Tuesday 30 April 2019

Amazon Pay launches P2P payments through UPI in India.

NPCI's United Payments Interface is widening in footprints in India through Indian and International apps and services. In its continuous effort make payments more convenient and foster everyday habits, Amazon Pay today announced the launch of person-to-person (P2P) payments for Android users. 

Amazon customers can now make instant bank-to-bank transfers using UPI platform on the Amazon app. Customers can use this functionality to settle bills/expenses with friends, lend/return money to family, pay rents, pay for services like house-help, newspaper bills, milk subscription and more. Customers can also make payments from their bank account to local stores nearby or to Amazon delivery associate at doorstep by scanning UPI QR codes using the Amazon app. Built on the Govt. of India backed UPI platform, customers can send or receive P2P payments by simply selecting a contact from their phone contact book or entering UPI ID or Bank Account of the recipient. Money transfers have never been more easy and convenient.

Customers can now send or request money instantly directly from the Amazon Mshop app. Further, Amazon Pay has made it easier for customers to make repeat payments by displaying recent transactions. The customers can easily access their phone contact book and initiate payments by simply tapping on the contact. Amazon auto-detects if the contact is a registered Amazon Pay UPI customer and enables instant bank to bank transfer. If the contact is not registered for Amazon Pay UPI, the customer has the option to pay using any another BHIM UPI ID or contact’s bank account. After selecting contact, the customer inputs the amount and enters UPI PIN to confirm payment. All P2P payments are secured through multi factor authentication involving customer’s phone, SIM details, and UPI PIN. The money is transferred instantly and both customer and receiver are notified through SMS alerts and in-app notifications.

Amazon customers can make instant bank to bank transfers through the ‘Send Money’ or ‘Request Money’ link on through their Amazon Android app. As a launch offer customers can get up to Rs 120 cashback on Sending Money through UPI.

Thursday 25 April 2019

TCS will digitally transform India Post's 1,50,000 post offices with ERP solutions.

Indian MNC Tata Consultancy Services has received an order to digitally transform India Post's 1,50,000 e-postal network with next-gen ERP solutions. TCS has partnered with the Department of Posts in its multi-year transformational journey to become a multi-service digital hub, modernize the delivery of mail and packages, enhance customer experience, and launch innovative services that will drive new revenues.

At the heart of this transformation is the Core System Integration (CSI) program designed and implemented by TCS. This involved deploying an integrated ERP solution that caters to mail operations, finance and accounting, and HR functions, and connects its vast network of more than 150,000 post offices, making this the largest distributed ePostal network in the world.

The integrated solution is built to cater to the Department’s immense scale, and future needs. It supports the HR needs of over 500,000 employees, services over 40,000 concurrent users, and processes over 3 million postal transactions a day, making this one of the largest SAP implementations in the world.

On the front-end, TCS has implemented its Point of Sale (PoS) solution across 24,000 post offices with over 80,000 PoS terminals, making this amongst the largest such implementations in the world. Additionally, TCS has built a web portal with consignment tracking capabilities, and set up a multi-lingual call center for customer support.

To enable India Post to benefit from the burgeoning ecommerce opportunity, while fulfilling a vital social obligation, the web portal has an e-marketplace to help rural artisans, self-help groups, and women entrepreneurs reach out to buyers throughout the country.

An important objective of the transformation is to use the Department’s nation-wide reach to drive financial inclusion and accessibility of citizen services in remote areas. This is being accomplished through over 130,000 DARPAN hand-held devices that Gramin Dak Sevaks use to provide postal, banking, insurance, and cash management services in remote villages, even those without network connectivity.

Salim Haque, Member, Postal Services Board, said, “A program of this scale, spread and complexity, required meticulous planning and adroit execution. The TCS team has shown sheer rigor, passion, dedication and attention to detail, which have been commendable. Their maturity in understanding the requirements of India Post has been par excellence, yielding a robust design, which makes the solution state-of-the-art and adaptable to future needs.”

Department of Posts is pioneering in an initiative to build a world class, future-ready digital platform that the nation can be proud of. With the implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, the department can offer smart postal services, enriched customer experiences, and innovative value-added services to the citizens of India.

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Philippines based Atlantic Gulf and Pacific company bags 9 licenses in 10th City Gas Distribution bidding.

Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Company of Manila (AG&P), a leading global gas logistics company, has emerged as a dominant LNG player in South India, securing nine licenses in the 10th round auction of City Gas Distribution (CGD) concessions by the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). AGP will provide piped gas in 9 districts of South India and will establish more than 1000 CNG stations.

AG&P is only one of two foreign companies to secure the coveted agreements to deliver natural gas directly to the residential, commercial, industrial and transport sectors in some of India’s most densely populated states. AG&P’s 25-year exclusive rights cover natural gas pipelines to residential users, supply for commercial establishments and CNG stations for cars, buses and trucks in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan.

The districts are home to the automobile, chemical, fertilizer, glass, steel, ceramics, food and pharmaceutical industries as well as major commercial centres. AG&P will build compressed natural gas stations, supported by steel pipelines and delivery of LNG by truck. Through its CGD networks, AG&P will bring significant foreign direct investment and generate direct and indirect employment across the country. The construction and operation of AG&P’s CGD networks will create thousands of local jobs. Like all AG&P employees, these workers will be trained to the highest international standards of safety and technical excellence.

The cheaper supplies of natural gas will be made available by the Honourable Government of India for domestic and vehicular needs. The commercial and industrial sector needs will be secured through uninterrupted imported LNG supplies, channelled through commissioned and upcoming LNG terminals.

“AG&P Group, a 119-year young multinational, with operation headquarters in Manila, Philippines has arrived in the Indian sub-continent with a vision of supporting the growth and development of India’s ever-growing energy needs and to touch the lives of millions of people. As a global player, we understand and value the responsibility and commitment entrusted to us for shouldering the infrastructure development to meet these energy needs with international best practices in safety, technology, conserving the environment, efficient and cost-effective energy solutions,” - Mr. PPG Sarma, Managing Director, City Gas Distribution & Logistics.

List of cities/districts

Andhra Pradesh: Anantapur, Cuddapah, Nellore, Chittoor.

Karnataka: Kolar, Bagalkot, Kopal, Raichur, Chikmaggaluru, Hassan, Kodagu, Gulbarga, Vijaypura, Mysure, Mandya, Chamarajnagar, Uttara Kannada, Haveri, Shivamogga.

Tamil Nadu: Vellore, Ramanathapuram, Kanchipuram.

Kerala: Alapuzzha, Trivandrum, Kollam

Rajasthan (North West India): Barmer, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur.

Once operational, AG&P’s CGD networks will accelerate industrialization, drive further economic development and overall, improve the quality of life of millions of Indians, while helping lay the foundations for the delivery of India’s goal of a clean energy future. 10th CGD bidding will bring clean cooking fuel and cheap CNG in 50 districts of India which would further enhance safe cooking and viable transportation.

- Press Release.

Friday 5 April 2019

BRICS funding agency New Development Bank plans to double its loan book to $16 billion

The New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral finance institution established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in 2014, plans to almost double its loan book to USD 16 billion this year and increase its impact, as the Bank seeks to broaden its global development partnerships and mobilise more institutional and private capital. These announcements were made at the 4th Annual Meeting of the NDB in Cape Town, South Africa which brought together senior government officials from BRICS countries, leaders of multilateral and national development institutions, distinguished scholars, prominent commercial bankers, captains of industry and representatives of civil society organizations.

NDB is headed by renowned Indian banker Shri KV Kamath. In his keynote speech, he mentioned that in the year 2019 New Development Bank will build on the strong momentum in its operations with an aims to double its loan approval book to about USD 16 billion. The Bank will ramp up its hard currency financing from the international capital markets.

The NDB was established to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in member states as well as other emerging economies, and the Bank is strongly committed to supporting the sustainable development agenda of its member countries.

In 2018, the NDB approved 17 loans totaling about USD 4.6 billion, building on its base of 13 loans worth USD 3.4 billion as of the end of 2017. That brought the total loan book of the bank to 30 projects worth approximately USD 8 billion by the end of last year.

The NDB has approved five additional projects with loans aggregating to approximately USD 1.2 billion, two in China and three in South Africa, taking its total loan book to USD 9.2 billion as of today. These five new projects include RMB 825 million (USD 123 million) for the Shengzhou Urban and Rural Integrated Water Supply and Sanitation Project (Phase II); USD 300 million for the Guangxi Chongzuo Urban Water System Ecological Restoration Project; USD 480 million to Eskom for the Environmental Protection Project at Medupi Thermal Power Plant; ZAR 1.15 billion (USD 80 million) to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for its Renewable Energy Sector Development Project; and ZAR 3.2 billion (USD 220 million) to South Africa's Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) for work on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (Phase II).

In India, the New Development Bank has financed an ambitious Mumbai Metro Line 2B (DN Nagar - Mankhurd) prItst. It's loan book to India include Rural Road, Bridges and Water Supply projects in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan. NDB has also approved a Renewable Energy Financing Scheme of USD 250 million with Canara Bank.

New Development Bank has principally approved a loan to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority for the financing of Mumbai Metro Line 8 (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport - Navi Mumbai International Airport), Line 10 (Gaimukh - Shivaji Chowk) and Line 11 (Wadala - GPO). Other proposed loans to India include USD 224 million for 8km Brahmaputra bridge in Guwahati, Assam.

"The share of the BRICS countries in world GDP in PPP terms has grown from 30% to 36% since 2010. This growth has put increased pressures on natural resources and the environment. Fortunately, however, our members have explicitly recognized these pressures and are increasingly investing in undoing some of the past damage. Our members are also focusing on implementing development strategies aimed at minimizing adverse impacts in the future. In both these endeavours, the Bank is being called upon to assist," said Mr. Kamath in his keynote speech.

The NDB now plans to open additional regional offices in Brazil and Russia and is considering opening an Indian regional office in due course.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

India will remain one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world - Asian Development Bank

Gurugram, India.
Global lender, Asian Development Bank has predicted 7.2% GDP Growth for India in the fiscal year 2019. Strong domestic demand would ensure that India will be the fastest growing economy in the world.

Recent policy measures by the Modi government will improve the investment climate and boost private consumption and investment will help India to lift economic growth in the next two fiscal years, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2019, ADB projects gross domestic product (GDP) growth in India to rise to 7.2% in fiscal year (FY) 2019 and reach 7.3% in FY2020, reversing two years of declining growth as reforms to improve the business and investment climate take effect.

“India will remain one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world this year given strong household spending and corporate fundamentals,” said ADB Chief Economist Mr. Yasuyuki Sawada. “India has a golden opportunity to cement recent economic gains by becoming more integrated in global value chains. The country’s young workforce, an improving business climate, and a renewed focus on export expansion all support this.”

Income support to farmers, hikes in procurement prices for food grains, and tax relief to tax payers earning less than Rs 500,000 will boost household income. Declining fuel and food prices are also expected to provide an impetus for consumption. An increase in utilization of production capacity by firms, along with falling levels of stressed assets held by banks and easing of credit restrictions on certain banks, is expected to help investment grow at a healthy rate.

Downside risks to growth include a higher-than-expected moderation in global demand and a potential escalation of trade tensions. Lower-than-targeted tax revenues or a delay in strengthening bank and corporate balance sheets could also undermine economic expansion.

Consumer price inflation is expected to rise to 4.3% in FY2019 and 4.6% in FY2020 as food costs increase slightly and domestic demand strengthens. Given that inflation is expected to average around 4.0% in the first half of FY2019, the central bank would have some room for lowering policy rates.

Imports are expected to rise mainly due to stronger domestic demand while a growth slowdown in India’s key export destinations would dent export growth. The current account deficit is expected to widen a bit to 2.4% of GDP in FY2019 and 2.5% of GDP in FY2019. The deficit is expected to be financed comfortably by capital flows, given that India has emerged as an attractive destination for foreign investment.

A key factor driving India’s persistent current account deficit is its tepid export performance compared to other East and Southeast Asian economies. India’s export performance could benefit from greater participation in global value chains (GVCs). Lower trade costs, improved infrastructure quality, and enhanced worker skills could help India integrate more with GVCs. Global experience suggests that enhanced GVC participation is also associated with other development goals that India strives to achieve such as higher economic growth, an increase in the share of manufacturing in GDP, and faster job creation.

Popular schemes like PM Kisan Yojana may enhance domestic consumption further. India is today a bright spot in the world economy and it would continue to remain so with a high GDP growth rate.

Monday 1 April 2019

GAIL, BHEL sign pact for development of Solar based power projects.

State-owned Gas utility GAIL India Limited has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bharat Heavy Industries Limited in New Delhi for cooperation in the development of solar-based power projects.

GAIL shall be the project developer and BHEL shall act as an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Project Management Contractor. BHEL shall also provide Operation and Maintenance services during the initial period upon becoming successful bidder. This development will help both the companies to leverage their competitive strengths to build a substantial portfolio in solar power projects in line with INDC targets of Government of India. The MOU aims at building a closer strategic partnership between the two Maharatna PSUs for jointly pursuing commercial solar power projects through participation in Tariff / Viability Gap Funding (VGF) based competitive bidding process.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Manoj Jain, Director (Business Development) stated “GAIL is a proud member of India’s clean energy infrastructure and is always committed to incorporate initiatives for sustainable development of the nation. We are happy to enter into this strategic relationship with BHEL, a pioneer in India’s Engineering sector. The skills and strengths of both the companies would create a synergy for achieving the objective of MoU."

GAIL (India) Limited is India’s leading natural gas company with diversified interests across the natural gas value chain of trading, transmission, LPG production & transmission, LNG regasification, petrochemicals, city gas, E&P, etc. It owns and operates a network of around 11,400 km of high pressure trunk pipelines. It is working concurrently on multiple pipeline projects, aggregating over 5400 kms at an investment of about Rs. 24,000 crores, to operate over 16,000 kms by 2021. GAIL commands 75% market share in gas transmission and has a Gas trading share of over 50% in India. 

GAIL also has a formidable market share in City Gas Distribution and is currently operating in 38 cities/Geographical Areas directly and through its eight Joint ventures/ subsidiaries. In the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market, GAIL has one of the largest portfolios in the world. GAIL has hired its first LNG vessel “Meridian Spirit" on time charter basis to transport US volumes to India. GAIL is also expanding its presence in renewable energy like solar and wind. In fact, it has India‘s second-largest rooftop solar PV power plant at its Petrochemical Complex at Pata, Uttar Pradesh. It has an overseas presence through offices and subsidiaries in the US, Singapore and Myanmar.

BHEL is one of the few companies in the world, and only company in India, having capability to manufacture the entire range of Power plant equipment and has proven turnkey abilities for executing Power projects from concept to commissioning in the field of Thermal, Gas, Hydro and Nuclear. BHEL has also been in the field of design, engineering, manufacturing, installation and commissioning of solar power plants over three decades and has a portfolio of more than 700 MW. BHEL is the only company in India having manufacturing capability of almost entire range for Solar equipment i.e. Solar Cells, Solar Modules, SCADA, Inverters, Power Transformers, Switchgear and Modules Mounting Structures with tracking system. BHEL has a dedicated R&D centre for Solar PV at ASSCP, Gurgaon to develop high-efficiency Solar Cells and process optimization.

Source - Press Release.