Friday, 12 February 2016

Qatar, Pakistan sign multi-billion dollar gas deal

Under the 15-billion-dollar agreement, Qatar Liquefied Gas Company Limited will supply 3.75 million tonnes of LNG to Pakistan State Oil Company from 2016 to 2031, with the first cargo expected to be delivered in March 2016.
After the signing ceremony, Pakistan Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told reporters that the import of LNG from Qatar would help Pakistan to get out of its energy crisis by fulfilling 20 percent of the country’s energy needs.
Pakistan produces four billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (bcfd) against the demand for over six bcfd.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

India invites UAE to invest in National Infrastructure Fund

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mentioned this in his meeting here with the United Arab Emirates’ Economy Minister Sultan Al Mansoori, ahead of the India visit of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said a statement from the Indian finance ministry.
Both the countries also stressed on need for increasing cooperation in the fields of innovation and small and medium enterprises, the statement said.
“Both countries agreed to deepen their engagement in the area of innovation so as to harness respective capabilities in a mutually beneficial manner,” it added.
The small and medium (SME) industries sector is critical for the growth of the economy and employment, Jaitley said.
“It was also decided that the respective institutions and industry associations engaged with SMEs would cooperate to harness the growth of SME sector in both the countries,” the statement said.
Following a separate meeting here on Wednesday between Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Indian petroleum ministry said the construction of India’s strategic petroleum storage in Karnataka’s Mangaluru with the assistance of the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is proceeding on schedule and will be completed soon.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

RBI had rejected Headley’s application to open business account

Making this revelation, Headley said he had received funds for terror from both LeT and Pakistan’s ISI which was used for gathering intelligence and other works in India, including starting a business.
With this funding, Headley said, he opened an office in south Mumbai’s Tardeo area and on October 12, 2006, he even applied to Reserve Bank of India for permission to open a business account.
Interestingly, his visa consultant in Chicago, Raymond Sanders – who had earlier assisted him in procuring an Indian visa with false information – also helped him in the RBI formality, but the country’s apex bank rejected the application on June 1, 2007.
In January 2007, hoping to launch a business in India, Headley had hired an office in Tardeo A/C Market for Rs. 13,500 per month and named his landlord as Vora and Maroo Bharucha who was his secretary at the office.
The opening of office and application to open a business bank account were in consonance with the earlier plans by his handlers who wanted him to start a business in India.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

France posts record wine sales in 2015

Sales increased by 8.7 percent over 2014. The rise mainly came from a 12-percent jump in champagne and a 20-percent surge in cognac sales, Xinhua news agency reported.
Exports to China put up a remarkable 23-percent growth following sluggish sales for two years.
Exporters are now targeting common consumers in the country instead of focusing on proposing exceptional wines.
Weakening euro also played a part in the rise. However, the Federation of Wines and Spirits Exporters have warned of increasing competitions from France’s rivals.
“This good result should not distract from the constant erosion of our market share,” said Christophe Navarre, president of the French Federation of Wines and Spirits Exporters.
Navarre urged producers to come up with more low-priced wines in order to compete with Spain, Chile and Australia.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Amid uproar, Akhilesh Yadav presents supplementary budget

The Rs.27,000crore budget is aimed at providing a financial impetus to the sick discoms (power distribution companies) and assisting the indebted farmers, an official said.
A large chunk of funds from the supplementary budget will go to provide financial assistance to drought-hit areas where farmers are facing major problems.
The central government has already sanctioned Rs.1304 crore for the farmers of the state.
Special preference has been given to the Bundelkhand region and the Metro Rail project here.
The power companies have been given Rs.26,606crore through bonds under the ‘Uday’ scheme and Rs.904.52 crore has been allotted for drought relief.
On Friday, the chief minister will present the budget for 2016-17.
After presenting the supplementary budget, Akhilesh Yadav said the opposition parties were misleading the people by making wrong allegations that the state government was not sensitive towards the problems of people of drought-hit Bundelkhand.
The legislators of the main opposition Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) walked out of the House.
Earlier, when the proceedings began, the House was plunged into chaos as the legislators of the opposition parties – BSP, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – protested against what they said was the failure of the Samajwadi Party (SP) government to maintain law and order.
Congress members stormed into the well of the House even as an unperturbed Akhilesh presented the supplementary budget.
The opposition has been especially exercised over the death on Sunday of an eight-year-old boy, who fell victim to reckless celebratory firing after an SP-backed candidate’s victory in a local election in Shamli district.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

InFocus BINGO 21 launched on Snapdeal at Rs.5,499

“In just one week, we have crossed more than 1,00,000 registrations for BINGO 21. This is a clear indication that the customers have realised the exceptional smartphone experience that Bingo 21 offers, which no other device in this segment can offer,” Sachin Thapar, country head, InFocus India, said in a statement.
The 4G-enabled smartphone is powered with 2GB RAM to deliver faster performance.
The exceptional combination of 8-megapixel primary camera with auto-focus and LED flash, coupled with self-timer 5-megapixel front camera with LED Flash, makes BINGO 21 a delight for the selfie lovers.
The 4.5-inch display device supports dual SIM and is endowed with a 2,300 mAh battery.
It has 1.5 GHz Quad-core processor and runs on Android 5.1 (lollipop). It consists of 8GB on-board memory, which can be expanded by 32 GB memory card.
The device is available in three colours — fashion white, orange and blue.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Facebook developing novel technology for better access

Patent records obtained by The Verge show that the social media giant is developing the millimetre wave technology — a networking technology that is theoretically capable of data speeds faster than most home connections and is 40 times faster than 4G.
Sanjai Kohli, a Facebook employee, filed one patent recently that describes a “Next Generation Data Network” that would connect computers using millimetre-wave radio links deployed as a mesh network.
Another patent granted to Kohli describes the “Next Generation Network” in more detail as a type of centralised, cloud-based routing system.
“The system dynamically adjusts route and frequency channel assignments, transmit power, modulation, coding, and symbol rate to maximise network capacity and probability of packet delivery, rather than trying to maximise the capacity of any one link,” the patent read.
Facebook confirmed to The Verge about the millimetre-wave research. “This work is part of the Connectivity Lab which supports the mission of a” to connect the four billion people who don’t have Internet access,” a Facebook representative was quoted as saying.
The Connectivity Lab is reportedly working on several such projects, including systems that would provide connections through satellites or drone-mounted lasers.
The news also gives credibility to the announcement that Starry — a wireless internet company — made about its foray into the gigabit mesh network technology in January this year.
Both mesh and millimetre-wave technologies are central ideas in Starry’s scheme of things too.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Odisha to woo investors at Make in India week in Mumbai

As part of the Make in India week being held in Mumbai, Odisha is set to woo the foreign and domestic investors by organising investor’s meet on February 14, said a release on Thursday.
The event is to be attended by the chief minister, Industry Minister Debi Prasad Mishra and senior officials to showcase the plethora of investment opportunities available in the state.
The main objective of the investors’ meet is to project the business ecosystem in the state and highlight the reforms undertaken by the state to enable Ease of Doing Business for domestic and international investors.
During the meet, the state will also unveil the Industrial Development Plan: Vision 2025. It will also launch the investment related integrated services on the e-Biz portal and the Central Inspection Framework online portal, the first of its kind synchronized single inspection framework in India, said the release.
The event will be followed by a panel discussion with the industry stalwarts from Odisha on the investment opportunities available in the state, the release added.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

India, UAE sign nine agreements, to boost ties further

Apart from cyber security and infrastructure investment, the other agreements are for cooperation in the areas of renewable energy, space exploration, insurance, culture, skill development, trade and business, and currency swap arrangement, according to the ministry of external affairs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Mohamed held bilateral talks at Hyderabad House here during which the two leaders discussed ways to promote bilateral cooperation.
The two leaders agreed that promoting bilateral cooperation would drive forward the strategic partnership between the United Arab Emirates and India. The two leaders also discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Modi expressed his happiness on the occasion of this important visit which would serve the interest of the two nations. He also praised the special relationship the UAE and India enjoy.
Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied in the visit by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE deputy prime minister and minister of interior, and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Court among others.
Sheikh Mohamed expressed his happiness on visiting India, saying that the country has a special relationship with the people of the UAE and the Arabian Gulf dating back centuries.
He added that this deep-rooted relationship has helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship that the two nations enjoy today.
He said the UAE, under the leadership of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was keen on pushing its relationship with India forward on the solid basis of mutual respect and common interests. He also commended the contributions of the Indian community to the development and growth of the UAE.
There are around 2.6 million expatriate Indians in the UAE, 60 percent of whom are blue collar workers.
The two leaders also discussed regional and international issues, including current developments in the Middle East such as violence and terrorism.
The two leaders concluded their talks by stressing that the two nations have passed a milestone in the path of their strategic relationship, expressing their keenness on pushing this relationship forward.
They also agreed that it was important for the international community to exert more efforts to achieve stability and security at the regional and international levels and to confront the challenges that the people of the world face, including the menace of terrorism, extremism and violence.
Sheikh Mohamed’s is the second highest level visit to India from the Gulf region after the visit of the emir of Qatar in March 2015.
The region, which hosts seven million expatriate Indians and is an important source of remittances, has a strong bearing on India’s security and stability in its neighbourhood.
The UAE is the third largest trading partner of India after the US and China and also the sixth largest source of India’s crude oil imports.
While Thursday’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cyber security provides for technical cooperation in cyber space and in combating cyber crime, the one on infrastructure investment aims at establishing a framework for facilitating the participation of UAE institutional investors in infrastructure investments in India.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August last year, the first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years, the Gulf nation committed $75 billion in investments in India’s infrastructure sector.
A framework agreement on renewable energy provides for bilateral cooperation through extensive projects, investments, cooperation in research and development in renewable and clean energy.
Another MoU establishes a framework for cooperation in space science, technology and applications including remote sensing, satellite communication and satellite based navigation.
Earlier on Thursday, after being accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and paying floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat here, the crown prince held a restricted meeting with Modi.
Following this, he called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
During the meeting, Mukherjee, who hosted a private lunch in honour of the visiting dignitary, expressed “great satisfaction” at the elevation of the relationship between India and the UAE to a comprehensive strategic partnership during Modi’s visit last year.
The crown prince later also met Vice President Hamid Ansari at the latter’s residence here during which the two leaders discussed friendly ties and cooperation between the UAE and India as well as ways to promote them in order to achieve common interests.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Pakistan launched $500 million projects for Afghanistan

Iqbal on Thursday said that 3,000 scholarships had been offered to Afghan students in different universities of Pakistan and 100 Afghan students would study in the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Dawn online reported.
Talking to an Afghan delegation comprising academicians, lawmakers, students and civil society members here, the minister said that Pakistan had desired to forge friendly relations with all its neighbours, including Afghanistan.
He underlined the need for greater exchanges of scholars, artists, businessmen and others to boost cooperation and friendly and brotherly relations between the two countries.
“We have to start a new chapter in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations by focussing on social and economic dimensions of the friendship,” Iqbal said, adding that two countries shared hundreds of years of history.
He said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would play an important role in bringing people of the region closer besides improving economy of the entire region.
“If an untoward incident happens in Afghanistan, Pakistan will be the first country to feel its heat and it will affect the rest of the world later on,” he added.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Reliance Communications plea to buy Sistema admitted

“Reliance Communications is, therefore, finalising a notice of the above meeting to be sent to its shareholders and taking necessary action in the matter,” the company said in a statement, adding director R.N. Bhardwaj has been named chair of the court-convened meeting.
The Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications announced in November last year that it intended to acquire the Indian business of Russia’s Sistema — which is operating under the ‘MTS’ brand — in a unique stock-cum-spectrum-fee payment deal.
The deal first calls for the de-merger of the telecom business of the Russian group’s Indian entity and then the acquisition of that by the Reliance Group firm.
Prior to that, the targeted company is to pay its existing debt, while the shareholders will be entitled to a 10-percent stake thereafter in Reliance Communications.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Zomato claims to break-even in India operations

Other countries are Lebanon, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Gulf and Indonesia and Philippines in South East Asia.
The start-up firm, however, did not disclose to the media at what revenue the break-even was achieved or other operational numbers.
“We have doubled our revenue year-on-year (YoY) over the last few years to post growth numbers this year (fiscal) as our business turned profitable in six of the 18 markets we operate,” Zomato founder and chief executive Deepinder Goyal said in a statement here.
The company plans to deploy its profits in operations to fuel growth and compete harder to stay ahead of rivals.
“We don’t depend on external funds to experiment or spend on new initiatives in India and other markets,” Zomato co-founder Pankaj Chaddah said in the statement.
Chaddah has been leading Zomato’s food ordering vertical since November 2015 which has witnessed four-fold growth in the past three months.
“2015 has been a challenging year for food-tech and the market has seen its fair share of correction in recent months,” said Sequoia Capital India Advisors managing director Mohit Bhatnagar in the statement.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

OPPO starts selling ‘selfie expert’ F1 in Delhi

“I am so thrilled at being the first one to be able to use the ‘selfie expert’ OPPO F1. I love taking selfies and am sure that my new phone will help me take the best selfies every time I want to,” a company statement quoted Chakraborty as saying.
OPPO offers an entire range of camera-phone devices starting from entry level to mid-range smartphones and the company considers Delhi an important maket.
“Delhi is one of the top markets in India in terms of technology adaptation, awareness, 4G connectivity, therefore it is a very important market for OPPO Mobiles and the first sale today is a reflection of our resolution to grow and long term commitment to the Indian market,” said Poppy Huang, CEO-Delhi, OPPO Mobiles India.
The F1 features an 8 MP front-facing camera with a wide f/2.0 aperture lens and a 1/4-inch sensor, a sophisticated Pure Image 2.0+ photography platform offering OPPO’s Beautify 3.0 feature.
It also sports OPPO’s patented Screen Flash to make snapping selfies in low-light conditions, and can shoot selfies using hand gestures and spoken commands.
The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 series Octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and 16GB ROM.
The F1 Plus sports a 13 MP rear camera along with interesting features like Slow Shutter, Double Exposure and Ultra-HD, the company said, without specifying the price of the devices.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Ratan Tata invests in two more start-ups

As an e-commerce firm, Moglix specialises in procurement of industrial products in business-to-business (B2B) space, while medical firm Invictus is an innovation-driven firm developing next-generation cancer therapeutics.
By investing in Moglix, Tata has forayed into a manufacturing tech-start-up as an investor, adding to his varied portfolio of e-commerce and new-age tech-enabled firms.
“With his expertise in the manufacturing sector, Tata will play an important role in mentoring Moglix on business growth, global expansion and leadership,” the company said in a statement.
Founded by Rahul Garg, an ex-Google geek, Moglix is focused on disrupting B2B industrial products space for suppliers and buyers the world over.
“We are pleased to have an icon of Indian manufacturing as our advisor. Tata’s contribution to the manufacturing sector has been inspirational and we look forward to his guidance to steer the company in transforming the buying and selling process for manufacturers across the country,” Garg said in a statement.
Moglix recently raised undisclosed pre-series A funding from venture fund Accel Partners and Jungle Ventures to enhance its e-platform, build a wider supplier base and increase marketing spend across Asia.
In Invictus, Tata has invested as part of its series A financing round along with institutional investors Navam Capital and Aarin Capital.
“The funds will be used to advance our lead molecule to complete phase-one clinical studies and to file a second investigational new drug application, which translates into substantial value inflections for us over the next 18 months,” Oncology said in a statement.
Invictus Oncology employs a supra-molecular technology platform to design anti-cancer drugs that home into the tumour and modulate the tumour immune response.
“Tata’s investment is an affirmation of the technology quality we have developed. We are getting good traction from investors in India and overseas,” Oncology co-founder and Harvard Medical School assistant professor Shiladiyta Sengupta said in the statement.
In the past 18 months, Tata has invested in a slew of start-ups, including Infinite Analytics Inc., Snapdeal, Paytm, Ola, Tracxn Technologies, and Zivame.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Mukesh Ambani, Sam Pitroda in US engineering academy

Founded in 1964, the US-based National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private, independent, non-profit institution, providing global engineering leadership.
“Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 9, 2016,” a statement from the institution said.
The other Indian members include P.C. Kapur of IIT-Delhi, scientist R.A. Mashelkar, Narayana Murthy of Infosys, scientist Roddam Narasimha, Pradip P. of TCS, scientist P. Ramarao, chemical engineer M.M. Sharma and industrialist Ratan Tata.
Founded in 1964, the academy is a private, independent, non-profit that provides engineering leadership with a mission to promote a vibrant engineering profession and giving insights to the US government on related matters.
As per an announcement of the non-profit, Pitroda is a member for developing rural telecom infrastructure for India, while Ambani has made the cut for engineering a business leadership in oil refineries, petrochem and related industries.
The institution has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign members, who are considered among the world’s most accomplished engineers — people who provide leadership for numerous projects to link their domain with better quality of life.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Modi misleading people on Paradip project: Congress

Modi resorted to myopic politicking while inaugurating the Paradip project on Sunday, said Congress leader and former union minister Srikant Jena in a statement here.
“Had the prime minister been honest and sincere, he would have appreciated the Congress-led UPA government in the development of Paradip and Odisha instead of making hollow and lame allegations about the project having been delayed. We call upon him to introspect and do necessary course correction,” Jena added.
“Narendra Modi’s rhetoric is founded on blame game and criticising the previous governments instead of providing leadership to the nation. The net consequence is that repeated public utterances of the prime minister are based on deliberate ignorance and selective amnesia towards facts,” the Congress leader said.
He said the project was conceptualised in 1992 by the then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao with a capacity of six million tonnes, later increased to nine million tonnes by the United Front government headed by H.D. Deve Gowda.
He said the foundation stone was laid by the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2000.
The Congress leader said the project was called off due to “delay and non-cooperation by the Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government in Odisha which refused to provide sales tax concession”.
Jena said the United Progressive Alliance government led by Manmohan Singh revisited the project and “persuaded the then BJD government in Odisha to sign a memorandum of understanding”.
He said the then UPA government and the Indian Oil Corporation Limited announced a fresh project with a capacity of 15 million tonnes refining capacity along with other downstream projects.
Jena said the then UPA government approved expenditure of Rs.35,000crore in 2009 and its completion in 2012-13.
“What is remarkable is that despite being a green field project in remote area, 95 percent of the work was completed by 2014 during UPA government’s term,” the Congress leader said in the release.
Modi had on Sunday dedicated to the nation a 15-million tonnes per annum refinery and expressed regrets over the delay in execution of different projects.
He took a dig at the Congress and said “nowadays whenever I go to inaugurate any project, the friends in Congress party say it was started during our time”.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Obama proposes $4.1 trillion spending plan in final budget

The budget proposal highlights Obama’s priorities for fighting climate change, helping the poor, increasing taxes for the wealthy, and strengthening national security, Xinhua reported.
“The budget is a roadmap to a future that embodies America’s values and aspirations: a future of opportunity and security for all of our families; a rising standard of living; and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids,” Obama said in a letter sent to the Congress on Tuesday.
The budget plan envisions a deficit of $503 billion in fiscal year 2017, lower than the $616 billion of budget gap for current fiscal year which ends on September 30.
The spending proposal stayed within the confines of an agreement reached between the White House and Congress last year that lifted mandatory “sequestration” cuts on bothdefense and domestic spending.
It calls for $320 billion to promote clean transportation infrastructure, and another $11 billion for clean energy. The budget also seeks $150 billion to boost research and development in areas from biomedical research to space exploration, and $19 billion for cyber-security.
The proposal requests more than $11 billion for the Departments of Defence and State to fight Islamic State militants and stabilise Syria.
The proposed budget also calls for the lift of sequestration in 2018 and beyond. It also seeks to cut deficits by $2.9 trillion over the coming decade through reforms in health programmes, the tax code, and immigration.
The budget for the fiscal year 2017 which begins on October 1 is unlikely to be passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. Leaders of the House and Senate budget panels have already said they will not even give the proposal a hearing.
Although there is little chance that the budget will be passed in the Congress, there are some areas that the White House and the Congress can agree on, such as funding for cancer research and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to childless adults.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business

Railways, Chhattisgarh sign JV for infrastructure development

According to the railways ministry, it signed the MoU with Chhattisgarh government as part of its budget plans.
“Indian Railways has been working vigorously to reach every corner of the country through railway lines but people’s expectations are lot more with the railway ministry,” said Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, calling on all state governments to join hands his ministry to meet the expectations of people.
The MoU envisages formation of JV company having a 51 percent stake of the state government and a 49 percent stake of the railway ministry. The JV will focus on project development, resource mobilisation, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects.
Prabhu said Chhattisgarh is a natural resources-rich state and has lot of potential for exploration and evacuation of the resources to other parts of the country and at national level.
“For this purpose, railway infrastructure needs to be developed in the state which will not only help the people of the state in availing better transport but will also bring huge freight to the railways,” he said.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh thanked Indian Railways, saying 760 km of additional railways lines were spread in the state in a very short time.
Source : IndianMediaBook - Business