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This blog will keep track of breaking news and key global and local developments through out the day.

Top Headlines:

1. Maruti Suzuki in talks to set up 750,000 capacity plant, may invest in Gujarat. This is a Moneycontrol exclusive

2. Exclusive: Electric Tiago, Tigor to mark Tata Motors’ entry into EVs

3. $3.6bn in hidden NPAs puts spotlight on bank stress, reports Bloomberg

4. Easy closure for small savings schemes likely, reports The Economic Times

19:05 No plans to ground A320 Neos over P&W engine glitches: DGCA

The aviation regulator DGCA has ruled out grounding the Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus A320Neo fleet despite the recurring serious safety issues with the faulty new engines.

Budget carrier IndiGo, which is the largest operator of these planes in the country, and GoAir being the other one, have already grounded three such planes following an emergency airworthiness directive from the European Aviation Safety Agency or Easa on this issue over the weekend. (PTI)

18:53 Gujarat to bring bill to curb the use of fake caste certificates

The Gujarat Government will introduce a bill in the upcoming Budget session to curb the practice of using fake caste certificates to avail benefits meant for those in the reserved categories, state Tribal Development Minister Ganpat Vasava said today.

Vasava, speaking in Surat, said those found guilty, of producing fake caste certificate for government jobs or for admissions in educational institutes or to contest polls on reserved seats, would face a jail term of three years and a fine of Rs 50,000. (PTI)

18:30 Nitish Kumar backs JD(U) move not to contest state by-polls in March

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar today defended his party's decision not to contest any of the three seats in the state where by-polls are scheduled to be held next month.

Kumar, the national president of the Janata Dal (United), said the party's state unit had taken a "policy decision" not to field candidates for the Araria Lok Sabha and Bhabhua and Jahanabad Assembly seats.

18:16 CCTVs in buses don't ensure women's safety: Maneka Gandhi

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today said installing CCTVs in buses is not effective in preventing incidents of molestation and ensuring women's safety.

The minister made the remarks while talking about the utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund for safety of women, which was created after the infamous December 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student paramedic student inside a bus in Delhi. (PTI)

18:00 ArcelorMittal India has submitted its offer for Essar Steel India

Chairman and CEO or ArcelorMittal, Lakshmi Mittal has said that AMIPL's offer includes investment plan to address operational issues in Essar, according to CNBC-TV18.

Essar provides the company an opportunity to enter the high growth Indian steel market, Mittal has said, adding that he believes that the "company is equipped to implement a turnaround that will benefit Essar’s stakeholders."

17:45 Food inflation comes down

According to government data released today, food inflation came down to 4.70 percent from 4.96 percent a month ago.

17:35 January CPI inflation at 5.07%, December IIP at 7.1%

Industrial output grew at 7.1% in December, compared with the same month in the previous year, according to a government data. Consumer price index (CPI) inflation came in at 5.07% for January as against 5.20% for December.

17:24 Nitish backs JD(U) move not to contest state by-polls in March

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar today defended his party's decision not to contest any of the three seats in the state where by-polls are scheduled to be held next month.

Kumar, the national president of the Janata Dal (United), said the party's state unit had taken a "policy decision" not to field candidates for the Araria Lok Sabha and Bhabhua and Jahanabad Assembly seats.

17:09 'Growth to rebound to 7.5% in FY19; slim chance of rate hike'

India's economy will accelerate to 7.5 percent in 2018-19 and there is a slim chance of the much-feared rate hike by the central bank in the near-term as inflation risks abate, says a report.

The economic momentum in the current financial year was affected by temporary disruptions on account of demonetization and GST implementation but a rebound in the next financial year is likely, the Deutsche Bank report said today.

16:54 Modi govt 'crushing' the voice of democracy: AAP MP

AAP leader and MP Sanjay Singh has accused the Narendra Modi government of "crushing" the voice of democracy and not letting opposition parties protest against its "anti-people" policies.

Singh levelled the allegations yesterday at an event here by his party's Maharashtra unit to felicitate him on his election to the Rajya Sabha.

16:45 BJP would form next government in Tripura: Amit Shah

BJP president Amit Shah today asserted that the BJP would form the next government in Tripura which would be the 20th state to be ruled by the saffron party.

Shah assured the voters that the promises made in the party's election manifesto released yesterday would be implemented.

16:37 BJP demands FIR against NC MLA for pro-Pak slogan in Assembly

​BJP MLAs today created a ruckus in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly as they demanded registration of an FIR against NC legislator Mohammad Akbar Lone for raising pro-Pakistan slogan in the House.

As the House assembled this morning, the agitating BJP MLAs rose on their feet demanding apology, suspension of the member and filing of a sedition case against him.

16:26 Sensex rebounds 295 points on positive global cues

The BSE benchmark Sensex rebounded by about 295 points to finish at 34,300 and the NSE Nifty reclaimed the 10,500-level today as investor sentiments were buoyed by robust corporate earnings and positive global cues. Investors heavily bought into recently battered power, realty, capital goods and banking stocks amid continued buying by domestic funds and retail investors ahead of inflation data to be released after market hours today.

After opening on a strong footing, the Sensex advanced to hit a fresh high of 34,351.34 on the back of continued buying by domestic funds and retail investors but later declined to 34,115.12 on profit booking. It finally settled 294.71 points, or 0.87%, higher at 34,300.47. The index had lost 407.40 points, or 1.18%, to settle at a one-month low of 34,005.76 on Friday, weighed by weak global stocks. The broader Nifty, after touching a high (intra-day) of 10,555.50 points, finished at 10,539.75, up 84.80 points, or 0.81%.

16:22 UK court awards BOC Aviation $90m against Vijay Mallya

Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya has lost another legal battle linked to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines after the UK High Court awarded Singapore-based BOC Aviation an estimated $90 million in claims, reports PTI. The latest case involving the 62-year-old businessman, whose extradition case over alleged loan defaults amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore returns to Westminster Magistrates Court in London on March 16, is related to the leasing of aircraft by Kingfisher Airlines dating back to 2014.

16:13 NBFCs' auto loan book may grow at 15% till FY20, says Crisil

The vehicle finance business of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) is likely to grow at 15% till FY20, helped by improving macroeconomic environment and government focus on infrastructure and rural areas. The report finds market opportunity for NBFCs stemming from continued government investments in roads, expected finalisation of the scrappage policy or the voluntary vehicle modernisation programme and higher budgetary spends for the rural sector.

"We expect the vehicle finance portfolio of NBFCs to grow 300 basis points (bps) faster over the three financial years to 2020, clocking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15%, compared to 12% saw in the past three years," Crisil said. In terms of segments, around 85% of NBFCs' vehicle finance portfolio comprises commercial vehicle (CVs) and car/utility vehicle (UVs) financing. The balance includes tractor and two/three wheeler financing.

16:03 CCI approves Rel Infra’s Rs 18,800cr deal with Adani Transmission

Reliance Infrastructure said the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved sale of its integrated Mumbai power business to Adani Transmission in a Rs 18,800 crore deal. Rel Infra and Adani Transmission had signed a definitive binding agreement for 100% stake sale of the integrated business of generation, transmission and distribution of power for Mumbai in December 2017, Rel Infra said in a statement. The transaction is expected to be completed by March 2018.

16:01 Sanofi launches new diabetes treatment insulin in India

Drug firm Sanofi India said it has launched diabetes treatment 'Toujeo' insulin in the country. The product, which is a next generation basal insulin, is a once-daily long-acting basal analog insulin that improves glycemic control in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

15:56 Nasscom worried over fall in angel, Series A funding

The software industry lobby has once again expressed concern over the falling fund flows into start-ups and called for added focus to galvanise the entrepreneurial ecosystem, reports PTI. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) had last November shared its concern over the taxation issues in the start-up scene, which led to a steep 50% fall in angel investments and a significant decline in series A funding.

"While angel investments are the critical first piece that gets a start-up going, series A fund is the one where the angel investors really make their exits and make money. That's what incentivises them to continue their investments," Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said. "We had pointed that out and felt that corrective measures are needed. However, we did not find that being addressed in the Budget," he added.

15:48 A $33bn manager tells investors resist temptation to ‘buy the dip’

Pierre-Henri Flamand, the Chief Investment Officer of Man Group’s GLG unit, said market swings could continue and warned against a tendency to “buy-the-dip” after a correction in global markets. “The instinctive inclination to ‘buy-the-dip’ may be strong,” Flamand told Bloomberg. “As the past week has shown, this may not work so well. Indeed, what we have seen in the past week could continue for some time.”

15:41 United Bank posts Q3 net loss of Rs 638cr on high provisions

United Bank of India has posted a loss of Rs 637.5 crore for the December quarter 2017, dented by higher provisions and deterioration in asset quality. Profit in corresponding quarter of last fiscal was Rs 64.1 crore.

Net interest income during the quarter declined 3.6% to Rs 348 crore from Rs 361 crore in the year-ago period. Gross NPAs were higher at 20.1% from 18.8% in the previous quarter. Net NPAs were also higher at 11.96% compared to 11.63% in Q3 FY17.

15:33 Indian Bank Q3 profit falls 19% YoY, but NII grows 30%

Public sector lender Indian Bank's third quarter (October-December) profit fell by 18.8% YoY to Rs 303.1 crore, dented by higher provisions and contingencies and lower other income. However, higher revenue growth and improvement in asset quality boosted profit. The bank had reported a profit of Rs 373.5 crore in the corresponding quarter of last fiscal.

Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and interest expended, grew 30.2% to Rs 1,623 crore compared to the year-ago period. Asset quality improved as gross non-performing assets were lower at 6.27% from 6.67% in the previous quarter. Net NPAs declined to 3.3% from 3.41% QoQ.

15:23 Pence raises prospect of talks with North Korea amid 'intensified' pressure

The United States may be looking more favourably at diplomatic engagement with North Korea, possibly holding dialogue, as South Korea pushes forward with plans to establish grounds for a rare summit between the two Koreas, reports Reuters. Vice President Mike Pence said the United States and South Korea had agreed on terms for further diplomatic engagement with North Korea, first with Seoul and then possibly leading to direct talks with Washington without pre-conditions.

15:09 Kotak Inst’l Eq says potential stressed asset a/cs on decline

The bad loan situation appears to be improving for private as well as public sector banks (PSBs) as the pipeline of accounts that may turn into stressed assets is shrinking. According to the Kotak Institutional Equities report, the overall trends on Special Mention Accounts (SMAs) portfolio is on a decline.

SMAs are those accounts that may turn into a stressed asset. Such a classification makes it easy to identify and tackle the problem better. "The decline (in SMA) is visible in both public and private banks from a peak of 7-9% per cent to 3.5-5% in second quarter of this fiscal year," Kotak Institutional Equities said in a report.

14:47 China inducts J-20 stealth bomber, first in Asia-Pacific region

China's induction of the latest J-20 stealth bomber, the first in the region, into its air force fleet will enhance the country's "new war capacities" and break the US and Japan's monopoly in Asia-Pacific region, according to the state media.

The introduction of stealth fighter has made waves as China is the first in the region to have the stealth bomber. Its introduction is very significant for India as the Indian Air Force is yet to acquire a stealth fighter, leaving a major gap in the strategic forces levels, especially in the high-altitude Tibet region, military observers said.

China's latest J-20 stealth fighters have been commissioned into air force combat service, Shen Jinke, spokesman for the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force said last week. The introduction "marks an important step for the J-20 to have comprehensive combat capabilities," Shen said. "The J-20 played a vital role in the air force's Red Sword 2017 exercise and laid a foundation for the enhancement of its new war capacities," state-run Xinhua news agency had quoted him as saying.

14:31 Fund managers tout debt to India bulls to balance stock bets

Money managers in India have a simple message for retail equity investors wounded by the global selloff in the past week: add debt funds. “There’s a case for people to get into bond funds,” Rajat Jain, Chief Investment Officer at Mumbai-based Principal PNB Asset Management Co, told Bloomberg. “While there will be volatility, yields will soften from here.” He recommends shorter-maturity debt funds.

Equity investors “should book profits on the riskiest part of their portfolios and switch to less-risky assets and restore their allocation,” said Unmesh Kulkarni, Mumbai-based head of markets and advisory at Julius Baer Wealth Advisors India Pvt. Aside from short-term debt funds, he recommends “staggered” purchases of long-duration plans as the surge in local yields has gone so far that it “seem to discounting two rate increases” by the RBI.

“Retail flows to fixed-income funds will go up simply because the relative differential in returns between debt and equity will narrow” because of the tax on stocks, said Navneet Munot, who oversees about $32 billion in assets at SBI Funds. “Also, with rates likely to go up from here, debt products are going to be more attractive.”

Axis Asset Management Co, which oversees $11.4 billion, sees value in the short-end of the yield curve, said R Sivakumar, Head of Fixed Income in Mumbai. He recommends short- and medium-term funds, and suggests liquid and ultra-short plans for a shorter holding period.

14:20 Bhagwat's remarks on Army 'misrepresented', says RSS

The RSS said its chief Mohan Bhagwat had not compared the Indian Army with Sangh volunteers and his remarks on the matter were "misrepresented", reports PTI. Bhagwat's remarks at an RSS workers meet in Bihar on Sunday were made as a comparison between common people and Sangh volunteers (swayamsevaks) and were in "no way a comparison" with the Indian Army, RSS Akhil Bhartiya Prachaar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya said in a statement.

14:17 FIA seeks talks with Indian Exchanges; SGX down 7%

Washington-based Futures Industry Association (FIA) said it will seek discussion with Indian exchanges about their decision to stop trading of indices on Singapore and other foreign exchanges, even as Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) stock fell over 7% after the development, reports PTI. Indian stock exchanges - BSE, NSE and Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (MSEI) - on Friday said they will immediately stop the trading of indices of Indian securities on foreign bourses as part of a joint effort to stymie migration of liquidity to overseas markets

14:03 Pak warns against any Indian cross-border raid after Kashmir attack

Pakistan warned India against cross-border strikes in the disputed region of Kashmir after Indian authorities blamed a Pakistan-based group for an attack on an army camp in which soldiers and their families were targeted, reports Reuters. Saturday’s attack on the camp near Jammu was the worst in months, with five soldiers and the father of one of the soldiers killed and women and children among the 10 wounded.

India said the heavily armed attackers were members of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group, drawing criticism from Pakistan about rushing to judgment without a full inquiry. “It is a well-established pattern that Indian officials begin making irresponsible statements and levelling unfounded allegations, even before any proper investigation in any incident has been initiated,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

India, it said, was making these allegations to divert attention from its brutality in trying to control the armed revolt in Kashmir, and warned against any retaliatory measures across the Line of Control. “We hope that the international community would urge India to stop the untold atrocities and gross violations of human rights in IoK (Indian Occupied Kashmir) (and) refrain from any misadventure across the Line of Control...” it said.

13:58 Foodpanda to invest Rs 400cr to strengthen delivery network

Online food ordering and delivery platform Foodpanda India said it plans to invest Rs 400 crore to scale up technology to ensure seamless experience across the country. The company also plans to hire 25,000 delivery riders in the next 12 to 15 months. The investment will focus on scaling up technology, ensuring seamless experience for partner restaurants, users and riders across all the metros and other key cities in the country, Foodpanda said in a statement.

13:46 IndoStar Capital files Rs 2,000cr IPO papers with Sebi

Non-banking finance company IndoStar Capital Finance has filed its draft papers with capital markets regulator Sebi to raise an estimated Rs 2,000 crore through an initial share-sale. The IPO comprises issuance of fresh shares worth Rs 700 crore. Besides, existing shareholders will offer up to 2 crore scrips, as per the draft prospectus filed with Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

"Our company proposes to utilise the net proceeds from the fresh issue towards augmenting its capital base to meet future capital requirements," the firm said. According to merchant banking sources, the IPO is expected to fetch Rs 2,000 crore.

13:32 Car sales down 1.25%, passenger vehicles up 7.57% in Jan

Domestic passenger vehicle sales were up 7.57% to 285,477 units in January from 265,389 units in the same month last year. Car sales, however, declined 1.25% to 184,264 units last month as against 186,596 units in January last year, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Motorcycle sales last month jumped by 28.64% to 10,54,062 units compared to 819,385 units in January 2017.

Total two-wheeler sales in January were higher by 33.43% to 16,84,066 units compared to 12,62,140 units in the year-ago month. Sales of commercial vehicles grew 39.73% to 85,660 units in January as against 61,305 units, SIAM said. Vehicle sales across categories registered 30.71% growth to 21,17,746 units, from 16,20,179 units in January 2017, it added.

13:32 Easy closure for small savings schemes likely, says report

Subscribers of small savings schemes, including the public provident fund (PPF), may be able to close their accounts prematurely with the government looking to provide flexibility to investors to deal with financial exigencies, reports The Economic Times. The proposal, which will improve the attractiveness of such schemes that typically don't allow easy exits, is part of a bigger recast that will bring all of them under one umbrella law as proposed in the Budget 2018-19.

This involves putting in place the Government Savings Promotion Act and repealing the Public Provident Fund Act, 1968, the Government Savings Certificate Act, 1959, and the Government Savings Bank Act, 1873. One of the proposed amendments empowers the government to notify norms for premature closure of small saving schemes.

The government can use the enabling provision to provide this facility to investors in the event of medical or financial emergencies. The amended law will also allow guardians to deposit funds on behalf of minors in all schemes, a facility that existed in only some of them. Minors will also be able to nominate an heir. The proposed changes also define the rights of nominees explicitly.

13:15 Tough choice for foreign investors after exchanges rein in trading abroad

A move by Indian exchanges to stop licensing its products and data to bourses abroad will likely force foreign investors into a tough option: migrate their trading onshore to India, with its uncertain regulatory environment and higher taxes, or give up their exposure to a hot emerging market, reports Reuters.

For foreign investors, trading derivatives in India’s exchanges means paying higher taxes and factoring in currency risks for rupee-based contracts. India also requires all foreign investors to register with regulators. One option for foreign investors is shifting trading to India’s new international finance centre in Gujarat, which offers dollar-based derivatives contracts, low taxes and good infrastructure.

But volumes there have been negligible, while concerns remain about India’s unpredictable regulatory regime, making some foreign investors wary of moving to Gujarat unless a major global exchange decides to link up with a domestic exchange there. Staying away from India would mean forgoing a market that has surged in recent years. The NSE’s main benchmark index, the Nifty 50, has gained nearly 66% since the start of 2014, buoyed by optimism over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reform agenda.

13:03 BJP jumps to defend, RSS releases statement after Mohan Bhagwat compares Indian Army with swayamsevaks

​Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday quoted controversy when he said the organisation could prepare to fight for the nation in three days, while the Army would need six-seven months.

The comment has been met received widespread criticism with Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeting, "The RSS Chief's speech is an insult to every Indian, because it disrespects those who have died for our nation. It is an insult to our flag because it insults every soldier who ever saluted it. Shame on you Mr Bhagwat, for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army."

12:54 Farmer input subsidy scheme in Telangana leaves out tenant farmers

A farmer input subsidy scheme in Telangana has left out tenant farmers from its purview as the scheme takes into account only land-owning farmers, reports Mint. 

The input subsidy scheme, aimed at reducing farmer distress, promises to provide Rs 4,000 per acre to help farmers defray input cost like fertilisers and seeds. However, the scheme does not include tenant farmers.

“The scheme's purpose is to provide input support and make land owners active farmers. That is why we are providing monetary benefits,” a senior official from the state’s agriculture department said, adding that as of now there is no provision to include tenant farmers.

12:47  Rajasthan announces loan waiver for farmers; to cost Rs 8,000 crore

Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje, today announced one-time loan waiver of up to Rs 50,000 for small and marginal farmers in the state, which would cost Rs 8,000 crore to the exchequer.

Presenting the state budget in the Assembly, Raje also announced setting up a farmer loan relief commission where farmers can approach and present their side for getting relief on merit basis.

As Raje, who also holds finance portfolio, announced the loan waiver, opposition Congress members led by the leader of opposition Rameshwar Dudi created uproar in the house.

12:34 Trump to unveil $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan today

President Donald Trump will today unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan, a $1.5 trillion proposal that fulfils a number of campaign goals, but relies heavily on state and local governments to produce much of the funding, reports AP. The administration's plan is cantered on using $200 billion in federal money to leverage local and state tax dollars to fix America's infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports.

12:08 Investigators hunt for clues over Russian passenger plane crash

Investigators will examine numerous possible causes of one of Russia's worst ever aviation accidents that saw a passenger plane carrying 71 people crash near Moscow minutes after take-off, killing everyone on board, reports AFP. Russia's Investigative Committee said it would consider explanations including human error, technical failure and weather conditions, as the country has experienced record snowfall in recent weeks. But it did not mention the possibility of terrorism.

The Antonov An-148 plane went down in the Ramensky district on the outskirts of Moscow at 2:48 pm on Sunday after taking off from Domodedovo airport in the capital. "Sixty-five passengers and six crew members were on board, and all of them died," Russia's office of transport investigations said in a statement. Three children were among the fatalities on a list published by Russian authorities.

11:42 Record $24bn flees world's largest ETF

Investors actively abandoned the world’s biggest passive fund during the onset of market mayhem, reports Bloomberg. The SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund suffered a record $23.6 billion in outflows last week amid the worst momentum swing in history for the underlying US equity benchmark. Outflows amounted to 8% of the fund’s total assets at the start of the week, a rate of withdrawals not seen since August 2010. A blow-up in volatility-linked products sent markets haywire, eliciting waves of risk aversion from jittery investors.

11:35 CG Power Systems bags Rs 335cr order from Indonesian firm

CG Power & Industrial Solutions said its wholly-owned subsidiary has bagged an order worth Indonesian rupiah 744 billion (Rs 335 crore) from state utility PT PLN (Persero) for manufacturing and supply of 64 units of power transformers. "CG Power Systems Indonesia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CG Power & Industrial Solutions, has bagged an order from Indonesian state utility PT PLN (Persero) for manufacturing and supply of 64 units of Power Transformers valued at IDR 744 billion," the company said in a BSE filing.

"This project is the first of its kind to be funded by Islamic Development Bank to support PLN's ambitious goal to enhance its transmission grid performance," it added. The project will be completed by December 2018. The scope of work includes site survey, design, manufacturing, supply and installation of 64 units (4400 MVA) of power transformers in PLN regions spread from Aceh to Papua over Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and Malukku Islands of Indonesia.

11:30 L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering bags Rs 2,200cr order

L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering, a wholly-owned subsidiary of engineering giant Larsen & Toubro, has secured a Rs 2,200-crore contract from Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra Petroleum Operations Company. L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering has signed "a major field development EPC contract with Al Dhafra Petroleum Operations Company, Abu Dhabi, UAE, with a value in excess of Rs 2,200 crore", L&T stated in a BSE filing.

The scope of the contract includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of flow lines, gathering facilities and pipelines to transfer crude oil and gas from Haliba fields to processing facility at Asab and installation of 132 kV and 33 kV overhead electrical transmission lines to supply power.

11:18 Militants' bid to attack camp thwarted, says CRPF

The CRPF claimed to have thwarted militants' bid to attack its camp in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar, reports PTI. "The sentry at the camp noticed two suspicious persons at around 4.30 am, carrying back packs and weapons. He challenged them and opened fire as well," a spokesman of the CRPF said.

The militants fled from the spot, the spokesman said, adding searches were going on in the area to track down the ultras. The incident comes two days after Jaish-e-Mohammad militants attacked an Army camp in Sunjwan area of Jammu, killing six people including five soldiers.

10:54 $3.6bn in hidden NPAs puts spotlight on bank stress

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) unearthed about $3.6 billion of bad loans in the books of State Bank of India (SBI), amplifying questions about distress in the financial sector given underreporting by some rivals as well, reports Bloomberg. SBI on Friday said an audit by the central bank showed soured debt was about Rs 232 billion rupees ($3.6 billion) higher than what the state-run lender reported for the end of March 2017.

HDFC Bank had a Rs 20.5 billion divergence, while ICICI Bank said it isn’t required to make disclosures on the topic even as provisions for bad loans climbed. It had reported a divergence in the previous year. Banks must disclose such discrepancies if the gap between reported numbers and the RBI’s audit findings is more than 15%. SBI’s admission is particularly striking because the lender is often seen as a proxy for the nation’s economy, where the ratio of bad loans has surged to be among the highest in the world.

10:44 Lendingkart raises Rs 565cr from Fullerton Financial Holdings

Fintech major Lendingkart Technologies said it has raised over $87 million (Rs 565 crore) in equity funding, led by Singapore's Fullerton Financial Holdings (FFH), reports PTI. Existing investors also participated in the latest round of the funding. With this, Lendingkart Group's cumulative equity and debt raising will exceed $173 million (Rs 1,129 crore), of which $114 million was through equity route.

10:07 Vodafone, Idea may have a new brand name after merger, says report

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, India's second-and third ranked telcos that are merging, are working on a new name and brand identity for the combined entity, which may come into effect a year after the transaction closes, sources told The Economic Times.

"There will be a new brand identity — work has started on it," a senior consultant working on the merged company's new identity said. The UK-based Vodafone and the Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Idea are chalking out a new positioning that will attract customers and retain the recall value associated with both the parent companies, sources said.

09:41 US, UK govt websites infected with crypto-mining malware

Thousands of websites, including ones run by the US and UK government agencies, were infected for several hours on Sunday with code that causes web browsers to secretly mine digital currencies, technology news site The Register reported. More than 4,200 sites were infected with a malicious version of a widely used tool known as Browsealoud from British software maker Texthelp, which reads out webpages for people with vision problems, according to The Register. The tainted version of Browsealoud caused inserted software for mining the digital currency Monero to run on computers that visited infected sites, generating money for the hackers behind the attack, it stated.

09:32 UK consumer spending stays in the doldrums in January: Visa

British shoppers spent less last month than the year before, causing spending in January to fall for the first time since 2013, according to a survey which underscored many households’ caution about their finances and the approach of Brexit, reports Reuters. Visa, whose debit and credit cards are used for a third of payments in Britain, said on Monday that consumers stayed away from the traditional post-Christmas sales last month. Household spending fell by 1.2% in January compared with the same month in 2017, with spending in shops down by 4%, it said.

09:26 Number of Indians holidaying abroad to treble by 2025, says report

The number of Indians holidaying abroad is likely to treble by 2025 and may account for 40% of the international air trips from the country, according to an aviation think-tank report. The growth in vacations in foreign countries will be driven by tourists from Tier-II Indian cities as well as an increase in budget carriers flying on international routes, the report jointly prepared by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation and Expedia group said.

In 2016, there were 21.9 million foreign departures from India, of which 4.8 million were leisure trips. By 2025 there will be 13.9 million international leisure departures from India, accounting for 40.3% of total projected 34.5 million international departures, according to the report. The contribution of foreign vacations to the total outbound departures will grow by 10% from 30% in 2016.

09:16 Dubai opens world's tallest hotel, again

Gulf metropolis Dubai, on its never-ending quest to break records, announced the opening of the "world's new tallest hotel", pipping another towering landmark in the city for the title, reports AFP. The gleaming gold 75-storey Gevora Hotel stands 356 metres, or nearly a quarter of a mile, tall. The new record-holder is within view of its predecessor, Dubai's JW Mariott Marquis - just one metre shorter.

09:08 Narayana Hrudayalaya explores more international operations

Narayana Hrudayalaya, which recently completed the acquisition of Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI) in the Caribbean Islands, is now exploring more international healthcare markets, reports PTI. Last month, it had completed the buyback of the remaining 71.4% shareholding in Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI) from Ascension Health Ventures for $32.26 million.

"We are optimistic that this experience will act as a stepping stone for us to further explore the untapped international healthcare market. The success we achieved at this facility, in terms of the unit breaking even at monthly EBITDA level in the 24th month and making net profit by the 11th quarter, has bolstered our conviction to operate in such territories," Narayana Hrudayalaya Vice Chairman Ashutosh Raghuvanshi said.

08:32 Centre saved Rs 56,000cr through Aadhaar-enabled DBT: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Centre has saved Rs 56,000 crore through Aadhaar-enabled direct benefit transfer of about 400 government schemes, reports PTI. Stating that technology plays a pivotal role in the growth of an economy, Modi said one tax structure or GST has been made possible in India only because of it.

08:31 ONGC to nominate one director on HPCL board

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is likely to nominate one director on the board of recently acquired Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) while retaining all the present directors of the company, reports PTI. ONGC late last month completed acquisition of the government's 51.11% stake in HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore. HPCL is now a subsidiary of ONGC.

Like its other major subsidiaries - Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) and ONGC Videsh, ONGC is likely to nominate just one director on the board of HPCL, sources said. HPCL board currently has four functional directors besides the Chairman and Managing Director. It also has two government nominee directors and six independent directors.

Sources said the Articles of Association of HPCL provide for the board to be made up of a maximum of 20 directors, including independent ones. ONGC can, theoretically speaking, nominate more than one director but such nomination would have to be matched by an appointment of an equal number of independent directors, they said. So, while ONGC can nominate 3 directors, it may eventually name only one, they added.

08:29 Reliance Infrastructure bags Rs 567cr order from NTPC

Reliance Infrastructure said it has won a Rs 567 crore order from state-owned NTPC for Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) works at the latter's 3x500 MW power plant in Jhajjar, Haryana. FGD method is used to remove sulfur dioxide from exhaust flue gases of fossil-fuel power plants.

Rel Infra EPC has received the letter of approval (LoA) from NTPC for FGD works of its 3x500 MW power plant in Jhajjar, the company said in a statement. EPC division of RInfra had earlier emerged as L1 bidder amid competition against leading EPC players including BHEL, L&T, and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power system.

08:25 NTPC may borrow Rs 16K cr to add 6,900 MW by March 2019

State-run power giant NTPC may borrow about Rs 16,000 crore in the next financial year for adding 6,900 MW of fresh electricity generation capacity by March 2019. "The corporation may hit the bonds or debt market to borrow about Rs 16,000 crore during the next financial year for financing the ongoing projects," a source told PTI.

"NTPC is currently working on adding 21,000 MW capacities and projects are at different stage of execution... by March 2019 it plans to add about 6,900 MW. The company is comfortably placed and has enough leveraging potential. It will continue to fund the projects at debt to equity ratio of 70:30," the source added.

08:22 Mumbai 12th richest city globally, total wealth at $950bn

India's financial capital Mumbai, with a total wealth of $950 billion, has been named among the top 15 wealthiest cities globally, while New York topped the list. According to a report by New World Wealth, the economic hub of India is the 12th wealthiest city, followed by Toronto with a total wealth of $944 billion, Frankfurt (14th, $912 billion) and Paris (15th, $860 billion), reports PTI.

Total wealth, refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities. Government funds are excluded from the figures.

Mumbai, also features among the top 10 cities in terms of billionaire population. The city is home to 28 billionaires, individuals with $1 billion or more in net assets. Going forward, Mumbai is expected to be the fastest growing city (in terms of wealth growth over the next 10 years), it added. The list of 15 wealthiest cities was topped by New York with a total wealth of $3 trillion.

08:19 Niti bats for setting up independent debt management office

Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar made a strong case for setting up an independent debt management office, saying better servicing of loans could lead to substantial reduction in India's interest payment, reports PTI. At present, the government debt, including market borrowing, is managed by the Reserve Bank of India. "Now the time has come to seriously consider better management of India's debt servicing obligations...interest payment is such a large part of the revenue expenditure that better management of debt servicing could substantially reduce interest payment," Kumar said.

Noting that India's external debt is only 18% of total GDP, the Niti Aayog vice-chairman said that when the RBI manages India's debt then there is a conflict of interest. "Because if you let more external people come and compete in government debt market then you get more foreign exchange, therefore exchange rate management gets problematic. So, therefore debt market remains confined to few domestic players...I think therefore time has come for this step to be taken in right earnest," Kumar insisted.

08:13 Govt measures to ensure MSMEs become growth engine, says DFS Secy

A slew of recent measures, including tax concessions in the Budget, for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) has been taken with an aim to transform such enterprises worth Rs 6.33 crore into a growth engine for 'new India', a senior government official told PTI.

These initiatives will bring down the tax burden on enterprises with an annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore and also lower the interest burden, leaving more surplus for investment and growth of the MSME sector which is the backbone of the country's economy in terms of output, exports and employment generation.

The RBI on its part too announced various measures for MSMEs hit by the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) by giving them additional up to 180 days to clear their dues to banks. "All these measures are aimed at making the Rs 6.33-crore MSME enterprises growth engine for new India," Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said.

08:10 Property prices in metros stagnate, finds survey

With the real estate market beginning to adjust to various reforms like demonetisation, GST and RERA, most Indian metros witnessed recovery with sales improving, while property prices corrected or maintained status-quo, a survey said. According to the survey by property portal 99acres.com, most of the metros saw average property prices either dipping or remaining flat, while overall sales improved in a few markets.

The sales volume witnessed growth in cities such as Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru on the back of price corrections. While Hyderabad and Kolkata saw rentals increasing by 4% each during the October-December 2017 quarter as compared to the same period in 2016, Bengaluru and Mumbai recorded 3% hike. The report said the inventory-heavy markets of Delhi NCR and Mumbai witnessed corrections in some popular housing pockets of Gurugram, Noida and Navi Mumbai.

08:09 Aster DM Healthcare raises Rs 294cr from anchor investors, issue opens for subscription today

Aster DM Healthcare has raised Rs 294 crore from anchor investors ahead of its initial public offer which opens for subscription today. The company, which runs hospitals in India and the West Asia, has allocated shares to anchor investors at the upper end of the IPO price band of Rs 190 per scrip.

The price band for the offer, which would be open from February 12 to 15, is Rs 180-190 per share. According to a filing to the stock exchanges, Aster has allotted 1,54,75,843 shares at the price of Rs 190 apiece to anchor investors raising Rs 294 crore. Through the IPO, Aster is expected to garner Rs 980 crore.

08:07 OVL, partners acquire 10% stake in Abu Dhabi oilfield for $600m

ONGC Videsh and its partners have acquired a 10% stake in a large offshore oilfield in Abu Dhabi for $600 million, the first time any Indian company has set foot in the oil-rich UAE, reports PTI. The contract for the oilfield in Lower Zakum Concessionwas signed in Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening.

OVL, the overseas arm of ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and a unit of Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), paid a signing amount of $600 million for a 10% stake in Abu Dhabi National Oil Co's (ADNOC) 40-year Lower Zakum Concession, Offshore Abu Dhabi. "The current production of this field is about 400,000 barrels of oil per day (20mtpa) and Indian consortium's annual share shall be about 2MT," the OVL said in a press statement.

07:54 Maruti Suzuki in talks to set up 750,000 capacity plant, may invest in Gujarat

Maruti Suzuki, the country’s biggest car maker, is in talks with parent Suzuki Motor Corporation for setting up new factories in India aimed at defending its iron grip over the domestic car market, reports Moneycontrol News’ Swaraj Baggonkar.

The maker of Alto and Swift will have new capacities totalling 750,000 units per year, taking its total future installed capacity to a staggering 3 million units per annum. The new capacities could either come up in Gujarat, where its parent has started operations with its first plant or it could come at a completely new site.

Speaking exclusively to Moneycontrol, Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director, Maruti Suzuki said, “Right now, the capacity of (the) Gujarat plant is 250,000 units per annum. We have started construction of the second plant, which will start operations in 2019. We are also requesting a third plant there and a decision on starting operations will be taken this year. There is a capacity of 750,000 per year for the future in Gujarat. And in the Haryana plant, we have a capacity of 1.5 million. Together, we would have a capacity of 2.25 million. After that, we have to consider if we want to have another factory in Gujarat and then should we look at some other site.”

07:40 Electric Tiago, Tigor to mark Tata Motors’ entry into EVs

Tata Motors will roll out electric versions of the Tiago and Tigor for the retail market as it begins a shift towards smart mobility, a top company official told  Moneycontrol News’ Swaraj Baggonkar. Both models, which were on display at the Auto Expo 2018, could be in showrooms by the second half of 2019. “We have successfully developed the electric versions of the Tiago and Tigor and both will be on sale in some months”, said Guenter Butschek, Managing Director, Tata Motors.

07:36 Bank of Baroda Q3 net down 56% YoY to Rs 112cr

Bank of Baroda post market hours on Friday registered a 56% YoY decline in its net profit at Rs 112 crore for the third quarter ended December. The bank had posted a net profit of Rs 253 crore in the corresponding October-December period of 2016-17.

Total income of the bank, however, was up marginally by 6.53%, to Rs 12,976 crore during the quarter, as against Rs 12,181 crore in the year-ago period, the bank said in a regulatory filing. Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) reached 11.31% of gross advances by end of December 2017 from 11.4% in the same period a year ago. Net NPAs or bad loans, however, fell to 4.97% of the net advances from 5.43% in the year ago period.

07:34 M&M Q3 standalone profit up 12% YoY at Rs 1,215.91cr

Post market hours on Friday, Mahindra & Mahindra reported a 12.49% YoY increase in its standalone net profit at Rs 1,215.91 crore for Q3 FY18. The company had posted a standalone net profit of Rs 1,080.85 crore in the same period of last fiscal, the company said in a statement.

Revenue from operations stood at Rs 11,577.78 crore versus Rs 11,843.74 crore in the year-ago period. The two figures are not comparable as revenue from operations under pre-Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime included excise duty, which is now subsumed in GST. During the quarter, the company said, it sold a total of 121,786 vehicles, up 8% from the same period last fiscal.

07:32 Coal India Q3 net profit up 4% at Rs 3,004cr

State-run miner Coal India (CIL) reported a 4.21% increase in its consolidated net profit at Rs 3,004.79 crore for the quarter ended December 2017. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 2,883.27 crore during the October-December quarter of the previous fiscal, CIL said in a regulatory filing. Total income during the quarter under review stood at Rs 22,484.14 crore. It was Rs 23,064.65 crore in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.

07:31 ONGC net up 15% YoY at Rs 5,014.67cr on higher prices

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) post market hours on Friday reported a 15% YoY rise in the December quarter net profit on higher prices. The net profit in the October-December quarter of the current fiscal, at Rs 5,014.67 crore, was higher than Rs 4,352.33 crore in the same period a year ago, the company said in a regulatory filing. ONGC’s total income rose 15.4% YoY to Rs 24,122.42 crore during the third quarter of 2017-18.

07:28 SBI posts first Q3 loss in 17 years at Rs 1,886.57cr

Post market hours on Friday, State Bank of India reported a massive Rs 1,886.57 crore net loss for Q3 FY18 as its bad loans and provisions spiked. It had, in contrast, reported a net profit of Rs 2,152.14 crore in Q3 FY17. The nation’s largest lender saw its net bad loans ratio spiking to 5.61% of advances, from 4.24% YoY. Gross non-performing assets ratio jumped meanwhile from 7.23% to cross the double-digit mark at 10.35% during the quarter under review.

07:25 Gold ETFs see Rs 679cr outflow in 10 months of FY18

Investors have pulled out Rs 110 crore from gold exchange-traded funds in January, taking the total outflow to Rs 679 crore in the first 10 months of the current fiscal, on account of poor returns. The outflow meant assets under management (AUM) of gold funds plunged by over 15% during the period under review to Rs 4,906 crore, from Rs 5,670 crore in the year-ago period, latest update with the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi) showed.

Trading in gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has been lukewarm in the previous four fiscals. It had witnessed an outflow of Rs 775 crore in FY17, Rs 903 crore in FY16, Rs 1,475 crore in FY15 and Rs 2,293 crore in FY14. On the other hand, equity and equity-linked savings scheme (ELSS) saw an infusion of Rs 1.5 lakh crore during the first 10 months of FY18. This included an investment of over Rs 15,000 crore in the last month alone.

07:23 M-Cap of top 10 cos erode by over Rs 1 lakh cr

The combined market valuation of the 10 most valued Indian companies slumped by Rs 111,986.87 crore last week, with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) taking the steepest hit. Over last week, the BSE Sensex recorded a steep fall of 1,060.99 points, or 3.02%, as sentiment was hit by the imposition of long-term capital gains tax on equities as well as the global markets turmoil.

TCS, the country's most valued firm, suffered a loss of Rs 33,854.18 crore in its market capitalisation (M-Cap) to reach Rs 568,983.70 crore. HDFC Bank's valuation dropped Rs 24,935.67 crore to Rs 480,206 crore and that of HDFC slumped Rs 20,733.18 crore to Rs 283,336.41 crore.

The M-Cap of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) plunged Rs 8,073.5 crore to Rs 289,044.47 crore. The valuation of Infosys dived Rs 6,514.19 crore to Rs 242,827.36 crore and that of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) declined by Rs 6,031.62 crore to Rs 240,943.99 crore. The market cap of Reliance Industries (RIL) eroded by Rs 4,908.95 crore to Rs 568,773.21 crore and that of ITC slumped Rs 4,877.27 crore to Rs 330,800.77 crore.

Similarly, the valuation of Maruti Suzuki India tumbled by Rs 1,626.7 crore to Rs 270,254.42 crore and that of State Bank of India (SBI) dipped Rs 431.61 crore to Rs 255,854.07 crore. In the ranking of top-10 firms, TCS stood at number one position, followed by RIL, HDFC Bank, ITC, HUL, HDFC, Maruti, SBI, Infosys and ONGC.

07:21 FPIs take out Rs 3,800cr in just 7 trading days

Foreign investors pulled over Rs 3,800 crore from the Indian stock markets in the last seven trading sessions on account of a global sell-off. This comes following an inflow of over Rs 13,780 crore by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in January. According to the depositories data, FPIs withdrew a net amount of Rs 3,838 crore from equities in the last seven trading sessions. However, they put in nearly Rs 4,600 crore in the debt markets during the period under review.

07:08 ​RSS can prepare an army within 3 days, says Mohan Bhagwat

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said the organisation has the ability to prepare an "army" to fight for the country within three days, if such a situation arises, reports PTI. The RSS chief said this while addressing the workers at Zila school ground on the last day of his six-day visit of Muzaffarpur.

"Sangh will prepare military personnel within three days which the Army would do in 6-7 months. This is our capability. Swayamsewak will be ready to take on the front if the country faces such a situation and Constitution permits to do so)," Bhagwat said. Sangh is neither a military nor a para military organisation, rather it is like a "parivarik sangathan" (family organisation) where discipline is practised like the Army, he said adding that workers are always happily ready to make supreme sacrifice for their country.