Sunday 30 December 2018

YES BANK Datathon unites professionals and academia to co-create next-gen data driven products.

Datathon Yes Bank Data Analytics Fintech

Technology and Banking are no longer poles apart. Over the last few years, innovation in the fintech industry has taken the world by storm, becoming a global phenomena not limited to one region. The Asian fintech space was dominated by innovations from Indian and Chinese firms, especially from the new-age startups. Being a software superpower, Indian startups and MNCs are contributed immensely towards the development of innovative products and models.

This year, we all have witnessed the growth of game-changing technologies like UPI, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Open Banking. Global technology giants like Google, WhatsApp were wooed by the United Payments Interface, making India a top destination of digital payment adoption. Blockchain, which is also the underlying technology for all cryptocurrencies is implemented by banks to secure financial transactions.

Experts who have closely followed these trends believe that the next wave of fintech would be in the field of data science. YES BANK, India’s fourth largest private bank has been at the forefront for adopting next-gen technologies to service its customers better. YES BANK believes that the best of outcomes in the field of technology is received from the engineers and data scientists of tomorrow – the students. The idea generation from aspiring data scientist and its execution under the mentorship of CIOs and CTOs would be key in building scalable models in the data science ecosystem.

Data scientists, engineers, students from Top colleges, all compete at the Datathon.

Datathon, India’s first bank led Datathon collaborated aspiring data scientists and professionals from IT field to augment YES BANK’s 600 TB anonymized and embedded data stack to create new Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) prototypes in a period of just 100 days. In its inaugural season, more than 6000 aspiring data scientists/ engineers and developers joined this competitive initiative. The top teams include not only students from top technology institutes like the IITs, BITS, ISI Kolkata and University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka but also 150 plus professionals from top IT organisations.

Participants at Datathon got an opportunity to access unstructured and anonymised data on Cloudera and AWS dashboards. YES BANK had also onboarded a pool of 20+ data science experts and leaders across industries, to support the data science teams as well as to help the bank identify relevant use cases for product development using Big Data Analytics, AI and ML. After the detailed scrutiny of models, top 15 teams were invited to Bengaluru to present their models in front of esteemed panelists at Datathon Finale.

Data models developed during the Datathon were aimed at addressing the current business and service requirements. For instance, team Django Unchained has created an AI based application for sales representatives of the bank which enables them to measure share of wallet reserved for every retail customer, predict customer attrition and provide customized products to different classes of customer. Team Prayaas, a mix student team from NMIMS Mumbai and ISI Kolkata worked on a proactive model which predicts individual customer deliveries like cards, cheque books, statements by reducing human interference and service requests. Majority of models presented at Yes Datathon pointed towards improving customer satisfaction and reducing overheads; a facet of fintech.

And the winners are...

Oracle, a team of professionals from IBM and two students from IIM Bangalore bagged the top spot of Yes Datathon challenge. Team Oracle presented a ‘master product’ which creates a single 360 degree view of every retail customer. Upon analysis, the model provides customised product and service recommendations for every individual retail customer along with the resolution of pending service requests. Team Data Pros and Data Acers from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka were honoured with runners-up and Best Student Team (position) at Yes Datathon challenge.

YES BANK plans to deploy the selected data models in the real-time banking ecosystem by March 2019. YES BANK believes in the ideology of consistently adopting next-gen technologies to deliver superior products and services. Datathon is also actively partnering with top technology institutes, and has partnered with top IITs and BITS Pilani, and will also host AI/ML challenges and data engineering workshops to deepen practical and technical knowhow of future technology leaders and widen the data science ecosystem. Yes Datathon is a part of a long-term strategy of YES BANK of ‘becoming a technology company in the banking business’.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Monday 24 December 2018

#DialDforData: YES BANK’s Data Science Initiative Collaborates with 200 Data scientists to create 20+ data models in just 100 days.

Yes Bank Data Science DataThon IIT

Over the years, data has been an analytical tool to record and gather information from our surroundings to optimise our lives. The millennials would recall how we as society shifted from being predominantly ‘analog’ to ‘digital’ in just a few years. Today, thanks to technologies like the cloud and the algorithm-based infrastructure, data evangelists are talking about storing and analysing thousands of terabytes of data within a matter of minutes. This exponential growth of data is referred to as Big Data.

Big Data is our present and our future. In this age of information, data will fundamentally change the way businesses compete and operate. The analysis of this data could help businesses in making key management decisions which drive scalable transformation. Data scientists funnel vital data from terabytes of unstructured information to understand consumer buying patterns, likes and needs, and create scalable models which reduce systemic bottlenecks.

If data is a new oil then analysis is the refinery. The Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics, Hadoop etc. are leading industrial trends which are shaping the data-driven economy.

Data Analytics: the next frontier.

The impact of data analytics will be beyond one sector, be it manufacturing, healthcare or finance. For instance, data science has today become a vital part of sports management industry. Each and every player of Indian Cricket Team is analysed on his current and past performance to predict behavioural patterns in an effort to rectify human error. BFSI firms are one of early pioneers to adapt data analytics.

With data science and analytics gaining importance across sectors, YES BANK reached out to the global developers, coders and data science community to work on Yes Bank’s data stacks. Datathon, an initiative of YES BANK is India’s first bank-led Datathon with a mantra of decode-derive-develop. Launched in September 2018, Yes Datathon has witnessed participation of over 6000 plus data scientists and engineers both from academia and corporate background. In a competitive selection, top 15 teams qualified for the Datathon Finale will be given 60 days to create working data models/prototypes which will be trained, tested and deployed by the Yes Bank.

The top teams include not only students from top technology institutes like IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur and ISI Kolkata but also 150+ professionals from organizations like IBM, Walmart Labs, Oracle, Amazon Development Centre, TCS, Accenture and Infosys among others, who are taking on the challenge beyond their professional duties. A student team from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka presented their model at Yes Datathon finale held in Bengaluru.

Teams participating in Yes Datathon presented innovative models which were previously not thought-off. For instance, Team Data Pirates created an alternative method to credit score customers pooling in LinkedIn and external APIs. Team Greenity has developed an ML algorithm which analyses credit card history transactions to service customer better and predicting new target customers for YES BANK credit card.

Moving from buzz to biz

Artificial Intelligence has moved from buzz to biz. YES BANK has deployed AI based chatbot named Yes Robot to disseminate information about loan offerings to prospective customers. It currently helps users with instant 20+ banking services and 2,000+ banking queries. Next-gen technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing and bots enables YES BANK to serve their customers and clients with greater depth, sophistication and efficiency.

Yes Datathon is a part of a long-term strategy of Yes Bank of ‘becoming a technology company in the banking business’. Data scientists and engineers would have an experience of a lifetime handling 600 TB of anonymised data. Datathon provides a rare opportunity to build algorithms and data models on Terabytes of ‘real data’ in a deployment-ready environment. The collaboration between academia and corporate would deepen practical and technical know-how of future technology leaders and widen the data science ecosystem.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

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.

Friday 19 October 2018

BRICS established New Development Bank deploys TCS BaNCS for treasury management.

Pic Courtesy - Russia Today

Global enterprise tech giant Tata Consultancy Services has announced that New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral development finance institution set up by the BRICS nations and headquartered in Shanghai, has gone live with TCS BaNCS for Treasury.

New Development Bank is a multilateral development bank established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in 2014 with an initial authorized capital of USD 100 billion. The Bank is mandated to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. Since the launch of its operations, NDB approved projects in its member countries with loans aggregating over USD 5.1 billion. The Bank’s headquarters is located in Shanghai, China and is headed by renowned Indian banker KV Kamath.

NDB selected TCS BaNCS for its risk and treasury operations for the solution’s support for an impressive array of asset classes, and advanced features such as real-time position keeping, risk analytics, and a single product configurator that supports complex debt structures for their issuance programs. The cloud-based offering of TCS BaNCS reduces the time taken for customer on-boarding to a fraction of what it takes in conventional on-premise implementations, as the need to procure and invest in internal infrastructure is eliminated, along with the complexities involved in replacements.

The go-live at NDB, which was achieved in 12 weeks, deployed TCS’ market-proven methodology for cloud on-boarding that leverages enabler toolkits for all project activities – from solution configuration and alignment, to migration, training and testing. TCS also demonstrated its capability with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 cloud services with this deployment, enabling responsive and resilient operations for the bank. TCS BaNCS will now support all market operations linked to NDB’s investment and liability portfolio consisting of global bond issuances, including managing inherent risks.

“Technological change will continue to transform the economic landscape and open new opportunities for citizens of BRICS nations. For a bank to develop conventional infrastructure as well as to take maximum advantage of transformative technological developments as they happen at high speed and large scale, a flexible and digital backbone is essential. TCS BaNCS was selected not only for its extensive product capabilities but also for its compelling and relevant implementation footprint across the globe.” - Leslie Maasdorp, Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer, NDB.

TCS BaNCS for Treasury is an integrated, cross-asset-class solution for front-, middle-, and back-office operations in treasury and trade, encompassing cash and derivatives on foreign exchanges, money markets, fixed income, equities and hybrid structures. It is a multi-entity, multi-currency trading, risk management, processing, settlements and accounting solution that drives innovation, agility and efficiency in markets worldwide.

Source - Press Release.

Monday 15 October 2018

Fund raising via Non Convertible Debentures surges over 7 fold to Rs 29,000 in Q1 FY2019.

While the Indian market has tumbled down to 34,000 level, NBFCs have depended heavily on NCDs to raise capital. As many as 10 companies raised a little over Rs 29,000 crore through issuance of debentures during April-September period of 2018-19, registering a surge of more than seven times from the year-ago period.
The funds have been mobilized for business expansion, supporting working capital requirements and other general corporate purposes.

As per the latest data with regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), a total of 10 companies together mopped up Rs 29,013 crores through retail issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) in the first six months of the current financial year (2018-19).

These companies are Kosamattam Finance, Muthoot Finance, Srei Equipment Finance, Dewan Housing Finance Corp, JM Financial Credit Solutions, Shriram Transport Finance Company, ECL Finance, Indiabulls Commercial Credit, Tata Capital Financial Services and Aadhar Housing Finance.

Kosamattam Finance has taken the route twice to garner funds. In comparison, four companies collected Rs 3,896 crore through this route in the same period of 2017-18. Overall, firms accumulated about Rs 4,950 crore in the entire preceding fiscal. Muted demand for qualified institutional placements (QIPs), lukewarm secondary market and apprehension over a sustained rise in interest rates attracted companies towards the debentures, market experts said.

Moreover, several firms have announced plans to raise funds through NCDs, which are loan-linked bonds that cannot be converted into stocks and usually offer higher interest rates than the convertible debentures.

Individually, Dewan Housing raised Rs 10,945 crore in the period under review as against a target of Rs 3,000 crore, Shriram Transport garnered Rs 3,648 crore against a target of Rs 1,000 crore and Tata Capital Financial Services raked in Rs 3,433 crore against a base size of Rs 2,000 crore. Besides, Indiabulls Commercial collected Rs 3,101 crore as against a target of Rs 1,000 crore and Muthoot Finance mopped up Rs 3,000 crore against a base size of Rs 500 crore.

Financial and Markets expert are of an opinion that fundraising via NCD may be a bullish opportunity for NBFCs. With markets now regaining the lost ground, even Govt companies may enter this financial opportunity.

Source - PTI.

#TheBlindList: 12 Degree Celsius in Indian Summer - Backpacking Kodaikanal

Jungles of Kodaikanal

Frustrated from the urban life and rattled with constant corporate pressure, the crowd in local trains and air pollution, I badly was looking for a much-needed summer break. After researching about backpacking hostels and escape, I zeroed down my backpacking choice on a quiet hill station in the Western Ghats – Kodaikanal.

Two days later, I landed in Madurai from Mumbai to have holy blessings of Meenakshi Amma to start with my backpacking journey. Madurai and hostel were spectacular especially when you meet fellow travellers like Balaji, Mani and Tamilseran. Time flys by very quickly when you discuss about Rajni Sir's movies and complicated Tamil Nadu politics. Initially, I had planned to visit Rameswaram and Shri Ram Sethu but I had to cancel due to the unforeseen bus strike. Backpackers travellers like me always prefer to stay in dorms as we get a company of other travellers and the stay is pocket-friendly if you are planning a long stay. To be frank, since every part of my backpacking trip was unplanned, my budget for 10 days trip was just Rs 6000 bucks. Seem crazy, but I enjoyed well within my budget. 

Balaji told me to visit Kodaikanal, a hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu. I checked all the details on Instagram and the place looked brilliant. There are buses every 30 mins from Arapalayam Bus stand in Madurai to Kodaikanal.

The Road untravelled.

Kodaikanal is 70 km in the west to Madurai. TNSTC bus will costs around Rs 50. Kodaikanal is located at 2200 metres above sea level. The road to the top is scenic but with lots of turns. The temperature changes rapidly after gaining some height. My bus reached at 4.30 in the evening. It was windy at 14 degrees and the worst part is I was wearing half pants. Clearly, I hadn't planned well on Kodaikanal. Papa Johns pizza brought some heat to my body. I had booked Vedanta Wake Up Lagoon for 2 days. It is located on observatory road and is just 200 metres away from Kodaikanal lake.

Lost in shadows on Deodhar.

Kodaikanal is known as the queen of hills. Crystal clear lake, the air we breathe and the chill in the environment seem right. But, to my surprise, it is not. Kodaikanal is believed to be poisoned with a dark history. Here's the story, Unilever came and left the land in contamination. They set up a thermometer factory where the workers handled toxic mercury. While closing its factory, the sold the toxic materials to the local shrubbery. Unilever is accused by the local activists of dumping toxic mercury in the open forest. The mercury contamination quickly spread across the city and forest. In 2001, the Department of Atomic Research conducted a study and found that the mercury in air and water was 100 times more than average. A very long-term exposure to mercury is dangerous to the human body. The mercury pollution level would have been low by now (Sigh!) as there are global chains, hotels and govt organisation running their business here as usual. All is now well :)

I had a cycle ride around the Kodaikanal lake. The night temperature at Kodaikanal dropped so low that my whole body was shivering. As everything was unplanned, I purchased a sweater from the local street shop. 12 degrees celsius in June is unbelievable for South Bombay wala like me. A bottle of whiskey, which is considered as premium liquor in Tamil Nadu helped me sit in half pants in the terrace. I was alone in the 4-floor hostel as it was off season. Spent some spooky nights but it did help me to have a much-needed peace of mind. 

The sun was up at 5am in the morning. There is plenty much to see in Kodaikanal. The best part of this town is the unusual chill and clouds. Local sightseeing costs around Rs. 300 by bus. Pine forest and Guna caves are the highlights of the trip. Guna caves are named after Guna/ Gumnaam movie. The caves are barricaded by the government as several people have their lives adventuring here. Chocolates, herbal products and windcheaters are widely sold in the town.
That's me after a cycle ride across Kodaikanal lake.
The deep evergreen jungles of Kodaikanal reminded me of Jungle book story. I even spotted a rear Giant Red Squirrel and some deers. It was my first backpacking trip which made me #SayYesToTheWorld . Travel brings power and love back to your life. A trip unplanned plans out to be the best.

What next? I have now shortlisted 6 locations across India namely Barmer, Chitkul, Puri, Tawang, Ladakh and Nainital and would like to decide where to go next 48 hours prior to the trip. With flights, trains and buses plying round the clock anywhere in India, one should always have #TheBlindList ready. Only those who dare, truly live!

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Wednesday 10 October 2018

The Japanese Passport is Now the Strongest in the world. Indian Passport at Rank 81.

The land of Rising Sun, Japan has now the strongest passport in the world. The country known for its Innovation, Culture, and Multi-national Tech Giants earn the much-needed reputation and respect from Sovereign Nation across continents. 

Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, having gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month. Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, compared to Singapore’s total of 189. Japan and Singapore have been neck and neck on the index since they both climbed to 1st place in February - following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan.

The Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is an important tool for measuring not only the relative strength of the world’s passports but also the extraordinary results that states can achieve when they work hand in hand with their global peers to build a more interconnected and collaborative world. 

Germany has fallen further to 3rd place, which it now shares with South Korea and France. France moved up from 4th to 3rd place last Friday when it gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan, while South Korea moved from 4th to 3rd place on 1 October when it gained visa-free access to Myanmar. Germany, France, and South Korea all have a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 188. Iraq and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom (106th) spot of the Henley Passport Index, with only 30 destinations accessible to their citizens.

The US and the UK, both with 186 destinations, have also slid down one spot — from 4th to 5th place - with neither having gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018. With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the US and the UK will regain the number 1 spot they jointly held in 2015.

List of Strongest Passport upto Rank 5

Rank 1 - Japan
Rank 2 - Singapore
Rank 3 - Germany, France, South Korea
Rank 4 - Denmark, Italy, Spain, Sweden
Rank 5 - Luxembourg, UK, Netherlands, Austria, Norway, US, Portugal.

Weakest Passport in the World.

Rank 100 - South Sudan, Lebanon, Libya, Bangladesh
Rank 101 - Nepal
Rank 102 - Sudan, Palestinian Territory, Eritrea
Rank 103 - Yemen
Rank 104 - Pakistan
Rank 105 - Syria, Somalia
Rank 106 - Iraq, Afghanistan.

India has been ranked at Rank 81 by Henley Passport Index with access to 60 countries. Citizens with Indian Blue passport have Visa Free access to some major nations and most of Island micro nations. Indians can travel without Visa to these major nations: Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia, Serbia, Senegal, Tunisia, Equador, El Salvador, and Qatar. India's neighbour, China was ranked at 71 and the other one, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was at bottom 5 sharing seats with War-Torn Nations.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni. 

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Tata Power and HPCL join hands to set up EV charging station.

We could soon witness a shift from diesel guzzling cars to quiet and clean electric vehicles. To encourage this shift, the government has ended a permit system for the adoption of electric vehicles. There are subsidies under FAME policy too. The electric charging station is a vital infrastructure for the adoption of electric vehicles. Soon, you could charge your electric vehicle at your nearest HPCL outlet. We just hope that these are fast chargers.

Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power utility and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), a Navratna Oil & Gas Public Sector Undertaking, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently for setting up commercial-scale charging stations for Electric Vehicles at the HPCL retail outlets and other locations across India. Electric car evangelists believe that this is a landmark MoU for India's electric mobility future.

Tata Power and HPCL, through this new landmark MoU, have agreed to collaborate in planning, development and operation of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (e-cars, e-rickshaws, e-bikes, e-buses, etc) at suitable locations across India. Both entities also intend to additionally explore areas of opportunities & collaboration in related fields like Renewable Energy.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with HPCL. It is a significant move towards expanding our services to our customers beyond conventional boundaries.  By servicing electric vehicles through the proposed charging stations across India, Tata Power will be playing a crucial role in enabling a stronger penetration of EVs in the country, thus fulfilling our commitment to power India’s future in an environmentally sustainable way.” - Mr. Praveer Sinha, CEO & Managing Director, Tata Power.

Tata Power has been the front runner to propagate the change towards sustainable energy. We aim to continuously grow our EV charging infrastructure footprints by installing charging stations at strategic locations. Tata Power's association with HPCL will help us to scale our EV infrastructure at the national level as well as provide our customers with world-class services.

"At HPCL, we are a firm believer in business diversification and being future ready. A major impediment to electric vehicles adoption is the range anxiety which needs to be addressed through establishment of nationwide charging infrastructure. We believe that a robust network of charging stations is very critical for market acceptability of EVs which will also ensure last mile connectivity and thereby facilitate widespread adoption of EVs. Tata Power with its focussed approach towards sustainable and clean energy and wider outreach across the power value chain, provides an excellent opportunity for an integrated Oil and Gas company like HPCL to collaborate for promoting the e-mobility initiative. We intend to leverage on our vast marketing infrastructure network in the form of Retail Outlets and other locations for setting up of electric vehicle charging stations on pan India basis”. - Mr. Rajnish Mehta, Executive Director, Corporate Strategy Planning and Business Development, HPCL.

Friday 21 September 2018

9.5 times oversubscribed! GoI gets Rs 466 crores revenue by listing IRCON.

Track laying in progress. Pic for representation only.

The Initial Public Offering (IPO) of CPSE IRCON has been subscribed 9.5 times. In the IRCON IPO, the Government is selling 10.5 percent stake or about 99.05 lakh equity shares, including 5 lakh shares to employees. 

The Government is expected to raise Rs 466 crore from the issue. The issue received bids for 9.4 crore shares against the issue size of 99.05 lakh shares worth Rs 466 Crore.  The segment meant for Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) was subscribed 12 times, Non-Institutional Investors 4.9 times, while the Retail Investors Segment was subscribed over 9 times. Price band for the issue has been fixed at Rs 470-475 per share, with a discount of Rs 10 for Retails Investors and Employees.

IRCON is the second CPSE to launch an IPO in the Current Fiscal besides being the second Railway CPSE to be listed on the stock markets after RITES in June this year.

IRCON International has executed crucial infra projects in India, SAARC and African nations. The company expertise in Railway projects but has been awarded Highway projects in recent times. It has executed ambitious Qazigund Baramulla railway line in Kashmir Valley. IRCON is currently constructing Western Dedicated Freight Corridor in the state of Maharashtra. It has been a pioneer in expanding Indian Railway network to Nepal and Bangladesh. IRCON has completed more than 300 infra projects in India and abroad.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Friday 14 September 2018

#TheIndianCapitalist: All You Need to Know about the LIC - IDBI Bank Deal

LIC gets 51% stake in IDBI Bank

The much-awaited LIC - IDBI Bank deal has finally received the green light from the apex regulators and the union cabinet. India’s largest insurer, the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) will now have a controlling stake in the IDBI Bank, one of India’s leading nationalised bank. With a rich legacy of industrial financing for more than 50 years, IDBI was converted into a banking company ie. IDBI Bank Ltd. - to undertake the entire gamut of banking activities across the length and breadth of India. IDBI Bank has serviced millions of Indians through a wide array of banking products and services from its 1900 plus branches and more than 4,000 ATMs.

In August 2018, the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi had approved conveying of no objection to the reduction in Government of India shareholding in IDBI Bank to below 50% by dilution. It had also approved the acquisition of controlling stake by LIC as a promoter in the bank through preferential allotment/open offer of equity, and relinquishment of management control by the Government of India in the IDBI Bank.

The approvals on LIC- IDBI Bank deal from Union Cabinet was followed after Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) go ahead on the same. The IRDAI, in June 2018, gave a one-time exemption to LIC to acquire a 40 per cent stake in the IDBI Bank, taking its total holding in the lender to over 51 per cent.

Financial experts are of an opinion that both LIC and the IDBI Bank would be benefited with this transaction. Both the entities will gain in terms of their reach through extensive customer and network base. LIC will get access to IDBI Bank’s 1.6 crore customers and 1,900 branches to sell its insurance products while IDBI Bank may further earn fees and float income from LIC customers that will boost its income and bring down the cost of funds. Also, the reach of LIC would be beneficial for IDBI Bank to target rural and semi-urban segments. The strong financial backup from the LIC brand would help IDBI Bank in its NPA resolution plan.

LIC – IDBI Bank Deal: The Way Forward

LIC is India’s insurance mammoth. Its brand value is immense; a renowned name for every Indian. One out of six people in India has an LIC policy. With a financial inclusion outlook already being saturated in the urban and semi-urban markets, IDBI Bank could reach rural segment with the reach of insurance agents. The Bank can leverage the bancassurance tie-up with LIC as also augment its ability to market its products and services. Taken together, the LIC home finance and the Bank’s home loan portfolio would be the biggest in the segment for the industry as a whole. This could act as a major growth driver for the Bank and could contribute immensely towards its revenues.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Ministry of Finance have shown its strong commitment towards the NPA resolution. Independent media think tanks say that as much as Rs 4 lakh crores of bad loans have returned back to the system because of the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). RBI is set to refer 12 big NPA accounts to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the new IBC code. IDBI Bank has received as much as Rs 329 crores as interest income from Bhushan Steel resolution. Media reports suggest that IDBI Bank has also moved to NCLT as a lead banker against Reliance Naval, Lanco Infratech, Jaypee Infratech etc. for bid-based resolution or liquidation for a quick recovery.

Amidst the NPA debate, the financial reports of IDBI Bank shed light on the bank’s lending potential in the long-term horizon. The bank reported an increase in operating profit by 71% to Rs 7907 crores during FY 2018 from Rs 4690 crores in FY2017. Recovery and up gradation improved to Rs. 6,231 crore during FY 2018 from Rs. 4,849 crore during FY 2017. IDBI Bank reported exponential growth in Current Account Savings Account (CASA) deposits and is expected to rise further after the LIC – IDBI Bank transaction. is of an opinion that the LIC – IDBI Bank deal is a win-win for both the entities. The brand value of LIC and strong lending portfolio of IDBI Bank will create synergy and endless opportunities for millions of MSME lenders and policyholders.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.