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Soon after Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, 2021, C-17 Globemaster, the largest transport aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) was deployed to evacuate Indian citizens from that country. The C-17 Globemaster undertook several sorties to bring back Indian citizens including the diplomats and other personnel of the Indian Mission and Consulates. Also those evacuated included Afghan Sikhs and Hindus and other nationals including Nepalese. Sources confirmed to Financial Express Online, These transport aircraft were off from India Funded by the Ministry of External Affairs, this was the most critical base for the evacuation sorties carried out by the IAF. This base is being jointly administered by India and Tajikistan. More about C-17 Globemaster III The C-17 has been an important part of the Indian Air Force In 2009 the IAF had selected the C-17s for its requirement of The USD 4.1 billion contract was signed in 2011 for 10 C-17 Globemaster III. According to officials in the IAF, the first C-17 Globemaster was inducted in 2013. Today the IAF has a fleet of 11 C-17 Globemaster IIIs, in 2019; the 11th C-17 was inducted. With 11 in its fleet, outside the US, India became the biggest operator of these aircraft in the world. Which other countries have the C-17 in their Air Force? Besides India and the US, the UK (8), Canada (5), Australia (8), the UAE (8), Kuwait (2), Qatar (8), and a 12 nation Strategic Airlift Capability Consortium (3). Who is responsible for the maintenance of these C-17s? The US aerospace major Boeing has been maintaining IAF The C-17 fleet has maintained high serviceability rates since its induction. The American company is responsible for maintenance, field support services, modifications and upgrades, technical manual support and logistics engineering services. Also, the company Boeing The company This aircraft, a force multiplier for militaries across the globe is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed aircraft and has a rear-loading ramp. According to the details posted on the company And can also undertake humanitarian aid across the world directly to small airfields. The first flight of C-17 was September 15, 1991 and is now no longer manufactured. The IAF has been using these aircraft for military and evacuation of Indian citizens, transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) cylinders and other medical supplies. And during the standoff between the armies of India and China in Eastern Ladakh, since April 2020, the heavy tanks, army personnel as well as armoured carriers were airlifted there on board C-17s.
Aptus Value Housing Finance shares made a muted listing on the stock exchanges today, continuing the recent trend of discounted listing on Dalal Street. Shares of Aptus Value opened for trade at Rs 329.95 per share down 6.53% or Rs 23 apiece from the upper end of the IPO price band of Rs 353 per share. The stock opened with losses despite the positive momentum seen in domestic benchmark indices. The retail-focused housing finance company had entered primary markets to raise Rs 2,780 crore through the IPO earlier this month. Of the total issue size, Rs 500 crore was a fresh issue of equity shares while the remaining was an OFS by existing investors. Aptus Value Housing serves low and middle income self-employed rural and semi-urban customers. The company had a market capitalization of Rs 16,351 crore on listing. Check live price: Aptus Value Housing Finance The IPO of Aptus Value Housing Finance was oversubscribed by all pockets of investors. Half of the entire IPO was reserved for Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIB) who subscribed their portion 32.41 times. Retail investors had 35% of the IPO reserved for themselves and subscribed to the issue 1.35 times. Non-Institutional Investors (NII) bid for the IPO 33.91 times the portion reserved for them. Aptus Value Housing Finance provides small loans for the purchase and self-construction of residential property, home improvement and extension loans. The company offers no loans of more than Rs 25 lakh. Over financial year 2019 and 2021, Aptus Value Hosuing9%\/ 51.0% \/ 54.7% to Rs 430.1 crore \/ Rs 350.9 crore\/ Rs 266.9 crore, respectively. In the previous financial year, its calculated NIM stood at 10.5% with an average yield at 15.5%, said analysts at Ventura Securities. The brokerage firm valued the IPO at the upper end of the price band at 8.6x FY21 P 03 on post-issue basis, the company is going to list at a P\/B of 7.06 with a market cap of Rs 1,74,940 mn, while its peer namely Aavas Financiers is trading at a P\/B of 8.47,
Concerned about protectionism by stealth adopted by some nations, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Monday asked industry associations to flag non-tariff barriers (NTBs) faced by Indian exporters in various countries so that New Delhi can firm up appropriate responses wherever feasible. Urging domestic industry to work on improving its competitiveness and help the country realise an ambitious merchandise export target of $400 billion for FY22, Goyal said, Highlighting the growth in the start-up ecosystem, the minister said over 54,000 start-ups were providing more than 5.5 lakh jobs, and more than 20 lakh jobs will be created by 50,000 new start-ups in the next five years. FE had earlier reported that major developed and developing countries, such as the US, China, South Korea, Japan and those in the EU, had put up huge NTBs to discourage The US had put in place as many as 8,453 NTBs, followed by the EU (3,119), China (2,971), South Korea (1,929) and Japan (1,881), according to a commerce ministry analysis last year, based on World Trade Organization data. In contrast, India has imposed only 504 NTBs. While non-tariff measures are not always aimed at curbing imports Goyal highlighted incentives for manufacturing through the production-linked incentive schemes and the need to focus on 24 sectors to attract investment. He also emphasised the Similarly, he highlighted the India Industrial Land Bank for providing a GIS-enabled database of industrial areas. Industry should suggest areas for intervention through research, handholding of exporters\/ manufacturers, deeper engagement with states and greater engagement with overseas missions, among others, to realise the export target, he said.
By Manish M Suvarna The quantum of funds raised by the states through state development loans (SDL) so far in the current financial year The SDL issuance also saw a 12% decline on year during the period. As many as 23 states and one Union Territory have raised Rs 2.38 lakh crore in the above period via SDL, as against Rs 2.80 lakh crore shown in the calendar. In FY22, states like Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Tripura have not yet tapped the market to raise funds. Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Rajasthan, Manipur, and Nagaland raised more than the indicative calendar. The ongoing second wave and rising Covid cases in some states have resulted in localised lockdowns which affected the revenues of states. This has resulted in curtailing state governments non-essential or developmental expenditure. The release of GST compensation by the central government has come as a relief, which also allowed states to prune their borrowing through SDLs and ways and means advances (WMA). On July 15, the central government had given Rs 75,000 crore to states to make up for the shortfall in their revenues of the GST implementation. The reason for the fall in borrowings is that most states are actively borrowing funds via WMA and special drawing facility, said Ajay Manglunia, Managing Director Head Institutional Fixed Income at JM Financial. Since the start of this financial year, many states have preferred to meet their revenue shortfalls by tapping into the financial accommodation being provided by the Reserve Bank of India such as the short-term borrowing through SDF (special drawing facility) and WMA in place of long-term borrowings through the issue of SDLs, CARE ratings report said. In July, the WMA borrowings by states has moderated after the release of GST compensation, easing of the lockdowns and resumption of business activity across states that could have led to improved revenue inflows. Soon after that in the first two weeks of August, it increased again said market participants. WMA are short-term loan facilities provided by the central bank to the centre and state governments to borrow funds for filling the temporary mismatch between expenditure and receipts. Market participants said that the borrowing by states was also lower because the demand from the investors was less in the market that is resulting in rising yields on government securities. The borrowing costs for states have gone below 7% for SDLs maturing in 10-year due to lower borrowings by the states. The lower amount offered by the states cooled off borrowing cost a little bit. At a time it was higher than 7% and now it is lower than 7%, Manglunia said. Currently, the weighted average cost of borrowings across states and tenures were at 6.89%, a 5 basis point higher than a week ago. The increase in borrowing cost was due to rising yields on G-Sec as the market is concerned over the normalisation of monetary policy by the RBI and worries over the paring down of bond purchases by the US Federal Reserves, which could prompt an outflow of funds from the Indian markets. Dealers with state-owned banks expect that the lower borrowing will be raised in the second half by the states.
The Indian consumer is becoming increasingly aware and knowledgeable when it comes to embracing holistic living with clean, plant-based nutrition and wellness products. The recent pandemic has catalyzed a visible social transition towards adopting healthier and cleaner plant-based lifestyles across the globe. Even in India, the focus on deriving nutrition from clean and green sources has grown considerably. In an exclusive conversation with Financial Express Online Aarti Gill, Co-founder and CEO of OZiva talked about the growth of the nutraceutical market in India, impact of Covid-19 and more. Excerpts: What are your views on the nutraceutical market and what is the impact of Covid-19 on this segment? The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered a major paradigm shift in human behaviour, especially, when it comes to diet and nutrition. The devastating effects of the pandemic have led people across the world to embrace a healthier and plant-based lifestyle that comprises eating fresh green vegetables, seasonal fruits, whole grains, nuts and other superfoods to meet their daily nutritional quota. There is also an increase in consumption of immunity boosting foods. Moreover, people everywhere are awakening to the idea of adopting regular workouts, physical exercises, yoga and meditation to alleviate tension and remain stress-free and disease free in these testing times. Also noticeable, is the rising trend towards adopting 100% plant-based and clean nutritional products that are proven to help people with better absorption of nutrients, easy digestion and a host of other benefits. Given that the market is flooded with fake supplements, what are your thoughts in this regard? The Indian supplement market is replete with a vast surfeit of dubious and fake products that are potentially detrimental for the body when consumed over a long period of time. As a conscious and aware consumer, it is one Majority of global medical nutritionists recommend consuming only clean and plant-based supplements that carry zero side-effects on the body. OZiva is India There has been a huge focus on plant-based foods in India for quite some time. Do you believe the pandemic has further accentuated the demand for plant based diet? With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are focusing increasingly on their diet as well as nutritional intake to boost their immunity overall health. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet that is well-replete with all the essential nutrients is the key to overall health. While the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the global plant-based herbal products market is poised to reach a jaw-dropping $13 trillion by 2025, and in India we are seeing accelerated growth for the segment. While most of India has traditionally been vegetarians, now we are seeing even more people adopting 100% clean and plant based diets for health and overall wellbeing. What kind of marketing strategies did you adopt during the pandemic? We have been concentrating on introducing products that meet the need of the hour. Immunity being the biggest concern for consumers across the country, we introduced Immunity Multi (plant based multivitamins for immunity) and OZiva Bettr series of plant-based vitamins and minerals. Plant based vitamins and minerals provide better absorption as compared to synthetic ones and are highly recommended by experts across the globe. We all are going through difficult times and we believe it Through our content, we are aiming to provide helpful and relevant information through experts (for eg: breathing exercises for better lung capacity, Yoga Asanas that can help strengthen our immune system, etc) Being in the digital age – technology plays a vital role at every operational sphere. It helps us reach out engage with customers all across the globe. In fact, we are the worlds first connected omni-channel nutrition brand where people can pick-up a product from anywhere and consult a human expert digitally. How do you foresee the growth of Over a quarter of women in the country suffer from undernourishment and exhibit a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 kg Moreover, an undernourished mother inevitably gives birth to an undernourished baby, thus, perpetuating an intergenerational cycle of undernutrition. OZiva has introduced a specific class of superior products that focus exclusively on enhancing womens health across the different stages of her life. Protein Herbs for Women has been specially formulated for women and comes packed with clean ingredients and herbs that promote better metabolism, hormonal balance, skin and hair. We also offer specialised products like HerBalance for PCOS, HerBalance for Menopause, HerBones (bone health) etc., catering to the varying needs of women. You are venturing into the personal care category and kids nutrition soon. Let us know how you want to promote and leverage this in the market. What are the kinds of products that will be included in the category? OZiva already enjoys an unparalleled presence in the clean, plant based segment offering products for holistic health spanning across categories like health, nutrition, beauty and more. OZiva Clean Beauty range will offer products that provide the goodness of phytonutrients and clinically proven activities, backed by botanical sciences. The range consists of a wide range of skin and hair care products that are safe and effective without any harmful chemicals. We currently have Phyto Cleanse range (anti-acne products), Inner Glo range (radiance and glow), Youth Elixir range (anti-ageing), Absolut Even range (anti-pigmentation) and Naturelle Infusion (for hair growth and nourishment). We have more products in the pipeline. OZiva Kids is all set to go live in September. Under this category, we will have specialised products for growing kids providing holistic nutrition. What is the core proposition of the brand? We have always been driven by one question- how we enable people to be healthier better. We believe that perfection is a myth. We all are trying to be a better version of ourselves every single day. And we want to ensure that on this journey of being better, you have clean, plant based products. This core thought has guided all the work that we have done so far. We believe holistic health is about achieving a balance of mind, body, soul! Right from what we eat to what we apply – really impacts our health wellbeing. You have recently roped in Deepika Padukone as your brand ambassador. Can you tell us why you chose her? Deepika Padukone is the perfect embodiment of our values of striving to be better in every way and adopting a holistic approach towards overall health, physically and mentally. Our philosophy of It is important to have clean nutrition along with maintaining physical health and mental wellbeing. And this association is the next pivotal step in our efforts to spearhead a national health and wellness revolution. What are your expansion plans? As a brand, we want to empower people to adopt a clean holistic lifestyle. We have ventured into newer categories like personal care and kids segments. We will also be increasing our offline footprint to strengthen our omni channel presence. We will continue to invest in people, products, technology and as far as the OZiva brand is considered it will continue to grow.
The Lithium-ion battery market is huge, but how big? Express Mobility spoke to Rajat Verma, the Founder and CEO of Lohum, a comapny that reuses and recycles Lithium-ion batteries to give them a new lease of life for various applications. Please explain how did you come about forming this company, the net worth, investors and the backing? Justin and I were seeing two key trends starting around 2015 Though these trends were positive in our view, there were also many parallels to fossil fuels If we only trade one problem for another then we have failed. Our view was that with the right technology we could make batteries last forever in one form or another and, by doing so, greatly reduce costs and the environmental impact. So that Lohum was founded in 2018, as the only integrated lithium-ion battery manufacturer and recycler to lower costs of electrification Over the last three years, we have been able to create the technology and infrastructure to manufacture, reuse and recycle Li-ion batteries with a capacity of 300 MWh per annum. Our first-life battery manufacturing is by far our leading business unit, but we are already the global leader in battery reuse for mobility applications with over two million operational miles so far. We have also raised a $7mn investment from institutional investors led by Baring PE Partners India earlier this year. The company grew 7x over the last year, even amid a pandemic, and we have been profitable for the last two years. How much battery-making material is obtained from outside India? How big is the facility and who are the clients? The key raw materials required for manufacturing a Li-ion cell are Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel and Graphite. Barring Graphite, these resources are almost non-existent in India. India, like most of the world, relies on other countries such as Chile, Congo, China and Australia for sourcing these key materials. Looking at the faster adoption of EVs, there will be an exponential increase in demand for Li-ion batteries. Early forecasts project the demand for its raw materials to grow by 13X for Lithium and Nickel, about 12X for Graphite and 6X for Cobalt by 2028. Through the recycling processes and repurposing Li-ion batteries for their second life, Lohum is working towards providing solutions to the challenges of burgeoning demand for batteries and their raw materials. We operate two facilities in Delhi NCR, with a total capacity of 300 MWh across li-ion battery manufacturing for2W, 3W and stationary ESS. And due to demand, we have a third factory in progress. Our customers on the mobility side are the leading EV players in the 2W and 3W space for battery manufacturing, as well as large global OEMs for re-use and recycling. How do you manage to recycle or disposing of the old batteries? We believe you have the required clearances for the same from the government; How difficult is it to get the approval? The world is moving towards the adoption of cleaner forms of energy, and we need to explore the possibilities of acceleration of electrification through sustainability. Li-ion has become the mainstay of energy storage solutions in all forms of electrification, be it electronics or powering machines in the telecom sector to EVs across the globe. With the massive adoption of Li-ion batteries, there is a dire need for a new vision for sustainable production, consumption, and retirement of lithium-ion batteries, thus becoming part of the circular economy instead of becoming waste. The best option for the environment and reducing battery costs with used batteries is to re-use the battery and then recycle it when it has reached its end of life. Our goal is to keep the battery operating as long as possible and then recycle the materials. As a first step to build the Li-ion circular ecosystem, Lohum has a dedicated battery collection centre that gets a continuous supply of end-of-life batteries from a network of responsible suppliers. We minimize risk during this step by ensuring all regulatory standards and safety protocols are meticulously followed. During the next step, these batteries are carefully segregated according to form factors and chemistries to prepare them for cell and module testing. These cells are rigorously tested to help sort useable cells from non-useable cells. A useable cell still has a good amount of life left in them and can be successfully employed for battery reuse, as second-life batteries. The non-useable cells are sent for material extraction, to extract the maximum amount of critical battery materials and valuable metals. Finally, the extraction process begins with shredding, where the non-useable battery cells are shredded to separate plastics, copper, and aluminium foil from the black mass. The extraction process includes a mechanical shredding process combined with a hydrometallurgical process that produces lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and graphite to be re-used in new batteries or other industrial applications. Lohum holds five provisional patents on this process. The extraction of these materials forms the pivot to Lohum The government has numerous compliance and regulatory requirements that we have completed. The government sees the value in recycling and is working to develop policies that help ensure it develops a domestic capability for generating speciality battery materials when no resources exist otherwise. How big is the battery disposing sector considering that not many want to talk about it? This will continue to grow exponentially as the transformation to battery accelerates. This is a testament to the size of the challenge being faced by the industry, and the possible impact on the environment, if these are left untreated.e. Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel, Manganese, and Graphite. Repurpose and recycle processes offer the opportunity to bring about multiple lifecycles out of the materials they hold. It is reuse and recycling that hold the key to bring down the carbon footprint of the industry, and the dependence on mining for these valuable materials to fuel sustainable electrification goals. At Lohum, we have the proprietary technology to bring about this change as we look forward to building India as the hub for the generation of these valuable finite materials, without an ounce of mining. It will be one of the top 5 global markets within the next decade. With a trillion-dollar opportunity in the EV space, India must move fast to gain a foothold in this segment, by augmenting supply-chain and domestic reuse and recycling capabilities. We don We are focused on designing and manufacturing the best products possible for our customers and ensure EV adoption accelerates even faster.
Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro TWS earbuds were launched by Xiaomi in India on Friday alongside the Redmi 10 Prime budget smartphone. These entry-level wireless earbuds pack some serious specs including dual drivers, Qualcomm aptX adaptive audio support and up to 30-hours playback time on single charge, all for Rs 2,999. The Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro will be sold via Amazon, Mi.com, Mi Home, and Mi Studio Stores starting from September 9. Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro specs, features Xiaomi is touting their Each earbud weighs just 4.6g. The design is in-ear which should ensure some degree of passive noise cancellation though Xiaomi is making no such claims here. Even without any official noise cancellation, these earbuds still punch way above their weight class thanks to their exhaustive feature set. These are also IPX4-rated. Also Read | Redmi 10 Prime with MediaTek Helio G88, 50MP quad cameras launched in India: Specs, price, other details These earbuds come with a dual driver setup consisting of a dynamic driver and another balanced armature driver, that together deliver The real steal though is that they pack the Qualcomm QCC3040 chipset bringing aptX Adaptive audio codec support to these super-tiny and super-affordable wireless earbuds. The codec is designed to offer Speaking of which, the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro support Bluetooth 5.2 right off the gate. Xiaomi has also thrown in a low latency mode for gaming and streaming scenarios. Moreover, these earbuds come with smart in-ear detection and touch controls for play\/pause, voice assistant, calls, and play the next or previous song functionality. Expectedly, the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro support fast pairing with Xiaomi phones running MIUI software. Xiaomi claims the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro can last for up to 7 hours on a single charge with 30 hours of total playback with the case combined. The case has a 600mAh battery and supports Type-C fast charging with a full charge taking around 3 hours (the earbuds charge in 1.5 hours).
By Jay Thakkar The August series was quite positive for the bulls wherein Nifty was up by more than 5%. In the same series, Nifty 50 provided a breakout from its 2 months range which led to some short covering plus the aggressive long built-ups. The broader market however traded with a negative bias wherein the Nifty bank, Nifty midcap and Nifty small-cap underperformed the Nifty with a high margin. The Nifty rollovers are good as it saw 83.98% rollover against the average of 78.48%. The Banknifty rollover was lower than the average as it stood at 79.08% against the average of 79.41%. In fact, their long positions increased towards the end of the series clearly indicating that the short term trend is positive from FIIs front. The Pharma and Auto sectors are likely to witness some short covering in this series whereas IT and Chemicals are likely to see the momentum continuing on the long side. Hence these are the 4 sectors which one can eye on the long side, the metal sector can see some profit booking or short built up going ahead in the September series. Nifty was consolidating within a range of 16700-16400 in the last series after a rally, however, the range is now broken on the upside which is quite positive. The immediate support now on the lower side is 16900 levels and till those levels are held the short term bias remains positive for the target of 17300 levels. Above 17300 levels, the extended target for the Index comes to 17600 levels and this major push now post two consecutive up days can come only with the help of Nifty Bank whose long-awaited breakout is pending. The Nifty Bank did close well in the positive territory in the last trading session however the breakout is yet to happen in it. On the upside,36500 levels is an immediate resistance which when taken off will take the Index to 37200-37500 levels. The support on the lower side is pegged at 36000 levels and below that 35500 levels. Mainly two private sector banks have kept the Nifty Bank under pressure so far and they are Kotak Bank and HDFC Bank and if these banks move up from hereon then the all-time high is very much possible. Stock such as Tata Motors, Escorts, Dr. Reddy Views expressed are the author Please consult your financial advisor before investing.)
By Md. Muddassir Quamar The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has wider ramifications for the world. Among the key questions that have come to the fore are the shifting US priorities in Asia and the Middle East and the fears about the Taliban harboring global jihadi-terrorist groups. Both these questions are intricately linked to geopolitics in the broader Southwest Asia region. Developments in Afghanistan have historically echoed in the wider region because of Afghanistan Besides geography, cultural linkages and religious networks have played their part. For example, the ripple effects of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan were felt across the region for long. One of the outcomes of the Soviet invasion was the Afghan jihad which was planned, funded and orchestrated covertly by the US, Pakistan and the Arab Gulf countries.Though Afghan jihad succeeded in reversing the Soviet advances, it eventually led the rise of Taliban and Al-Qaeda pushing Afghanistan Into a civil war and giving birth to global jihad. Al-Qaeda The 9\/11 terrorist attacks and the disastrous The Arab Spring protests and its ramifications further worsened regional competition with Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar jostling for greater influence and power. The global jihadi-terrorism evolved post-2011 in the form of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Da Now the Taliban takeover has again raised questions about the future of Afghanistan and how it will impact the wider Southwest Asia region. So far as the US policy is concerned, it is clear that Washington is more interested in focusing on domestic rejuvenation and on the Indo-Pacific. This means that the vacuum created by the US exit will be filled by regional countries including Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey who have already begun engaging the Taliban and who will try and hope for a degree of stability to set in. Nonetheless, there are wider cleavages so far as the regional countries are concerned. While Iran and Pakistan are immediate neighbors of Afghanistan, hence more vulnerable to security threats, Russia, China and Turkey are more interested in the economic opportunities. All these countries will be eyeing more influence, and in that respect Qatar has a head start because of its role as the facilitator of Taliban Pakistan too has come to the fore because of its deep links with the Haqqani Network. Turkey, which has close strategic relations with both Pakistan and Qatar, thus has an advantage over its regional rivals. Iran Tehran will also be worried about a greater role for Ankara in running the day-to-day activities in Kabul. Among the important regional actors who have become sidelined in the new dynamics are Saudi Arabia, UAE and India. All three have vital interests in Afghanistan but find themselves outmaneuvered not least because of their proximity with the US but also because other regional actors are not keen for them to play a significant role. The initial reaction from Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are indicative of what might be in store in the future. Both Turkey and Iran are keen to engage the Taliban to not only secure their interests but also to expand their regional influence. Saudi Arabia and the UAEare cautious and have kept the cards close to heart. They might use their influence in Islamabad to seek a role in Afghanistan and try to develop contacts with non-Taliban factions. The downward trajectory of Saudi-Emirati influence in Afghanistan is notable because during the previous period during 1996 and 2001 the two were among the handful of countries that had recognized the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Their influence on the Taliban has gradually weaned because they have distanced themselves from radical Islam, and are remolding their politics and foreign policy to moderate Islam. They have also begun to see Islamism and radicalism as security threats leading even to frictions with Turkey and Qatar. Besides, the non-state actors in the region including Shia and Sunni militant groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Somalia and Libya have reacted enthusiastically to the Taliban takeover celebrating it as a defeat of the US. For states fighting these groups this is not good news, as the militant and terrorist might be inspired to redouble their efforts in fighting the regimes or other regional powers. The events in Afghanistan are not good news for Southwest Asia. None of the regional countries want further instability, hence have joined forces to work with Taliban and ease its return to Kabul. Nonetheless, this is easier said than done because of both Taliban proclivity for radical Islam and the geopolitical cleavages among the regional actors. Only time will tell what the future has in store for Afghanistan but the reactions from regional countries show the anxieties and fears of Afghanistan becoming a failed state. (The author is Associate Fellow, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies Analyses, New Delhi. Views expressed are of the author and not of MP-IDSA or Government of India nor do they reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Twitter: @MuddassirQuamar)
State-run oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation have been given the mandate to set up around 12 ethanol manufacturing plants as part of a road map to meet the 20% ethanol blending target by 2025. Tarun Kapoor, secretary, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, told FE that the three oil majors have been asked to set up around 150 crore litre per annum ethanol manufacturing capacity out of 1,000 crore litre that will be required to meet the target by 2025. The companies will also be simultaneously setting up storage facilities for ethanol procured from other manufacturers, as the final blending is done by refiners and the oil marketing companies, he said. The investment will likely be funded by the companies themselves, said a senior PSU official. India has already achieved a blending percentage of 5% in FY2021. This year, it is estimated that India will cross 8% blending average. At present, petrol is being sold with 10% ethanol which is E10 while the target is to reach E20 by 2025. As per the road map for ethanol blending in India 2020-25, by Niti Aayog and the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, there are certain challenges that need to be overcome before the target could be achieved. A prominent challenge includes ensuring availability of ethanol across states for blending; about 50% of total pump nozzles in India are supplying only E0, which means zero blending capacity. Restrictions on inter-state movement of ethanol due to non-implementation of the amended provisions of Industries (Development Regulation) Act, 1951, by all the states, is the other big challenge. So far, only 14 states have implemented the amended provisions. Some of the major states consuming petrol where implementation is pending include Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha and Kerala. The government has also iterated the need for change in marketing infrastructure by setting up additional storage tanks for ethanol at marketing terminals and depots, need for ethanol compliant dispensing units. Besides, having additional underground tank, pipes, hoses and dispensing units for ethanol at the retail outlets. The oil secretary said, The other stakeholders like banks have also shown interest in funding the projects. Banks have been wary of funding the sugar mills in the past due to their weak balance sheets, however, now with the addition of rice, maize and other grains, the availability of ethanol would become lot easier, making funding of ethanol capacity building a lot more attractive option, said a senior PSU official.