Economy Round Up – March 03 to 07, 2014

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai |

The 5 year term of 15th Lok Sabha is due to expire on 31st May, 2014. Credible elections, conducted at regular prescribed intervals, are the very soul of any democratic system

Top Stories

Dates with Destiny: EC announces schedule for General Elections, 2014

The five year term of the 15th Lok Sabha is due to expire on 31st May, 2014. Credible elections, conducted at regular prescribed intervals, are the very soul of any democratic system. Article 324 of the Constitution of India bestows the relevant powers, duties and functions upon the Election Commission of India while Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides for conduct of the elections to constitute a new Lok Sabha before the expiry of its current term. Taking into account these Constitutional and legal provisions, the Election Commission of India has made comprehensive preparations for conduct of elections to the 16th Lok Sabha in a free, fair and peaceful manner.

Elections to world’s largest democracy pose immense challenges with respect to logistics and man and material management and Commission’s endeavour in this direction has been to consult all stakeholders, invite inputs from all relevant departments/ organizations and evolve a coordinated framework for smooth delivery of yet another round of General Elections. In the course of assessing various dimensions involved in holding elections to the 543 Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) and, in particular, the parameters to be considered for their scheduling and phasing, the Election Commission of India held a meeting with the representatives of all recognized National and State Political Parties on 4th February, 2014...Read More

Economy more stable than 18 months ago: FM

P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Finance addressing the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India said that the Interim Union Budget 2014-15 had been presented against the backdrop of considerable improvement in the macroeconomic environment with the fiscal and current account deficits being contained during financial year 2013-14. This was made possible by effective macro-economic management which included unconventional and difficult measures, and close coordination between the Government and RBI. The RBI has agreed to the proposal that the right to decide on an inflation target for the economy will become the government’s mandate and that the central bank would focus on achieving it, Chidambaram said while addressing a joint press conference with governor Raghuram Rajan. "I am glad that the measures taken by the RBI and measures taken by the government are complementing each other" he added. Chidambaram said that the government will achieve the fiscal deficit target of 4.6% in FY14 and the economy is more stable than it was 18 months ago. "The current account deficit (CAD) will be contained below $40 billion...Read More

India's CAD remains in check

Puff, almost gone: India's current account deficit narrows

Rupee ends at 61.09/$

The Indian rupee strengthened against the US dollar on Friday. The rupee ended at 61.09 per dollar, up 0.05% from previous close. The rupee hit 60.95 per dollar in early trade after opening higher at 61.02 against its Thursday’s close of 61.12.

The Indian equity market ended at life time high on Friday as the Nifty surpassed the 6500 mark while the BSE Sensex was just 40 points shy of the psychological 22000 levels. Finally, BSE Sensex closed at 21,920 up 406 points, while NSE Nifty closed at 6,527 up 126 points over the previous close.

Auto volume update - February 2014

Passenger vehicles: Mixed bag

Market leader Maruti reported a 1.8% yoy rise in domestic volumes led by 19.4% yoy jump in the compact segment driven by strong response to the recently launched Celerio. The performance was marred by 9.6% yoy fall in the mini segment and 12.2% yoy decline in UVs segment. Exports continue to disappoint with sharp fall of 19.5% yoy. On a sequential basis total domestic volumes grew by 3.3% while exports jumped 59.8%. For Tata Motors, while passenger cars saw a sequential recovery of 6.7%, UVs continue to see a decline with a fall of 8.4% mom. On a yoy basis, while UVs were down 19.2% passenger cars were higher by 16.2% (a low base effect). M&M too saw a sequential fall in UV sales of 2.4% while on yoy terms UV volumes were lower by 17.6%...Read More

Should be able to issue bank licences in few weeks: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India today said that the bank capital issue is a process and there is a need to find investors. The central bank will explore various processes for bank licence issue.

RBI governor Raghuram Rajan said, "The central bank will take a final decision on bank licences." RBI is looking into the Bimal Jalan panel report on bank licences, he added.

The governor said, "The central bank should be able to issue bank licences in a few weeks."

RBI extends exchange date of pre-2005 notes to Jan 1, 2015

RBI sells SDRs to pay govt

RBI extends deadline to send comments on payment system report

Q3 CAD narrows to $4.2bn: RBI

RBI launches Consumer Confidence Survey

Banks to accept e-Aadhaar as 'valid document': RBI

Changing governor’s sign on notes is tedious process: RBI

RBI releases study on corporate bond market

Credit to services sector rises by 17.3% in Jan: RBI

RBI directs money transfer agents on direct account facility

RBI panel to review flow of credit of MSME

Multi-state UCBs to follow CEO appointment rules: RBI

RBI launches export data processing and monitoring system

Sahara offers payment in instalments to SEBI

The Sahara Group offered to pay the entire amount to Sebi in cash instalments of Rs 2,500 crore each at regular intervals of three months, says report. The court was also told that the Sahara Group may also be returned the titles deeds of its assets that it has submitted to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). Media report stated that Senior counsel C A Sundaram told court that all the proceeds from the sale of these properties will be kept for returning money to Sebi. Justice Radhakrishnan said the regular bench, comprising him and Justice J.S. Khehar, will take up the proposal for consideration later in the day.

News Infocus

Maruti Celerio: Not just an EZ drive!

Just think of how envious other car companies in India might be of Maruti. Seldom is there a lack of buzz when India’s premier car company launches a new model. The last few launches like Ertiga and Alto 800 had analysts, media, and customers interested in a big way – and the subsequent sales numbers are testimony to the popularity achieved by these two models. This time around, the buzz centered on Maruti’s "worst kept secret" – a global hatchback – Celerio. It has had its fair share of hype and hoopla and it has been well worth it.In the run-up to the recently concluded 12th Auto Expo in Delhi, the buzz around the launch of the Celerio was quite high. From sneak previews, to line drawings and code names – speculation was rife about everything under the sun. Maruti capitalised on it by getting a good float by way of pre-booking amounts, and customers were happily willing to pay the Rs10,000 advance even without seeing the car. Now that the actual launch has happened, the waiting period for a couple of variants is touted at 3-4 months! This waiting period may well increase now with the benevolence showered on small cars by the Finance Minister in the Vote-on-Account budget. Maruti would be a big beneficiary of this ‘largesse’...Read More

The A to Z of Women and Money Management

The women have a complex relationship with money. While a woman likes money and spends it like any other rational person, she also prefers to let the man in her life manage it for her. Women are also usually more risk averse compared to men. Of course, there are exceptions. But, women in general and in India especially are hesitant to manage money. A woman can either be a homemaker, a working woman who is married, a single working woman or a single mother. Whatever be the case, it is absolutely critical that women understand money management and participate actively in financial decisions...Read More

Fashion and cars, connected worlds Fashion

Are Americans prepared for retirement?

As the Baby Boom generation rolls into retirement, researchers, policymakers, and the public are focused on American workers’ need and ability to save for retirement. To help inform that debate, the Investment Company Institute is convening a group of respected academics and experts to share their differing views on the question of whether Americans, young and old, are preparing adequately for retirement. Members of the media are invited to attend this invitation-only event that includes an audience of regulators, policymakers, retirement experts, and academics.

Researchers Have a Range of Views on Retirement Preparedness

The ICI Retirement Summit will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on April 4, 2014, to explore the issues around Americans’ retirement savings, including: data on household balance sheets and retiree consumption patterns; retirement risks facing today’s workers in Social Security, healthcare costs, and longevity risk; and alternative estimates of retirement preparedness...Read More

Support for quotas grows as part of women in business roles rusts: Grant Thornton

On the eve of International Women’s Day, new research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) shows that despite an upsurge of debates and measures to promote gender equity in the workplace, the representation of Indian women in senior positions remains a cause of concern. The survey finds a growing support for regulation to get women onto boards and facilitate their careers paths. Globally, the proportion of senior roles filled by women in 2014 is 24%. This is exactly the same proportion as 2013, 2009 and 2007, and only 5% higher than the 19% recorded ten years ago in 2004. Regionally, there has been very little significant change over the past decade with Eastern Europe (37%), Southeast Asia (35%) and China (38%) leading the way. Japan (9%), India and the United Arab Emirates (both 14%) continue to prop up the table...Read More

‘What Women Want’ from hotels?

Women love to have their say and their travel preferences are no exception. Indian women travel as frequently as once in two months (50%) with 44% stating spending quality time with family as their common reason for travel, indicates ‘What Women Want’, a survey conducted on the eve of Women’s Day by ixigo.com, India’s leading travel planning and search engine together with Lemon Tree Hotels- India’s third largest hotel company by owned rooms. The survey also confirms that women today have become very tech-savvy, with 43% booking their hotels online and 76% agreeing they only read user reviews to make their final choice. "With women climbing the corporate ladder and becoming more independent, travel is becoming an intrinsic part of their lives. Also, only women travel groups offering interesting holiday destinations and packages are luring women to take up travel. It is interesting to note that our survey indicates 26% women travel with their girl gang to explore new places," said Saurabh Srivastava, VP marketing & product strategy, ixigo.com. "Mobile apps is also clearly the way to go with 56% women using smartphone apps to find information about their destination and plan their trip."...Read More

Delhi tops the chart as the ‘Most Unsafe City’: TripAdvisor’s Survey

Just ahead of the International Women’s Day, TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site revealed the findings from its annual Women Travel Survey 2014, collected from 1068 women respondents. The survey, now in its second year is aimed at understanding the travel sentiment and preferences of Indian women with respect to leisure travel while travelling as a single woman or as part of an all-women group. According to Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India "An encouraging proportion of women in India have started to travel by themselves, or in all-women groups. What is discomforting is their preference for overseas destinations as opposed to India, from a safety perspective. It is imperative that this perception of India changes soon, to encourage more women travellers to get out there and experience the country."

Safety – Still Prime Concern

  • Among the 63% respondents who have never travelled alone, 33% felt that it was unsafe for a woman to travel alone in India.
  • Delhi retained its notorious reputation as the most unsafe city amongst the top 10 Indian cities polled*. 95% respondents in 2014 felt so v/s 84% in 2013. Kolkata (64%) and Jaipur (53%) ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively.
  • The top 3 cities in India voted the safest for women travellers to travel to include Ahmedabad (86%), Pune (84%) and Bangalore (81%). Mumbai (72%) has dropped to the 5th spot this year from the number 1 position in 2013.
  • Despite safety being a prime concern, over 51% respondents were not aware that hotels in India and abroad have floors exclusively for women. Yet given a choice over 72% women would like to stay at such hotels while travelling solo or in an all women group...Read More

Flexible working key to keeping valuable returning mums in the workforce: Regus

"A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes," writes Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean in. Latest research by Regus, the flexible workspace provider, confirms that mind-sets are rapidly changing as 75% of Indian firms report that companies that won’t employ women returning from maternity leave are missing out. Far from returning with an obsolete address book and a rusty memory, working mums bring valuable skills and expertise, say 73% of Indian businesses. These are the key findings of the latest research by Regus that canvassed the opinions of more than 19,000 business owners and senior managers in 98 countries. Respondents reported that flexible hours, working closer to home and the option to video conference instead of travelling at least some of the time are among the top strategies to get more mothers back into the workforce.

Other interesting figures show that:

  • 71% of Indian respondents report that more women are demanding to work remotely when they return to the workforce;
  • Perhaps due to increasing financial pressures, 58% of those surveyed say they are seeing women take shorter maternity leave (under 3 months);
  • 68% say working closer to home is a key incentive;
  • 38% report that the option to video conference instead of travelling would help returning mothers...Read More
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