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Govt may let foreign airlines bid for AI

Govt may let foreign airlines bid for AI  India is likely to change rules to allow foreign airlines to bid for Air India Ltd as long as they have a local joint venture with an Indian partner as the government seeks to increase the number of suitors for the debt-laden national carrier. “Foreign airlines will be allowed to bid as per the current policy that’s applicable on all domestic airlines. That much we can confirm,” an official with knowledge of the matter said on condition of anonymity Existing rules allow foreign airlines to own as much as 49% in an Indian airline, with the exception of Air India. With the change in rules, the government expects to make the sale of Air India, which has drawn interest from companies including the Tata group and InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, more competitive. The Mint, New Delhi, 11th December 2017

Lenders want extension of insolvency deadline

Lenders want extension of insolvency deadline If debt resolution is not finalised by December 13 for the 28 companies, insolvency proceedings will kickoff The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has written to RBI Governor Urjit Patel, requesting an extension of the deadline to March 31, 2018. Since the IBC is a new code and there are more than 300 accounts under the IBC in the NCLT without a resolution so far, banks should get more time for debt resolution outside the IBC to avoid risks of liquidation and plant closure with consequent unemployment, according to the chamber. “The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, has also been recently issued on November 23, 2017, which is likely to delay the resolution of exposures above Rs 5,000 crore already under the IBC till April 2018 and it would be prudent to refer further cases to NCLT only after there is clarity on resolution of the existing cases,” the ICC letter added. Based on the recommendations of the Internal Advisory…

FY19 Budget may assume crude oil price at Rs 65/ barrel

FY19 Budget may assume crude oil price at Rs 65/ barrel The on going price rise could mean a higher subsidy on petroleum products this year and the nex Union Budget 201819 is likely to assume an average crude oil price of Rs 65 a barrel. It was Rs 55abarrel for 201718. Crude oil prices have been rising because of an extension of the earlier production cut deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec). India imports about 80 per cent of its crude oil consumption. This publication has learnt from senior government sources that the ongoing rise could also mean a higher than anticipated subsidy on petroleum products this year and the next. For 201718, this had been budgeted at Rs 25,000 crore.For 2018-19, it was projected at Rs 18,000 crore in the medium term expenditure framework. By the time Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Budget proposals on February 1, it could be Rs 25,000 crore, said an official.“The Finance Ministry and the Oil Ministry have deliberate…

Bankers look for speedy resolution of 28 accounts

Bankers look for speedy resolution of 28 accounts Bankers are looking to speed up the resolution of 28 accounts including Videocon Industries BSE -4.90 %, Jaiprakash AssociatesBSE -1.67 % and Uttam Galva Steel as a December 13 deadline looms. These companies are part of the Reserve Bank of India's second list of defaulters to be referred to bankruptcy proceedings for recovery of more than Rs 2 lakh crore. The accounts need to be restructured by December 13 or they'll end up in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for the next step in the insolvency process. At that point, banks will have to provide for losses of up to 50% of the loan value, hitting their earnings.Bankers said this worry may see the accounts of Jaiprakash Associates, Uttam Galva Steel, BILT and Jai Balaji getting recast by the deadline. Also, in cases such as Ruchi SoyaBSE -1.55 %, Orchid Pharma and Uttam Galva Metaliks, lenders did initiate insolvency proceedings well before the deadline, they said.Senior ban…

Govt may hold plan to ease hire and fire

Govt may hold plan to ease hire and fire Protests by labour unions, political risk likely reasons

The Union government is likely to put its proposal to ease retrenchment norms, by allowing factories with a large workforce to hire and fire without seeking its permission, on the back burner.Several protests staged by central labour unions, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), and the wide spread criticism from Opposition parties because of job losses on account of demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST) might have put the contentious labour reform proposals in the slow lane, government officials said. “We are likely to maintain the status quo on the controversial labour law proposals, as trade unions are hell bent that the retrenchment norms should not be touched.The government may also not be willing to take a political risk, especially after it has come under attack of the Opposition parties on demonetisation and the GST,” said a…

Fine on discoms for outages

Fine on discoms for outages The government plans to fine distribution companies (discoms) from April 2019 for power outages deemed avoidable and will push for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of electricity subsidy, as with cooking gas, in the statesDBT would, Power Minister RKSingh said on Thursday, make for a more competitive sector, besides helping to controlarise in supply rates.

Centre will move an amendment to the Electricity Act for making power supply and DBT a legal obligation.DBT in power was introduced by Bihar this year, while raising tariffs by 25 per cent across all slabs.DBT introduced subsidy for some poorer sections and farmers.

The central government launcheda Rs 16,000crore project in September to provide the rural population with power by the end of 2018.Most of the states, said Singh, have also agreed on 24x7 power for all, 90 per cent prepaid meters, and to make it mandatory for the firms to install prepaid or smart meters to prevent electricity theft.

Singh was speakin…

Government to extend Aadhaar linking deadline to March 31 Apex Court to hear plea next week

Government to extend Aadhaar linking deadline to March 31 Apex Court to hear plea next week The Supreme Court will next week hear a plea seeking interim relief in the Aadhaar case while the top court decides the legality of the government's ambitious flagship programme to assign every citizen a unique identity number, after the government said it would only extend a deadline for getting Aadhaar and seeding it to various social security benefits from December 31, 2017, to March 31, 2018. A three-judge bench, led by chief justice of India Dipak Misra, agreed to hear the plea next week, the last working week of the court before it breaks for its winter recess. This despite an assurance held out by Attorney General KK Venugopal that the central government would issue a notification later in the day extending the deadline for 131 services till March 31, 2018. "The government will issue a notification today extending the deadline for 131services," the AG said, without specifying …