Daily Economic News 26 December 2016

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26 Dec, 2016

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Indian Economy News

December 26, 2016

ND has initiated a new section of daily news, where our news desk compiles the latest news on the Indian economy, to keep our readers abreast and updated on daily economic state of affairs.

The economy news compilations bring business news reports that are relevant today and tomorrow, based on the new pattern of current affairs, and for English awareness. This gives vital inputs on the various sectors of the Indian Industry and trade.

India successfully test-fires indigenously built Agni 5 missile

India test-fired indigenously developed INTERCONTINENTAL surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile ‘Agni-5’ from the Wheeler Island- Kalam Island off Odisha coast on Monday.

The three stage, solid propellant missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

It was the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the long range missile. While the first test was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second test was carried out on September 15, 2013 and the third on January 31, 2015 from the same base.

The indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile, Agni-5, is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km. It is about 17-metre long, 2-metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes. The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

Unlike other missiles of Agni series, the latest one ‘Agni-5’ is the most advanced having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.

Lot of new technologies developed indigenously were successfully tested in the first Agni-5 trial. The redundant navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) had ensured the Missile reach the target point within few metres of accuracy.

The high-speed on board computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus guided the missile flawlessly, an official said.

India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with with 2,500 km to more than 3500 km range. After some few more trials, Agni-5 will be inducted into the services, sources said.
This was the first test of the Agni-5 missile after India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime, a 35-nation group to check the spread of unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons.

Agni-5 has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1,000-kg warhead. It can target almost all of Asia including Pakistan and China and Europe.

  • The solid propellant driven missile will be tested from a canister which gives it all-weather and any terrain mobile launch capability.
  • The 17-metre long Agni-5 Missile weighs about 50 tonnes and is a very agile and modern weapon system.
  • The surface-to-surface missile is a fire-and-forget system that cannot be easily detected as it follows a ballistic trajectory.
  • India already has in its arsenal the Agni 1, 2, 3 and 4 missile systems and supersonic cruise missiles like Brahmos.
  • India describes the Agni – 5 missile system as a ‘weapon of peace’.
  • The first missile of the series, Agni-I was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and tested in 1989.
  • In the series, Agni-1 has a 700-km range, Agni-2 has a 2,000 km range, and Agni-3 and Agni-4 have a 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.
  • The Agni-6 is reported to be in early stages of development and the latest and most advanced version, capable of being launched from submarines as well as from land, with a strike-range of 8,000-10,000 km.

Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 554 Lakh Hactare

Press Information Bureau:  December 26, 2016

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 23rd December, 2016 stands at 554.91 lakh hectares as compared to 523.40 lakh hectare this time in 2015.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 278.62 lakh hectares, rice in 9.33 lakh hectares, pulses in 138.25 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 50.63 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 78.08 lakh hectares.

The area sown so far and that sown during last year this time is as follows:

Lakh hectare

Crop Area sown in 2016-17 Area sown in 2015-16
Wheat 278.62 259.37
Rice 9.33 13.27
Pulses 138.25 125.73
Coarse Cereals 50.63 54.91
Oilseeds 78.08 70.12
Total 554.91 523.40


Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research.


Abertis buys two Macquarie toll road assets for Rs1,000 crore

Livemint:  December 26, 2016

Mumbai: Spanish infrastructure firm Abertis Infraestructuras SA has agreed to buy two operational toll road assets in south India from Macquarie Group Ltd for about Rs1,000 crore, said two people familiar with the development.

Abertis has signed a share purchase agreement to buy the two build, operate and transfer (BOT) toll roads, the Farukhnagar-Jadcherla highway in Andhra Pradesh and the Trichy Tollways project in Tamil Nadu, the two said on condition of anonymity as the talks are private.

Abertis’s bid beat an offer ranging between Rs700 crore and Rs800 crore for the two assets made by Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd (TRIL), one of the two people cited above said.

Mint first reported in June that Macquarie will sell its stakes in the two operational toll roads as it tries to deliver returns to its investors.

For Abertis, which is in the business of constructing, operating and maintaining toll-based highways, the deal in India would throw open a high-growth infrastructure market. The government had targeted awarding 25,000km of road projects in the current fiscal year, accelerating the construction of roads in an attempt to improve connectivity.

An Abertis spokesperson declined to comment, citing confidentiality agreements. Macquarie also declined to comment. TRIL did not respond to a query emailed on Thursday.

Selling operational road assets allows debt-ridden developers to reduce debt, private equity investors to offer returns to their investors, and long-term investors—such as pension funds—to buy revenue-yielding assets.

“We see the current environment as highly conducive for consolidation in the BOT space. With interest rates coming down and traffic growth picking up, we expect a surge in demand from developers/investors looking to acquire operational BOT projects with healthy financials,” PhillipCapital analyst Vibhor Singhal wrote in a 7 December report.

In 2009, Macquarie started its first infrastructure fund in India along with the State Bank of India, called the Macquarie-SBI Infrastructure Fund (MSIF). The fund, which planned to raise $3 billion, aimed at investing in infrastructure projects. SBI and Macquarie also jointly operate a domestic investment entity, SBI-Macquarie Infrastructure Trust (SMIT).

In 2013, GMR Infrastructure Ltd sold its 74% stake in the Farukhnagar-Jadcherla highway (GMR Jadcherla Expressways Ltd) to MSIF and SMIT for Rs206 crore. The 58-km project started operations in 2009 and had a total project value of Rs522 crore, according to the GMR website.

In the same year, the Macquarie funds bought a 74% stake in Trichy Tollways Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture project of Malaysia’s IJM Corp. Bhd and India’s Shapoorji Pallonji group, for about Rs275 crore. The 94km project has been operational since September 2009.

Abertis had looked at investing in the Indian roads sector during 2008 and 2009 but packed its bags soon after. It has road assets in 13 countries spanning about 8,000km and had revenue of €4.4 billion in 2015. As of November, the company had €31 billion of assets under management.


Morgan Stanley PE Asia buys 20% in ZCL for Rs 170 crore

Economic Times:  December 26, 2016

Mumbai: Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia has picked up about 20% stake in ZCL Chemicals Ltd, formerly known as Zandu Chemicals, for Rs 170 crore.

The capital, raised from the private equity arm of global financial services company Morgan Stanley, will be used to fund the company’s growth, ZCL Chemicals said on Friday. ET had on July 14 first reported on the deal, which values ZCL Chemicals at about Rs 900 crore.

Mumbai-based ZCL Chemicals, which the Parikh family had sold to Emami in 2008 and bought back in 2009, manufactures active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) and other chemical intermediates for the pharmaceutical industry.

“Life sciences and healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in India and a key focus sector for investments for Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA),” said Nirav Mehta, co-head of MSPEA in India.

“ZCL has emerged as a promising company and has put in place building blocks for its future growth, with their focus on research and development, their emphasis on quality and governance, as well as their customer-centric approach to business.” Anand Rathi acted as financial advisor to ZCL on the deal.

“With Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia’s financial expertise and global presence, we have conviction we can further accelerate the growth of ZCL that has already seen a growth rate over 30% CAGR in the last five years,” Nihar Parikh, executive director of ZCL Chemicals said in a statement. “This capital will give us additional resources to innovate and expand on a fast track in the established as well as emerging markets,” he said.

When the Parikh family bought back the chemicals business from Emami Group in 2009 a year after selling ZanduBSE -1.32 % Pharmaceutical Works, the business had a turnover of Rs 32 crore.

Incorporated in 1991, ZCL Chemicals is into manufacturing and exports of fine chemicals, advanced drug intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). Within APIs segment, it caters to a wide category of therapeutic segments including central nervous system, anti-viral, pain management and control substances.

The company has an USFDA approved plant at Ankleshwar in Gujarat along with research and development capabilities. In 2009, it had formed a joint venture with Nagase & Co of Japan. The Parikhs terminated the venture and brought back shares issued to Nagase in February 2014, citing changes in its priorities.

For the financial year ended March 2014, ZCL Chemicals derived nearly 97% of its sales from exports, mostly to regulated markets. The company’s income is primarily derived from anti-viral and control substances.

According to a September 2014 ratings report by CARE, in 2013-14, the company reported a posttax profit of Rs 26.73 crore, up from PAT of Rs 12.28 crore a year ago, on a total income of Rs 187.39 crore, which grew from Rs 177.58 crore in the previous year. As per its unaudited first quarter report for 2014-15, the company reported a PAT of Rs 4.65 crore on a total income of Rs 38.74 crore.

Morgan Stanley invests in India through its Asia fund. From its latest $1.7 billion corpus, the fund manager expects to invest about $300 million in India. The fund has been cautious in deploying capital in India.

Assam launches health insurance scheme Atal-Amrit Abhiyan

Economic Times:  December 26, 2016

Guwahati: Assam’s BJP led government on Sunday rolled out ‘Atal-Amrit Abhiyan’ health insurance scheme which will provide coverage against several critical illnesses.

Launched to mark the 92nd birthday of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the scheme will offer coverage against 437 illnesses in six disease groups, namely, cardiovascular, cancer, kidney, neo-natal, neurological conditions and burns.

Both Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) families, with annual income below Rs 5 lakh, are eligible for the scheme.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said, “Health always remains a commitment of Government and with the launching of Atal-Amrit Abhiyan access to quality treatment will become a reality for the all the citizens.”

“Atal-Amrit Abhiyan is an endeavour of the government to make quality health care affordable to every individual member of a family”.

Assam’s Health and Family Welfare Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that launching the health assurance scheme is a tribute to former prime minister Vajpayee.

Claiming that this scheme is the biggest health care initiative by any State Government, Sarma said financial outlay of the scheme is around Rs 200 crore.

A separate society will also be set up under the Department of Health and Family Welfare which will be responsible for administration of the scheme.

Single platform to pay all utility bills in rural areas

Economic Times:  December 26, 2016

New Delhi: People in rural and semi-rural areas will have a one-stop shop for all government utility payments as the two-lakh strong Common Service Centre (CSC) network is set to launch the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) this month or early next month.

The CSCs or the ministry of IT’s digital kiosks received the license to become a BBPS operator in June and integration with the central platform is expected to add a gamut of other services to their existing portfolio, which includes digital services such as printing of Aadhaar numbers, booking rail tickets and providing assisted ecommerce services to rural India.

Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, CEO, CSC e-Governance Services India, told ET that the integration is in place and they are waiting for an audit from the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). “The CSCs are already offering several bill payment options; however, the integration will enable them to offer the entire spectrum of government utility payments and will further accelerate the cashless drive,” he said. Tyagi said SCs are conducting one crore transactions every month, worth Rs 3 crore per day.

RBI opened applications for BBPS’ earlier this year and companies ranging from banks, telecom operators and wallet firms applied. BBPS has been proposed as an integrated system that will provide ‘anytime anywhere’ payment options to customers by pulling all bills and payment options onto a single platform. The platform will be run by NPCI, which handles all retail payments in the country.

As per RBI, BBPS will initially accept utility bill payments such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and direct-to-home services, and later include other repetitive payments such as school and university fees and municipal taxes.

Other players to get in-principle approval for a BBPS licence include Oxigen Services, BillDesk, TechProcess Payment Services and Paytm. Tyagi said currently, there are around 2.25 CSCs, of which 1.5 lakh are in panchayats while the rest are in semirural or semi-urban areas.

“The idea is to increase the number to 2.5 lakh, but we are open to applications even if the number goes beyond 2.5 lakh.” With the government’s focus on cashless payments, more CSCs will be asked to come on Aadhaar-enabled payment system. Currently, around 25,000 CSCs operate as permanent enrollment centres of Aadhaar and around 17,000 work as banking correspondents.

The Swedish newspaper was recently asked it to delete the reference made by President Pranab Mukherjee to the Bofors scam in an interview to it, as a claim protested by the Indian Government on 27 May 2015. India has expressed disappointment over the disrespect shown to the President, the newspaper has defended its right to publish what was said during the interview.

Know, who is Vijay Kelkar and what is PPP !

Vijay Kelkar is a renowned economist and a former Finance Secretary. He was appointed head of newly constituted committee to give recommendations to recast the model of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in India. India is one of the largest PPP market with over 900 projects. The Kelkar committee will review the PPP policy, suggest a better risk-sharing mechanism between private developers and the government after analysing such projects.

Know, who is Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar !

Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar was crowned as the new Maharaja of of Mysuru (Mysore) royal family. He is the 23-year old grandson of Princess Gayathri Devi, who was the eldest daughter of the last Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar. The coronation was held at Mysuru’s famous Amba Vilas Palace, which was decked up for the occasion.

Know about Sepp Blatter!

Swpp Blatter, was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term at the 65th Annual Congress of FIFA held at Zurich for four year term.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan stood against Blatter in this election. It is worth mentioning that FIFA is going through a major controversy regarding corruption in the organisation with two FIFA vice presidents and a recently elected FIFA executive committee member still in custody.


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