Govt raises family pension for PSB employees; employer contribution to NPS also increased

2020年4月28日 0 Comments

Admitting that family pension for bank employees is at a paltry level, the government on Wednesday announced to raise the same to 30 per cent of the last-drawn salary. Earlier, kin of a deceased PSB employee used to get a maximum of Rs 9,284 per month as a family pension, said Department of Financial Services Secretary Debasish Panda. This would result in the family pensions rise to as high as Rs 30,000-Rs 35,000 a month, Panda said. Similarly, the ministry has also decided to increase the employer Earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman expressed her satisfaction at public sector banks Panda said a dozen PSBs have become leaner and started delivering profits which have upped the investor confidence in them and made them self-dependent for capital raising. He said that since last year, the banks have collectively raised over Rs 69,000 crore, including Rs 10,000 crore in equity, and are in the process of raising another Rs 12,000 crore at present. On the government She also asked the employees not to fear anything saying the government is sensitive about their concerns. When asked about the reports of government mulling insurance bonds as an alternative to bank guarantees, Sitharaman said it was just a suggestion that had come from the industry. Meanwhile, giving the progress on the National Asset Reconstruction Company, Panda said the entity has been registered and the Indian Banks Assets to be transferred have already been identified, process of getting the inter-creditor agreement is also in the works, CEO has been appointed and staff has been put in place, Panda added that the government guarantee is not a concern but remains under consideration.

It is in Taliban’s interest that ISIS-K doesn’t ‘metastasize’ beyond what it is, warns Biden

2020年4月28日 0 Comments

US President Joe Biden has warned that it is in the interest of the Taliban, which is now the de facto ruler of Afghanistan, that the ISIS-K does not metastasize beyond what it is. The US has held ISIS-K, the regional affiliate of the Islamic State terror outfit, responsible for Thursdays Kabul airport attack in which 13 American soldiers were killed and 18 others injured. It is in the interest of the Taliban that the ISIS-K does not metastasize beyond what it is, Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday. During his interaction with reporters in the East Room of the White House, the president also referred to the apparent ideological differences between the Taliban and the ISIS-K. Biden said there is no evidence so far to suggest a collusion between the Taliban and the ISIS in carrying out the airport attack. Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabuls airport, killing at least 60 Afghans, besides the 13 US troops. Biden said it is also in Americas interest to be able to leave Afghanistan on time, on target as he referred to the cooperation that the US is receiving from the Taliban. No one trusts them (the Taliban). Were just counting on their self-interest to continue to generate their activities. And its in their self-interest that we leave when we said and that we get as many people out as we can, Biden said. Responding to a question, he said the Taliban are not good guys. They (Taliban) are not good guys.but they have a keen interest.they very much like to figure out how to keep the airport open and have the capacity to do it. They are trying to figure out whether or not they can maintain what is a portion of an economy that has become not robust but fundamentally different than it had been, Biden said. Responding to a question, he said the reason why the Taliban did not attack the US troops in the last one year was because of the deal that they had with the previous Trump administration. The former president (Donald Trump) made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1.In return, he was given a commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others but would not attack any American forces, he said.

Govt extends import duty relief on Covid-related materials till September 30

2020年4月21日 0 Comments

The Centre has extended the import duty relief on Covid-19 related materials till September 30, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said on Monday. These supplies include medical oxygen and related equipment and vaccines. In a notification announcing the duty-relief extension, the CBIC said the decision was made in public interest. The government has initially granted interim relief on import duty of Covid-related equipment in April. The relief, which was set to expire at the end of July, has already been extended once. The government had originally granted basic customs duty relief on Covid-19 vaccine import. It had also allowed relief from basic customs duty and health cess on medical-grade oxygen imports. The decision was taken to improve oxygen availability in India during the peak of the second Covid-19 wave when the shortage of liquid medical oxygen had led to long queues outside hospitals and vendors. Reports attributed hundreds of deaths across the country to a shortage of oxygen during this period. However, the government has always debunked these claims. The Centre has since announced that it would set up new oxygen plants across India following the April-May peak. However, according to a government report, 425 of the 1,222 PSA oxygen plants it has sanctioned since October 2020 are operational. Apart from medical oxygen, 11 items that receive duty relief are related to oxygen production and storage, its transportation, and administration. Nasal canula, ventilators, and helmets used with non-invasive ventilation also get a customs duty relief. The duty includes full basic customs duty and health cess exemption. As on Monday, India has 376,000 active Covid-19 cases, while 438,000 people have succumbed to the deadly virus, the Union Health Ministry said in its daily update.

Half of hospitalised Covid patients have persisting symptoms after a year: Lancet study

2020年4月21日 0 Comments

Around half the people hospitalised with COVID-19 experience at least one persistent symptom up to 12 months after the infection, according to a study published in The Lancet journal on Friday. The research on 1,276 patients from Wuhan, China, shows that around one in three people still experienced shortness of breath after 12 months, while lung impairments persisted in some patients, especially those who had experienced the most severe illness with COVID-19. COVID-19 survivors were found to be less healthy than people from the wider community who had not been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Our study is the largest to date to assess the health outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors after 12 months of becoming ill, said Professor Bin Cao, from China-Japan Friendship Hospital. While most had made a good recovery, health problems persisted in some patients, especially those who had been critically ill during their hospital stay, Cao said. The study findings suggest that recovery for some patients will take longer than one year, and this should be taken into account when planning delivery of healthcare services post-pandemic. A previous study by the same team on 1,733 hospitalised COVID-19 survivors found that around three-quarters of patients had persistent health problems after six months of infection. The new study analysed data from patients who had been discharged from hospital between January 7 and May 29, 2020. The patients underwent detailed health checks at six and 12 months to assess any ongoing symptoms and their health-related quality of life. These included face-to-face questionnaires, physical examinations, lab tests, and a six-minute walking test to gauge patients endurance levels. The average age of patients included in the study was 57 years. Patient outcomes were tracked for an average of 185 days and 349 days. Many symptoms resolved over time, regardless of the severity of initial COVID-19 disease, the researchers said. However, the proportion of patients still experiencing at least one symptom after one year fell from 68 per cent at six months to 49 per cent at 12 months, they said. This decrease was observed regardless of the severity of COVID-19 the patients had experienced when hospitalised. The study shows that fatigue or muscle weakness was the most commonly reported symptom with around half of patients experiencing this at six months, falling to one in five patients at one year. Almost one third of patients reported experiencing shortness of breath at 12 months, which was slightly higher than at six months, according to the researchers. This was more prevalent in patients who had been the most severely ill and had been on a ventilator during their time in hospital, compared to those who had not required oxygen treatment, they said. At the six-month check, 349 study participants underwent a lung function test and 244 of those patients completed the same test at 12 months. The proportion of patients experiencing diffusion impairment did not improve from six months to 12 months and this was seen across all groups regardless of how ill they had been when hospitalised. Also at the six-month check, 353 study participants underwent a chest CT scan. The researchers found that around one half of them showed lung abnormalities on their scan. Of the 118 patients who completed the scan at 12 months, the proportion of patients with abnormalities decreased substantially across all groups but was still high, particularly in the most critically ill group, they said. Compared with men, women were 1.4 times more likely to report fatigue or muscle weakness, twice as likely to report anxiety or depression, and almost three times as likely to have lung diffusion impairment after 12 months, according to the study. People who had been treated with corticosteroids during the acute phase of their illness with COVID-19 were 1.5 times as likely to experience fatigue or muscle weakness after 12 months, compared to those who had not been treated during their illness. The researchers found that slightly more patients experienced anxiety or depression at one year than at six months and the proportion was much greater in COVID-19 survivors than in matched people from the wider community. We do not yet fully understand why psychiatric symptoms are slightly more common at one year than at six months in COVID-19 survivors, said Xiaoying Gu, one of the studys authors, from China-Japan Friendship Hospital. These could be caused by a biological process linked to the virus infection itself, or the bodys immune response to it. Or they could be linked to reduced social contact, loneliness, incomplete recovery of physical health or loss of employment associated with illness, Gu said. The authors acknowledged that their study was focused on a single hospital and so patient outcomes may not be generalisable to other settings. The study included only a small number of patients who had been admitted to intensive care and findings relating to the most critically ill patients should be interpreted with caution, they added.

Ather Energy, BLive partner to drive EV adoption at these tourist destinations

2020年4月14日 0 Comments

Multi EV retail platform BLive and Ather Energy have announced a strategic partnership to drive EV adoption by building charging infrastructure across popular tourist destinations in India, starting with Goa. In this first-of-its-kind partnership, Ather Energy and BLive aim to build an ecosystem that aims to provide an easily accessible EV experience and also, charging infrastructure across the country. Under the said partnership, BLive will be setting up 5 charging stations for Ather Energy across Goa by the end of August and these will be named BLive EV Zones. Moreover, the start-up plans to strengthen its presence by setting up 15 charging stations across the state by the end of the year at prominent places. Apart from Goa, the said partnership will focus on setting up charging grids at tourist destinations like Coorg, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and more. BLive will also be offering a first-hand Ather electric scooter experience and help customers with pre-booking and booking of the same through the BLive EV Store, which is a multi-brand online EV Store. BLive is also the official EV Tourism partner of Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) and the partnership is also taking place under the support of the latter. The company says that continuing its support towards sustainable tourism and EV adoption in Goa, BLive EV zones will be set up across its associated hotels. Moreover, BLive states that it will be leveraging its existing partnerships with public and private players in the travel and hospitality industry to drive the Ather Grid roll-out across locations in the country. BLive is currently present in 9 states across 15 locations in the country and is India The start-up has also launched India BLive EV Tours has completed over 15,000 eBike tours so far, across the 15 locations it is present in.

Special Blends: Good as malts, as well as great in blends, here are some homegrown whiskies hitting the sweet spot

2020年4月14日 0 Comments

These last two years when the nation has been busy fighting a pandemic, we all discovered a newfound joy in discovering Indian brands for home consumption. While we will continue to hate the pandemic for all it has done, we still have to acknowledge that some changes it has brought about are only for the better. For example, this piece is coming to you part from the beaches and part from my home in the hills. All this travel has meant having to cart my minibar around everywhere. While that is not the most convenient thing to do, it does allow me to try what I truly wish to. And I am proud to say that in the last year, a clear majority of all that I have efficiently filtered through my kidneys has been largely homegrown stuff. While a lot of it was gin, recently, my attention was drawn to whisky brands, which are also getting active in the space. For the longest time, it seemed like whisky had fallen off the popularity charts and while it would still lead all spirits by a long shot, it may never show much growth. Almost as if on cue, I ran into a whole new selection of brands, all of which were made with premium raw material and yet were priced well For the longest time, my problem had been that I had two kinds of whiskies at home. There was the sacramental stuff, which I had only on special occasions, sipping slowly, on ice or maybe a splash of water, but never drowned in soda or cola. For such blasphemies, I had the other category, a plethora of bottles, which only tasted okay if their core gag reflex-inducing tastes were somehow diluted and muted with sugary mixers. This was also the lot often reserved for my lesser friends and, lets just call it, unofficial gifting to high-ranking officials. But now, this new range was hitting the sweet spot, good to be enjoyed as malts, but equally great in blends and highballs. That is what I meant by aspirational-yet-affordable. So without further ado, here they are. Named in the honour of the famous Dutch sailor Williem Barrents (who tried to find a way to Asia from Europe via the north-eastern route, thus lending his name Its a soft spirit right from the start, nothing too heady or explosive. The subtle nose is followed by an equally gentle palate: fruity, smooth, hints of nuts and caramel. Its an easy sip, one that is distinct, but more than willing to commit to a mixed drink. Oaksmith, a tasty little number, is like an album unto itself. Its like the Best of Take whiskies from Scotland, the US and India, blend them together and you will get this rich blend. No less than world-renowned blender Shinji Fukuyo (chief blender, Suntory) applied himself to this, even touring small-town Indian bars, spending time there, tasting their snacks, all to get a better understanding of the drinking culture here. The final result is a lovely blend thats equal parts Indian yet international. The world is looking to Japan and Enso Japanese Whisky is a good representative for the category. Bottled in India under a brand name exclusively created by Indian entrepreneur Sameer Mahendru, #nso (signifying the circle of life) is a fruity-smokey dram, which works well in long drinks or on ice. Its premium by Indian pricing standards, but as Japanese whiskies go, its a steal. Available almost across India. I tried all the above drams neat, on ice and made into highballs. None of them disappointed in any version. Or maybe I was too sot to care. Either way, it was a good Monday morning. The writer is a sommelier

BRICS bank NDB admits UAE, Uruguay, Bangladesh as new members

2020年4月14日 0 Comments

The New Development Bank (NDB) set up by the BRICS group of nations has admitted the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Bangladesh as the first batch of new members as part of its expansion drive, the bank announced on Thursday. Launched in 2015 by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), a group of major emerging economies, the Shanghai-headquartered bank mobilises resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in their respective countries and other developing nations, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. NDB has initiated its membership expansion and started formal negotiations with prospective members in late 2020, the bank said in a press release. After a round of successful negotiations, NDB approved the admission of the UAE, Uruguay and Bangladesh as its first new member countries, it said. We are delighted to welcome the UAE, Uruguay and Bangladesh to the NDB family. New members will have in NDB a platform to foster their cooperation in infrastructure and sustainable development, NDB President Marcos Troyjo said. We will continue to expand the banks membership in a gradual and balanced manner, he said. NDB has an authorised capital of USD 100 billion, which is open for subscription by members of the United Nations, the press release said. Since the beginning of its operations, NDB approved about 80 projects in all of its members, totalling a portfolio of USD 30 billion. Projects in areas such as transport, water and sanitation, clean energy, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure and urban development are within the scope of the bank, the release said. Commenting on the admission of the UAE, Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs of the UAE, said it represents a new step to enhance the role of the UAE economy on the global stage, especially in light of the great capabilities and expertise that the country possesses in supporting infrastructure projects and sustainable development. Uruguays economy and finance minister Azucena Arbeleche said the country sees in the NDB a great opportunity to harness cooperation with its member nations, aiming to achieve stronger international integration in trade and cross-border investment flows. Bangladeshs finance minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said, Membership of Bangladesh to NDB has paved way for a new partnership at a momentous time of 50th anniversary of our independence. We look forward to working closely with NDB to build together a prosperous and equitable world for our next generation as dreamt by our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he said.

Delhivery acquires Spoton to boost B2B capabilities

2020年4月7日 0 Comments

Logistics major Delhivery on Wednesday said it has acquired Bengaluru-based Spoton Logistics, a move aimed at further strengthening its B2B capabilities. Financial details of the transactions were not disclosed. This development is consistent with our objective of being growth-oriented and building scale in each of our business lines. Over 10 years, Delhivery has established a leading position in B2C logistics and now by combining our part truckload business with Spotons we will be on the path to the same position in B2B express as well, Delhivery CEO Sahil Barua said. He added that Delhivery is well-placed to provide benefits of synergies between its B2C and B2B express businesses to the customers of both Delhivery and Spoton, and further enhance its end-to-end supply chain capabilities. The Spoton team and I are hugely excited to be part of Delhiverys journey of growth and value-creation, Spoton Logistics Managing Director Abhik Mitra said. The focus will continue to be on improving clients businesses through investments in people, technology, network and infrastructure, he added. Our teams and our business partners will have an opportunity to be part of a much larger organisation with significant opportunities for growth, he said. Samara Capital and Xponentia that together had acquired Spoton from IEP in 2018, are making a full exit for cash as part of the transaction. Spoton Logistics started its journey in 2012 when private equity firm India Equity Partners bought the domestic business from TNT India. In 2018, Spoton partnered with a consortium of investors led by Samara Capital and Xponentia Fund Partners to build the next stage of its growth. This is a coming together of two high quality companies with shared values. Our combined scale and focus on technology and data will enable us to develop new solutions for our customers and allow us to enter new verticals in freight, Sandeep Barasia, Chief Business Officer of Delhivery, said. Kotak Mahindra Capital Company acted as the financial advisor and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas Co. acted as the legal advisor to Delhivery on this transaction. Delhivery, which has a nationwide network covering over 19,400 pin codes, provides a full suite of logistics services such as express parcel transportation, reverse logistics, cross-border, B2B and B2C warehousing, and other services. It has fulfilled over one billion shipments since inception and works with over 17,000 customers, including large and small e-commerce companies, SMEs and others.

FM discusses key areas of cooperation for supporting recovery of BRICS nations

2020年4月7日 0 Comments

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday discussed with her BRICS counterparts the key areas of cooperation that would be crucial in supporting recovery of the grouping She highlighted that BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has been playing and will continue to play a crucial role in dealing with crises such as the pandemic. Sitharaman virtually chaired the second meeting of BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) along with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das under the Indian BRICS Chairship, a finance ministry statement said. During the meeting, the FMCBGs endorsed the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Statement on Global Economic Outlook and Responding to COVID-19 Crisis with an annexure on snapshot of policy experiences of member countries in dealing with the economic impact of the pandemic, it said. Sitharaman, as the chair, remarked that India attaches great significance to presenting this statement before the global community since it unanimously voices the view of BRICS countries on the critical aspects underpinning current international policy conversations on post pandemic recovery. A This report is an exercise towards collaborative knowledge sharing between BRICS economies on social infrastructure, including on how the governments have leveraged digital technologies to enhance access and improve service delivery, especially in the health and education sectors. The BRICS finance ministers also welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the text of Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance (CMAA) in customs matters, along with deliberating progress made on other customs related issues. The RBI Governor chaired the discussions on central bank issues and their outcomes, including financial inclusion, Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and Information Security Cooperation. Both Sitharaman and Das appreciated the BRICS members for their cooperation and support to the Indian Chair in preparation as well as finalisation of the significant and relevant deliverables of BRICS Finance, it added.

Coal India arm Northern Coalfields Ltd dispatches 3.87 lakh tonnes of highest-ever coal in single day

2020年4月7日 0 Comments

Coal India arm Northern Coalfields Ltd dispatched the highest ever coal in a single day on August 27, the coal ministry said on Saturday. On 27th August, 2021 the companys offtake grew to a whopping 3.87 lakh tonnes, the coal ministry said in a statement. Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL) also sent the highest ever, 38 coal rakes of Indian Railway to upcountry coal consumers of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Delhi, and other states fulfilling the energy requirements of the country in this pandemic time. NCL dispatches its majority of coal through eco-friendly modes like Indian Railway Rakes, merry-go-round (MGR), and belt pipe conveyor. In FY21, NCL dispatched over 87 per cent of its coal through these modes of transportation. In a pro-environmental step, 24 per cent reduction in coal transportation from the road was seen in the last fiscal. Keeping up the pace with the growing demand for energy, NCL has dispatched 46.19 MT of coal till date with Y-o-Y growth of 17 per cent in 2021-22. The company has been entrusted with 119 MT of coal production and 126.5 MT of coal dispatch in this fiscal. In a step towards AtmaNirbhar Bharat, the company is also supplying coal as import substitution to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and other states coal consumers.