German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz launched AMG GLC 43 Coupe in India priced at Rs 74.8 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). "This new SUV Coupe is going to be a key addition to our 43 AMG line and will be instrumental in further popularising the 43 AMG range to a new customer base," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Roland Folger said. The model combines elegance of a coupe with dynamics of a sports car and versatility of the Mercedes-Benz GLC, he added. "We are confident that this brand will be well received by our elite Indian customers," Folger said. The petrol-powered vehicle produces 367 HP and can sprint from 0-100 km/h in mere 4.9 seconds. The new model is the 8th product launch by the company in India during the year. The vehicle comes with various features including all wheel drive, electric sunroof and LED light system. Commenting on the sales performance during the current year, Folger said: "It has turned out to be a golden year for us". In the first half of the year, the automaker has sold 7,171 units in India, its best performance till date. "We are confident that we will lead the luxury car segment this year as well," Folger said. In order to further push AMG brand in India, the company plans to add two new AMG performance centres at Chennai and Kochi, he added. The company currently has AMG performance centres at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad.
Apple will help take Indian railways to the next level. Trains speed to be increased to 600 km per hour
Eyeing trains speeds of 600 km per hour, the government is working with global technology firms like Apple to help take Indian railways to the next level, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday. The railway minister also said the government's premier think tank NITI Aayog had approved the ministry's Rs18,000 crore proposal to increase speeds of the Gatiman Express on the two busiest corridors, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata. With this approval, the speed of the Gatiman Express would increase to 200 km per hour, the minister said at an event organised by industry chamber ASSOCHAM. "You can yourself imagine how much travelling time this will save." Sharing plans for the future, Prabhu said the government had six-eight months ago called major technology developers working on increasing train speeds to more than 600 km per hour. "We are already working with companies like Apple... technology will not only be imported in India but will be co- developed in India," Prabhu said. Safety was also an important concern and Indian railways was planning to use self-propelled coaches that can detect rail fractures through ultrasonic technology, the minister added.
The much awaited pension scheme-Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana- for senior citizens aged 60 or above will be formally launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had announced the scheme on New Year's eve exclusively for senior citizens. The pension scheme is offered by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). In this falling interest rate scenario, where banks are cutting their deposit rates and the interest rates on small saving schemes are at record low, experts believe it will provide senior citizens aged 60 or above an alternative to look at. Here is all you need to know about the scheme. 1. Under this scheme, there will be an assured return of 8 per cent over a tenure of 10 years. If there is a shortfall between the actual return earned under the scheme and the guaranteed return of 8 per cent then the government will subsidise LIC for it. 2. LIC started offering the pension scheme since May 4,2017 and it will remain open for the next one year. 3. One can invest in the pension scheme through both online and offline mode. 4. Under the scheme the investor will get the option to choose between the mode of payment - monthly, quarterly,half-yearly and yearly. There is a minimum and maximum limit on the investment amount depending on the mode of pension chosen. For example if a person choses to receive the minimum pension available under the scheme (Rs 1,000 per month), then he will have to invest Rs 1.5 lakh but if the person chooses to receive Rs 12,000 annually, then Rs 1,44,578 will have to be invested. 5. Premature withdrawal from the scheme is possible in case the money is required for the treatment of terminal or critical illness of the the person or spouse. In this case, 98 per cent of the amount invested will be refunded. 6. In case of the death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the purchase price will be refunded to the beneficiary. 7. On the maturity , the pensioner will get back the amount invested along with the final installment of the pension. 8. One can also avail a loan of up to 75 per cent of the amount invested after three years. 9. With interest rates moving down, this will be a good option. Since the scheme will be open for one year from the date of launch, it will advisable to wait and see during the year whether Reserve Bank of India cuts rates further or not and then decide to invest if interest rates move down further," said Manoj Nagpal, CEO, Outlook Asia Capital. 10. "Considering the interest rate are falling it may not be a bad idea for senior citizens, especially those who fall in the lower tax bracket. But as the interest income will be taxable, those who fall in the higher tax bracket can also look at options such as tax free bonds," said Anil Rego, CEO & Founder, Right Horizons.
Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani on Friday announced the 4G VoLTE feature JioPhone at an effective price of Rs Zero. However, customers first have to pay a security of Rs 1500, which would be fully refundable after three years. Unveiling the 'India ka Smartphone', Ambani said that the launch of JioPhone is a critical element in bridging the divide between digital India. The 4G enabled phone includes, a distress call system, Jio Music, Jio Cinema and Jio TV. The phone also supports 22 major Indian languages. Here are the data plans the newly launched smartphone will offer:
- "Voice will always be free" on a JioPhone, said Ambani. He went on to announce "digital freedom" on JioPhones since August 15 with unlimited data.
- The phone will come with unlimited 4G data. Jio customers can avail Reliance Jio's Dhan Dhana Dhan offer on their JioPhone in just Rs 153 for a month.
- Jio Customers can also avail the same offer weekly in just Rs 53 and for two days in just Rs 23.
- Jio has also introduced a new Rs 309 per month plan for those who want to mirror content from JioPhone screen to the TV.
In a year’s time, Indian flyers can browse the Internet and log on to sites like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. This inflight connectivity, which was hitherto available only for defence personnel, will be offered by State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and International Mobile Satellite Organization (Inmarsat). “In about a year’s time, we will open satellite phone services to private companies and persons, as well as offer Internet facility on flights and ships,” said BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava .
Air travellers would get data via a Wi-Fi router. This will be facilitated through antennas which will link it to the nearest satellite. The bandwidth would be provided as per the tariff rolled out after necessary regulatory approvals, Shrivastava said. BSNL has already received the go ahead from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Satellite-based phone services in India were, till recently, offered by Tata Communications (TCL) after it acquired state-run Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL) in February 2008. The Tata Group company has been offering limited satellite services. But this is now being transitioned to BSNL which is now the only player to have the licence to provide satellite phone services in India.
“We are the sole licensee to provide satellite services. Inmarsat has tied up with BSNL and has already installed their equipment on our premises after being tested for law enforcement,” a top BSNL executive said. The company has also already applied for the International Maritime Organisation licence.
The state-owned telco has already asked existing Inmarsat satellite phone users to migrate to the new network by July 31. The ongoing transition of network and subscribers from Tata Communications to the new network will be completed by August, Shrivastava said.
The satellite phones, as part of this shift, would come to the telco soon and have new SIM numbers. The first phase would involve the transition, which is expected to conclude by August end, followed by the stepping up of the network’s broadband capacity and finally extending this capacity to aircraft and ships, Shrivastava said.
US-based aerospace systems provider Honeywell, in a recent finding, estimated that ‘connected aircraft’ would be a $7-billion opportunity with as many as 25,000 airplanes expected to offer Internet connectivity by 2025. INMARSAT was set up under the United Nations in 1979 and India was one of its founding members.
The Reliance Industries stock hit a 52-week high ahead of its 40th annual general meeting scheduled to begin in almost an hour from now today. The RIL stock pushed the market higher by almost 50 points in early trade. At 9:53 am, the stock was trading 3 percent or 46.20 points higher at 1574 level on the BSE. The AGM is scheduled to be held at 11 am in Birla Matoshri Sabhagar in Mumbai. Analysts say the stock may reach its new nine-year high, citing likely announcements in the Reliance Industries AGM event today where it is likely to launch a new 4G Jio phone at an unexpected price tag of Rs 500. Brokerage HSBC has pegged the price of the handset at as low as Rs 500, that would usher in another wave of disruption in the telecom market. Reliance Industries could also announce a new tariff plan with aggressive price points for Jio consumers with its 84 day 'Dhan Dhana Dhan Offer' coming to an end on April 11. On Thursday, the telecom to oil sector conglomerate on Thursday announced a 28 percent rise in its Q1 net profit to Rs 9,108 crore. The healthy rise in earnings can be attributed to robust performance by its core businesses - refining margins soared to a nine-year high of $11.9 per barrel, while profitability of the petrochemicals business rose to a record.
Mobile wallet company Paytm will now offer consumers the option of receiving 'digital gold' as cashback on their transactions.This will combine the spending and saving experience with an asset that is close to the hearts of Indians, Paytm said in a statement. Earlier this year, Paytm had partnered gold refiner, MMTC-PAMP to allow consumers to buy gold for as low as Re 1. Under the partnership, Paytm wallet holders could purchase 24K 999.9 purity gold online and store it in MMTC-PAMP's secure vaults free of charge. Paytm, in an emailed response, said "users can choose to receive their cashback in their Paytm Wallet or as Paytm Gold". "The company aims to encourage the habit of saving each time they spend, thus achieving long-term wealth creation for its users. Accumulated gold can be delivered or sold back to MMTC PAMP instantly," it added. “It is our belief that this what India’s wealth management and gold standard in wealth management will be. We believe that this kind of product is not meant for people with large money, but this is meant for the auto rickshaw driver, or the corner store owner and for everybody who probably earns money in cash and has no way to keep it in the bank or if they don’t have a bank account." Customers will receive the option to opt for a special promo code which will enable them to convert their cashback into Paytm Gold, it said. Paytm pointed out that it has registered a trend over the last couple of months of customers increasing converting their cashback into Paytm Gold for long term savings. "To encourage this trend further, we are introducing cashback as Paytm Gold. Whether you are shopping online, paying utility bills or buying movie/travel tickets (through Paytm), you can earn pure gold kept for free in MMTC-PAMP's secured lockers," Paytm Senior Vice President Krishna Hegde said. If you’re curious, based on the gold market’s spot pricing, for Re 1 we were able to purchase 0.0003g of gold. The gold is stored in a locker provided by MMTC-PAMP. To have the gold delivered to you it has to be a minimum of 1g. Krishna also said users have the option of selling the gold back to MMTC-PAMP and the money will be credited to your bank account. There appears to be no maximum amount of gold you can buy. However beyond the 20,000 rupee limit a month, you will be prompted for KYC authentication. To purchase beyond 50,000 rupees of gold there will be other RBI compliances to satisfy.
Jet Airways, India's second-largest airline by market share, has asked dozens of its junior-ranking pilots to accept 30-50 percent pay cuts, or quit, as it moves to bring down its costs, according to two sources and letters seen by Reuters. Jet Airways has proposed salary and stipend cuts in letters sent to pilots earlier this month, saying it was forced to take such steps as it was "intensely focused on fleet and network rationalization". The move, to be implemented from Aug. 1, is likely to impact up to 400 pilots, said the two sources, who asked not to be named. A third source close to the development said Jet had to make some work adjustments with pilots, as it has rationalized its network given weakness in the Gulf region and improved fleet utilization. Jet Airways, which has the highest cost structure among all the major private-sector carriers in India, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Jet Airways has struggled to keep a lid on costs in one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets where competition from low-cost carriers such as InterGlobe Aviation's (INGL.NS) IndiGo and SpiceJet (SPJT.BO) is on the rise and is putting it under pressure. The Indian airline, partly-owned by Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates, is also facing headwinds in the international market due to uncertainty in the oil-rich Gulf region which is hurting its revenues.
The government today said it would take into consideration suggestions and views received from time to time before deciding on the contours of Air India disinvestment. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Lok Sabha that IndiGo has submitted an expression of interest with respect to disinvestment of Air India. "Suggestions and views are received from time to time, including the articles published in media, regarding disinvestment of Air India. These would be kept in mind while arriving at the final decision regarding contours of the disinvestment," Sinha said in a written reply. On June 28, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries. An Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) has been constituted to guide the process on the strategic disinvestment and its meeting is "yet to commence", Sinha said. Noting that IndiGo has submitted an expression of interest, the minister said the "disinvestment of any CPSE (Central Public Sector Enterprise) is done in accordance with the laid down procedure and no response needs to be communicated at this stage to IndiGo". While replying to questions from various members on Air India disinvestment, Sinha said the airline has been facing losses for the past many years not only on account of merger with Indian Airlines but also due to multitude of other factors. These include high fuel prices, interest burden, debt- equity ratio, airport user charges and increasing competition, especially from low-cost carriers, he added. Citing per provisional estimates, the minister said Air India is expected to post a net loss of Rs 3,643 crore in 2016-17 period. At the end of March this year, the airline's total debt stood at Rs 48,876.81 crore as per provisional figures, he noted. According to Sinha, in comparison to the total insurance premium paid, the premium paid on grounded aircraft by Air India is negligible and is reducing year by year. "Also, in the case of grounded aircraft, Air India is required to pay only 30 per cent of the flying premium rate," he added.
Bajaj Auto on Thursday reported 19.51 per cent decline in consolidated net profit to Rs 836.79 crore for the June quarter of current fiscal, on account of lower sales. It had posted net profit of Rs 1,039.70 crore in the April-June quarter of last fiscal. Bajaj Auto said in a BSE filing that its total income from operations during the quarter under review stood at Rs 6,177.66 crore as against Rs 6,355.84 crore in the April-June quarter of 2016-17. The domestic industry, it said, was impacted during the June quarter of 2017-18 due to changeover from BS-III to BS-IV vehicles and transition to the new Goods and Services Tax. Total vehicles sales during the quarter declined 10.68 per cent to 8,88,434 units as against 9,94,733 units in the corresponding period of last fiscal. The company said its total exports, however, went up by 10.48 per cent to 4,09,525 units as against 3,70,649 units in the same quarter last fiscal. With regard to GST, Bajaj Auto said: "For dealers holding stocks as on June 30, estimated loss per motorcycle was around Rs 1,400 as CST, auto cess, entry tax in certain states and LBT would not be eligible for set-off under rules for transition to GST." The company said it provided for Rs 32 crore towards compensation to the dealers for transition to GST. Competition continued to build stocks at the dealerships and hence in June, performance measured on wholesale numbers was negative for the company and reflected a lower market share, it added. Shares of Bajaj Auto were trading 0.38 per cent down at Rs 2,814.15 on BSE in the afternoon.