Friday, 7 December 2018

#PetroRupee! - India signs currency swap agreement worth Rs 3,500 crores with UAE.

Source - PMOIndia

India and the United Arab Emirates have signed two agreements, including one on currency swap, during the visit of the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Abu Dhabi. The decision was announced after the 12th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) for Economic and Technical Cooperation, which was held on 3-4 December in Abu Dhabi.

The countries signed an agreement on a currency swap between the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of the UAE. According to the agreement, two countries can make payments in their national currencies — Indian rupees and Emirati dirhams (AED), avoiding the involvement of a third currency, which is designed to boost bilateral trade.

Currency Swap is such a pact between two countries that allows trading in their own currency and payments to import and export trade at pre-determined exchange rate without bringing in a third benchmark currency like the US dollars.

Sushma Swaraj and Indian officials also had exhaustive discussions with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed to step up bilateral cooperation in areas like security, defence, counter-terrorism, trade and energy.

Earlier, India and Japan had signed a currency swap agreement of whopping $75 billion dollars which would help both the economies to trade in respective local currencies. After fear of US sanctions, India is in talks with Iran to deal in local currencies. Currency swap agreements would help both producer and consumer economies to deal in local currencies instead of volatile US dollars.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Shapoorji Pallonji wins India's largest floating solar auction quoting just Rs 3.29/kwH

EPC Sterling and Wilson, a part of Indian conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji have won India’s first major grid-connected floating solar tender for 50MW of capacity at a tariff of Rs 3.29/kWh at Rihand dam. Rihand Dam is officially known as Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar Reservoir is located in Sonabhadra district of Uttar Pradesh.

Shapoorji Pallonji and Renew Power were bidders for package B. The remaining 100MW of capacity out for tender will also soon be auctioned by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in two blocks of 50MW. SECI had increased the capacity available in its tender from 100MW to 150MW back in April.

India is committed towards 175GW renewable power by 2022 and a lead initiator for International Solar Alliance. Taking that into account and expected tariffs of around Rs 3.00/kWh for ground-based solar, the discovered tariff seems about right. The Rihand Dam solar project could be an ideal example for other dams and river bodies.

SECI had fixed ₹3.32/kWh as the upper tariff ceiling for this tender. The successful developers will enter 25-year power sale agreements with Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL). In the tender, SECI had also specified that a single bidder can bid for a minimum 50 MW and a maximum 150 MW. reports that India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has come out with new guidelines for distributed grid-connected solar PV projects in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep with a target of 52MW energy on floating solar.

Source - PV Tech, MercomIndia.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

COCO by DHFL General Insurance is here to transform the “Sold, Not Bought” aspect of Insurance.

Care More Have More

Students studying in the field of Insurance are practised to believe in the thought process of “Insurance is Sold and Not Bought”. This is even considered as conventional wisdom for veterans working in the insurance industry. Many people claim that insurance products are complex, easily misunderstood, need a detailed analysis to be underwritten, and therefore have to be “sold” to customers. But for how long? With the advent of technology, InsureTech firms are here to demystify the age-old concept of “Sold, Not Bought”. Insurance companies are not just going to B2C but the customer too is keen for best value offering.

In the age of where everything is going digital, insurance companies are offering new products through the digital ecosystem. The key advantages for consumers choosing digital insurers are product choice, transparency, direct point of contact etc. COCO by DHFL General Insurance believes in the Philosophy of Connected Covers – a policy which can be bought, reviewed, claimed and renewed, all online in the digital ecosystem with the help of next-gen techs like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

COCODrive offers India’s highest Personal Accident Cover

COCO by DHFL General Insurance has launched India’s first customizable online comprehensive car insurance policy named COCODrive. Gone are the days when consumers were forced to buy unwanted services in bundled insurance policies. Busting traditional routes, COCODrive gives freedom to customers to choose from whopping 19 add-ons depending upon the type of car, the age of a car or geographical area.

The a`la carte approach in the COCODrive policy provides suggestions to customers that will help them pick the right add-ons suitable for their need. COCO by DHFL General Insurance ensures that customers have the right protection for themselves, their loved ones and of course their family car.

COCODrive offers India’s highest personal accident cover which can go up to Rs 35 lakhs. The policy offers many non-standard add-ons such as enhanced owner, occupant and paid driver personal accident cover. While the recent Supreme Court decision mandates personal accident cover of Rs 15 lakhs, COCODrive is the only product in the market to offer an enhanced personal accident cover that can go as high as Rs 35 lakh.

Protecting your loved ones: Family + Car.

Choose what you want! COCODrive offers a range of crucial add-ons for you, your loved ones and your car. COCO by DHFL General Insurance offers 6 car related add-ons out of a total number of 19 add-ons, which is the highest in the market.

Using a car which is older than 5 years, then you should buy Zero Dep cover as it fully pays the replacement cost of your car’s damaged parts without worrying for depreciation. If you live in monsoon prone areas like Mumbai, Bangalore, Kerala or North East which face excessive floods every year. The Engine Protect add-on cover pays for damages caused to the vehicle’s engine or its most important parts like cylinder, piston, crankshaft, pins, gearbox etc due to water ingression. Flood related damages are excluded in the standard motor insurance policy and it is essential to buy if you live in low lying areas. Also, car owners should avoid parking your car in the flood prone areas or over a river bridge during monsoon. A car fully submerged under water can result in a total loss. In such unfortunate case, New Car for Old Car add-on can get you a claim worth the cost of the new vehicle at just Rs 0.50 per day.

In case of a vehicle breakdown or meeting with an accident, the Roadside Assistance offers a host of benefits including towing, battery jump start, phone assistance etc. Data analytics suggests that 80% of breakdowns or accidents happen on National Highway, far from the city. In such case, if your vehicle can’t be repaired on spot, the Emergency Transport and Hotel Stay add-on covers for your last minute travelling charges or an overnight hotel stay. Accidents generally end up in a need to go to the hospital, although we dislike it. The Accident Hospitalisation add-on will ensure that the cost of medical expenses (driver and occupants) do not add to your pain.

COCODrive rewards you for Safe Driving with No Claim Bonus (NCB) which can go high as 50% of the policy value. The NCB Secure add-on allows you to have Second Chance by protecting your NCB in case you make 1 claim during your policy tenure.


COCO by DHFL General Insurance Ltd is a new age InsureTech (general insurance venture) promoted by Wadhawan Global Capital Pvt Ltd (WGC).  COCO by DHFL General Insurance, a 100%  owned entity of WGC started its business operations in November 2017 with an overreaching ambition to transform General Insurance domain in India. COCO has launched Motor Insurance and is soon going to venture into other General Insurance segments namely Health, Travel, and Home. COCO, the digital avatar of DHFL General Insurance was awarded for ‘Brand Excellence in BFSI’ at Awards for Excellence in Branding and Marketing, Singapore 2018. The Gross Written Premium for YTD FY 201819 stood at Rs 202.71 crores, making COCO by DHFL General Insurance a leading InsureTech firm to service Indians.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Govt of India and Asian Development Bank sign $300 million loan support to India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $300 million Loan Agreement to support lending by India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL).

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, who signed the loan agreement on behalf of Government of India said that the Project will enhance availability of long-term finance for PPP projects, improve operational capacity of IIFCL, and expand the portfolio of infrastructure financing instruments available to IIFCL. He further said that the loan is expected to complement the Government’s infrastructure building efforts.

Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission who signed the agreement for ADB, said that ADB funding is expected to fund at least 13 sub-projects through IIFCL, involving roads and renewable power generation, under the last tranche.

The Project supports the renewed effort of the Government of India in accelerating infrastructure growth through increased Private Sector investment. The Project is relevant and responsive to the constraints to bank based infrastructure financing, fiscal space creation, and repercussions on GDP growth.

The $300 million ADB loan is expected to help catalyze the financial closing of $2.4 billion in investments. In addition, the attached technical assistance will support IIFCL capacity development and will focus on IIFCL’s financial management and social and environmental safeguards.

Source – PIB.

Note: Also published on

Saturday, 10 November 2018

L&T- built Statue of Unity turns into a tourist magnet.

India's tallest political leader, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was dedicated with World's largest statue. 182 metre tall Statue of Unity made by Mumbai based Larsen Toubro was dedicated towards the nation by PM Modi. At the launch ceremony, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries’ poured soil and Narmada water into a Kalash to mark the dedication of the ‘Statue of Unity’ to the nation. The Prime Minister pressed a lever to commence a Virtual Abhishek of the statue.

At 182 meters (597 feet), the steel, concrete and brass-clad statue is the tallest in the world and Larsen & Toubro is proud to have constructed it in a record time of 33 months. The Buildings & Factories business of the construction arm of L&T had won this prestigious EPC contract for the design and construction of the Statue of Unity from the Government of Gujarat in October 2014 and construction of the raft of the statue began in December 2015.

A statesman par excellence, Sardar Patel is widely considered as the architect of modern India, who was responsible for uniting the newly-independent nation. The Statue of Unity, on the Sadhu Bet Island, approximately 3.5 km south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat now stands tall as an inspiration to future generations, a reminder of Sardar Patel’s sterling contribution and a symbol of national harmony and integrity.

The Statue Of Unity offers Museum and Exhibition centre and viewing gallery (approx 60 floor high) to tourists. This gallery, at 153 metres height, can accommodate up to 200 visitors at one time. It offers a spectacular view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, its reservoir, and the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges.

The SoU complex comprises an exhibition centre at its base, a memorial garden, a designer bridge connecting Sadhu Island with the mainland along the Narmada River, an internal roadway of 5 km length, improvements to the existing roads /bridges/ culverts connecting the area of Sadhu Island. It also hosts an administrative complex and a star rated hotel (Shrestha Bharat Bhavan) and a conference centre.

The statue, a towering piece of engineering by L&T, is conceived as a naturalistic depiction of Sardar Patel in his characteristic garb in a walking pose. It rises out of a star-shaped, geometric base that covers the entire Sadhu Hill. The statue has a unique, slender width to height ratio, far more exacting than existing technical norms that call for special engineering considerations. The structure has two vertical cores each housing a high-speed passenger elevator. The vertical cores support the steel frames to which about 6,500 bronze panels are clad. A viewing gallery at the level at the chest, can accommodate up to 200 visitors at one go and affords a breath-taking view of the Sardar Sarovar dam and its environs.

While critics were sceptical about ROI of the Statue, the enthusiastic and nationalist people of India proved them wrong with massive turnout at Statue of Unity monument. As reported by DeshGujarat, more than 1,00,000 people visited SoU in Diwali holiday adding to approx Rs 2 crore revenue to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust. Since, the area of not yet well connecting by Public Transport, people chose to visit by cars adding to a 9km long traffic jam.

A large turnout towards SoU is now having teething troubles but this would be a learning lesson for management to rectify in the coming months. GSRTC, the state transport should also start Volvo buses every 1 hour from Surat CBS, Ankleshwar, Vadodara CBS and Ahmedabad. A few buses from Bhavnagar and Jamnagar are also in demand via RoRo service for SoU. The Govt of Gujarat or SVPRET should invest few crores in public amenities to truly make the Statue of Unity, a world-class national monument.

How To Reach Statue of Unity from Mumbai?

1. Board Dehradun Express (12.00am) from Bandra Terminus or Borivali till Surat (5.00am).
2. Board 6.00am GSRTC bus from Surat Central Bus Stn (Opp. Surat Rly Stn) to Kevadiya Colony.
3. From Kevadiya Colony, a dedicated bus for Statue of Unity is available.
4. Make sure you have reservations for all keeping in mind tourist inflow.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Delhi Metro Phase III gets Rs 3300 crores ODA loan from Japan's JICA.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement with the Government of India to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of 53,675 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 3,300 crore) for the ‘Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System Project Phase 3 (Tranche III)'.

The objective of the Project is to cope with the increasing traffic demand in Delhi by expanding mass transit systems, thereby mitigating traffic congestion, reducing air pollution, minimizing road accidents and making travel smoother for the people in New Delhi. The scope of the Phase 3 includes the construction of Pink Line and Magenta Line and the extension of Yellow Line, Blue Line, Green Line and Violet Line. The Phase 3 will add 159.7 kilometers to the existing Delhi Metro Line and will connect 109 metro stations.

The ODA loan agreement was signed between Shohei Hara, Director General, South Asia Department, JICA and Mr. Sujan R. Chinoy, Ambassador of India to Japan on October 29, 2018 at Tokyo.

The Executing Agency for the Project is Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited. The Project envisages building of an efficient transportation system for the city, catering to the growing population. With high growth in transport demand, congestion on roads has been increasing and the mode of travel in favor of public transportation has remained around 50%. It is expected that the mode of travel in favor of public transport will increase to 60% upon commissioning of the Project, while the mode of travel in favor of Delhi Metro will increase to 19% from the current 15%.

"With the signing of Tranche-III of Delhi Metro ODA Loan, JICA has continued to fulfill its commitment of improving the mobility in the capital city. We are pleased to support the network of Delhi Metro which has now reached a cumulative length of 349.7 kilometers. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) shares an over two-decade-long association with JICA, and with the signing of this ODA loan agreement, our bond is only going to grow stronger." - Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India.

JICA has extended a cumulative total of 705,206 million Japanese Yen (approximately 45,000 crores) in ODA loans for the Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System Project since 1997. With the signing of the loan agreement for Delhi Metro Project Phase 3, the cumulative loan amount provided by JICA for Metro projects in India (including Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad Metro) exceeds 1.2 trillion Japanese Yen (approximately 77,000 crores).

Source - JICA.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Reliance Jio disrupts Broadband segment with the acquisition of Hathway and Den Networks.

After disrupting the mobile internet segment, India’s largest internet service provider Reliance Jio is set to enter broadband internet business. The Jio GigaFiber has announced that they may offer internet speeds of up to 1 GBPS in 1100 cities at reasonable prices. In its welcome offer, Jio Gigafiber offers 100 MBPS free internet for 3 months upon submitting Rs 4500 refundable deposit for the high-speed router and Home Hub.

Reliance Jio is projecting itself as Smart Home appliance provider as it would not just offer high-speed broadband but also Set Top Box with 4K capabilities and many more smart appliances. Media reports suggested that local cable operators were reluctant with proposition with Reliance Jio offers. With the acquisition of Hathway Cables and Den Networks, we can predict that a PAN India service launch of Reliance Jio would be possible by 2019.

Reliance Industries Limited in its press release announced the strategic investment of RIL in Hathway and Den to accelerate Jio GigaFiber service. A primary investment of Rs. 2,045 crore through a preferential issue under SEBI regulations and secondary purchase of Rs. 245 crore from the existing promoters for a 66% stake in Den Networks. Primary investment of Rs. 2,940 crore through a preferential issue under SEBI regulations for a 51.3% stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited (“Hathway”) Limited.

These strategic investments are in furtherance of Reliance’s mission of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere – always at the highest quality and the most affordable price and transforming India’s digital landscape. After having taken India to the top position in the mobile broadband space, Reliance is now committed to taking India from a global rank of 135th to among the top-3 countries in the world on wireline digital connectivity. RIL believes that these investments and partnerships will create a win-win outcome for the Local Cable Operators, Consumers, Content providers and overall eco-system.

With high-speed internet linked with set top box, consumers will be able to watch 4K channels without paying extra cost as Jio plans to charge only for Internet. This shift would also enrich channels to shift to Full HD stream from current SDTV service.

Jio shall bring JioGigaFiber to more than 50 million homes across 1,100 Indian cities and towns, in the shortest possible time. JioGigaFiber will offer:

  • Ultra High Definition Entertainment on large screen TVs.
  • Multi-Party Video Conferencing from the comfort of everyone’s living room.
  • Artificial Intelligence, in the form of voice-activated virtual assistants, who obey every command of the consumer
  • Virtual Reality Gaming and Digital Shopping in a magical universe of immersive experiences
  • Smart-Home Solutions, where hundreds of devices like security cameras, home appliances, even lights and switches, can be securely controlled by their owners, from both inside and outside their homes
  • Fixed Mobile Convergence, to offer end-to-end services on an integrated network.

Telecom analyst Jio Gigafiber to be competitively priced. For massive reach, RIL may offer 1GBPS speed internet from Rs 500 per month along with 100 TV channels. Plans are not out yet.

RIL is being advised by JM Financial Limited, Citigroup Global Markets, Khaitan & Co, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB Partners and EY LLP on this transaction.

– Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Also published on - Tech that transforms life.