognized as category I venture funds. With the objective of developing the debt market, stock exchanges will be allowed to introduce a debt segment on the exchange wherein banks and primary dealers will be trading members alongwith insurance companies, provident funds and pension funds. The list of eligible securities in which Pension Funds and Provident Funds may invest will be enlarged to include exchange traded funds, debt mutual funds and asset backed securities.
Inclusive and Growth-Oriented Budget: Adi Godrej, President, CII
CII has welcomed the Budget 2013-14 as a growth-oriented Budget that would kickstart the next cycle of investment. Coming in the backdrop of challenging global and domestic macro-economic conditions, the Budget makes laudable efforts to optimise growth drivers while addressing inclusive and sustained development. CII is happy that many of its suggestions have found mention in the Budget. "The Budget meets most of our concerns regarding fiscal consolidation, investment incentives, and inclusive growth. These are in alignment with CIIs submissions in its pre-Budget Memorandum to the Finance Ministry," said Adi Godrej, President, CII. Fiscal deficit has been maintained below the target at 5.2% for 2012-13 and at 4.8% for 2013-14. Godrej added, "Budget 2013-14 promises to adhere to the fiscal deficit roadmap as laid out by the Finance Minister last year. This will boost growth, curtail inflation and help in ratings. Emphasis on agriculture, technology and innovation and science and technology is very welcome as it adds to future growth prospects." CII particularly welcomes the stress placed on inclusive growth and development. Plan expenditure has been raised by almost 30%, and inflationary pressures due to supply side measures are sought to be dampened. This would encourage further monetary steps to lower interest rates which would spark investments. The expenditure on education and healthcare has been increased substantially, while skill development has received a big boost. This is in line with CIIs emphasis on enhancing human talent capacities...Read More
The next cut: Issuances improves; more underlying assets in sight?
Issuances of PPMLD improved in January 2013
The January 2013 month witnessed 31 issuances with the average maturity of 2.6 years v/s. 18 issuances in Dec 2012 with average maturity of 3.1 years. The number of issuances in January 2012 was 14 with the average maturity of 2.6 years. The market witnessed the issuance primarily by Edelweiss Capital Limited (ECL), Reliance Capital limited (RCL), Citicorp, Macquarie, and India Infoline Finance Limited (IIFL). CARE Research finds that ~291 PP-MLDs term sheets have been issued in the market during January 2012 to January 2013. In January 2013, ECL leads the issuance with 9 term sheets, followed by Citicorp with 8, RCL with 7, IIFL with 4 and Macquarie with 3 term sheets. Theoreticaly in a volatile market investment sentiment turns cautious and investors seek downside protection with respect to thier stock investment. PPMLDs by definition are the investment instruments which protect the downside risk as at least the prinicpal amount is guaranteed by this issuers while there is participation available on market movement. The principal protection is offered by entities with good credit quality with ratings in A/AA/AAA categories. CARE Research is of the opinion that there is a need to educate the investors on the potential of these instruments in a volatile as well as a bearish market as they provide an in built stop loss in uncertain market environments.
At the time of lacklustre performance by equities, the investment sentiment in such structured products (PPMLD) turns cautious. Even with short term rallies, the demands for these structured products do not pick up as investors doubt the sustainability of rallies. "Lack of sustained performance by equity markets has led to lack of conviction by HNIs in equity market linked products. Lack of participation in alternative underlying assets such as Gold and minimum investment limit in PMS of 25 lacs has contributed to the lacklustre demand of these structures" says Mr. Arjun Reddy, Product & Advisory at Ambit Private Wealth, Ambit Holding. Given the current uncertain economic/market scenario, investors are opting for the more simpler/time tested investment avenues, indicating weak investment confidence for innovative asset classes/products. Nevertheless, the higher risk adjusted returns on PPMLDs have been a feature of attraction amongst investors. "In volatile markets, this category of products has provided very good risk adjusted returns to clients and this performance has led to increase in investor confidence." Says Mr. Vivek Sharma, Head - Structured Products & Investment Advisory at Edelweiss Global Wealth Management Limited...Read More
Multi-pronged approach to help increase insurance penetration
The Government will follow a multi pronged approach to increase penetration of insurance-both life and general- in the country.Chidambaram said a number of proposals finalized in consultation with IRDA are being implemented. Insurance companies will now be allowed to open branches in tier II cities and below without prior approval of the IRDA. The banks will be permitted to act as insurance brokers so that full network of banks will be utilized to increase penetration.The banking correspondents will be allowed to sell micro-insurance products. TheKYC of Banks will be sufficient for purchase of insurance policies.He added that LIC and atleast one other public sector general insurance company will have an office in towns with a population of 10,000 or more by 31st March, 2014. The Rashtirya Swastha Bima Yojana which covers 34 million families below poverty line is proposed to be extended to cover other categories such as rickshaw, auto rickshaw and taxi drivers, sanitation workers, rag pickers, and mine workers. The Rural Housing Fund set up through National Housing bank which refinances lending for rural housing will be provided Rs 6000 crore as against Rs 4000 crore provided last year. In view of the shortage of houses it is proposed to start a fund for housing in urban areas. The National Housing Bank will be asked to set up the fund and Rs. 2000 will be provided for it in 2013-14. Championing the idea of an integrated social security package for the unorganized sector he said an integrated and comprehensive package including life cover,cum disability, health cover, maternity assistance and pension benefits will immensely help the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the society. The present schemes such as AABY,JSBY, RSBY,JSY, IGMSY are run by different Ministries and it is proposed to converge them and evolve comprehensive social security package.
Government takes measures to Rationalise expenditure
The Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram called the policy decisions of the Central Government to correct some prices and review of certain tax policies as "a dose of bitter medicine". Presenting the General Budget 2013-14 in Lok Sabha today, Chidambaram said, faced with a huge fiscal deficit, the Government had no choice but to rationalize expenditure. He said that the Government took some policy decisions that had been deferred for too long and undertook a review of certain tax policies. The Finance Minister stated that in the Budget for 2012-13, the estimate of Plan Expenditure was too ambitious and the estimate of non-Plan Expenditure was too conservative. He said that the Government retrieved some economic space and used that economic space to advance Governments socio economic objectives.
Economic Survey acknowledges benefits of market diversification
The Economic Survey presented by the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram in the Parliament today expressed satisfaction over the strategy of market diversification There has been significant market diversification in Indias trade. Region wise, Indias exports to Europe and America have declined to 18.7% and 19.5% respectively in 2012-13 from 25.9% and 24.7% in 2000-01. On the other hand Export to Asia and Africa rose to 50.4% and 9.6% respectively from 37.4% and 5.3% respectively during the same period. There was a noticeable rise in the share of West Asia GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries from 14.9% in 2011-12 to 17.7% in 2012-13 (April- November) said the Survey. However, the Survey noted that "in terms of product diversification a lot more is needs to be done." The Survey also noted the impact of exchange rate changes on export growth. It said that while Export growth in dollar terms was negative at - 4.9 in 2012-13 (April-January), it was positive in rupee terms at 9.1%. Though, here too, there was a deceleration from the 28.3% in 2011-12 (full year).
The trade deficit of US$167.2bn for 2012-13 (April-January) was 7.9% higher than the US$154.9bn during the same period in 2011-12. The survey attributes this to moderate export growth and high import growth, particularly in petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) products. Demand contraction due to global economic conditions impacted India and export suffered. After touching the high point of 56.5% growth in July 2011, Indias export growth started decorating with a sudden fall to single digits in November 2011 and then to negative territory in March 2012. Monthly export growth rates in 2012-13 (April- December) were negative except in April 2012. The survey notes the marginal revival to positive territory i.e. growth of export at 0.8% in January 2013. The Survey said that the Indias exports to EU and China have been more negative during the recent slowdown then in 2009-10, while the performance to USA has been better for most of the sectors except gems and jewellery.
Economic Survey 2012-13: Focus on curbing imports of Gold
The Economic Survey 2012-13 presented by the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha today has stated that as the room to increase exports in short run is limited, the main focus has to be on curbing imports, mainly by making oil prices more market determine and curbing imports of gold to contain current account deficit. At the same time, the Survey says, further measures to ease the inflow of remittances and steps to diversify software exports could help reduce financing needs. Greater emphasis on FDI including opening of sectors further can help increase quantum of safe-financing. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) flows need to be targeted towards long-term rupee instruments so as to minimize the reversal of capital during risk-off phases. Finally, the Survey observes, external commercial borrowing needs to be monitored carefully so that entities without access to foreign exchange revenues do not leave significant exposures unhedged. The Survey observes that widening trade deficit and Current Account Deficit (CAD) crossing 4% of GDP in 2011-12 and the first half of 2012-13 have been matters of concern. The Survey further says that in recent years, net invisible balance reduced the need for financing while capital inflows were sufficient to finance the CAD. The Survey notes that in the current fiscal the growth in invisible is insufficient to narrow the growing trade deficit besides the CAD financed by volatile capitals flows has led to financial fragility and is reflected in rupee exchange rate volatility.
Difference between FII and FDI: FM clears the ambiguity
Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said the country will now follow global practices to differentiate between foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and foreign direct investment (FDI) based on their holdings in firm. In the Budget 2013-14, Mr Chidambaram said that foreign investors with less than 10% stake in a particular stock will be considered as FII, and more than 10% stake as FDI. "To remove the ambiguity that prevails on what is FDI and what is FII, I propose to follow the international practice and lay down a broad principle that, where an investor has a stake of 10% or less in a company, it will be treated as FII and, where an investor has a stake of more than 10%, it will be treated as FDI," Mr Chidambaram said in his Budget speech. A committee will be constituted to examine the application of the principle (on classification) and to work out the details expeditiously, the finance minister added. As a result of the new classification, Indian companies will be required to make changes in their foreign shareholding structures. Of the 5,500 firms listed in India, 586 have FDI holdings and 1,317 FII holdings, including those that have holdings from both FDI entities and FIIs. FDI refers to an investment made by a company or entity based in one country, into a company or entity based in another country. The investing company may make its overseas investment in a number of ways - either by setting up a subsidiary or associate company in the foreign country, by acquiring shares of an overseas company, or through a merger or joint venture. An example of FDI would be an American company taking a majority stake in a company in India. The term FIIs refer to outside companies investing in the financial markets of India. International institutional investors must register with the Securities and Exchange Board of India to participate in the market. One of the major market regulations pertaining to FIIs involves placing limits on FII ownership in Indian companies.
India and Canada to strengthen cooperation in tourism sector
Maxime Bernier, Minister of Tourism, Canada called on Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi here. Both sides resolved to strengthen cooperation in tourism sector. It was also decided that both the countries will identify areas for working together and explore new opportunities in tourism sector especially in the field of human resource development, exchange of tour operators, investment in the tourism sector and exchange of information related to tourism sector. The possibility of signing an agreement/MoU between India and Canada was also discussed. It was also agreed that Tour Operators and Travel Agents of both the countries will interact with each other in order to promote two way tourism between India and Canada. The possibilities of promoting more package tours in either of the countries could also be explored by the travel trade of two countries. Both sides also explored the possibilities of promoting joint venture investment in the field of hotel industry and tourism infrastructural sector. Now that Hotels and Tourism sector has been opened for Foreign direct investment up to 100% on automatic routes, Canadian investment in tourism infrastructure in India could be one of the major areas of cooperation...Read More
1.52 lakh Vacancies in railways to be filled up this year: PK Bansal
The Minister of Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced that the Ministry of Railways will make concerted efforts to fill up approximately 1.52 lakh vacancies this year. While presenting Railways Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today, he said that it is a measure of popularity of Railways as an employer that a staggering 2.2 crore applications were received. For the first time, Railways recruitment examinations were held at more than 60 cities across the country. In the process, a backlog of about 47,000 vacancies earmarked for weaker sections and physically challenged is likely to get cleared.
Railway to introduce Next Gen E-Ticketing System
The Minister of Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced that the Ministry of Railways will make concerted efforts to fill up approximately 1.52 lakh vacancies this year. While presenting Railways Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today, he said that it is a measure of popularity of Railways as an employer that a staggering 2.2 crore applications were received. For the first time, Railways recruitment examinations were held at more than 60 cities across the country. In the process, a backlog of about 47,000 vacancies earmarked for weaker sections and physically challenged is likely to get cleared.
Railway introduced Anubhuti Coaches with latest modern facilities
The Minister of Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that with increasing popularity of Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains, there is also a demand for higher travel comfort. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament he said, responding to this need, the Indian Railways will introduce one such coach in select trains which will provide an excellent ambience and latest modern facilities and services. He said, such coaches will be named Anubhuti and will have commensurate fare structure.
Indian Railways and BHEL sign MOU for Coaches Manufacturing facility
In the presence of the Minister of Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal and the Minister for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Praful a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here today between Indian Railways and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) for setting up of Greenfield MEMU coaches manufacturing facility by BHEL at Bhilwara in Rajasthan. The signatories to the MOU were Kul Bhushan, Member Electrical Railway Board, and B. P. Rao, CMD, BHEL. Main Line Electric Multiple Unit Trains, popularly known as MEMU trains were first introduced in Indian Railways in the Year 1994-95, as a mode of rapid transit system, to cater to non-suburban passengers, residing in small towns and villages surrounding urban and industrial centres. MEMU trains have higher passenger carrying capacity and higher average speed as compared to conventional loco hauled passenger trains due to faster acceleration and braking characteristics. These rakes are now being manufactured with toilet facilities to take care of passenger needs. MEMU trains increase the line capacity utilisation, and therefore are more suitable for running on high traffic density routes.
These MEMU trains have gained rapid popularity over the years. Currently, there are about 160 MEMU services running. There are demands coming from all over the country for running more and more MEMU trains. The demand for these coaches will further increase as Indian Railways have plans to Electrify approximately 15000 route kilometre during the next 10 years, in addition to the existing 22000 route kilometre of electrified track. There was a shortfall in acquisition of 800 MEMU coaches during XIth Plan Period due to capacity constraints at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, where these MEMU coaches are produced. Overall it is expected that the requirement of MEMU coaches will grow to nearly 9000 coaches during the next 10 year period. Setting up of factory for conventional MEMU coaches will go a long way in meeting this demand...Read More
Anand Sinha to continue as RBI Deputy Governor till January 2014
The government has extended the term of RBI Deputy Governor Anand Sinha, who played a major role in formulation of guidelines for new bank licences by 11 months. Anand Sinha will continue as Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) till January 18, 2014, when he completes the tenure of three years from the date on which he assumed office, according to the central bank press release issued on Tuesday.Sinha was first appointed as the RBI Deputy Governor in January 2011 for a period up to February 28, 2013. He will continue to look after various departments which include banking operations, non-banking supervision and urban banks department as well as departments of risk monitoring, information technology, expenditure and budgetary control, legal and premises. Sinhas central banking career has spanned over 34 years. He has been involved with formulation of several major regulatory and supervisory policies for commercial banks. He has also been on several internal committees. He has handled, among others, foreign exchange, deposit insurance and regional office work during his career.
SBI increases fixed deposit rates by 0.25%
State Bank of India (SBI) on Wednesday announced increase in interest rate on fixed deposits by 0.25% on select maturities. The new rates would be effective from March 1, SBI said in a statement. The interest rate on 1-2 years fixed deposit increased to 8.75% from 8.5%. Similarly, term deposit 2-3 years, 3-5 years and 5-10 years would also earn higher interest rate of 8.75%. However, the interest rate has not been increased for deposits less than 1 year. Recently, SBI cut lending rate by 0.05%, soon after the Reserve Bank cut its key policy rates. SBI's base rate, or the minimum rate of lending, reduced to 9.7% from 9.75% effective February 4.
Agricultural credit target kept at Rs. 7 lakh crores
In the budget for 2013-14 presented by the Finance Minister Sh. P. Chidambaram in Lok Sabha today, the agricultural credit target has been increased to Rs. 7 lakh crores from the earlier Rs. 5.75 lakh crores. The short-term crop loan scheme (Interest Subvention Scheme) has been extended to the crop loans borrowed from private sector scheduled commercial banks in respect of loans given in the service area of the branch concerned. Earlier the scheme was applicable to loans extended by the Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Co-operative Banks. Under this Interest Subvention Scheme, a farmer will be able to get loans at 4 per cent per annum if he repays the short-term crop loan on time.
Govt promoting organic farming through NPOF, NHM and RKVY
The Government of India is promoting organic farming in various parts of the country including Bihar through various schemes like National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY). It is already supporting financial assistance under National Horticulture Mission (NHM) for setting up of vermi-compost units @ 50% of the cost subject to a maximum of Rs. 30,000/- per beneficiary. Funds are also provided @ 50% of the cost subject to maximum of Rs. 10,000/- per hectare for a maximum area of 4 hectare per beneficiary for adoption of organic farming. Similar norms of assistance are applicable for assistance given under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY). Under NPOF scheme, financial assistance is provided for setting up of organic inputs production units as credit linked back-ended subsidy to the tune of 33% restricted to Rs. 60.00 lakh for setting up of Fruit/Vegetable market Waste / Agro-waste compost units and 25% restricted to Rs 40.00 lakh for setting up of Bio-fertilisers production units / Bio-pesticides production units. Beside this, a farmers group centric low-cost certification system, Participatory Guarantee System (PGS-India) an alternative of 3rd party certification system has been launched during 2011-12 to increase the area under organic farming.
Infrastructure is the game changer for India: Kamal Nath
The Honble Union Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath, inaugurated the annual KPMG-Infrastructure Awards ceremony, held at The Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi, in the presence of several eminent practitioners. For the fifth year running, Infrastructure Today, Indias premier magazine for nation builders, in association with KPMG in India, has held this prestigious award ceremony to celebrate excellence across the infrastructure sector. Indias premier infrastructure award ceremony witnessed 12 private and public sector organizations such as Tata Power IL&FS Transportation Networks (India) Limited (ITNL), GMR Infrastructure Limited, Yamuna Expressway, receive accolades under different categories. Kamal Nath was joined on stage by the awards organizer Arvind Mahajan (Partner and Head of Global Infrastructure and Energy and Natural Resources, KPMG in India) and James Stewart (Chairman-Global Infrastructure, KPMG in United Kingdom) to present trophies to PPP projects in Transport, Urban Infrastructure, Power, Enabling Central and State Agencies, and Financiers. While addressing the gathering Kamal Nath, an enthusiastic advocate of the PPP model, expressed his support towards the central and state governments escalating adoption of the public-private partnership (PPP) model for infrastructure projects, and emphasized the need for more partnerships. Kamal Nath, in his address, congratulated the winners and expressed content at the recent progress made by the industry. "Infrastructure plays a vital role in facilitating economic growth. When we invest in our infrastructure, whether our roads, communications networks or energy supply, we reap rewards, spawn new industries and create new jobs.
If economic & corporate performances improve, banks would gain: S&P
Indian banks asset quality and earnings should remain stressed through fiscal 2014. The pace of deterioration will decline as economic and corporate sector performance bottom out, according to the Standard & Poors, "India Banking Outlook 2013: More pain but relief might be on the way" report. The credit cycle is at a turning point, and the banking sector performance is likely to start improving starting in fiscal 2015. For the next 12 months or so, the countrys banking sector is likely to bear the effects of slow economic growth and the sluggish pace of fiscal reforms. However, troubles for Indias banking system are close to bottoming out. And we project that the situation is likely to get better in the financial year ending March 31, 2015, the report added. The countrys NPAs (gross loans) stood at 2.9% in March 2012 and are expected to soar significantly to 3.9% in March 2013. In March 2014, NPAs are expected to rise to 4.4% and after that improve, Geeta Chugh, Director & Analytical Manager, Financial Institutions Ratings, Emerging Asia, S&P, said. Ms Chugh was speaking at Standard & Poor's media teleconference today. Reduced economic activity, high inflation, and elevated interest rates have been the bugbears of Indian banks for the past couple of years. During this period, corporate performance suffered and banks' nonperforming assets soared and earnings were hit. The economy and corporate sector performance will gradually improve, given the governments reform initiatives, which could spur growth. The benefits are expected to flow in the banking sector with a lag. Indian economy is expected to recover in the next couple of years after a dismal performance in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013. S&P projects growth of about 5.5% for fiscal 2013, 6.4% in fiscal 2014, and 7.2% in fiscal 2015...Read More
Home loan additional deduction announced in Union Budget
Presenting the Union Budget in Parliament today, the Finance Minister P Chidambaram expressed the hope that the India would achieve high economic growth despite slowdown in the global economic growth. The Finance Minister P. Chidambaram proposed that a person taking a loan for his first home from a bank or a housing finance corporation upto Rs.25 lakhduring the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 will be entitled to an additional deduction of interest of Rs.1 lakh. The Finance Bill 2013-14 proposes additional tax benefit to the firsthome buyer who takes a loan for an amount not exceeding Rs. 25 lakh. The Finance Minister hoped that this will promote home-ownership and give a fillip to a number of industries like steel, cement, brick, wood, glass etc besides jobs to thousands of construction workers. This deduction will be over and above the deduction of Rs. 1.5 lakh allowed for self- occupied properties under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act. If the limit is notexhausted, the balance may be claimed in AY2015-16.
Auction of 800 Mhz Spectrum to commence on March 11: DoT
Auction of 1800, 900 & 800 MHz spectrum was scheduled to begin on March 11, 2013. The last date for receipt of applications was 25.2.2013. At the time of close on the last date for receipt of applications i.e., 25.2.2013, one applicant, namely, SSTL registered for the auction of 800 MHz spectrum and no applicants registered for the auction of 1800 & 900 MHz spectrum. 1800 & 900 MHz bands were to be auctioned simultaneously starting from March 11, 2013 and the 800 MHz band auction was to commence 2 days after the conclusion of the auction of 1800 & 900 MHz spectrum. In the light of these developments, the auction of 800 MHz spectrum will commence on 11.3.2013 itself. Next steps in respect of the 1800 and 900 MHz spectrum will be decided shortly after placing the developments and issues arising there from before the EGOM on auction of spectrum. A third auction (after the 1st auction in November, 2012 and the second auction due to commence on March 11, 2013) was already announced by the DOT on 20.2.2013 consequent to the SC directions dated 15.2.2013. This third auction was to cover only the 1800 MHz band to comply with the SC directive to put the entire spectrum surrendered (which was entirely either in the 1800 or 800 MHz bands) by holders of quashed licenses to auction immediately. This would, in any case, have necessitated auction in 20 of the 22 circles wherein the quantum of spectrum put to auction was less than what the SC had directed on 15.2.2013 after the issue of the NIA for the March, 2013 auction. In Delhi and Mumbai circles, the quantum of spectrum put to auction in March, 2013 was already in accordance with the latest orders of the SC dated 15.2.2013. This was also the case in respect of spectrum in the 800 MHz band both in the November, 2012 auction and again in the March, 2013 auction...Read More
Growing economy creates good middle-class jobs: Obama
Unless Congress takes action, over the next few weeks our economy will be hit with harmful automatic cuts that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs. These cuts will slash vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and health care for our troops and military families. President Obama strongly believes we need to replace these arbitrary cuts with balanced deficit reduction, VA to talk about what these cuts which are known as the sequester will mean for middle class families. While the full damage of these cuts will spread to nearly every corner of our economy over the next few months, some workers will receive layoff or furlough notices within days. Many of the 5,000 companies and small businesses from across the country that supply Newport News Shipbuilding with parts and equipment will be impacted, which will affect the firm's productivity. And down the road at the Norfolk Naval Station, the threat of these cuts has already forced the Navy to cancel the deployment and delay the repair of certain aircraft carriers, and postpone building on additional vessels. If the cuts are implemented, about 90,000 Virginians who work for the Department of Defense will be forced to take unpaid leave from their jobs, creating a ripple effect on thousands of other jobs, businesses, and services throughout the Commonwealth and not just in the defense industry...Read More
Ben S. Bernanke speech on Semiannual Monetary Policy
Moody's Investors Service says that the gross financing needs for Emerging Asia sovereigns are overwhelmingly met through local-currency denominated debt issuance, imparting stability to government finances. Gross financing needs are set to edge down to 13.8% of the group's GDP in 2013, from 14.5% in 2012. In dollar terms, the figure is US$660bn, up slightly from the estimation for 2012, Moody's says in a new report, titled: Emerging Asia 2013 Government Financing Needs: Predominance of Local Currency Funding Imparts Stability. The special comment presents data on the 2013 gross financing needs and sources of a select group of 10 sovereigns which span South and Southeast Asia plus Mongolia. The report additionally discusses the fiscal trajectories and rating trends of members of group over the past decade. During this year, the 10 sovereigns will continue to fund themselves overwhelmingly from their domestic markets, using foreign currency debt for just 5% of their total gross financing needs, according to the report. This relatively low dependence on foreign-currency denominated external financing imparts stability to government finances. The exception is India, which the report estimates will direct close to 30% of its financing needs to funding its savings and reserve funds, thereby skewing the figures in the "other" category. Some 60% of the group's requirements will stem from debt amortization and 30% from central government deficits, with the balance going to "other" financing that ranges from reserve funds, as with India, to emergency measures, as with Thailand. The report notes that virtually all emerging Asian sovereigns reduced their fiscal deficits in the years preceding the global financial crisis. But since then, group members have diverged in their fiscal consolidation efforts, with some, mostly Southeast Asian governments, successfully reducing their finances and others, mainly South Asian governments, failing in this area. At the same time, for the group as a whole, debt/GDP ratios have generally improved, some because of fiscal consolidation, and others largely because of high nominal growth. Credit trends have not been uniform across the region and rating drivers have varied. Most members of the group -- despite the divergence in their individual credit profiles -- have maintained their creditworthiness, but there is some variation.
Emerging Asia gross financing needs local currency funding imparts stability: Moody's
After a lacklustre November and December, Canadian entrepreneurs are feeling more optimistic in early 2013, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The Business Barometer index continued January's upward trend by rising another half a point to 66.2 in February. "For the first time in awhile, small business owners are reporting index numbers that indicate the economy is growing nearer its potential," said Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "The January and February results suggest Canadians are seeing modest, but widespread economic growth." Small business owners in Alberta (71.0) remain the most optimistic in Canada, although Saskatchewan (69.8) and Newfoundland and Labrador (67.0) are not far behind. Ontario (65.3), Nova Scotia (65.3), British Columbia (64.9), Quebec (64.6), Manitoba (63.4), and New Brunswick (62.2) are all slightly below the national average. Prince Edward Island (54.1) saw a noticeable decline in business confidence. "Despite talk of a 'bitumen bubble', small business confidence is strong in Alberta, and getting stronger across most of Canada," added Mallett. "That view is buttressed by positive expectations for full-time job growth." Full-time hiring plans are far better than seasonal norms, with 26% of businesses expecting to hire additional staff in the next few months, and only six per cent planning to cut back. Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses' performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. The February 2013 findings are based on 974 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.2% 19 times in 20.
JLR launches Jaguar XJ Ultimate priced up to Rs 18.8mn
Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover reportedly launched luxury sedan Jaguar XJ Ultimate, priced up to Rs.18.8mn (ex-showroom, Mumbai). According to reports, the XJ Ultimate is available with Jaguars existing 5.0 litre V8 supercharged petrol engine and 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine, all driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed transmission, the Company said in a statement. While the 5.0 litre V8 option will cost Rs 18.8mn (ex-Showroom Delhi), the 3.0 litre diesel variant is priced at Rs 17.8mn, reports stated. "Based exclusively on the long-wheelbase XJ, the interior changes applied to the Ultimate focus on the rear accommodation, extending the cars limousine remit to provide a fully-appointed luxury business class experience for the most discerning of global customers," the Company said.
Nissan launches new era for NISMO its exclusive global performance road car
Nissan Motor kicked off a new era for Nismo, confirming it as Nissan's exclusive global performance road car and motorsport brand and officially opening the new Nismo global headquarters and development center in Yokohama, Japan. Nismo is already well-known to motorsports and performance car enthusiasts in Japan and to millions of global gaming enthusiasts. Now, Nismo is poised for accelerated global impact, enhancing Nissan's reputation for innovation and excitement with a new line-up of sporty Nissan road cars. In a special ceremony today, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn declared the new headquarters open and explained how Nismo will play an even more prominent role for the company's performance car and motorsport activities. The first new Nissan road car to get the Nismo treatment, the Juke Nismo, is already on sale in Europe and Japan and launches in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year. A new version of the 370Z Nismo for European markets is the next Nismo road car, which made its world debut earlier this month and builds on the platform of Nissan's most popular and accessible sports car. Nissan is promising a rapid pace of introduction of even more Nismo models, at least one model every year during the Nissan Power88 period, encompassing the breadth of the Nissan road car range. This will include the flagship of Nissan's performance and technology, the GT-R. Nismo's new charter will also impact Nissan's future motorsport activities, where it is expected to boldly enhance Nissan's reputation for excitement and innovation. Nismo is taking on global responsibility for managing Nissan's motorsport program which includes top level competition in every region of the world.
Delta Air Lines provides a superior sleep experience in the skies
Delta Air Lines is transforming the sleep experience in the air by offering Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding, designed and manufactured exclusively for Delta, in all of its BusinessElite cabins throughout the world. The new Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding product will be available on all BusinessElite International flights, as well as BusinessElite flights between New Yorks John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle and between Atlanta and Honolulu, beginning in June 2013. BusinessElite customers will receive a Westin Heavenly sleeping pillow and a comforter with extra luxurious loft. Passengers on flights over 12 hours also will receive a lumbar pillow.
In addition to the new Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding, Delta is making investments in several other products and services to revamp the in-flight sleep experience. These include a white noise channel on Delta Radio, and new BusinessElite amenity kits featuring Tumi and Malin+Goetz products. Delta is also enhancing the sleep experience by expanding full flat-bed seating. Delta is introducing full flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite cabin of all transcontinental flights operating between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle beginning in March 2013. All of Delta's Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft serving these transcontinental markets will offer the flatbed seats over the next 24 months. Delta's decision to install full flat-bed seats on its transcontinental flights complements the airline's current investment in full flat-bed seats on its entire international widebody fleet of more than 140 aircraft. By the end of 2013, 70 percent of all Delta aircraft will have flat beds and, in early 2014, Deltas entire widebody fleet is scheduled to be complete. As a direct result of customer feedback, flight attendants are also modifying their in-flight service to better foster sleep. BusinessElite flights now offer an "Express Meal" that features lighter fare and a one-step delivery process on all international flights departing after 9 p.m. and flights between JFK and Londons Heathrow Airport. Delta will be designing a similar express meal menu for BusinessElite flights that are less than 10 hours long, as well as transcontinental flights...Read More
Boeing delivers first 777 built at increased rate
Boeing has delivered the first 777 built at the increased production rate of 8.3 per month, or 100 airplanes per year. The airplane, a 777 Freighter, was delivered to Korean Air. In the past 32 months, the 777 program has increased its production rate twice. The rate went from five to seven per month in 2011, and now to the all-time high of 8.3 per month. 1,072 777s have been delivered through the end of January and a total of 1,431 have been ordered from 66 customers around the globe.
8 million people in UK have no savings: Scottish Widows report
Almost 15 million people across the UK (31% of the adult population) are not currently making any efforts to save for the future, while eight million people (17%) have no savings to their name at all, according to Scottish Widows seventh annual Savings and Investment Report. Although 63% of Britons are managing to put something away, nearly a third (32%) have a total pot of less than £1000, which is less than the UK average combined monthly mortgage and council tax costs (£1009). In addition, almost one in five of those who expect their financial priorities to change are seriously concerned about job security for the coming year. These statistics paint a bleak picture of peoples ability to cope with financial shocks that could hit now or in the future.
Families shoulder the burden
A quarter (25%) of respondents with families have loaned a substantial amount to their children, often to simply help them meet daily living expenses. Support is also provided for higher education and property purchases, with an average loan of almost £15,000 an 11% increase from the amount reported last year. Interestingly, when asked what theyd rather give their children money for, parents opted for helping them get on to the housing ladder (63%) over university fees (21%). This level of support is having a stark impact on parents finances with a quarter (24%) cutting back on their savings and almost one in ten (8%) stopping saving altogether. However, it isnt just parents funding their children; whole families are pulling together to support each other. The report shows that grandparents are helping their grandchildren; children are lending money to their parents, and siblings are also supporting each other...Read More
Rajat Gupta ordered to pay $6.2 million to Goldman
Federal judge Jed Rakoff on Monday ordered former Goldman Sachs Group Inc director Rajat Gupta to repay $6.22 million to help bank cover its legal expenses related to his criminal insider trading case, according to media report. Goldman had sought to recover $6.91 million from Mr Gupta, and Rakoff said the bank had proved it was entitled to 90% of what it requested. A senior US businessman convicted for white collar cheating, Mr Gupta was told to reimburse the banks legal fees by federal judge in New York, the report added. Gupta is appealing his June 15, 2012 conviction and two-year prison term for leaking boardroom secrets to Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund manager at the center of a multi-year U.S. government crackdown on insider trading. Gupta is a former global managing director of the consulting firm McKinsey & Co, and is the highest corporate executive convicted in the probe.
Facebook buys Microsoft ad technology platform: reports
Facebook Inc has reportedly said that it agreed to buy advertising technology from Microsoft Corp that measures the effectiveness of ads on its website. Under the transaction, Facebook will purchase the Atlas Advertiser Suite, an ad management and measurement platform that Microsoft took on with its $6.3 bn acquisition of digital ad agency aQuantive in 2007. Microsoft wrote off $6.2 billion of the aQuantive deal's value last year, says report. There are reports that Facebook has introduced a number of tools and partnerships to prove to marketers that advertising on its social network delivers enough bang for the buck.
Worldwide public cloud services market to total $131bn: Gartner
The public cloud services market is forecast to grow 18.5% in 2013 to total $131bn worldwide, up from $111bn in 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), including cloud compute, storage and print services, continued as the fastest-growing segment of the market, growing 42.4% in 2012 to $6.1bn and expected to grow 47.3% in 2013 to $9bn. Cloud advertising continues to be the largest segment of the cloud services market, comprising 48% of the total market in 2012. Gartner predicts that from 2013 through 2016, $677bn will be spent on cloud services worldwide, $310bn of which will be spent on cloud advertising. "The continued growth of the cloud services market will result from the adoption of cloud services for production systems and workloads, in addition to the development and testing scenarios that have led as the most prominent use case for public cloud services to date," said Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner. "Evidence of this growth is found in the increasing demand for cloud services from end-user organizations, met by an increased supply of cloud services from suppliers." Although there is wide variation between cloud services market subsegments, strong demand is anticipated for all types of cloud services offerings. The cloud business process services segment (BPaaS) is the second-largest market segment after cloud advertising, comprising 28% of the total market in 2012, followed by cloud application services (software as a service [SaaS]) at 14.7%, cloud system infrastructure services (IaaS) at 5.5%, cloud management and security services at 2.8%, and cloud application infrastructure services (platform as a service [PaaS]) at 1%...Read More
Huawei showcases HUAWEI MediaQ M310 at Mobile World Congress
Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, showcased the HUAWEI MediaQ M310 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013. Ideal for families to stay connected, the media cube connects content from smartphones, tablets and TVs, bringing the living room into a smarter era. A small unobtrusive cube, measuring only 14mm slim, the MediaQ M310 has hefty hardware capabilities encompassing multi-screen interactions, media management, video calls and gaming. Powered by a quad core ARM9 processor, the MediaQ enables wireless projection through an HDMI in-connection, and together with a TV screen and an external camera, it provides exceptional video call quality for connecting with family and friends around the world. Its existing 32 GB memory can be further supplemented with Micro SD cards. "In this era of digital evolution for the home, the HUAWEI MediaQ provides an enriched, integrated entertainment experience without the expense of overhauling the technology you already own and love," said Yang Zhirong, President, Huawei Home Devices. "With unsurpassed versatility, the MediaQ acts as a set-top-box, a smart TV and a portal that enables all content to be accessed on any device." The HUAWEI MediaQs powerful consolidation function automatically sorts and organizes files from PCs, mobile hard disk drives and other storage devices. The HUAWEI MediaQ is pre-installed with games including Ducati Bike and Breakers Revenge II that can be played using tablets or game consoles. Additional accessories include a universal learning remote that controls the MediaQ, Set Top Box (STB), TV, and other digital devices, software converting smartphones into the MediaQ mouse and keyboard controllers, and a type-Y power cord to connect jump drives and mobile hard disk drives. MediaQ M310 was first displayed at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. Price and availability will be announced soon.
East Asian onshore markets to see most AUM growth: Fitch
Fitch Ratings expects growth in asset under management (AUM) to be higher in the years to come in emerging Asia (China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) than in mature markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. The Asian region has a large and growing middle class population with a low penetration of managed products at 5% of total financial assets on average compared with 15% in western countries. During the past few years, growth has been higher in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and in the institutional segment compared with Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. Unlike other countries in emerging Asia, China has suffered from its equity focus in a five-year bear market and an under-developed debt market until recently. Nevertheless, Fitch believes that a stabilisation/rise in equity markets and recent regulatory initiatives to expand Chinese capital markets will allow the gap to be closed in the next few years. Historically, foreign funds have been distributed in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan, notably through private banks, wealth managers or financial advisors. As hubs, Hong Kong and Singapore account for USD2trn of offshore funds' assets under management (AUM), largely consisting of European UCITS funds whose number has grown to reach around 6,000 funds in 2012. China and Korea dominate the USD1trn domestic onshore market in East Asia but emerging Asia already accounts for 15% of the region's onshore AUM and continues to grow fast. East Asia is also characterised by a large but concentrated institutional market, consisting of large pension, provident or sovereign wealth funds, often regarded as sophisticated by international asset managers. These institutional investors have built diversified portfolios, with total assets of about USD2.5trn. While Asian authorities have started to discuss a regional passport for funds, similar to UCITS in Europe, the most promising development resides in renminbi-denominated funds, managed out of Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong.
Ericsson: Mobile World Congress brings networked society to life
This year's keynote was all about Bringing the Networked Society to Life and Ericsson President and CEO, Hans Vestberg showed examples of innovation, and business models that are already coming to life in the Networked Society. In the related content, you can see the main highlights from the keynote in which Vestberg looks out into the future, summarizes the strategic choices that must be made by Ericsson customers, and what Ericsson can provide for them once choices are made. The keynote also featured the world premiere of the 'Aviciixyou' track which Ericsson and Avicii and Universal Music Sweden have been working on together for the past 40-some days. The worldwide crowd sourced collaboration featuring 4199 artists across 140 countries. This project shows the possibility of what can happen when industries are transformed by networking, collaboration and new technologies. Available material includes an edited package.
As for the story, it reminds you of Nagesh Kukonoors Iqbaal, Farhan Akhtars Dil Chahtaa Hai and Zoyas Zingadi Na Mile Dobara for different reasons. But unlike the Akhtar products, Kai Po Che goes way beyond unfolding the glossy, highbrow intricacies of camaraderie between three friends to convey the reality of life and work in India how political undercurrents cause religious unrests that trigger social upheavals which in turn shape individual trials and triumphs.
Kapoor is largely helped by Sushant Singh Rajput (who plays the impulsive and lion-hearted Ishaan, the principal protagonist) who breathes life, almost all of it, into the plot. Hes the latest hope in cinemascope and should bag quite a few awards for the sensational debut. Closer to Ranbir Kapoor than Ranveer Singh in every department, he seems perfectly poised for a fruitful career in Bollywood.
The other two, Raj Kumar Yadav (cautious and calculated Govind) and Amit Sadh (rustic, susceptible Omi) provide good support though at times, Sadh looks lost and Raj Kumar goes overboard. For an accomplished actor and a regular face in offbeat movies (and even big banner products like Talaash), Raj Kumar runs the risk of getting stereotyped in sober roles. Hope he gets a break he deserves someday soon. Amrita Puri capitalizes on the fabulous part she played in the Sonam Kapoor disaster Aisha that was followed by a long lull of "prakriti ka sparsh" laden endorsements.
For a film based on Bhagats novel, Kai Po Che cant escape melodrama and simplistic twists but Kapoor dexterously builds on the given foundation to create an enduring slice of fiction. He does his best to space out Bhagats content-heavy theme that accommodates cricket coaching, earthquakes, riots, elections, love tuitions, Navraatri-brand carnal escapades and pregnancy tests. If certain parts like the Kendriya Vidyalaya sports presentation appear abrupt, one cant really blame Kapoor.
Despite the fact that Bhagats amateurish take (on most things) is tailor-made for the Bollywood cause, Kapoor adds credibility to the story by refraining from garish romanticism. Even the note of collective accomplishment at the end of the film is admirably matter of fact, conveyed through a running cricket commentary. Any other director would have been tempted to set emotions in loose motion. Five points for the director and Rajput, and also a few points for someone who paved the way for such potent cinematic possibilities.
Before you venture out to suffer this one, theres a fruitful option at hand. You can watch both parts of Dabangg and Wasseypur over and over again. The ordeal could leave you physically exhausted but youll still adore Salmans charisma and Anurag Kashyaps inventive drama. More important, youll escape the unparalleled mental torture that Zilla Ghaziabad has in store.
But if you are in an outrageous mood to prove the world wrong, this film will provide you with some comic relief. Few pointers:
Relish Vivek Oberoi in a whole, new majboori-mein-militant Gandhian avatar
Enjoy Arshad Warsis desperate attempt to play Salman Khan
Revel in the peculiar Gujarati-cum-bihari intonation of a jaded Paresh Rawal
See Munnabhai and his circuit in conflicting camps, for the first time on screen
Savor a glamorous version of Phoolan Devi, courtesy Divya Dutta
There could be many more Go find out for yourself! Courage calls for initiative, fair enough.
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Pirojsha Godrej, Managing Director & CEO, Godrej Properties
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myth of affordable energy: Ed Dolan
Som Majumdar, Director, International Business, KadenBoriss Lawyers
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Baid, Chairman & Chief Mentor, Siddhi Vinayak Logistics Ltd
Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides India Ltd
Sunder B K, Chief Designer, Industrial Design Tata Elxsi, India
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Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister for Trade and Commerce, Republic of
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