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With a shortage of coal reported in several power plants amid rising electricity demand, power traded in the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) touched an all-time high monthly volume of 9,538 million units (MU) in August. The volume traded in the month was about 74% higher than August last year, the IEX said in a statement. The highest electricity trading in IEX was done in the day-ahead market segment, scheduling 6,649 MU in the month, at an average rate of Rs 5.06 This is comparable with the 4,484 MU traded through the day-ahead market in August 2020, at an average tariff of Rs 2.43 As FE recently reported, the price of power in the spot market touched an all-time high level of Rs 20\/unit on August 29, a day after power supply shortage across the country was as high as 77.7 MU. The supply shortage on the same day in 2020 was 2.3 MU, and a paucity of 18.9 MU shortage was recorded on a corresponding day in 2019. While the Rs 20\/unit was discovered for one 15-minute time block on August 29, the average rate of power for the day at IEX was Rs 8.33 The daily average spot power prices ranged between Rs 1.9\/unit to Rs 3.8\/unit in the first week of August, while in the second half of the month, it remained mostly above Rs 5\/unit as coal supply issues became more prominent. Even supply from hydropower stations was less than expected, increasing demand from the spot market. There were 43 market participants at IEX during the month, including discoms from West Bengal, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Assam and Tamil Nadu.
By By Maj Gen A K Singh (Retd), The COVID-19 pandemic has upended business as usual for colleges and universities. Not only have campuses shifted to remote learning almost overnight, but institutions are also suddenly grappling with uncertainty in the face of continuous change. On-campus classes ceased overnight and were replaced by online and blended learning modules. But the bigger question is, can online classes replace the campus experience? Humans are social animals; we need contact and interaction. Lack of social interaction is creating a domino effect in students across the world and replicating a classroom through communication tools such as Microsoft Team and Zoom is not an effective way for digital learning. Digital learning also takes away another crucial aspect of campus life which is the opportunity to find new interests and learn new skills through clubs and societies. Campus not only enables a holistic experience but, through peer-to-peer interaction, it creates real-world experience and build confidence in learning. Last year, UGC had issued guidelines for phased re-opening of universities. Residential Universities across India are gearing up to reopen by taking precautionary measures for the safety and wellbeing of the students as they prepare to return to their campus. Key messages and actions: One must educate their students on the guidelines that need to be followed while on campus to ensure maximum safety. Wearing double masks, frequent use of sanitizer, and maintaining social distancing at each juncture. One must ensure that all students and staff members know the common signs of infection as a precautionary measure for early detection. Staggered arrival: Students should arrive at 50% capacity in batches in the first phase, with a gap of a week between the batches which will ensure smooth handling and attending to each students needs. This will ensure that we eliminate the chances of contracting COVID-19 from new arrivals. Ensure travel arrangements for students: As a University, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that students arrival arrangements are done as per their convenience. It is crucial to determine transport facilities with segregated seats for student Upon arrival, one needs to make sure that students are carrying the necessary precautionary tests with them such as RT-PCR test. Limited occupancy in lecture halls: Universities could limit occupancy in large lecture halls to allow for empty seats and rows between students, while enabling student Recording faculty lectures for students to Continuous COVID-19 testing at campus: COVID testing can take place in 3 phases; one being pre-arrival test (within 72 hours prior to arrival), one on completion of self- quarantine period (12th day), followed by regular health. Nutritious food to be served to students: Given the challenge of managing social distancing and constant sanitation in a large dining hall, universities should limit campus food service to delivery only at their respective rooms. Other approaches include scheduling students in shifts to avoid crowds, along with making arrangements for spaced seating in the dining halls to create more space between diners. Dining areas have been a major source of spread of infection and thus need very careful health monitoring of the mess staff, apart from other measures to prevent bunching up in any manner. Sports and social activities: While COVID-19 may have restricted activities like swimming and team games, one can indulge in sports like badminton, tennis, table tennis and activities like running, yoga and walking which are non-contact games where it is easy to ensure appropriate social distancing. Uncertainty will remain for colleges and universities for many months to come. To survive in these difficult times, leadership will need to prepare for numerous possible scenarios, seek creative solutions, and stay flexible. Safe re-opening for the education sector will require all of us to work together, employing the recommended best practices and maintaining safe daily habits to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as our students return to their second home. (The author is Chief Operations Officer, NIIT University. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)
Share Market News Today | Sensex, Nifty, Share Prices Highlights: Domestic equity market benchmarks BSE Sensex and Nifty 50 closed the day with gains amid positive global cues. SP BSE Sensex ended the day 403 points or 0.73% higher at 55,958 points while the NSE Nifty zoomed 0.78% to close at 16,624. Bank Nifty marched higher today, gaining 1.67% to end at 35,712 points. The overall market momentum was positive with broader markets participating in the up-move after days of underperformance. India VIX closed with losses. Bajaj Finserv was the top Sensex gainer, jumping 7.9%, followed by Tata Steel, Tech Mahindra, and Bajaj Finance. Nestle India was down 1.34%, as the only Sensex stock to fall over 1% on Tuesday. This was followed by Infosys, HDFC, and HCL Technologies.
In-form skipper Joe Root smashed yet another hundred as England ended the second day of the third cricket Test at 423 for 8, taking a first-innings lead of 345 runs against India here on Thursday. Root once again led from the front with his 8th hundred against India, a splendid 121 off 165 balls laced with 14 hits to the fence. He added 139 runs with Dawid Malan (70) before sharing a 52-run stand with Jonny Bairstow (29) to put England in a commanding position with three days to go in the match. Also Read For India, Mohammed Shami (3\/87) was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Ravindra Jadeja (2\/88), Mohammed Siraj (2\/86) and Jasprit Bumrah (1\/58) were the other wickettakers. On Wednesday, England had dismissed India for a paltry 78 in 40.4 overs. Brief Scores: India 1st innings: 78 allout in 40.4 overs (Rohit Sharma 19, Ajinkya Rahane 18; James Anderson 3\/6, Craig Overton 3\/14). England 1st innings: 423 for 8 in 129 overs (Joe Root 121, Mohammed Shami 3\/87).
So far 550 people in six different flights which includes special military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force as well as commercial airlines like Air India and IndiGo. Responding to media queries, the official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Arindam Bagchi said, The flights from Kabul have been returning through the airspace of Iran and some Central Asian Countries. Most of the Central Asian states wanted the They were quite happy with the fact that the radical forces in Afghanistan were engaged in day-to-day fights with the powerful military of NATO, says Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU. But the withdrawal of American forces has altered the situation entirely. Kremlin is dreading the possibility of radical Islam, terrorism and drug-trafficking. To send a message across the border, it has conducted joint military exercises with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China. The bomb blasts in Kabul on Thursday evening has left several dead and many injured. Impact on India According to Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, It is the only significant power in the region which is not negotiating with the Taliban. It prefers to wait and watch and hopes the situation will stabilise in the near future. One cannot expect a sudden change in its policy towards the Taliban. Therefore, the second-best option is to observe closely the moves of Russia, Iran and Central Asia Sharing his views, the JNU Prof says, These states will have to bear the brunt of political and social instability in their neighbourhood. The first and the most immediate concern for them is the influx of refugees. There is a pressure from the US on these states to take refugees. Around 1,500 Afghans crossed the border to enter Uzbekistan. President Putin has warned their leaders about the possibility of militants entering Central Asia under the guise of seeking asylum. The dependence of Central Asian states on Russian security is likely to grow under the present circumstances. Russia will not allow these states to negotiate military agreements with the US, and these states cannot protect themselves without assistance from outside. President Putin in his meeting with President Biden on June 16 dismissed the idea of any military role of the US in Central Asia. According to Prof Rajan, It wanted the US to withdraw from Afghanistan, but it never expected the situation to be so volatile. Russia treats the Taliban as a terrorist organisation, but is also negotiating with them in the troika-plus format. The Russian embassy has also not been shut down in Kabul. It appears that Russians have gained the confidence of the Taliban in Kabul. Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia Many experts in Moscow see the region of Afghanistan as a post-American space. It is a kind of equaliser for them Russia, China and Pakistan are likely to gain influence in Afghanistan, while the US will stand to lose, Expert View of a former Military Officer on Kabul Blasts Says Maj Gen N Bhatia, The blasts have been attributed to Islamic State Khorasan Province, who have also confirmed their role in initiating the explosions and admitting that their Islamic state has been instrumental in carrying out multiple attacks on minorities and their places of worship. Killing of almost one hundred Hazara children in a school attack and 27 Sikhs in a Gurudwara immediately after signing of agreement between USA and Taliban in 2020, claimed by ISIS (K) are just two reminders of their past violent legacy. Neither USA nor Taliban openly admitted to this cooperation but this was to later manifest into the February 2020 As part of the agreement US had extracted from Taliban an assurance that it would not allow Afghanistan territory to be used by any group or individual, including al-Qaida, forgetting that elements within Taliban, most prominently the Haqqani Network and its Pakistan based affiliates who had been nurtured and trained under guidance of Pakistan Army and ISI, formed the rank and file of ISIS(K). According to Gen Bhatia, A large number of its cadres would be keen to break away from Pakistan control and chalk out an independent course. But it is the Pakistan backed militant element comprising the bulk of the Haqqani network who by aligning with ISIS have a message for Taliban to toe their line so as to be in the driver As usual, the dubious role of Pakistan is that it would need constant monitoring.\u201d
Tamil Nadu: The popular Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Tamil Nadu, also known as Vandalur zoo, finally opened for the public on Wednesday after remaining closed for a good 127 days. The relaxation , that has come by the Tamil Nadu government, has also mentioned that apart from parks, wildlife sanctuaries will also be reopened in the state under strict guidelines. According to the Indian Express, the country It was shut on April 20, 2021 following COVID second wave. The zoo authorities are still waiting for the official order despite permission granted by the government to reopen the park on Monday. On Wednesday, around 9am, Vandalur zoo followed by other wildlife sanctuaries such as Guindy National Park, Kurumbatti Zoological Park and Amirthi zoo among others were reopened for the public. Surpriya Sahu, Principal Secretary, Environmental Change and Forest Department along with other senior officials reviewed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and framed guidelines that need to be followed strictly in order to ensure safety of visitors, animals. Zoo director V Karunapriya has been asked to ensure the safety guidelines are followed in the zoo. The zoo saw a footfall of 1,233 on the day one of reopening, reported the Indian Express. Speaking exclusively to the IE, Dr R Kanchana, Deputy Director of Vandalur zoo, said that initial days will see a thinner crowd as the zoo has remained closed for a very long time. Visitors are expected to grow eventually in the coming days, she added. Keep in mind these guidelines before\/ after entering the zoo Every visitor will have to get their temperature checked before buying a ticket to the zoo. If anyone is found to have symptoms for covid-like cough, colf, fever, they will not be allowed to enter the place. People entering into the premises will have to cover their faces with masks followed by frequent use of sanitizers which have been kept near the ticket counters. It is also said that not more than 7,000 people will be allowed inside the premises each day. The authorities have also been informing the visitors about the dos\/donts inside the park. Visitors are told not to spit on the ground or near garbage areas. They have also been asked not to touch the gates. A Rs 1000 penalty would be imposed on those found violating the norms. The authorities have sanitised all the battery operated vehicles inside the park and have also been instructed to cover their faces and wear face shields. Ticket counters, washrooms and other general places will be sanitised in the mornings and evenings. They have also arranged soaps and sanitizers at different places for public use. Closed enclosures like the aviary, nocturnal animal house, aquarium and the serpentarium are yet not open for the public as a part of precautionary measure. Lion and deer safaris will also remain discontinued for now. As reported in Indian Express, the Vandalur zoo had some 53 big cats. Two out of the 15 Asiatic lions succumbed to the infection as a pandemic hit the park. The authorities could control the spread among the other big cats with the help of stringent measures in place. The authorities have also vaccinated all the 352 staff members to ensure better safety.
We had listed 13 reasons for re-rating of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) in our detailed report five months ago. The stock rallied 24% since (outperforming the FMCG index by 800 bps) to an all-time high. With softening raw material prices, recovering mobility spurring OOH discretionary products and a strong vaccination drive, we remain positive on the stock. We enlist 12 reasons that indicate more steam is left in the ongoing rally. In the near term, an improving portfolio mix combined with deflation in tea costs, apart from HUL Retain We remain positive on HUL The ongoing demand shift from smaller players to HUL would continue, especially in tea and soaps. The merger of the GSK portfolio with HUL has begun to yield a revenue delta; we believe the larger story will be innovation and new products in HFD and allied categories. We expect the FMCG major to be a key beneficiary of strong rural demand. The order situation is dynamic due to uncertainty around the pandemic; however, the company is well placed in terms of supply chain preparedness. The stock is trading at 57.1x FY23E EPS. Some of the reasons why we expect more upside are gross margin likely to have bottomed out as tea, packaging and palm oil prices have started correcting. The strong recovery in laggard categories such as fabric wash, discretionary, OOH products and detergents, gains in market share likely to sustain and the rural growth to revive. Scaling-up in food aided by GSK The growth potential in HUL FY22 will mark a healthy and strong balance of price and volume growth. Higher mobility, consumer-relevant innovations and investments in market development will also drive recovery in HUL
Microsoft will be launching a new range of computing devices based on recently unveiled Windows 11 at the September 22 Surface hardware event. Rumour mill says that Microsoft will be unveiling smartphones Surface Duo 2 and also bring a successor to last years Surface Book 3 laptop and a refreshed Surface Pro. Incidentally, the Redmond, Washington-based company will release its Windows version in a fortnight. Microsoft has already made the announcement that the Surface event will take place at 8.30 IST on September 22. Media-invites are also being sent for the virtual event which suggests that the company will talk about devices and Windows 11. According to preliminary reports Surface Duo 2 comes with Android-powered , dual-screen smartphone and with much upgrade from original Surface Duo unveiled in October 2019. The phone was priced at $1,399 (roughly Rs. 1,02,200). The Surface Duo 2 is expected to come with dual-screen design, two OLED displays and a 360-degree hinge mechanism like its predecessor. The new phone can come with significant software-level improvement and according to Geekbench will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, 5G support, and Android 11. Microsoft is expected to bring Surface Book 4, the successor to the Surface Book 3 in the launch event. The upgraded version will be the actual surface Laptop Pro. Changes in the moniker can be redesigned to include a non-detachable 14-inch display both for 13.5- and 15-inch versions. The new Surface Pro model is expected to be ready for the September 22 event. It could include some improvements over the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 7+. Windows 11 will be made available from October 5. Company will have some of its in-house Surface range available with Windows 11 to offer when Microsoft brings the new Windows experience for the general public. But the ongoing chip and components shortage can deter the availability of the new devices to global markets.
Two Naxals were killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarhs Sukma district on Tuesday, a police official said. The gunfight took place at around 8 am in a forest near Gompad and Kanhaiguda villages under Konta police station limits, over 450 km from the state capital Raipur, when a joint team of security forces was out on an anti-Naxal operation, Sukma Superintendent of Police Sunil Sharma told PTI. Personnel belonging to the District Reserve Guard (DRG), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and its elite unit Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) were involved in the operation, that was launched based on the movement of Naxals in the interiors of Konta, he said. After guns fell silent, bodies of two male Naxals along with weapons and explosives were recovered from the spot, he said. Blood stains found at the site indicated that many other Naxals were either injured or killed in the face-off, but the rebels managed to take them inside the forest, the official said. The identity of the killed ultras was yet to be ascertained, but prima facie, one of them seemed to be Kawasi Hunga, who was active as the Konta area LOS (local organisation squad) commander of Maoists, he said. Search operation was still underway in the area, he added.
Coimbatore-based automotive components manufacturer Pricol Ltd. has entered into a strategic alliance with human-machine interface (HMI) tool provider Candera. The partnership will allow Pricol to work on the next-generation connected driver information systems (DIS) for a wide range of vehicles. As vehicles become smarter by the day and the landscape is shifting towards EVs, the need for a clear and concise interface between man and machine is more apparent. Pricol has been working towards adopting the next-generation technologies and systems like powerful multi-core processors, larger displays, CGI studio, ASPICE, AUTOSAR, ISO26262, and Over the Air (OTA) updated, vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance and more. Pricol has years of expertise in making DIS and Sensors, Pumps and Allied Products, Telematics and Wiping Systems while Candera has a capable GUI software that works with both 2D and 3D elements. Commenting on the alliance, Vikram Mohan, managing director, Pricol Limited said, Our DIS products have immensely seen advancements in through their visually impactful Graphics (2D) content, high demand in customer convenience and ease of understanding information. Pricol had been looking for a suitable partner to design and develop HMI solutions collaboratively. Candera brings in CGI Studio and a HMI solution tool which supports in designing 2D \/ 2.5D \/ 3D graphics and assists the HMI designer with WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), thus easing the graphics design tasks. We are delighted to be partnering with Candera to enhance our capability to deliver Next-Generation Connected High-End Thin Film Transistor (TFT) based Digital Information Archiving System (DIAS) (single and multi-display) that meet our customers ever evolving technological needs. This MoU now takes our alliance to the next level and we