GDP surprise takes market to 6-month high, Sensex soars 241 points

GDP surprise takes market to 6-month high, Sensex soars 241 points

Robust GDP data for the December quarter allayed market fears as the Sensex on Wednesday rallied over 241 points to end at about a six-month high of 28,985 amid firm global cues.

GDP, microstatThe impact was such that even the broader NSE Nifty took back the 8,900-mark.

The Central Statistic Office on Tuesday showed that GDP expanded by 7 per cent in the third quarter, belying all fears of the note ban derailing economic activity. It also retained its first advance growth estimate for the fiscal at 7.1 per cent.

The Sensex took off on a positive note and went past the key 29,000-mark to touch a high of 29,029.17 before settling up by 241.17 points, or 0.84 per cent, at 28,984.49, a level last seen on September 8 last year when it had closed at 29,045.28.

The gauge had lost 149.65 points in the previous two sessions.

The NSE Nifty also moved up 66.20 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 8,945.80 after shuttling between 8,960.80 and 8,898.60.

A monthly PMI survey showed that India’s manufacturing sector grew for the second straight month in February.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump, in his address to the Congress, took a more measured tone, saying he is open to immigration reforms.

Moody’s Investors Service said demonetisation will be credit positive for India as it is likely to reduce tax avoidance and corruption, which cheered market players.

“A surprise growth of 7.1 per cent in third quarter GDP data and no negative comments in Trump’s speech have given a renewed buying interest in the market. The impact of cash crunch seems over—estimated. Prima facie, the February auto sales numbers are looking better as discretionary spending is gradually picking up,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.

 Both the key indices have rallied by almost 9 per cent in the past two months, largely on the back of a growth-oriented Budget, better-than-expected earnings from bluechip companies and strong global cues.

The government pegged GDP growth at a higher-than-expected 7.1 per cent for 2016-17 despite the cash blues, with manufacturing and agriculture doing exceptionally well, which in turn made India keep the tag of the world’s fastest growing large economy.

Better Chinese factory readings led to a higher closing in Asia and and a better opening in Europe.

Stocks of automobile companies led by M&M, Hero Motocorp and Bajaj Auto were in limelight and gained up to 3.13 per cent largely on the back of encouraging sales numbers for February.

Other prominent gainers included Tata Steel, Dr. Reddy’s, ITC Ltd, Sun Pharma, HDFC Ltd, Axis Bank, Infosys, SBI, Hindustan Unilever, ICICI Bank, Power Grid and Cipla, rising by up to 3.66 per cent.

Out of the 30-share Sensex pack, 21 ended higher while 9 led by GAIL, NTPC, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, RIL, Coal India, Lupin and Wipro ended lower, which limited the gains.

The BSE realty index gained the most by surging 3.46 per cent, followed by metal 1.91 per cent, FMCG 1.30 per cent, bank 0.96 per cent and healthcare 0.87 per cent.

In step with the trend, the small-cap index rose 0.45 per cent and mid-cap 0.13 per cent.

Meanwhile, foreign investors bought shares worth Rs 1,146.23 crore on Tuesday, showed provisional data.

-PTI, MUMBAI, MARCH 01, 2017

100% penalty for cash transactions over ₹3 lakh

100% penalty for cash transactions over ₹3 lakh

In a bid to check generation of black money, a steep 100% penalty awaits those accepting cash in excess of ₹3 lakh, beginning April 1, to settle any transaction. A ban on cash transaction of more than ₹3 lakh has been proposed in the Budget for 2017-18.

100% penaltyIn an interview to PTI, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the penalty for doing cash transaction will be steep and the receiver will have to pay an amount equivalent to the cash received.

“Supposing you do a transaction of ₹4 lakh in cash, then the penalty would be ₹4 lakh. If you do a transaction of ₹50 lakh, penalty would be ₹50 lakh,” he said, adding that the penalty will be levied on the receiver.

So, if someone buys an expensive watch for cash, it is the shopkeeper who will have to pay the tax, he said, adding that the provision is to deter people from doing large cash transactions.

Demonetisation brought to account the stock of black money and now the government wants to stop future generation of the same.

The government, he said, will track all large cash transactions, and also curb the avenues of conspicuous consumption through cash.

People with large sum of unaccounted money usually spend it on holidaying or buying luxury items like cars, watches and jewellery. The new cash curbs will mean that such spending avenues are curtailed, disincentivising people from generating black money.

Mr. Adhia said that the previously notified rule of quoting PAN for any cash transaction above ₹2 lakh stays.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in his Budget for 2017-18 proposed to insert Section 269ST in the Income-Tax Act to state that “no person shall receive an amount of ₹3 lakh or more by way of cash in aggregate from a person in a day; in respect of a single transaction; or in respect of transactions relating to one event or occasion from a person.”

However, the restrictions will not apply to the government, any banking company, post office savings bank or co-operative bank. Mr. Adhia said the Budget proposes to levy penalty on a person who receives ₹3 lakh and above.

A panel of Chief Ministers headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had in its interim report just days before the Budget recommended a cap on cash transactions beyond a threshold and a tax on payments of over ₹50,000 as a way of discouraging people from using physical currency.


Darjeeling toy train will get a new lease of life

Darjeeling toy train will get a new lease of life 

To save the World Heritage Railway Ministry will sign an agreement with UNESCO 

Chugging up and down the hills along fascinating loops and curves, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) or the Darjeeling toy train has been the iconic image reflecting the heritage of the queen of hills.

In an attempt to preserve the heritage, already declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, Ministry of Railway will sign an agreement with the UNESCO on January 20 in presence of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in Darjeeling.

Darjeeling toy trainThis development assumes importance as it comes 17 years after the Himalayan Railway was accorded the status of the first industrial heritage in Asia, and experts are raising apprehension on whether the charm of the railways has taken a dent due to rampant urbanisation and encroachment.

Charming deal

The agreement will help the UNESCO in preparing a comprehensive conservation management plan for the heritage railways and suggest measures to maintain its charm.

“The UNESCO has been engaged for the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) and manual for operation of the heritage railways. It will also suggest linkages between the local administration and Railways,” Subrata Nath, Executive Director (Heritage) Railway Board told The Hindu.

Mr. Nath said that the plan will also come up with demarcation of core and buffer areas of the 88 km of 2 feet (0.610 metre) gauge track connecting New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, raising an elevation of 326 metre to 2,203 metre.

The Railway system, considered an engineering marvel with zigzag reverses and loops was opened in 1881 for transporting tea and other things down hill, and later turned for transporting passengers.

“Conservation of the Railways does not involve only preserving the tracks but also the entire rolling stock (locomotives) and railway stations.The idea is not to disrupt the existing Railway services but to come out with a management plan that will help preserve the heritage,” an expert associated with the project said.

GIS mapping

The UNESCO has already started preparing the CCMP, which is part of a two-year project and a formal agreement will be inked later this month. Other initiatives include having a GIS mapping of the entire railways and preserving the heritage in museums.

Over the past few years, the DHR has been grappling with natural calamities including landslides which led to disruptions of the Railways. A landslide at Paglajhora on June 2010, had disrupted the services between NJP and Darjeeling before being resumed in 2015.

While landslides are considered natural phenomenon, some experts claim that it can be triggered by “externalities like drainage” and other factors. Railway authorities said that inputs from the UNESCO will be implemented as far as possible as they are crucial to maintaining heritage of the hill railways.

By-Shiv Sahay Singh

Courtesy: The Hindu, KOLKATA, JANUARY 18, 2017

Qualcomm to invest $8.5 million in India for digitisation

 Qualcomm to invest $8.5 million in India to support PM Narendra Modi’s vision of digitisation

Technology major Qualcomm has announced that it will invest $8.5 million in India, with an aim to expand its digital design initiatives in the country. The Design in India challenge was announced back two years ago in 2015 and had around 400 participating members. Today, at an event, three startups among the top 10 participants who were shortlisted, won a prize money of $100,000 each. The event was also attended by Union minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad and NASSCOM President R. Chandrashekhar.

QualcommThe startups which won the prizes were iFuture Robotics, Uncanny Vision and Carnot Technologies. During the event, John Han, senior vice president and GM, Qualcomm technology Licensing said that the company is very passionate about innovation and it is evident in the fact that it invests a lot of money in risky research and development projects. He added that Qualcomm is committed to supporting PM Narendra Modi to help the Indian ecosystem become a digitally empowered society.

At the event, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Indians are now more desirous of technology than ever before. He said that India is ready for innovations in digital designs. He asked the young entrepreneurs to work more towards India-focused research including rural health and education. He also talked about how Adhaar card’s technological prowess is now admired globally. Prasad also insisted on the need of more human resource in the area of research and talked about how the government is trying to create an ecosystem suitable for startups. He also asked Qualcomm to make a chip which is integral to the Aadhaar itself.

Among the prize winners, iFuture Robotics is a startup which makes industrial automation robots which read environment data to move and deliver objects in warehouses which reduce labour cost as well as human injuries from heavy machinery. Uncanny Vision demonstrated an intelligent surveillance camera which can solve many security problems in places like ATMs.

The camera uses machine learning to detect human actions for face and movement. Meanwhile, Carnot technologies is a telematics startup for low-cost bikes. The machine that they presented could connect a bike to a user’s smartphone which can be useful for the safety of the vehicle even during emergency situations.

In the next initiative, Qualcomm with its Design in India Challenge II will be supporting companies in fields like Rural technology, payment methods, agricultural technology, health, biometric and more. The company will also enable mobiles and Internet of Things vendors from India by giving them better Camera, RF and Audio design technology. The company said that it will launch a new Innovation lab in Hyderabad and expand its existing one in Bangalore.

Courtesy:| January 17, 2017

India ready for 4th industrial revolution under Modi’s leadership: Ambani

India ready for 4th industrial revolution under Modi’s leadership: Ambani

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ambani asserted that India is ready for fourth industrial revolution and technology innovations, especially with a strong leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as has been proved by the success of the recent demonetisation move and the push for digital payments.

India’s wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani termed successful demonetisation a sign that India is ready for fourth industrial revolution, under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi.

IndiaSpeaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ambani favoured free market economy and said wealth creation should not be constrained as it is a precursor to the distribution of wealth.

He asserted that India is ready for fourth industrial revolution and technology innovations, especially with a strong leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as has been proved by the success of the recent demonetisation move and the push for digital payments.

Sharing the dais with him at a session on fourth industrial revolution here at WEF Annual Meeting, Infosys chief Vishal Sikka also said that demonetisation has shown to the world that Indians are ready to adopt new technology disruptions.

“When we talk about fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence and other technology disruptions…we (need to be) very careful that we don’t create a bigger divide in the society,” Sikka said.

When asked whether there was a risk of societal disturbances in India, Sikka said the country has tremendous opportunities as it is very technologically advanced and a young nation.

Example of demonetisation shows that Indians can be adaptive to new things, he added.

In reply to a similar question, Ambani said one needs to see in terms of how humanity progresses and how the society progresses.

“At this time we are blessed with a very strong leadership with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We are a very young country and education needs to transform itself and technology is the best way for that,” Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, said.

“For all of this you need a foundation and you need a country and a society to embrace technology. All the components of technology and in particular fourth industrial revolution technology, they are all inclusive,” he noted.

Distribution of wealth is a much easier problem once you have created it, so you should not constrain creation of wealth, Ambani said while favouring free market economic model.

PTI|  Davos | January 17, 2017