Now, Ramdev’s Patanjali products to be available on Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm

Yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda has entered into an agreement with e-commerce websites to give a big push to the online sale of its Swadeshi range of Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

 

Patanjali Ayurveda’s products will now be available on online websites, including- PayTM Mall, Big Basket, Flipkart, Grofers, Amazon, netmeds, 1mg, Shopclues, and others.

Ramdev said the online mechanism aims to provide convenient and efficient option along with the extension of the traditional retail market.

“Utmost care has been taken to ensure (the) Swadeshi movement and it has been ensured that Patanjali products reach into every home without compromising on policies and business ethics,” he said.

Managing Director and CEO of Patanjali Ayurveda Acharya Balkrishna said the new mechanism would help to reach people who prefer to use online platform for shopping more these days.

“It would reach those who do not have access to the point of purchase and they are looking for alternate mechanism to shop and can get Patanjali products at home, and provide most efficient and convenient digital shopping experience,”

Patanjali has created an ecosystem which helps to settle at least a million orders every day.

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Now, Ramdev’s Patanjali products to be available on Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm

Budget 2018 will be Modi govt’s biggest challenge in 4 years. Here’s why

Unlike most countries, the budget is usually an eventful affair in India and is a heated topic of national conversation around the time of its release. The underlying national interest behind it is mostly because the budget holds something for everyone — ranging from a small farmer to a big industrialist. However, from this year onwards, much of its sheen will be off by a bit.

The tinkering of indirect taxes, which was an aspect of the budget that affected everyone in all corners of the country, is not within the Centre’s domain anymore. Since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), all indirect taxes — except for customs duty — have to be decided upon by the GST Council instead of being annually altered based on short-term political interests. Therefore, the first budget after the GST reform will be a challenging one for the government.

The fact that this will be the last full budget before the 2019 elections and that the government has already spent all of its budgeted expenditure for this financial year will further complicate matters. The oncoming elections affect the budget in multiple ways.

First, if the Gujarat election results are to be taken as indicative of the national sentiment, the BJP government is more popular in urban areas than it is in the countryside. The recently released CSO growth estimates show why. The farm and allied sector grew at 2.1 per cent in the current financial year as compared to 4.9 per cent in the preceding year. So, the ailing agricultural sector will receive much-needed redressal in the upcoming budget. In fact, the Finance Minister has already confirmed this. Reviving growth in the sector can also be a viable mechanism for job creation — another economic aspect that the government will be looking to address the budget.

Second, with the elections around the corner, firming up economic growth will be foremost on the government’s agenda. Investments have declined from 34.3 per cent of the GDP in 2011-12 to 27 per cent in 2016-17. They still do not seem to have picked up. First advanced estimates show that this has further fallen to 26.4 per cent in 2017-18. Estimates of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) show that new investment proposals are likely to amount to around Rs 8 trillion ($126 billion) in 2017-18, which would be merely 60 per cent of the new proposals made in 2016-17. This would also be the lowest since 2004-05.

The subdued investment activity has been a result of the twin balance sheet problem that is now two budgets old. Clearly, it has been a difficult dragon to slay. Hopefully, a resolution should be in sight when the Rs 1.35 trillion-bank recapitalisation plan comes into force. The budget will bring about more clarity on the specifics of the plan and how it will affect government finances.

Third, the government will be a tight conundrum to balance the budget between going populist in an election season and sticking to the fiscal deficit target. It is almost certain that the government will breach the fiscal deficit target this year after revenue collection in the new tax regime is mostly turning out to be lower than expected, forcing the government to borrow an additional Rs 500 billion. This puts the government’s net borrowing at the highest level since 2013-14. Moreover, it needs to be pointed out that this figure does not include the Rs 800 billion meant for bank recapitalisation this financial year.

Therefore, managing finances for the next fiscal will be a challenge considering the current scenario. The fact that the economy is not growing at full throttle is not helping either. The government will have to take a call on curbing its spending to maintain the deficit and sacrificing growth partly or splurge and maintain a higher deficit next year as well, risking inflation in the process. The elections make it enticing to choose the populist route and breach the fiscal ceiling. A case can be made that growth should be prioritised over maintaining the fiscal target, but reneging on the commitment will diminish the government’s credibility — which is more harmful in the long run. Rewiring the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) law to make it counter-cyclical in nature would be a better route to adopt.

All factors considered, this budget presents the biggest challenge to the Modi government since coming into power. Low growth numbers, subdued investment sentiment and a widening deficit when elections are around the corner leave a Herculean task at hand. The balance between populism and fiscal restraint will be difficult to manage. In any case, the document that will be taking the centre stage on February 1 will define the course for a lot of things to come.

(Amit Kapoor is chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. The views expressed are personal. Chirag Yadav, researcher at Institute for Competitiveness has contributed to the article)

Budget 2018 will be Modi govt’s biggest challenge in 4 years. Here’s why

Debt-laden Air India to be split into four entities ahead of sale

India will break up its debt-burdened flag carrier into four separate companies and offer to sell at least 51 per cent in each of them as part of a disinvestment proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The core airline business comprising Air India and Air India Express — the low-cost overseas arm — will be offered as one company, and the process will be completed by the end of 2018, Junior Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said in an interview Monday. Its regional arm, ground handling, and engineering operations will also be sold separately in the same process.
A successful sale of Air India — with $7.9 billion in debt, five subsidiaries and a joint venture, and a combined workforce of 27,000 — is crucial for Modi, who wants to showcase his credentials as a reformist attempting to steer the state away from running businesses. The airline, which is surviving on a taxpayer-funded bailout, has strained government finances for decades, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said last year that money spent on Air India could have been used for education.
Unlocking Growth
“The aviation sector is a very fast growing sector, with really exciting opportunities for all participants, so we felt all of this will unlock growth and competitiveness of Air India group,” Sinha said. “We expect it to be a very bright future for its employees.”
Sinha declined to name potential bidders but said management control will be retained by local investors. The government altered foreign investment rules last week, allowing foreign airlines to own as much as 49 per cent of Air India.

Investors’ interest will be sought by end of this month with details on Air India’s core and non-core debt and assets, he added.
The government will add most of the non-core debt owed by the carrier to its own balance sheet, while borrowings linked to core operations will be retained by the unit on offer, Sinha said. A so-called special purpose vehicle will hold the unsustainable debt of the airline and the government is making “every effort” to protect employees.
Air India has been unprofitable since its 2007 merger with state-owned domestic operator Indian Airlines Ltd. The company made an operating profit of about 1 billion rupees ($15.7 million) in the year through March 2016, primarily due to a slump in oil prices. It still posted a net loss of 38.4 billion rupees, according to the government.
$63 Billion Investment
India, the world’s fastest growing major aviation market, may not sustain the current 15-20 per cent growth in the long term, but will expand at about 12 per cent annually. To handle the surge in passengers, the country will need investments of as much as Rs 4 trillion to expand and build new airports over the next decade-and-a-half, with the bulk of it coming from the private sector.
Carriers in India, including market leader IndiGo, are set to order more than 1,000 planes as they look to tap an emerging middle class with disposable income to fly for the first time, according to Sydney-based CAPA Centre for Aviation. However, capacity constraints at the main airports in New Delhi and Mumbai mean there are hardly any landing and parking slots available.
The government is in the process of implementing new airports in these two cities and, in the short-term, improving infrastructure at nearby airports to handle some of that growth.
“As of now, we have very significant expansion plans underway. We’ve looked at the top 30 airports in the country,” Sinha said. “We now have a very clear roadmap for the next 15-20 years as to what we have to do.”

 

Debt-laden Air India to be split into four entities ahead of sale

JioCoin: Reliance planning own cryptocurrency, Akash Ambani to lead project

Reliance Jio is planning to create a cryptocurrency of its own called ‘JioCoin’, and will put together a young team of 50-odd professionals under Akash Ambani to kickstart the project, a Livemint report claims. The Ambani scion is reportedly interested in developing blockchain technology to aid the development of smart contacts and cryptocurrency payment-enabled supply chains.
Blockchain is a digital ledger that works as a book-keeper for cryptocurrencies.

‘Jio’ a leap into Reliance’s future?
Reliance Jio has disrupted India’s telecom sector in the past year-and-a-half by offering services at hyper-competitive prices, forcing other telcos to follow suit.
Reliance Industries, the oil-to-telecom conglomerate that holds Jio is reportedly mulling an IPO in late 2018 or early 2019. The group has already pumped in $31 billion worth of investment in Jio.
The Livemint report quoted a Jio official as saying that the company aspires to get into the Internet-of-things business and blockchain technology is supposed to help its foray.

IoT is technology that allows physical objects like wearable technology, smartphones, other electronic devices to be connected. From smart cities to driverless cars and smart factories, and smart homes the Internet of Things is supposed to enter every aspect of people’s lives.
ALSO READ: How ‘Internet of Things’ will change the world as we know it
Reliance celebrated forty years of its existence a couple of weeks back, where Mukesh Ambani’s children- Aakash, Isha, Anant were projected as the petrochemical behemoth’s next-generation leaders.
Mukesh Ambani earlier said that group would take big leaps in the digital services sector. The Reliance group has changed its core business quite a few times over the decades- from dealing in spices to exporting textiles, to becoming a petrochemical behemoth and now disrupting the telecom sector.
Regulatory hurdles?
However, it would be interesting to see how the country’s financial mandarins warm up to the idea.
In December last year, the Reserve Bank of India had cautioned “users, holders and traders” of Bitcoins about the security-related risks associated with dealing in such virtual currencies, as reported by Business Standard. “In the wake of a significant spurt in the valuation of many VCs and rapid growth in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), RBI reiterates the concerns,” the central bank said in a statement.
Last year, The Income Tax Department had conducted survey operations at major Bitcoin exchanges across the country on suspicion of alleged tax evasion, as reported earlier by the Business Standard.
The chairman of India’s capital markets regulator, Ajay Tyagi, had earlier said that the Sebi, the RBI and the government were locked in a huddle to determine the legal oversight for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

JioCoin: Reliance planning own cryptocurrency, Akash Ambani to lead project

Budding Israel-India romance tested by Narendra Modi’s balancing act

Before setting off for New Delhi this weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received an unwelcome reminder of the maneuvering Indian counterpart Narendra Modi must perform as their countries deepen ties.
In early January, Israel confirmed that India called off a $500 million missile deal. In December, New Delhi backed a United Nations resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s new Israel-friendly policy on Jerusalem.
While Israel is charging headlong into warmer ties with New Delhi, India is engaged in a balancing act, in deference to its historical support for the Palestinians and alliances with Israeli rivals, including Iran.
“The maturing relationship with Israel does make strategic sense for India,” said Nirupama Rao, India’s former ambassador to the US and China. “But India is also not bereft of the realization that it has important interests in the Gulf and West Asia to protect because these interests involve its many people who live and work in that region, as well as its energy security.”
Soaring Trade
Tiny Israel needs large markets for its export-driven economy. India, with its 1.3 billion people, colossal military budget and widespread poverty, has needs Israel can fill.
Bilateral trade, excluding defence, grew to at least $4 billion in 2016 from just $200 million in 1992, the year the two nations established full diplomatic relations. Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. won nearly $2 billion in contracts from India last year alone.
Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has challenged the accepted wisdom that closer ties with Israel will alienate India’s Muslim minority.

During a historic first trip by an Indian prime minister to Israel last year, Modi didn’t travel the several miles to the West Bank to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as visiting leaders usually do.
A Netanyahu-Modi bromance was carefully choreographed during that visit, complete with shots of them walking barefoot together through the Mediterranean surf.
“India, more than most countries, is making it clear they can engage with Israel without having to package that relationship to the Palestinian cause,” said Arthur Lenk, who served as an Israeli diplomat in India in the late 1990s. “It’s India saying, ‘What’s in it for us?’”
Clashing Interests
“What’s in it for us” doesn’t always align with Israel’s interests. New Delhi is helping Netanyahu’s nemesis, Iran, develop its southeastern Chabahar port. It has consistently backed the Palestinian quest for statehood and, in December, was among 128 nations to denounce Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“What we did with Jerusalem is exactly what our policy has been,” said Anil Trigunayat, a retired Indian diplomat and former ambassador to Libya and Jordan.
Netanyahu said the UN vote wouldn’t hurt ties.
“I would have preferred another vote, to be frank, but I don’t think it materially changes the tremendous flowering of relations between India and Israel,” he told journalists Wednesday. “I think you’re going to see an expansion of economic and other ties, regardless of this or that deal,” he said, commenting on the cancellation of the missile agreement with state-run Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
R&D Fund
During the January 14-19 visit, Israel and India will announce deals and joint investments in areas ranging from defence to renewable energy, Gilad Cohen, deputy director-general in charge of Asia at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said in a briefing Wednesday.
Netanyahu will be accompanied by about 130 businesspeople from the cyber, defence, agriculture and healthcare industries.
“India has become a more sophisticated market in recent years,” said delegation member Benjamin Grossman, head of the Indian practice at the Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. law firm in Tel Aviv. “India became aware that if they want to bring technology, they had to change their mindset and reduce the red tape. It also helps that the sentiment between the governments has been really positive.”

 

Budding Israel-India romance tested by Narendra Modi’s balancing act

Markets end at new closing highs, Nifty settles above 10,650; Infosys flat

Benchmark indices end marginally but at new closing highs on Thursday with Nifty comfortably above the 10,650 levels led by blue chips like ICICI Bank and ONGC

Investors, however, remained wary as four senior sitting judges of the complain that Supreme Court as administration of the country’s top court was not in order.

 

At a hurriedly called press conference at the residence of Justice J Chelameswar, the No 2 in the apex court hierarchy, they said it was with “no pleasure” that they had been compelled to make public what they were upset with.

“Hallmark of democracy is independent and fair judiciary. We tried to convince Chief Justice that things are not in order. Unfortunately, our attempts failed,” said Justice Chelameswar. “It is s with no pleasure that we have been compelled to do this, administration of SC is not in order,” he said. ”

Sentiment was also affected ahead of Infosys earnings later today and the federal budget next month.

Globally, Asian stocks resumed their ascent on Friday, supported by US earnings optimism and a rise in oil prices while the euro edged higher as the European Central Bank signalled an end to its massive stimulus.

 

Markets end at new closing highs, Nifty settles above 10,650; Infosys flat

Rules not being adhered to: Questions raised by 4 judges in letter to CJI

In an unprecedented event, four senior sitting judges of the Supreme Court on Friday met the media to complain that the administration of the country’s top court was not in order.

At a hurriedly called press conference at the residence of Justice J. Chelameswar, the No.2 in the apex court hierarchy, they said it was with “no pleasure” that they had been compelled to make public what they were upset with.

 

The four – Justices J Chelameswar, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph – addressed the media at Justice Chelameswar’s home, an event that Chelameswar said was “extraordinary in the history of any nation” but that they were “compelled” to do it.
At the press meet, Justice J Chelameswar, the second senior-most judge in the top court, said the administration of the top court is “not in order” and that efforts to convince Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had “failed”. Chelameswar sounded caution over the “survival of democracy” and replying to a question on whether the CJI should be impeached said it was for the nation to “decide”.
The four judges’ wrote a letter to the CJI two months ago, airing their grievances about selective assigning of important cases to judges who are junior to them.
Here are the four main issues they had with the CJI
1. Important cases assigned by CJI to benches of preference without any rationale
The judges felt important cases get heard by CJI-led bench and do not distributed to other senior judges heading benches.
“Once of the well settled principles is that the Chief Justice is the master of the roster with a privilege to determine the roster, necessity in multi-numbered courts for an orderly transactions of business and appropriate arrangements with respect to matter with which member/Bench of this court (as the case may be) is required to deal with which case or class of cases is to be made. The convention of recognising the privilege of the Chief Justice to form the roster and assign cases to different members/benches of the court is a convention devised for a disciplined and efficient transaction of business of the court but no a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues. It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the Chief Justice is only the first amongst the equals — nothing more or nothing less,” the letter said.
2. The judges alleged that cases with far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution have been assigned by the Chief Justice selectively to the benches “of their preference” without any rational basis” and that this must be ‘guarded against at all costs.’
“In the above context, we deem it proper to address you presently with regard the order dated 27th October, 2017, in R B Luthra vs. Union of India to the effect that there should be no further delay in finalising the Memorandum of Procedure in the larger public interest. When the Memorandum of Procedure was a subject matter of a decision of a Constitution Bench of this court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association and Anr. vs Union of India, [(2016) 5 SCC 1] it is difficult to understand as to how any other bench could have dealt with the matter,”the letter alleged.
3. The administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things less than desirable has happened in the past few months
“The member of any multi-numbered judicial body including this court would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matter which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition wise and strength wise with due regard to the roster fixed.
Any departure from the above two rules would not only lead to unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution. Not to talk about the chaos that would result from such departure. We are sorry to say that off late the twin rules mentioned above have not been strictly adhered to,” the letter said.
The judges were not happy about the medical college admissions scam being sent to court no 7 after a Justice Chelameswar headed bench sent it to a five-judge bench of himself, the CJI, and Justices Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph.
4. The judges also said CJI should not head a small bench and deal with the memorandum of procedure when it was earlier heard by a five-judge bench.
“On 4th July 2017 , a Bench of seven Judges of this Court decided In Re Hon’ble Shri Justice C S Karnan [ (2017) 1 SCC 1]. In that decision (referred to in R. P . Luthra), two of us observed that there is a need to revisit the process of appointment of judges and to set up a mechanism for corrective measures other than impeachment. No observation was made by any of the seven learned judges with regard to the Memorandum of Procedure. Any issue with regard to the Memorandum of Procedure should be discussed in the Chief Justices Conference and by the Full Court. Such a matter of grave importance, if at all required to be taken on the judicial side, should be dealt with by none other than a Constitution Bench,” the letter alleged.
In essence, the letter raised these primary questions in the seven-page letter to the CJI
1) Is top judiciary being run on whims? 2) Are most senior judges being bypassed by the CJI? 3) Are all big cases against the govt being assigned to “selective” benches 4) Is Govt interfering with the highest judiciary?
You can view the entire letter here

Rules not being adhered to: Questions raised by 4 judges in letter to CJI