Saturday, 24 March 2018

EESL subsidiary acquires UK based Edina for Rs 493 crore

EESL India Edina UK

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of four National Public Sector Enterprises under administrative control of Ministry of Power, Government of India, today announced its acquisition of Edina, a leading supplier, installer and maintenance provider for combined heat and power (CHP), gas, and diesel power generation solutions in the United Kingdom (UK). The £55 million (INR 493 crore) acquisition is the first-of-its-kind venture by an entity under the Ministry of Power, Government of India and is effected through its UK subsidiary, EnergyPro Assets Limited (EPAL).

Edina has around a quarter of UK gas engine market share and turns over around £100m. EESL plans to use its acquisition both to grow the CHP market in India via ‘as-a-service’ models, and simultaneously tap into the UK energy services market. With a business experience of over 30 years, Edina services over 400 customers, providing bespoke containerized solutions that reduce customers’ energy costs and carbon emissions, while also providing a continuous and reliable power supply, from sites in the UK, Ireland, and Australia. Edina is the sole distributor of MWM gas engines in the UK and Ireland, and of Perkins diesel engines in Ireland.

“We are excited about this new venture and about harnessing the capabilities of a company that has a long history of successfully implementing combined heat and power technology. Leveraging Edina’s unique bespoke approach with our proven, innovative business models for scaling energy efficiency solutions across international borders, we are confident in the potential of this partnership to scale trigeneration technology adoption and to transform CHP market in India. The acquisition is therefore also an important strategic step in our continued efforts towards facilitating India’s energy security and sustainable energy supply.” - Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director, EESL.

EESL aims to tap into UK’s £6 billion (INR 53,782 crore) energy efficiency market, expanding the offering in the energy service contract model for CHP technology. On the other, EESL intends to bring CHP technology to India, providing an integrated service offering to industries that would enable them to receive equipment maintenance, electricity, heat and power at no upfront costs for technology installation.

EESL is implementing a global strategy and commitment to invest £150 million (INR 1,343 crore) through EPAL into energy services business opportunities in the UK, EU and North America between 2017 and 2019. EESL’s investment plan takes forward the commitment made by PM Modi and UK's May for an enhanced ‘Energy for Growth’ Partnership between the two countries.

Source - Press Release

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

NPCIL and EDF sign agreement for World's largest Nuclear Power Plant.

Jaitapur Nuclear Plant in Konkan, Maharashtra will have 6 European Pressurised Reactors (EPR). The agreements were signed between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and France's Electricite De France. Once completed, the plant will produce 9.6 GigaWatt clean electricity.

In presence of PM Modi and France's Macron, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), the government-owned Indian energy company, signed an Industrial Way Forward Agreement for the implementation of six EPR reactors at the Jaitapur site in India. Jaitapur is set to be the biggest nuclear project in the world, with a total power capacity of around 10 GW.

The agreement defines the project’s industrial framework, the roles and responsibilities of the partners, as well as a planned timetable for the next steps. Despite having 80% land acquisition done, the locals in Jaitapur in Konkan area are protesting the project over misinformation spread by regional political parties and NGOs. Some fear that the technology is unused in the world. It is partially untrue as 2 EPR is under construction in France, 1 in the UK and another 1 in Taishan, China. Also, nuclear power technology is not new to India. As of today, there 22 nuclear reactors operating in India.

Under the terms of the agreement, EDF will act as a supplier of the EPR technology. EDF will undertake all engineering studies and all component procurement activities for the first two reactors. For the other four units, the responsibility for some purchasing activities and studies may be assigned to local companies. EDF will also provide NPCIL with its valuable experience from the construction of EPR reactors.

EPR reactor at Taishan, China

In its capacity as owner and future operator of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, NPCIL shall be responsible for obtaining all authorizations and certifications required in India, and for constructing all six reactors and site infrastructures. EDF and its industrial partners will assist NPCIL during the construction phase.

This industrial framework has already been approved in India and will be bolstered by the complementary skills and experience of the partners involved. In this manner, the knowledge and expertise required to operate the plant can be readily shared. It will also pave the way for the industrial involvement of Indian companies in the project, opening up possibilities for partnerships within the French nuclear power sector. In this way, the project will be developed in line with Indian policies “Make in India” and “Skill India”, with the ever-increasing participation of local companies, reaching a potential 60% for last two of the six reactors.

NPCIL and EDF have signed agreements with French and Indian players for setting out operation foundation for the Jaitapur project. The first such agreement, signed with Assystem, Egis, Reliance and Bouygues, covers the installation of an engineering platform for studies that fall within the scope of the Jaitapur project. EDF will hold 51% of the joint-venture and will be responsible for engineering integration. The second agreement, signed with Larsen&Toubro, AFCEN* and Bureau Veritas, covers the creation of a training centre compliant with standards for the design and construction of equipment for the nuclear industry (RCC codes). The objective is to train local companies on the technical standards applicable to the manufacture of equipment for the Jaitapur project.

Acting as head of the French nuclear power sector, EDF entered into exclusive negotiations with NPCIL in 2016 and in the same year it issued its first technical-commercial proposal for the development and construction of six EPRs. Jaitapur is in Maharashtra state and will be the largest nuclear power site in the world. EPR reactors - with a generating capacity of 1600 MW per unit - are particularly suitable for a country undergoing rapid growth and equipped with a mature electricity system such as in India.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Source - Electricite De France, Press Release

Monday, 12 March 2018

Shadow Banking's continuous Rise is risk to Global Stability

Chongquing, China
Skyline of Chongqing city in China

Shadow Banking has become an unstoppable force

A decade later after 2008 Financial Crisis, the global economy is now waiting for a turnaround. The average world GDP has picked up some momentum. Although, economists from independent rating agencies believe that the double-digit growth for developing economies is yet a few years away. As the economy looks to improves, shadow banking funding seems to the next big threat to the global stability. In a simple language, shadow banking is when you have someone that does banking without being a bank.  Someone takes deposits from people and then lends it out. The concept is similar to a Ponzi scheme. Individuals or group of individuals fund corporates without the jurisdiction of the regulator or the government. When loans from registered lending channels like banks turn to NPAs within a few months, can we imagine the risk which shadow banks take?

Growth in global bond, real estate and money market funds continued to swell the world’s shadow banking sector, a watchdog that coordinates financial regulation for the G20 big economies said in its report. The value of the global shadow banking market increased by 7.6% in 2016 to $45.2 trillion, according to the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Global Shadow Banking Monitoring Report 2017.

According to the report, the $45.2 trillion figure represents 13 percent of the total financial system assets of the 29 covered jurisdictions, which represent 80 percent of the world’s GDP. The report now includes Luxembourg for the first time, bringing the total number of jurisdictions to 29.

Shadow Banking is China's magic wand to prosperity. But, what are the risks?

Also for the first time, the FSB report assesses the involvement of non-bank financial entities in China in credit intermediation that may pose financial stability risks from shadow banking. The reason that shadow banking is popular in China is that the regulated state-owned banks pay lousy interest rates and they only loan to large state-owned companies.  If someone can pay better interest rates and make loans to people that can't get loans through the normal banking system, they can make a lot of money. But, funding comes with risks too. A major default could trigger a domino effect panicking local investors which may, in turn, result in a major financial crisis in China.

China and Luxembourg contributed $7 trillion and $3.2 trillion, respectively, to the $45.2 trillion figure. Public lending may not trigger systemic risk in high capita countries like Luxembourg, Cayman Islands, Netherlands etc. Rich individuals can take risks to multiply their wealth by funding newly incorporated companies. The same system cannot be implemented countries in China, India or Thailand where per capita income is low.

With Chinese economy slowing down, Xi Jinping has tightened the regulation on shadow banking individuals and groups. Chinese daily South China Morning Post reported that the companies that had committed to buying overseas assets are now finding it hard to complete the deals amid China’s financial clean-up of its shadow banking activities and banks’ reluctance to extend loans. China, being a $10 trillion dollar economy may not face not any systemic risk. But, a range of defaults by investors abroad may destroy individual investors and medium-sized corporates.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Source - Financial Stability Board

Friday, 9 March 2018

RBI fines three banks for holes in the banking system

Nirav Modi Vijay Mallya Jatin Mehta

Rs 29,000 crores... India's top 3 'Bhagodas' namely Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Jatin Mehta duped India's state-owned and private banks and escaped India. These fraudsters have sought a safe stay in fugitive-friendly colonies of the UK. Former RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn compared bank's bad loans to cancer. If not treated, the patient would die.
As of September 2017, nine of India’s 21 state-owned banks have more than 15% gross bad assets. IDBI Bank Ltd continues to top the list with almost one-fourth of its loans turning bad (24.98%). Followed by IDBI, the Indian Overseas Bank has 22.73% bad loans, then followed by UCO Bank (18.74%), United Bank of India (18.8%), Bank of Maharashtra (18.54%), Central Bank of India (17.27%), Dena Bank (17.23%), Oriental Bank of Commerce (16.3%) and Corporation Bank (15.28%). India's largest lender, the State Bank of India has 9.83% bad loans.

The holes in India's banking system calls for tougher laws and fixed accounting standards. Recently, the cabinet approved the establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority. The decision aims at the establishment of NFRA as an independent regulator for the auditing profession which is one of the key changes brought in by the Companies Act, 2013. The need for establishing NFRA has arisen on account of the need felt across various jurisdictions in the world, in the wake of accounting scams, to establish independent regulators, independent from those it regulates, for enforcement of auditing standards and ensuring the quality of audits to strengthen the independence of audit firms, quality of audits and, therefore,  enhance investor and  public confidence in financial disclosures of companies. 

The Modi government also plans to pass The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 in the budget session. The Bill makes provisions for a Court ('Special Court' under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002) to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender. A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. only those cases where the total value involved in such offences is 100 crore rupees or more, is within the purview of this Bill.

RBI fines 3 banks for holes in the banking system

The Reserve Bank of India has stepped in the detailed scrutiny of banks processes after the PNB disclosure of Nirav Modi scam.

The RBI has imposed a monetary penalty of ₹ 30 million on Axis Bank for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on Income Recognition and Asset Classification (IRAC) norms. The penalty was imposed for not following RBI directions in assessment regarding Non Performing Assets as per Banking Regulation Act 1969.

State Bank of India, India's largest lender has imposed a monetary penalty in reference to currency chest inspection by RBI in 2 of its branches where counterfeit notes were found. The State Bank of India has been imposed a fine of ₹ 4 million by RBI for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on Detection and Impounding of Counterfeit Notes.

State-owned India Oversea Banks was fined ₹ 20 million for flouting Know Your Customers norms. A fraud was reported it one of its branches and bank officials failed to explain the regulator on why it should not be fined.

The scams are here to stay, at least for a few years. Banking think tanks need to make process design that prohibits anybody taking advantage of the system. Technologies like Blockchain, Big Data, FinTech and government regulation like Aadhaar linking and NFRA may be a ray of hope.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Dream big, set life goals and invest wisely!

With the changing times, priorities of today’s aspirational India have changed. Let’s start with the most amazing question. WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO? A 23-year-old me would want to do an epic road trip from Mumbai to Tawang before I turn 25. A 30-year-old would plan to spend a week on privately owned island luxury resort in Seychelles.

Life is full of surprises and adventure. People inspired by the idea of new adventure may be interested in bungee jumping, surfing or rock climbing. With an advent of globalisation, people are looking for satisfaction beyond settling down in life.

Life coach experts believe that one should plan strategically and focus on realistic goals. Activities like adventure tourism, world travel, international executive educational degrees, destination wedding have become equally important when compared with a steady job or family-run business. As life has evolved, so have the life goals.

To achieve all of your #LifeGoals, one needs to systemically plan his/her financial investments. That way, you will always get what you want. With sound financial planning and sound financial investments, life maximisers can get maximised benefit from their investment.

To achieve life goals which you will cherish for the rest of your life, one needs to think beyond the regular savings approach. The mix of security and long-term return investments could easily beat inflation and help you maximise your savings. This is where ULIPs stand apart as the perfect investment product.

ULIPs or Unit Linked Insurance Plan is a long-term investment plan that offers the combined benefit of investment and insurance. These plans invest a portion of your premium in capital markets and allow you to invest in debt, equity or balanced funds depending upon market conditions or your risk appetite. To mobilise the best of your hard-earned money, capital market investments under ULIPs are managed by experts who can maximise your investments according to the market conditions. ULIPs bring a modern-day approach towards insurance investing.

Bajaj Allianz, one of India’s leading private insurer has launched value-packed goal-based ULIP. Bajaj Allianz Life Goal Assure, a one-of-its-kind ULIP, has been designed to provide investment benefits and life cover to life maximisers, the new generation of investors in India.

Bajaj Allianz Life Goal Assure has two unique benefits that are one-of-theirs-kind for ULIPs in India. One of the key features is Return of life cover. This feature of Bajaj Allianz Life Goal Assure guarantees that the policyholder will get back the cost of life cover when the policy matures, thus enhancing the value of their corpus on maturity. Furthermore, for those who do not opt for one-time lump-sum maturity benefits, the Return Enhancer feature of this plan offers 0.5% additional returns on periodic instalments over the period of five years. During this period, the customer's fund value will continue to participate in funds of his or her choice.

In addition to these features, Bajaj Allianz Life Goal Assure offer value-packed benefits like Fund Booster, wherein an additional fund-value amount is added on the date of maturity. For long-term investments above Rs 5 lakh annually for more than 10 years, loyalty additions are added to the fund value as a reward for paying premiums regularly and staying invested in the policy. There are also options to decrease sum assured, change Premium payment terms and unlimited free switches between funds for return maximization. Investors should also note that investments in ULIPs enjoy tax benefits under Section 80C and 10(10D).

Finally, one must also look at the legacy of Bajaj Allianz Life’s fund performance. The company has a reliable company portfolio which has consistently delivered one of the best CAGR returns, breaking benchmark indices over a long-term horizon of three, five and ten years. Most of the ULIP funds from Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance enjoy high performance rating from the coveted Morning Star ratings agency.

People who constantly on-the-go can visit Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance official website. The revamped website is designed to guide customers through every step of their Life-goal planning and purchase. Dream big, stay invested and achieve your #LifeGoals.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Expats ❤️ India

Working in India is in demand as expats here earn more than double salary than the global average.

With the world opening up its markets for business, multi-national companies have established their business presence all over the world. Due to regional and religious disturbances, the global economy is going through turbulent times. Countries like India, China and ASEAN economies have cushioned the damages with its high growth markets. In the words of PM Modi, India has 3Ds to offer to the world - Democracy, Demography and demand. India is the youngest democracy in the world. Doing business all over the world is made possible by the personal and professional commitment of expats. Expats, despite being having political and cultural difference make key decision making roles for the organisation. HSBC Expat Survey is an online survey taken in 46 countries with the input from lakhs of expats working globally. The report sheds some unique insight on expats living in India and Indians working abroad.

Key Findings - HSBC Expat Survey

- Singapore is the world's best overall destination for expats.
- New Zealand is the best destination for an experience. 58% of expat respondents felt an improvement in the quality of life.
- The Netherlands is the best destination for family. Expats feel it has one of the best education and healthcare systems.
- Switzerland is the best destination for economics. It is the highest rank country for confidence in the local economy and political stability.
- 41% of expats feel that the move has given them a positive outlook on life.
- 62% of expats own property somewhere in the world, with 9% both at home and abroad.
- USD 99,990 is the average income of an expat.
- 47% of expats retired abroad did so for a better climate and 44% for an appealing lifestyle.

Expats ❤️ India

India draws many expats for work and financial opportunities, but new arrivals often find an improvement in family ties. Family forms an essential part of the Indian culture, thus reflecting in family-friendly labour laws. Pregnant women here enjoy one of the highest paid leaves. India enjoys a higher work-life balance than other European or American countries.

India is always on the move. India has earned its fastest growing economy tag due to consistent large-scale economic reforms. Expats living in India are confident in the local economy. Despite having many regional and national political parties, India enjoys political stability due to its democratic style of functioning.

India has recently taken a giant leap in Ease of Doing Business. More than half of expats living in India feel that it is easy to start and do business in India. Expats in India also enjoy one of the highest salaries in the world. An average expat working in India draws an annual salary of USD 1,76,000.

India has a long way to go. Mumbai, the financial capital of India currently lacks world-class infrastructure. Morning and evening rush hours are deadly with more than 10 deaths in the super jam-packed Suburban railway system. Mumbai is investing heavily in developing metro systems and expressways, but higher domestic demand and limited supply may not be enough. Despite this, real estate prices in Mumbai rival to Manhatten.

Despite being looted and tortured by white skins for several hundred years, Indians strongly believe in Athihi Devo Bhava (Guests are equivalent to God) and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The World is one family). Expats working in India feel that their family life is improved significantly. Expat children easily make good friendship with Indian kids. The role of common language - English also plays a significant role in nurturing cordial relations.

In contrast, the HSBC expat survey reports that Indians working abroad draw lower salary than the global average. Expats working in India's largest city, Mumbai can typically expect to bring home a sizable $217,165 salary whereas Indians expats working abroad draw an average salary of USD 86,000.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Virgin Hyperloop signs MoU to develop network between Mumbai and Pune

Virgin Hyperloop has signed MoU with Government of Maharashtra to develop the network between Mumbai and Pune.

Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman Sir Richard Branson announced the Framework Agreement in the presence of the PM Narendra Modi and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis to begin the development of the route. This historic signing at the Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence 2018 event. The event portrays Maharashtra as an investment destination and showcases its infrastructure projects.

Recognizing the Maharashtra government’s contribution to the country’s economy, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “51 per cent of total investments in India have come to Maharashtra, and the state is attracting global investors. The state’s overall development in the past few years is a shining example of change thinking and improving conditions in the country. Maharashtra government was ahead of all other Indian states in terms of infrastructure spend and the state is on its way to achieving its bold vision of a trillion dollar economy.”

“I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century. The Pune-Mumbai route is an ideal first corridor as part of a national hyperloop network that could dramatically reduce travel times between India’s major cities to as little as two hours,” said Sir Richard Branson. “Virgin Hyperloop One can help India become a global transportation pioneer and forge a new world-changing industry.”

Pune to Mumbai via Navi Mumbai International Airport in just 25 minutes.

The Hyperloop route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25-minutes, connecting 26 million people and creating a thriving, competitive megaregion. The high-capacity passenger and cargo hyperloop route eventually will support 150 million passenger trips annually, saving more than 90 million hours of travel time, and providing citizens with greater opportunities and social and economic mobility. The Hyperloop system will also have the potential for the rapid movement of palletized freight and light cargo between the Port of Mumbai and Pune, creating a robust backbone for on-demand deliveries, supply chains, and next-generation logistics.

The Pune-Mumbai route could result in USD $55 billion (INR ₹350,000 crores) in socio-economic benefits (time savings, emissions and accident reduction, operational cost savings, etc.) over 30 years of operation, according to an initial pre-feasibility study completed by Virgin Hyperloop One. The 100% electric, efficient hyperloop system will ease severe expressway congestion and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons annually.

The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop route will be an economic catalyst for the region and create tens of thousands of jobs for India’s world-class manufacturing, construction, service, and IT sectors and aligns with Make in India initiatives.

The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project will begin with a six-month in-depth feasibility study which will analyze and define the route alignment including environmental impact, the economic and commercial aspects of the route, the regulatory framework, and cost and funding model recommendations. The feasibility study will build upon the findings of the pre-feasibility study signed in November 2017 between the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority and Virgin Hyperloop One.

The project will enter a procurement stage upon the successful completion of the feasibility study to determine the public-private partnership structure. Construction of the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop route would commence after procurement and will be completed in two phases, beginning with an operational demonstration track built between two points on the route. The demonstration track will be constructed in two to three years from the signing of the agreement and serve as a platform for testing, certifying, and regulating the system for commercial operations. The second phase will target to complete construction of the full Pune-Mumbai route in five to seven years. Future projects could also extend the route to link central Pune with the New Pune International Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai with Pune’s industrial economic zones.

“The Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project will ultimately be executed by a public-private partnership which will save taxpayer money while delivering a transport option that will help the State of Maharashtra support economic growth, improve sustainability, and meet the transport demands,” said Kiran Gitte, CEO of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

The city of Amaravati and Vijayawada also plans to develop a hyperloop network. India is now considering a 10,000km long high-speed bullet train network. While bullet train is tested technology for long distance travel, a close intra-state travel could be served well by Hyperloop.

– Chaitanya Kulkarni

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Ayushman Bharat health insurance will cover 50 crores Indians in just Rs 12,000 crores

Hospitals in India
Saifee Hospital, Mumbai

Ayushman Bharat aka ModiCare will be the world's largest government-sponsored health assurance scheme.

How much does it take to cover almost 50% of India's 'mammoth-size' population? Not much, actually. The useless debates on the Indian media and the over-estimation by India's weak opposition would have come to halt if both of them would have done some basic research. Forget research, most of these daily debaters didn't even invite insurance experts on the panel. Although the budget 2018 brings a ray of hope for farmers and India's poor, Indian media was disappointed with little changes in tax slabs. Some sections of Indian media being completely clueless starting calling Ayushman Bharat as 'a hoax to win votes'.

Swasth Bharat = Saksham Bharat

The general budget 2018-19 was aimed at making path-breaking interventions to address health holistically, in the primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, covering both prevention and health promotion. 

The initiatives are as follows:-  

Health and Wellness Centre:- The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. Under this 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people. These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.  These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. The Budget has allocated Rs.1200 crore for this flagship programme. The contribution of the private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

National Health Protection Scheme:- The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.  This will be the world’s largest government-funded health care programme. Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme.

The National Health Protection Scheme aka 'ModiCare' will be the world's largest government-sponsored health assurance scheme. The much-appreciated ObamaCare in the US had approximately 30 crore enrollees. The United Kingdom through its National Health Services offers free healthcare to its 10 crore ordinary citizens at public hospitals. The 2017 UK budget allocated 6.3 million pounds for spending in NHS. India's newly announced NHPS will cover all of India's 50 crore poor citizens at the public as well as the privately operated hospitals.

'ModiCare' will cover nearly 50% of India's population is just Rs 12,000 crore

Insurance experts firmly believe that India's 10 crore poor families can be covered in just Rs 12,000 crores. Since healthcare is a state subject, 50% of the cost of premium will be borne by state governments. Rs 6,000 crore annually, from the central government is a small amount of India's 25 lakh crore general budget. As India grows, the 'ModiCare' scheme is likely to be expanded to all of its 128 crores + citizens and later we be can even be linked with retirement benefits, like the one's offered in ObamaCare. Currently, only 5% of India's population is covered by a health insurance.

Health insurance for India's poor is a not an initiative, as India's weak united opposition said. The Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana covered most of the blue-collar workers with Rs 30,000 year. The newly announced NHPS has been a talk-of-the-nation as Rs 5 lakh per year is enough to treat life threating diseases like cancer or cardiac illnesses. Various states in India have announced health insurance scheme but only Rajasthan's mass health coverage scheme comes close to 'ModiCare'.

Rajasthan's Bhamasha Swasthya Bima Yojana, tendered in December 2017, will cover nearly 4 crore poor people of Rajasthan state. The project of Rajasthan's state-sponsored insurance was bagged by New India Assurance Ltd. This is one of the largest health insurance schemes in the country as it gives health cover for cashless treatment of 1,401 diseases - of Rs3,00,000 for 663 critical and Rs30,000 each for 738 general illnesses. The total insurance premium involved in Bhamasa Swasthya Bima Yojana is more than Rs1,200cr per annum with the State bearing Rs. 1,261 per family.

As the spread increases in insurance, the premium is expected to lower further. Rs 1,261 per family in Rajasthan could be reduced further to Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 per family in India. The tenders for NHPS are likely to be announced in Q1 2018 and the L1 bidder (that is the lowest bidder) for each state or tehsil will be selected. It is utmost important to maintain actuarial price for the successful implementation of this mammoth-sized project. This is India's golden chance to improve the standard of living of its poor citizens. With the demand for qualitative healthcare in small cities, the supply of multi-specialty quality hospitals are expected to reach the length and the breadth of this country. 

According to, the economies of scale and scope can do wonders for India. It is a humongous task, a case study for the world to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by the Year 2030. With the sincerity of purpose, honesty and giving-it-back attitude, India will be successful in this project. It's much appreciated that India's powerful man, the Prime Minister, is committed towards his duty towards Right to Qualitative Healthcare.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Friday, 9 February 2018

Competition Commission of India fines Google for search bias

CCI Google

The Competition Commission of India has fined Rs 135.86 crores to Google India for search bias.

The Competition Commission of India has found Google to have abused its dominant position in online web searches and web search advertising services in India. The complaint was filed by Limited and Consumer Unity & Trust Society in 2012 against Google India Pvt Ltd., Google Ireland and Google LLC.

The CCI order against Google noted that the changes made in Search Engine Research Page can affect legitimate product improvements and thus could give undue benefit to companies which can list first on a 'Google Search'. Google, being the most widely used search engine due to its dominance on web results, is under obligation to discharge its special responsibility. The regulator said the penalty is being imposed on Google due to infringement of anti-trust code.

The CCI has also observed that Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen the position in the market for online syndicate search services. The competitors were denied access to online search syndication services market due to such conduct. However, CCI did not find any contravention in respect of Google's specialized search design (OneBoxes). Adwords, online intermediation, and distribution agreements.

The penalty amount of Rs 135.86 crore translates to 5 percent of the company's average total revenue generated from India operations from its different business segments for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the CCI order. The company will need to deposit the fine within 60 days, the commission said.

In June 2017, the European Union fined Google parent Alphabet a record $2.9 billion antitrust fine against the company for allegedly abusing the power of its dominant search engine. EU ordered the search engine to treat competing for shopping services "no less favorably" than its own.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Monday, 5 February 2018

CSR Data Portal on MCA will enhance accountability and transperancy

CSR Data Portal MCA

Information regarding Corporate Social Responsibility for private limited entities and corporates can now be tracked on Ministry of Corporate Affairs' website MCA21 registry portal. Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs launched the National CSR Data Portal & Corporate Data Portal today in the presence of P.P. Chaudhary, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs and Law & Justice. The FM said that the initiative is a significant step towards driving accountability and transparency for corporate India. By making the portals accessible to general public, it will ensure a high level of compliance and also in institutionalising and consolidating the CSR activities.

The government further mentions that National CSR Data Portal would capture information on CSR activities filed on the MCA21 registry in their financial statements. The filed information would provide a snapshot of CSR activities carried out by companies. The CSR portal would contain all the filed information, which can generate pre-defined reports with respect to expenditure across states, districts, development sectors, etc. 

The CSR Data portal would also provide feedback on projects to be given by registered users and generate predefined reports and customised reports. The move reflects government's commitment in leveraging technology for smart governance. Corporate Data Portal would help in becoming a potent enabler for greater transparency and creation of tools for stronger Corporate Governance.

Both the portals launched by the government aims to bring 100% transparencies in corporate governance. The open data of 4 million filings from 1.2 million companies will be accessible to general public, corporates and philanthropists, besides bringing together CSR contributors, implementers and beneficiaries and aligning CSR activities with national development goals.

The National CSR Data Portal will capture information on CSR activities carried out by eligible companies, filed on the MCA21 registry in their financial statements. The filed information provides a snap shot of CSR activities carried out by companies. The CSR portal contains all filed information, which can generate pre-defined reports with respect to expenditure across states, districts, development sectors, etc. The Portal also provides for feedback on projects to be given by registered users. The open access to data is expected to help researchers, improve quality of data filed by companies, as well as involve intended beneficiaries in giving valuable feedback to companies.

While the Corporate Data Portal aims at making all the financial and non-financial information of the companies available in a user friendly format to the general public. It also has facility to generate pre-defined reports and also customised reports.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Source - Public Information Bureau.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

All you need to know about #Budget2018

  • Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley presents general Budget 2018-19 in Parliament.
  • Budget guided by mission to strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors
  • Government says, a series of structural reforms will propel India among the fastest growing economies of the world. Country firmly on course to achieve over 8 % growth as manufacturing, services and exports back on good growth path.
  • MSP for all unannounced kharif crops will be one and half times of their production cost like majority of rabi crops: Institutional Farm Credit raised to 11 lakh crore in 2018-19 from 8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15.
  • 22,000 rural haats to be developed and upgraded into Gramin Agricultural Markets to protect the interests of 86% small and marginal farmers. 
  • “Operation Greens” launched to address price fluctuations in potato, tomato and onion for benefit of farmers and consumers.
  • Two New Funds of Rs10,000 crore announced for Fisheries and Animal Husbandary sectors;   Re-structured National Bamboo Mission gets  Rs.1290 crore.
  • Loans to Women Self Help Groups will increase to Rs.75,000 crore in 2019 from 42,500 crore last year.
  • Higher targets for Ujjwala, Saubhagya and Swachh Mission to cater to  lower and middle class in providing free LPG connections, electricity and toilets.
  • Outlay on health, education and social protection  will be 1.38 lakh crore. Tribal students to get Ekalavya Residential School in each tribal block by 2022. Welfare fund for SCs gets a boost.
  • World’s largest Health Protection Scheme covering over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families launched with a family limit upto 5 lakh rupees for secondary and tertiary treatment.
  • Fiscal Deficit pegged at 3.5 %, projected at 3.3 % for 2018-19.

  • Rs. 5.97 lakh crore allocation for infrastructure
  • Ten prominent sites to be developed as Iconic tourist destinations
  • NITI Aayog to initiate a national programme on Artificial Intelligence(AI)
  • Centres of excellence to be set up on robotics, AI, Internet of things etc
  • Disinvestment crossed target of Rs 72,500 crore to reach Rs 1,00,000 crore
  • Comprehensive Gold Policy on the anvil to develop yellow metal as an asset class.
  • 100 percent deduction proposed to companies registered as Farmer Producer Companies with an annual turnover upto Rs. 100 crore on profit derived from such activities, for five years from 2018-19. 
  • Deduction of 30 percent on emoluments paid to new employees Under Section 80-JJAA to be relaxed to 150 days for footwear and leather industry, to create more employment. 
  •  No adjustment in respect of transactions in immovable property where Circle Rate value does not exceed 5 percent of consideration. 
  • Proposal to extend reduced rate of 25 percent currently available for companies with turnover of less than 50 crore (in Financial Year 2015-16), to companies reporting turnover up to Rs. 250 crore in Financial Year 2016-17,  to benefit micro, small and medium enterprises.
  • Standard Deduction of Rs. 40,000 in place of present exemption for transport allowance and reimbursement of miscellaneous medical expenses. 2.5 crore salaried employees and pensioners to benefit.
  • Relief to Senior Citizens  proposed:-
  • Exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000.
  • TDS  not required to be deducted under section 194A. Benefit also available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes.
  • Hike in deduction limit for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D.
  • Increase in deduction limit for medical expenditure for certain critical illness from Rs. 60,000 (in case of senior citizens) and from Rs. 80,000 (in case of very senior citizens) to Rs. 1 lakh for all senior citizens, under section 80DDB.
  • Proposed to extend Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana up to March, 2020. Current investment limit  proposed to be increased to Rs. 15 lakh from the existing limit of Rs. 7.5 lakh per senior citizen.

  • More concessions for International Financial Services Centre (IFSC),  to promote trade in stock exchanges located in IFSC. 
  • To control cash economy, payments exceeding Rs. 10,000 in cash made by trusts and institutions to be disallowed and would be subject to tax. 
  •  Tax on Long Term Capital Gains exceeding Rs. 1 lakh at the rate of 10 percent, without allowing any indexation benefit. However, all gains up to 31st January, 2018 will be grandfathered.
  •  Proposal to introduce tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds at the rate of 10 percent.
  • Proposal to increase cess on personal income tax and corporation tax to 4 percent from  present 3 percent.
  •  Proposal to roll out E-assessment across the country to almost eliminate person to person contact leading to greater efficiency and transparency in direct tax collection.
  •  Proposed changes in customs duty to promote creation of more jobs in the country  and also to incentivise domestic value addition and Make in India in sectors such as food processing, electronics, auto components, footwear and furniture.
Source - PIB.

Note: We do not take editorial responsiblity from this article. The article has been captured from Press Information Bureau, Govt of India.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Dutch banking giants hit by DDoS attack

Banking and financial services in the Netherlands were at a standstill as the country’s biggest banks and financial services systems were attacked by the potentially dangerous DDoS attack. Offline banking and online banking services of ABN AMRO, ING, and Rabo Bank were severely hit on 27th and 28th January.
Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, the website and iDeal were unavailable or extremely slow on 27 January from around 20.00 to 00.15 CET and on 28 January from 12.00 to 14.00 CET and after 19.00 CET. This was due to so-called DDoS attacks. In a DDoS attack, attackers send large volumes of data traffic to a website, which overloads the server. For users, the site under attack becomes difficult to access.
Rabobank, the Netherlands’ second-largest lender, had a failure that lasted about three hours on Monday morning. Customers had no access to mobile banking and internet banking due to the disruption. Around noon, the website of the Dutch tax authorities was also hit by a DDoS attack. Over the weekend, ING, the country’s largest bank, and ABN Amro were also hit by DDoS attacks. The services are restored now and the banks said clients’ info was not compromised or leaked.
According to Cloudflare, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks achieve effectiveness by utilizing multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines can include computers and other networked resources such as IoT devices. From a high level, a DDoS attack is like a traffic jam clogging up with the highway, preventing regular traffic from arriving at its desired destination.
Security firm ESET suggested that the attack was conducted from the Russian servers.  The perpetrators used a so-called botnet – an army of hijacked computers and smart devices – to commit the DDoS attacks. Using the program Zbot, they remotely ordered these devices to visit a certain site en masse, thereby overloading the site’s server and crashing the site.
The motive for these attacks is still unknown. The security company points out that the perpetrators can be anyone ranging from bored teenagers to state hackers – DDoS attacks are easy to buy online. With the rise of malware and DDoS attacks, cybersecurity has become critical to protect nation’s infrastructure.
– Chaitanya Kulkarni
Source – Netherland Times.
Originally published on | Tech that transforms life.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

#ICICILombardCaringHands: Healthy eyes for a brighter future.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance

Corporate Social Responsibility is high on agenda for every organisation in today’s age. Especially in a country like India where ‘Giving back to society’ is core part of our social values. The research report by Tower Perrins Global Workforce states that the CSR as one of the most important driver for employee engagement. It helps in fostering the culture of team building and leads to self-motivation. The research concludes - Employees need to be informed and involved with the CSR agenda and the values attached with it, finding self-fulfilment in the process of having contributed to the community, beyond the routine work, developing one's personality, leadership, talents and social skills in the process. Caring Hands, by ICICI Lombard is one such initiative which believes in employee volunteering for effective last-mile impact.

Caring hands is an employee volunteering program, wherein employees take up the responsibility of organizing the activity end to end. The noble initiative was a part of ICICI Lombard’s Corporate Social Responsibility. ICICI Lombard General Insurance has a tradition to go beyond the scope of business and help the society through specific initiatives in the field of preventive health care, road safety campaigns and disaster support. The Caring Hands initiative focuses on underprivileged children from the age group of 9 to 13. Started in 2011, the initiative has reached more than 1,40,000 children of over 300 municipal schools with more than 20,000 students benefitting from corrective spectacles.

With a Pan-India network of its employees, the Caring Hands initiative achieved last-mile connectivity across rural and urban areas. Although the activity demands high-end equipment and ophthalmologists, the employees successfully conduct eye check-up camps every year on 11 December, which is now earmarked as ‘Caring Hands Day’ at ICICI Lombard. Despite these challenges, ICICI Lombard employees have been successfully conducting eye check-up camps year on year.

ICICI Lombard

Eyes and eye-sight are the gifts of God. Just try to close your eyes in a busy area and within minutes we feel lost in darkness and surrounding noises. But it is a sad fact, that most of us ignore the health of the organ from which we see this world. Like any other part of your body, our eyes too require conscious efforts to protect them, which also help in improving your vision.

In India, nearly 41% of our population suffers eye-related defects and diseases. India has one of the largest population of unnecessarily blind and vision impaired individual population in the world. Worryingly, the data from India Vision Institute suggests that eye defects in kids below 14 years old are on the rise. Some major reasons for a defect in eye and eyesight are: lack of vitamins, poorer economic background, dust, pollution, excessive stress and ‘Chalta Hain attitude’ or sheer ignorance. It is often observed that kids with undiagnosed eyesight disorder lack in studies, physical fitness or games, which hampers the overall development of a child.

Since the last six years, the employees of ICICI Lombard have received a positive feedback from the students and teachers. The students which received spectacles through this initiative felt confident and could perform better at studies with a clear vision.

The task undertaken by ICICI Lombard is really appreciating. Right from approaching school authorities for permissions to coordinating teams of volunteers and trained ophthalmologists. ICICI Lombard Caring Hands initiative is a result of planning, hard-work and executions by thousands of ICICI Lombard employees. For this initiative, ICICI Lombard General Insurance has been conferred the prestigious ‘Golden Peacock Corporate Social Responsibility Award’ in 2015. In coming years, the employees of ICICI Lombard are committed to this unique program which is poised to make a difference to India’s next generation.

Chaitanya Kulkarni

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

India’s stressed banks to get Rs 80,000 crores in 2017-18 under bank recapitalisation plan

Indian Rupee notes

The Government of India has unveiled details of the recapitalisation of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) which was announced in October 2017.  The capital infusion plan for 2017-18 includes Rs.80,000 crore through Recap Bonds and Rs. 8,139 crores as budgetary support. This plan addresses the regulatory capital requirement of all PSBs and provides a significant amount towards growth capital for increasing lending to the economy. 

The recap would be accompanied by a strong reforms package across six themes incorporating 30 action points. The reform agenda is aimed at EASE - Enhanced Access and Service Excellence, focusing on six themes of customer responsiveness, responsible banking, credit off take, banks as Udyami Mitra (investor friendly), deepening financial inclusion & digitalisation and developing personnel for brand PSB. The overarching framework for the reforms agenda is “Responsive and Responsible PSBs”.

Capital infusion by the government is contingent on the performance of PSBs on the reform.  Whole Time Directors of PSBs would be assigned theme wise reforms for implementation.  Their performance in this regard would be evaluated by the bank board. After the successful JanDhan and MUDRA scheme, more and more Indians are connecting to financial systems.

The government of India has envisaged a bank recapitalisation plan of Rs 2,11,000 crores till FY 2019. The capital of Rs 2,11,000 crore accounts for almost 80% of recapitalisation requirements. While the government has not detailed the manner in which capital will be allocated within banks, some banks need capital more urgently than others.

Major credit rating agencies considered the bank recapitalisation move as positive. Although, continuous banking reforms are required along with the use of fintech to avoid such bad loan situations in future.

Source – PIB