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Thursday, January 21, 2016

ICICI Bank eyes Rs 80k cr mobile banking transactions by March

ICICI Bank MD and CEO, Chanda Kochhar has said that the financial sector has rapidly adopted the new technology and ICICI bank is targeting total transactions worth Rs 80,000 crore through mobile banking by the end of this fiscal. The WEF Annual Meeting this year has the theme 'Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution' and the business as well as government leaders from across the globe here are discussing benefits and risks posed by this phenomenon to the state of the world, reported PTI. While there have been concerns about possible loss of jobs, the leaders are also unanimous in their opinion on the huge digital dividend that the new technology presents to the humankind and the economy. Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO of India's top lender ICICI Bank, said the financial sector is among the few ones that has rapidly adopted new technology and continues to innovate. "Technology has transformed the financial sector in terms of their interaction with customers, reducing the dependence on branches and providing the convenience of anytime access to banking, a win-win for both banks and customers," Kochhar told PTI in an interview as per the PTI report. "In the overall transactions the highest growth has come from mobile banking followed by both Internet and POS (Point of Sale) transactions," said Kochhar who has been a regular representative of India Inc at the annual talkfest of the world's elite in this Swiss ski resort town. Talking about her own bank, Kochhar said, "In fact, for ICICI Bank mobile banking has overtaken branch transactions in the current year. At the same time, digital solutions have made the branch experience itself much faster and more resource efficient. "The growth of smartphones has made the digital experience far more engaging and user friendly. As Internet penetration grows this personalised experience is becoming available to many more people," she added. About ICICI Bank in particular, Kochhar said it is now the leading bank in the mobile banking space with 29 per cent market share as on September 2015 by value. "We recorded transactions worth Rs 38,536 crore in the first six months of FY2016 in comparison with Rs 15,774 crore in entire last fiscal FY2015. Our plan is to target Rs 80,000 crore worth of transactions in the mobile banking by end of this fiscal," she said. Kochhar also said that as the use of cash increasingly shifts to digital payments, mobile technology is becoming very important -- as a channel for transaction and a means for identifying the customer. Technology will also support improvement of security and risk management measures such as second factor authentication, biometrics and location based rules, which in turn will further lead to increase in mobile banking, she added. "Our digital bank, Pockets, has seen over three million downloads with significant interest from non-ICICI bank customers. Our Facebook page has four million fans, the largest fan base among Indian banks. ICICI Bank is the first bank in Asia to introduce money transfer on Twitter," Kochhar said. "Sixty one per cent of our total transactions of our savings accounts are done on the digital channels of Internet and mobile. Transactions over Rs 2 trillion are processed annually through our Internet banking platform," she added.

Glenmark gets USFDA nod for Norethindrone Acetate, Ethinyl Estradiol tablets

Pharma giant, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said that Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA (Glenmark) has received United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) approval for Norethindrone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets. Norethindrone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets are the generic version of Loestrin 21 1/20 Tablets of Warner Chilcott Company, LLC, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. According to IMS Health sales data for the 12-month period ending November 2015, the Loestrin 21 1/20 Tablets market achieved annual sales of approximately USD 56.8 million. Glenmark’s current portfolio consists of 106 products authorized for distribution in the US marketplace and 62 ANDA’s pending approval with the USFDA. In addition to these internal filings, Glenmark continues to identify and explore external development partnerships to supplement and accelerate the growth of its existing pipeline and portfolio. Meanwhile, shares of the company were trading at Rs 767 apiece, down 2.45 per cent from the previous close at 12:06 hours on BSE.

Mahindra Retail to partner with start-ups for mother and child care

Mahindra Retail announced that it is looking to enter into a partnership with start-ups with an aim to enter the pre- and post-natal services where it expects to offer a range of advisory and consultancy services in the area of mother and child care. Commenting on this, Zhooben Bhiwandiwala, President- Group Legal & Managing Partner, Mahindra Partners said, “We are now re-looking at our business model and pursuing getting into services once again. There are enough start-ups that we can partner to build a platform of services in pre and post natal care which have synergy with the existing retail business.’’ Bhinwandiwala said, “Mahindra Partners, the $900-million private equity arm of the $16.9-billion Mahindra Group, has been incubating and funding Mahindra Retail since 2009. “We have invested Rs.600 crore into Mahindra Retail in the past six years and have managed to get profitable at a store level. But we expect to make money at the company level in the next two years.” He added, “Having acquired a start-up like Baby Oye, Mahindra Retail changed the name of its Mom & Me stores to Baby Oye about a year ago. “For getting into services, we may not necessarily have to make another acquisition.”

Pawan Hans pays Rs 7.76 cr as dividend to Govt

State-run helicopter operator Pawan Hans said that it has paid a dividend of Rs 7.76 crore to the government and ONGC for the financial year 2014-15. “The Minister for Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju received a cheque of Rs.3,95,84,735 from Dr. B.P. Sharma, Chief Managing Director, Pawan Hans Ltd, as dividend for the year 2014-15. Pawan Hans has declared a dividend of Rs. 7.76 crores for the financial year 2014-15. A cheque of Rs. 3, 80, 15,265 has also been paid to ONGC as being 49% shareholder of PHL,” Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement. Pawan Hans has been making profit since 1992 and has paid Rs. 223.69 crores dividend as on 2014-15. For the financial year 2014-15 PHL’s operating revenue increased to Rs 538.15 crores compared to Rs 529.57 crores in the previous year. The company posted an operating profit for 2014-15 is Rs 79.13 crores against Rs 73.03 crores in the year 2013-14. This year the company has managed to turn around with net profit after tax of Rs 38.81 crores against Rs.38.57 crores during previous year and has declared dividend @ 20% of the net profit after tax (i.e. Rs.38.81 crores) to Govt. of India and ONGC. Pawan Hans provides helicopter support with 10 helicopters for offshore operation of ONGC. The Company provides helicopter services to State Governments of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Maharashtra, Tripura, Assam, Sikkim, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Ministry of Home Affairs, Administration of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.

EESL distributes 5 cr LED bulbs: Govt

Government has said that Energy Efficiency Services has distributed over five crore energy-efficient LED bulbs so far and this count will nearly double to 10 crore in the the next two months. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, a joint venture of PSUs of Power Ministry, has completed distributing five crore LED bulbs under Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) on Thursday morning, Ministry of Power said in an official statement. In a tweet, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said, "Congratulations to EESL_India for distributing five crore LED bulbs. They will nearly double this no in next 2 months." A joint venture of NTPC, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Grid, EESL was set up under Ministry of Power to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency projects. "Power bills have reduced by Rs 2,500 crore through the distributed bulbs, savings will go up to Rs 45,000 crore annually #iLEDtheWay," the minister said in another tweet. In an official statement, ministry said that EESL will be able to distribute seven crore LED bulbs by next month-end and between 9-10 crore by March. "Reduced peak demand of 1,600 MW through LED bulbs. Imagine alternative of setting up four 400 MW plants and associated pollution and land needed," Goyal tweeted. "Almost 15,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide is not being emitted daily due to five crore LED bulbs," he tweeted. With the government's thrust on energy efficiency, around one lakh ceiling fans will be replaced with energy-efficient five-star rated fans in Andhra Pradesh, a move that would help in saving 15 million units of electricity per annum. Under the energy efficiency mission, the government's decision to switch over to LED bulbs by 2018 under the energy efficiency mission would result in savings of up to USD 6 billion per annum. EESL has taken up the project of distributing LED bulbs under its flagship initiative, the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP). Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the DELP scheme in January last year. The target of the DELP is to replace all the 77 crore incandescent bulbs sold in India by LEDs.

Michelin enters scooter tyres segment in India

French tyre major Michelin announced its foray into the fast growing scooter segment in India with the launch of its MICHELIN City Pro range, said the media report. "Scooters have become increasingly popular in India and emerged as a preferred choice of commuting because of ease of riding and parking in congested areas," said Pradeep G Thampy, Michelin Asia, Africa and Middle East Commercial Director (Two Wheels). The convenience of push start, fuel efficiency and comfort of automatic transmission are enablers to this new trend, which has also seen more and more women adopt scooters as their choice of mobility, Thampy said as per the PTI report, adding that MICHELIN City Pro would offer daily commuters with a comfortable in-city ride experience. The new tyre range is both for scooters and motorcycles of up to 150cc, the company added. Michelin offers a range of products in India, including tyres for passenger cars, trucks and buses, two-wheelers and OTR (Off the Road) vehicles, reported PTI. The company's plant in Chennai manufactures a range of radial truck/bus tyres.

Solar power tariff at new low, drops to Rs 4.34 a unit

The solar power tariff fell to an all-time low, with Finland-based energy firm Fortum Finnsurya Energy quoting Rs 4.34 a unit to bag the mandate to set up a 70-mw solar plant under NTPC's Bhadla Solar Park tender, said an official statement. “Solar tariffs have fallen to an unprecedented low of Rs. 4.34 / kWh through reverse auction for one of six projects of 70 MW each to be put up in Rajasthan under the National Solar Mission,” Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said in a statement. NTPC on Monday conducted the reverse bidding for 420 MW solar power projects to be set up in the Bhadla Solar Park-II, near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The thermal power generator will procure and bundle solar power from these parks with coal-based power generated from its older plants to keep the resultant tariff low. Fortum Finnsurya Energy bagged 70 MW at the lowest tariff of Rs 4.34/unit. Rising Sun Energy and Solairedirect Energy India managed to grab 140 MW each at Rs 4.35/unit. Yarrow Infrastruture, a subsidiary of RattanIndia Solar, won the remaining 70 MW on offer at Rs 4.36/unit.

Process to de-stress banks has been initiated: Jaitley

As bad debts weigh down on banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the process to de-stress the banks has been initiated while the government may add to the re-capitalisation of public sector lenders, reported PTI.

"More things are being done. Steps are being taken for recapitalisation of banks. We have announced the programme and we probably will have to add to that programme," Jaitley said here at the WEF Annual Meeting following suggestions from business leaders to take steps to boost the banking sector.

"Besides, RBI has asked banks to line up the bad debts they need to sell. The problem is not widespread and is limited to a few sectors.

"I am aware that both private and public sector banks are in touch with the concerned industry groups. We do not want to create a panic situation. Destressing of banks need to be tackled and the process for the same has been initiated," he added.

Govt approves Rs 4,900 cr highway project: Reports

The Indian Government has said that it has approved Rs 4,918-crore highway project for widening of NH 2 stretch in Bihar and Jharkhand to augment the state's infrastructure. As per reports, the decision was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Commenting on the development, a Government Official told the media, “CCEA has approved six-laning of Aurangabad - Bihar/ Jharkhand Border - Barwa Adda section on NH 2 in Bihar and Jharkhand." “The project is 222 kms long and will "improve infra" in Bihar and Jharkhand and will reduce time of travel,” he added. As per reports, the widening of the national highway (NH) will be done at an estimated cost of Rs 4,918 crore.

Cabinet okays setting up of over 5,000 MW of solar projects

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for setting up over 5,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects on build, own and operate basis.

“The work will be implemented by Solar Power Developers (SPDs) with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under Batch-lV of Phase-ll of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).The total investments expected under this scheme is about Rs 30,000 crore,” according to a statement released by the Cabinet. This would help in creating additional 5000 MW capacity of Grid-connected solar PV power generation projects in four trenches of each 1,250 MW capacity during four financial years viz. 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, it said. This would also help in employment generation of about 30,000 people in rural and urban areas with reduction of about 8.525 Million T of CO2 emissions into environment every year, it added. The Scheme will be implemented by SECI as per MNRE Guidelines. SECI shall prepare necessary bidding documents for inviting the proposals for setting up of projects on a competitive bidding through e-bidding. SECI will enter into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the selected developers and the Power Sale Agreement (PSA) with the buying entities. Requisite funds for provision of the VGF support will be made available to MNRE from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), operated by Ministry of Finance.

India in a sweet spot; private investment uptick soon: Chanda Kochhar

ICICI Bank MD and CEO, Chanda Kochhar, said India is in a "sweet spot" amid the global economy witnessing a low-growth and low-inflation environment.

She said private investments are expected to soon witness an uptick but strengthening the institutional framework is also important to support stable and sustained high growth in the economy, accordint to the media reports.

"In this regard, measures like GST and Bankruptcy Law are important steps," Kochhar told PTI in an interview at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.

Asked about her outlook for Indian economy, especially in the wake of continuing problems in China and other global headwinds including from low commodity prices, the ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO said, "I expect the Indian economy to continue to improve, building on the macro-economic stability that we have achieved and the various policy initiatives of the government which will drive new growth opportunities".

She further said the world economy is experiencing "a low growth low inflation environment".

"India's fiscal situation has improved due to reduction of fuel subsidies on account of lower oil prices. Lower commodity prices have led to an improvement in the current account deficit and also reduced inflation levels in the economy," Kochhar noted.

According to her, there also exists considerable potential for investment in infrastructure and other sectors and the government has increased its capital spending to improve the investment cycle in the economy.

"Government reforms are being implemented to attract capital and support economic growth. And finally, India enjoys strong demographic dividend to be harnessed and also provides a large domestic market," Kochhar said.

As implementation of reform measures and the various initiatives announced by the government begin to take root, it will lead to rapid growth and also have a multiplier impact on new investment opportunities and consumption in the economy, she added.

When asked about comments from IMF, World Bank and the top government leaders that India is the bright spot in a gloomy global economy, Kochhar said she agrees with those views.

"Yes, I agree that India is in a sweet spot today. India's macroeconomic parameters indicate a strengthened external position and improving domestic economic conditions. However, to strengthen this position further, the domestic investment cycle should pick up," she said.

"The government has been playing a key role in this regard and has increased public capex spending, between April-November 2015 (and) government capex spending increased by over 30 per cent.

"An investment push by PSUs will also help the investment cycle, given their size and position in the industrial value chain," Kochhar said.

Capex by PSUs would trigger matching investment downstream by private firms, lifting India's investment cycle, she noted.

According to her, the government is also supporting new initiatives and has articulated their commitment to growth-friendly policies, administrative efficiency and ease of doing business. These will stimulate private investments going forward, she added.

"The mix of growth contributors is another factor which needs to evolve. India has so far primarily been a services driven economy.

"Going ahead, manufacturing needs to pick up momentum in order to bolster our growth path and to provide gainful employment to our growing workforce. The National Manufacturing Policy envisages a significant increase in the share of manufacturing in total GDP by 2020," Kochhar said.

On some key reform measures getting stuck due to political reasons and what is the level of concern that the global investors are voicing on this, Kochhar said, "I don't think investor queries are in anyway reflecting concerns with regard to the growth potential in the economy".

"Foremost, India is in a better position today compared to even a year ago and in a stronger position even compared to other emerging market economies.

"Secondly, the government has clearly articulated its commitment to growth-friendly policies and reforms that are being pursued with timelines where possible. This clear direction in itself gives a lot of confidence to investors that the economy is being prepared for the next phase of sustainable rapid growth," the ICICI Bank chief emphasized.

Stating that critical reforms are on the agenda, Kochhar said it is a matter of time and "we should see more such action taking place that will smoothen the growth process".

Budget 2016: Finance Ministry highlights 'promises met' for 2015 21/01/2016 01:10

As preparations for the Budget for 2016-17 pick up pace, the Finance Ministry highlighted "the promises met" relating to the last Budget, including those of subsidy and agriculture, according to the media reports.

"As we head towards Budget 2016, we provide the highlights of the promises met for Budget 2015 announcements," the Finance Ministry said in a series of tweets, reported PTI.

On subsidies, the ministry said the government came out with the direct benefit transfer for LPG called Pahal and digitisation of ration cards has been completed in 29 states and UTs.

"Over 32 crore cards have been digitised and over 8.5 crore ration cards seeded with Aadhaar," the Ministry said in one of the tweets.

On Budget 2015 announcement of farm credit of Rs 8.5 lakh crore in 2015-16, it said monitoring of agriculture credit is being done on quarterly basis.

About allocation of Rs 34,699 crore for improving quality and effectiveness of MNREGA, the ministry made it clear that the Budget allocation has been approved.

On status of implementation of organic farming scheme 'Paramparagat Krishi Sinchayi Yojna', it said the scheme has been launched and Rs 300 crore was allocated in 2015-16 against which Rs 178.23 crore has been released so far.

Also, states have collected 61.32 lakh soil samples, and 69.47 lakh soil health cards have been issued.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to present the Union Budget on February 29.

Monetary policies alone cannot change the world: Rajan

Stating that monetary policies alone cannot change the world, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said the governments need to create an underlying framework for growth in the long term for the world economy.

He also downplayed concerns about China and said that the good thing about China is that they keep making fresh efforts to resolve their economic problems.

Speaking here at the WEF Annual Meeting, the RBI Governor said the governments across the world need to realise that there are various other tools to carry forward reforms and boost growth, reported PTI.

"The good news across the world is that we have realised that monetary policies are not going to change the world and there are much more to the reforms.

"Not just enabling but also creating the underlying framework for growth is the one which will take us a long way," he said.

He, however, refused to comment on whether the US Federal Reserve would hike the rate again.

"I can't comment on Fed," he said.

"Problem is monetary policies get into all... Risks do build up when we change the monetary policy stance," he said, while adding that there have been cases when impact has been seen on oil prices.

He also raised concerns over the reverse impact on asset prices when the rate stance change and said there are bigger concerns such as those emanating from the corporates getting into over-leveraging of loans.

On concerns from China, Rajan said China has kept changing its models. The pre-financial crisis model did not work.

Fall in markets 'market's problem' not of economy: Rajan

With Indian and some other emerging markets witnessing a major plunge on global growth headwinds, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said these falls are actually 'markets' problem' and not of the economy.

However, the "problem in markets can hit the real economy also," Rajan said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, reported PTI.

Rajan said there have been huge flows in emerging markets but one should also understand that tremendous changes are taking place in emerging markets.

"For example in India there is a massive online market which allows people in small towns and villages to buy things online. Real estate growth has been huge. A trader from Kashmir can sell his carpets to customers anywhere in the world," he said.

Rejecting the suggestions that the fall in various emerging markets were due to weakness in their economies, Rajan said, "I think it is markets problem and the market problem can hit the real economy too".

Speaking at a session on 'The Growth Illusion', the RBI Governor said, "We are in a world (where) we are not quite sure (what) the fundamental value of an asset is".

After there was some anticipation that central banks would start reducing the rates, some asset classes have started finding their own levels, he said.

"It's not very clear whether we have benefitted from the way the rate tightening happened in the recent years at various central banks. Some central bankers in the past including in the US had indeed done a great job," Rajan noted.

Speaking at the same session, UBS chief Axel Weber said there has never been a decoupling in the world economy and if the US stays on the course then dollar is going to get stronger.

He said people do not believe that the US Federal Reserve has got a lot of room for manoeuvring of rates to boost growth and there are better examples across the world such as in India for ways to stimulate the economy.

Stating that "we are in a world of make believe," Rajan wondered, "what exactly are the fundamentals?".

"Perhaps it takes time for efforts to show up in terms of asset prices, productivity etc and then times have changed. Earlier we used to see movie in theatres but now we see on handheld devices," he noted.

RBI asks banks to stop Rs 1,000 notes without security thread

The RBI said it has received complaints about notes of Rs 1,000 denomination without the security thread being in circulation and has asked banks not to issue them in case these are found, said the media report.

"We have received complaints regarding banknotes in the denomination of Rs 1,000 printed by Currency Note Press, Nashik, on the paper (without security thread) supplied by Security Paper Mill (Hoshangabad)," an RBI spokesperson said as per the PTI report.

The Reserve Bank has informed all the banks in Mumbai region not to issue such notes if found in stock and to provide exchange value to the customer who approaches with such a note, if it is otherwise genuine.

"We have also escalated the matter to the government," the spokesperson said.

The total number of such notes with public may not be more than 500 pieces, the spokesperson added.

Create venture fund for N-E region: Minister

The minister of state development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), Jitendra Singh has said that the Ministry of DoNER could possibly create a venture fund for investment in North East for young entrepreneur without much of a liability, said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“A three-day mega Northeast festival will be held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from February 12 to 14. It will aim at showcasing the vast resource and potential of the Northeastern States,” said Dr Singh while inaugurating “Start Up India 2016” organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Singh said, “We believe that India’s economic future lies in encouraging startups which will bring dynamism, new thinking and create jobs to the Indian economy.”

He further said, presently we have 80 million population which is below the age of 35 that’s the huge strength and I think this is the most opportune time for startup to have happen in India.

H.E. Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador, Embassy of Israel, says Startups can grow almost anywhere. But in order to really cultivate them, an ecosystem has to be in place. The latest initiative announced by PM Modi on Saturday is doing exactly that. It provides the needed conditions to evolve and develop. Israel applauds this initiative and would be happy to share its experience in developing suitable ecosystems, comprehensive mechanisms that will encourage unique and sustainable economic growth in India.

According to the joint study undertaken by ASSOCHAM and Grant Thornton on “Startups India-Overview” released today says that 2015 witnessed the maximum traction in the space with over 600 companies getting funding; more than USD 2 bn being deployed by PE and VC funds. Over and above the USD 2bn deals in the startup specie other top deals in the overall tech specie in 2015 include the usual suspects i.e. investment of USD 700 mn in Flipkart by Sequoia Capital & Steadview Capital, USD 500 mn in Snapdeal by Alibaba, Softbank & others, USD 1100 mn in Olacabs by a group of investors including Tiger Global, Softbank, DST Global etc, mentioned the study.

Cabinet nod for India's stand on food security at WTO

The Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the approach adopted by India at the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the WTO held in Nairobi, Kenya during 15-19 December 2015.

The outcomes of the Conference, referred to as the 'Nairobi Package' include Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least developed countries (LDCs). These cover a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for developing countries, public stockholding for food security purposes, a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports and measures related to cotton.

Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment to LDCs in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences. A Ministerial Declaration was also adopted.

In the run-up to the Nairobi Conference, it became clear that the Conference would determine the future of the Doha Round of trade negotiations. While the Round is very important for greater integration of developing countries in the global trading system, a few developed countries were strongly opposed to the continuation of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA).

India took the stand that the DDA must continue after the Nairobi Conference and no new issues must be introduced into the WTO agenda until the DDA has been completed. The Nairobi Ministerial Declaration acknowledges that members "have different views" on how to address the future of the Doha Round negotiations but noted the "strong commitment of all Members to advance negotiations on the remaining Doha issues."

In view of the reluctance of developed countries to agree to continue the Doha Development Agenda post-Nairobi, India negotiated and secured a re-affirmative Ministerial Decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes honouring both the Bali Ministerial and General Council Decisions. The decision commits Members to engage constructively in finding a permanent solution to this issue.

Similarly, India negotiated a Ministerial Decision on another very important issue which recognizes that developing countries will have the right to have recourse to an agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) as envisaged in the Doha mandate. Members will continue to negotiate the mechanism in dedicated sessions of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session. The WTO General Council has been mandated to regularly review the progress of these negotiations. This is a crucial decision in view of the differing views about the future of the Doha Round.

Another Ministerial decision extends the relevant provision to prevent 'evergreening' of patents in the pharmaceuticals sector. This decision would help in maintaining affordable as well as accessible supply of generic medicines.

India supported outcomes on issues of interest to LDCs including enhanced preferential rules of origin for LDCs and preferential treatment for LDC services providers. India already provides substantial preferences in these areas to LDCs.

Daily Market Strategy - Jan 21 2016

“Emerson once said, “The difference between a hero and a regular man is that a hero was braver five minutes longer.” ― Jenni Pulos, Grin and Bear It
Investors and traders may have had some sleepless nights given the way the market has been accelerating on a downhill. But the brakes seem to be applied, albeit temporarily as global cues seem to have picked up their pieces and are looking to put up a smile. There are a host of outside the market developments to keep watch besides the ECB meet later today. US jobless claims and data on petroleum stocks will be keenly watched by global investors. In India, the rainfall data for week ended Jan 20 is expected besides water level in major reservoirs.
The outlook is a better start as indices will look at jumping into the green in the initial minutes of trade. The falling rupee could see some pull back later in the day even though importers dollar buying may cap upside. Stocks that have got beaten on account of global weakness could stage a comeback. Reliance could well lead from the front initially and cherry picking among large caps could keep the indices in a better range. For the next couple of weeks, the range for the Nifty is likely to be between 7240 on the downside and 7550 on the upside. The prominent earnings for the day include Idea Cellular, Biocon, Exide Industries and Hindustan Zinc.
On Wednesday, led by a free fall in Reliance Industries, the Sensex firms’ combined market cap eroded by 69,908.86 crore in a single day. Among the 30 Sensex firms, shares of 27 companies declined on Wednesday, which saw a combined market cap erosion of Rs. 70,388.72 crore. While Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and Wipro saw their combined market cap surged by 479.86 crore.
Watch out for the Oil PSUs as the Oil Minister to addresses the Fourth India Africa Hydrocarbon Conference in Delhi later today.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said that governments worldwide need to create an underlying framework for growth in the long term for the global economy. "My sense is that at this point if you are an emerging market, you focus on fundamentals, try and get inflation down, try and get your current account deficit down," Rajan was quoted as saying.
In a year end update of office market, global real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield, recorded a marginal 1% decline in net absorption at 33.5 msf across top eight cities. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index lost 1% each on Wednesday but ended off session lows while the Nasdaq Composite got away with only a minor loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index lost 1% each on Wednesday but ended off session lows while the Nasdaq Composite got away with only a minor loss.

Sebi panel has recommended favourable tax regime and steps to bring in long-term funds from domestic and overseas investors, according to reports.
Among other stocks to watch: 
Idea Cellular: Idea Cellular will announce its Q3 results. The top telco’s Net Revenue is likely to touch Rs. 9,097 crore as per IIFL estimates recording a 13.5% growth Y-o-Y and a 4.7% rise Q-o-Q.
Axis Bank: The bank recorded a rise of 15% in its net profit at Rs.2,175 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs.1,889.7 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2014.
TVS Motor: TVS Motor is confident of gaining market share in the motorcycles segment with the launch of two new models targeting commuters and the youth, reports a financial newspaper. The company on Wednesday unveiled a new TVS Victor in the commuter segment and a TVS Apache RTR 200.
NCC,Gayatri Projects:  NCC Ltd, along with Gayatri Projects Ltd and its unit Gayatri Infra Ventures Ltd, has signed an agreement to sell 100% of their shareholding in Western UP Tollway Ltd to Cube Highways and Infrastructure Pte Ltd for Rs.575 crore.
Vedanta: Vedanta Resources has cut the value of its bond repurchase programme to US$227.4 million from the US$500-million figure it had announced last week, reports a business daily.
Titan Company: Titan Company, which on Wednesday forayed into the smartwatch segment, plans to launch a payment facility similar to Apple Pay, reports a business daily.
Chambal Fertilizers: The company will announce its Q3 results. According to IIFL, the fertilizer major’s net revenue is expected to rise 16.8% to Rs. 3,298 crore yoy; Q3 net revenue is expected to surge 19.8% qoq.
Exide Ind: The company will announce its Q3 results. IIFL estimates that the company’s PAT is likely to surge 44.80% to Rs. 140.70 crore yoy; however, Q3 PAT is expected to decline 9.8% qoq.
GSFC: The company will announce its Q3 results. IIFL expects net revenue to soar 9% to Rs. 1,426 crore yoy; however, Q3 net revenue is expected to plunge 19.1% qoq.
Rcom: Reliance Communications (RCom) paid an aggregate amount of Rs. 5383.84 crore as liberalization fee to Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
DHFL: The company reported a 16.3% increase in net profit at Rs. 186 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs. 160 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. 
JSW Energy: The net profit for the quarter was at Rs. 321 crore. The total income for the quarter stands at Rs. 2649 crore.
Hindustan Zinc:The company will announce its Q3 results. IIFL expects net revenue to fall 10.8% to Rs. 3,435 crore yoy; Q3 net revenue is expected to plunge 14.8% qoq.
Gati Ltd: The company has posted a net profit of Rs. 7.7 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs. 11.4 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. 
KPIT Technologies: KPIT Technologies reported a 13% increase in consolidated net profit at Rs.73.5 crore for the third quarter that ended on December 31, 2015.
Triveni Engineering: Triveni Engineering & Industries reported net profit at Rs.14.1 crore for the third quarter that ended on December 31, 2015.
Edelweiss Financial Services : The company has posted a net profit after at Rs. 106 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs. 82.9 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. 
Tata Elxsi: Tata Elxsi reported a 39.5% increase in standalone net profit at Rs. 39.9 crore for the third quarter that ended on December 31, 2015.
South Indian Bank: The bank recorded a rise of 16% in its net profit at Rs. 102 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 as compared to Rs. 87.9 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2014.
Results: Biocon,Idea Cellular, Hindustan Zinc, Interglobe Aviation, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Exide Industries,Reliance Capital, Chambal Fertilisers & Chemicals,Indiabulls Real Estate, Chemo Pharma Laboratories,Deepak Fertilisers & Petrochemicals Corporation,Essel Propack, Binani Industries,Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals,Siti Cable Network,Zee Media Corporation, Hatsun Agro Product,Uttam Value Steels, Heritage Foods, Himachal Futuristic Communications, International Paper Appm, Jindal Drilling & Industries,Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services,Omax Autos,Pincon Spirit,Raymond, Rolcon Engineering, Syngene International, Tci Finance, Tcpl Packaging, Dinath Exim Resources, Agro Tech Foods,Baid Leasing And Finance,Eimco Elecon (india), Foseco India, Gujarat Lease Financing,Haryana Capfin, Orient Tradelink, Orient Tradelink, Pil Italica Lifestyle, Virat Crane Industries, Vst Industries, Worldwide Leather Exports
Global Data: World Economic Forum - Davos CHF, HIA New Home Sales (MoM) (Nov)AUD, Consumer Inflation Expectation (Jan) AUD, RICS Housing Price Balance (Dec) GBP, All Industry Activity Index (MoM) (Nov) JPY, Business Climate (Jan) EUR, Trade Balance (Dec) EUR, 3-y Bond Auction EUR, Current Account Balance (Nov)EUR, ECB Interest Rate Decision (Jan 21) EUR, Initial Jobless Claims (Jan 15) USD, Continuing Jobless Claims (Jan 8) USD, Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey (Jan) USD, ECB Monetary policy statement and press conference  EUR, Consumer Confidence (Jan)Preliminar EUR, EIA Natural Gas Storage change (Jan 15)USD, EIA Crude Oil Stocks change (Jan 15) USD
Trends in FII flows: The FIIs were net sellers of Rs.13.24 bn in the cash segment on Wednesday. The domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net buyers of Rs.13.83 bn as per the provisional figures released by the NSE.
Other news in the media:
CCEA will take call on the Rs 17bn investment proposal related to transfer of HDFC Ltd shares to the UK-based joint venture partner Standard Life in HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company. (ET)
Larsen & Toubro, in a joint venture with Daewoo E&C of South Korea, has bagged an order worth Rs 31bn from Bihar State Road Development Corporation for construction of a six-lane cable bridge over river Ganga near Kachchi Dargah in Patna district on NH-30, the engineering major said. (BL)
Reliance Communications said it has paid Rs 54bn as a liberalization fee to the telecom department. (ET)
Cipla and three other drug makers - Emcure, Hetero and Natco - will sell generic version of Bristol-Myer Squibb's anti-hepatitis drug, Daclatasvir. (BS)
MRF has said that it is exploring possibilities of setting up a new plant outside South India, and a possible location could be Gujarat. (BS)
TVS Motor launched the new TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and a new Victor. It has invested around Rs 3bn to develop the product. (BS)
Tata Steel has suspended operations at its Canadian iron ore-mining and processing project this month. (BL)
JSW Energy said it expected to announce a deal by February to buy a thermal power plant as discussions continue for two such plants. (ET)
Reliance Industries will start production of natural gas from coal seams, called coal-bed methane (CBM), in Madhya Pradesh shortly. (ET)
Telecom regulator Trai will firm up its view on spectrum price for the next round of auction and differential pricing of data, which is central to the Net neutrality issue, by the end of this month. (ET)
The government today approved a 'viability gap funding' (VGF) of Rs 51bn for setting up over 5,000 MW of grid linked solar power projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. (BS)
The long-awaited new textile policy that aims to create 35mn jobs and boost exports to over $300bn over the next decade is likely to be announced within the next few months, the Minister of State for Textiles (independent charge) has said. (BL)

NCC sells Western UP Tollway to Cube Highways

Leading construction company, NCC Limited has said that it has collaborated with Gayatri Projects Limited (GPL) and its Subsidiary Gayatri Infra Ventures Limited (GIVL) to execute an agreement to sell their 100 per cent shareholding in Western UP Tollway Limited. “NCC Limited along with Gayatri Projects Limited (GPL) and its Subsidiary Gayatri Infra Ventures Limited (GIVL) executed a definitive agreement to sell their 100 per cent shareholding in Western UP Tollway Limited to Cube Highways and Infrastructure PTE Limited,” the company informed in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. NCC limited contributes to India’s progress through landmark infrastructure projects which demonstrate far-reaching impact beyond the realm of construction. Meanwhile, shares of the company were trading at Rs 61.75 apiece, down 1.20 per cent from the previous close at 14:02 hours on BSE.

Tata Elxsi profit surges 39.5% at Rs 39.9 cr in Dec quarter

Bangalore-based Tata Elxsi Ltd, an arm of Tata Group, on Wednesday reported a rise of 39.5 per cent in its standalone net profit after taxes (PAT) at Rs 39.9 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2015, supported by rise in its sales. “The standalone net profit of the company stood at Rs 28.60 crore during the same period a year ago,” said Tata Elxsi Ltd in a filing to the BSE. Further, it’s standalone total income too grew by 23.6 per cent at Rs 275.04 crore during Q3 2015-16, as compared to Rs 222.58 crore during the same period last year. Company’s standalone net sales for the third quarter marked a 23.7 per cent growth at Rs 274.08 crore, up from Rs 221.49 crore a year earlier. Undermining earnings, shares of the company closed at Rs 1,704.70 apiece, down 1.71 per cent, from previous close on BSE.

Pre Session- Sensex to open higher on mostly positive Asia trend

The key Indian equity benchmarks are tipped to witness a gap up opening on Thursday tracking a rebound in most stocks across Asia as stabilization in oil prices which plunged below the USD 27 per barrel mark to a 13-year low on Wednesday buoyed sentiment. The sharp losses suffered by Dalal Street in recent sessions when worries over China and a worsening commodity rout played havoc, may offer good bargain buying opportunity, to investors, in beaten down equities, at existing levels, supporting the Sensex. The 30-share benchmark on Wednesday tumbled to a 20-month low, crashing by 417.8 points or by 1.71 per cent to end at 24,062.04 as equities across Asia and Europe bled heavily after the IMF cut its global growth outlook and oil plummeted after the IEA warned that the market could “drown in oversupply” this year. Weakness in the rupee and continued sell-off by foreign investors also took toll on Dalal Street. Strength in the CNX Nifty Index futures for January delivery which advanced by 0.50 per cent or 37 points at 7,353.5 at 10:20 am Singapore time also signals that Dalal Street may open on a positive note today. Shares of Reliance Capital, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services, Idea Cellular and Biocon would be in focus today as these companies unveil their December quarter earnings.

Most Asian stocks rallied today as a sell-off in oil eased while traders resorted to value buying after the benchmark index for the region fell to a three-year low as a commodity slump fuelled concerns over fragile global economic growth. China’s Shanghai Composite retreated for a second straight day as traders seemed unsure over policymakers’ ability to manage an economic slowdown and tackle stock market volatility. However, Hang Seng jumped over 1 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 also surged more than 1 per cent, a day after the benchmark slipped into bear market, while a weaker yen bolstered the lure for exporter stocks. Bears struck Wall Street on Wednesday as oil’s continued freefall and dismal US housing and consumer inflation data which signaled worries over the health of the world’s biggest economy, soured investor mood. US housing starts plunged 2.5 per cent to a 1.15 million annual pace in December, while consumer prices declined 0.1 per cent after being little changed in November. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 1.56 per cent; the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.12 per cent while S&P 500 plunged 1.17 per cent.

Top traded Volumes on NSE Nifty – State Bank of India 28655794.00, Vedanta Ltd. 25595816.00, Axis Bank Ltd. 15605644.00, ICICI Bank Ltd. 13048617.00 and Reliance Industries Ltd. 10312353.00.

On BSE, total number of shares traded was 31.40 Crore and total turnover stood at Rs. 3088.57 Crore.

On NSE Future and Options, total number of contracts traded in index futures was 404464 with a total turnover of Rs. 20676.74 Crore. Along with this total number of contracts traded in stock futures were 646445 with a total turnover of Rs. 29058.66 Crore. Total numbers of contracts for index options were 5240758 with a total turnover of Rs. 284569.91 Crore and total numbers of contracts for stock options were 428536 with a total turnover of Rs. 20531.76 Crore.

The FIIs on 20/01/2016 stood as net seller in equity and debt. Gross equity purchased stood at Rs. 2688.35 Crore and gross debt purchased stood at Rs. 605.79 Crore, while the gross equity sold stood at Rs. 3449.78 Crore and gross debt sold stood at Rs. 801.84 Crore. Therefore, the net investment of equity and debt reported were Rs. -761.43 Crore and Rs. -196.05 Crore.

RInfra Q3 profit up 2.3% at Rs 462.67 cr

ADAG group company Reliance Infrastructure Ltd on Wednesday reported an increase of 2.3 per cent in its consolidated net profit after taxes at Rs 462.67 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2015, inspite of Mumbai Metro and cement business incurring a loss of Rs 49 crore and Rs 44 crore respectively. “The consolidated net profit of the company stood at Rs 452.37 crore during the same period a year ago,” said Reliance Infrastructure Ltd in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange on January 20, 2016. However, the consolidated total income of the company fell by 8.2 per cent at Rs 4,395.36 crore during Q3 2015-16, from Rs 4,788.4 crore during the same period a year ago. The firm said it’s EBITDA stood at Rs 1,294 crore during Q3 FY 16. Segment-wise, power business revenue declined to Rs 2,851.74 crore as against Rs 3,283.92 crore a year-ago. Meanwhile, shares of the company closed at Rs 454.75 apiece, down 4.13 per cent, from previous close on BSE.

Cabinet approves land swapping between AAI, MCGM

The Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday gave its approval for swapping of Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) land out of land demised to Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL) at CSIA measuring 2960.90 sqm with equivalent land of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for relocation of cemetery.

Swapping of the land with MCGM will enable MIAL to complete the development work of CSIA, Mumbai, according to a Cabinet statement.

Further, shifting of the cemetery to new location will result in its operationalization.

Since both the AAI land and the private land proposed to be swapped are of the same size and are adjacent to each other, as also the circle rate of the land is same, there is no financial implication on the Government. However, the cost on account of mutation of the alternate land after swapping shall be borne by MIAL, the government notified.