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‘Aiyaary’ review: A flashback too many

These days disclaimers in films seem to tell their own story, preparing you for what is likely to unfold on screen. Aiyaary has several of them including a ridiculous one on not supporting riding motorbikes without helmets. But the most crucial one, right at the start, has the filmmaker going on the back foot about armymen and politicians. The film itself is about Neeraj Pandey’s favourite theme—disenchantment with the system and its subversion and unofficial missions which the government would disown the minute they are outed.

The corruption portrayed here is in the army, in the arms deals with politicians giving the outside support. The question then, is why get so defensive about things in the film’s opening disclaimer? There are good and bad people everywhere, including the armed forces. As for politicians, well what is there to defend?

The film itself is a straightforward enough tale: of Colonel Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) and his protégé Major Jai Bakshi from the covert Data and System Diagnostic (DSD) team. Despite mutual respect and affection, they end up finding themselves on either side of the divide. Dejected by the corruption in the system that he spots while tapping phones Jai decides to turn rogue and disappear, even as the colonel keeps nursing hope for the future of the nation. The normalisation of surveillance state aside (which one would have an axe to grind with) it’s the needlessly protracted and complicated telling of what is a not-so-deep tale that grates on one’s nerves. Pandey keeps taking one back and forth in time, digging up uninteresting stories from his characters’ past that have no bearing on the present. Instead of keeping the viewers on the edge of the seat the narrative device ends up being confusing and convoluted. And to top it all is the climax which seems like an afterthought, a desperate closure for a film hurtling nowhere.

The writing has no sense of proportion or balance. A character like Baburao (Naseeruddin Shah) is introduced early left hanging till the very end. If that was to build suspense it’s all ho-hum. Most of the other characters, including the DSD team, don’t rise above being half baked sketches.

In the name of swag the actors are made to wear shades, look deliberately deadpan and perennially walk in slo-mo, so much that they leave one somnolent with their unhurried ways. You can see Bajpayee trying hard to breathe life in his persona but Malhotra, who is lovely to gaze at, doesn’t have an ounce of the angst that his character should have ideally had. Bajpayee, the song ‘Lae Dooba’ and some stray canines at the fag end are the film’s only saving graces.

Suffering from a ‘rare disease’: Irfan Khan on Twitter

 

Irrfan Khan on Monday said he is suffering from a rare disease, and that he will share details when there is a conclusive diagnosis. In a Twitter post, the 51-year-old actor said he and his family were jolted by the development, and requested fans and followers to not speculate on his health.

His post read: “Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease. I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will. My family and friends are with me and we are working it out the best way possible.

“In trying times, please don’t speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week – ten days, when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me.”

On February 21, the actor’s spokesperson had released a statement saying he has been diagnosed with a severe case of jaundice. The next day, director Vishal Bhardwaj, who was scheduled to begin the shoot of his next film starring Irrfan and Deepika Padukone, postponed filming citing health concerns of his lead actors.

Stocks, dollar tumble as Trump sparks trade war fears

The spectre of a global trade war sent world stocks tumbling towards a 2.5% weekly loss on Friday, and left bruised investors reaching for the traditional antidotes — government bonds, gold and the Japanese yen.

The falls came after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States would impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminium, sparking concerns of retaliatory moves from major trade partners China, Europe and neighbouring Canada.

ArcelorMittal slumps

Europe’s STOXX 600 index fell over 1.5% led by a near 5% slump from world’s biggest steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA and 2.5-6% drops from the region’s carmakers worried that they might be next.

Wall Street futures were also pointing lower for what would be a fourth straight day and another difficult week for the benchmark S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial and Nasdaq indexes.

“Trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump’s first Friday tweet said, which only acted to inflame the markets’ nerves.

The dollar and U.S. Treasury yields both fell as they appeared to push aside considerations of inflation, a major theme that spooked financial markets over the last month. Ten-year U.S. Treasuries yields dipped to 2.8024%, hitting its lowest level in three weeks and further extending the distance from its four-year peak of 2.957% touched on Feb 21.

The dollar fell across the board including to more than one year low against the yen at 105.54.

‘Will see retaliation’

“It is a real worry because Europe is a open global economy so it isn’t just about U.S. versus China,” said Ian Ormiston, a European equity fund manager at Old Mutual Global Investors about Trump’s moves. “And we will see retaliation there are no two ways about it.”

Europe’s market moves compounded what was already a fragile mood ahead of a crunch few days of politics.

Britain’s under-fire Prime Minister Theresa May will flesh out her Brexit plans later, while Germany will find out if it finally has a coalition government on Sunday with Italy also holding delicately-poised elections that day.

Combined with the simmering trade war nerves it was unsurprising then that safe-haven demand was on the rise. German Bunds — Europe’s credit market benchmark — saw their yields fall to a five-week low of 0.618% as Italy’s BTP yields dropped to a two-week low of 2.008%.

“I am surprised how little risk the market is pricing from this,” said the Chief Investment Officer of Pictet Wealth Management Cesar Perez Ruiz, referring to the Italian elections.

Steel buckles

The trade nerves had dominated Asian market moves.

Japan’s Nikkei tumbled 2.5% to end the week down 3.3%, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan dropped 0.9% to take its losses for the week to 2.1%.

Steelmakers were hit the hardest there too with South Korea’s Posco down 3.3% and Japan’s Nippon Steel off 3.8%. Toyota Motor shares skidded 2.4% too after the automaker had said the planned tariffs would substantially raise the production costs and therefore prices of cars and trucks sold in America.

‘How recessions start’

The anxiety over tit-for-tat trade tariff moves was underscored by Canada’s quick response, with officials in Ottawa saying they will retaliate. China and the EU both followed, saying that they will safeguard their interests.

In the currency market, the dollar’s retreat saw the euro jump back to $1.2273.

“The world stands on the brink of a trade war,” said Robert Carnell, head of research, Asia-Pacific at ING. “Forget the yield curve — this is how recessions start.”

Go digital ‘hype’ pushing firms to become efficient, responsive

Companies are facing an “ever-increasing” pressure to be more open, responsive and efficient with more ‘hype’ and emphasis being placed on becoming digital, according to a report on digitalisation by India ’s second largest software exporter, Infosys.

“The rules of the game are changing and traditional players are being dislodged from positions of comfort and familiarity,” the report, titled ‘How digital enterprises are steering through digital disruption,’ stated.

Industries are increasingly being disrupted by new entrants with digital technology at the heart of their business. With digital technologies becoming more commonplace in organisations, and “more hype and emphasis being placed on ‘becoming digital,’ there is an ever-increasing pressure on organisations to be more responsive, more open, and more efficient.” Infosys commissioned Vanson Bourne, a firm specialising in technology research, to conduct research for the report. In October and November 2017, the study was carried out, interviewing 1,000 senior IT and business decision-makers in organisations that use digital technologies. Respondents from Australia, China, France, Germany, India, UK and the U.S. were interviewed.

Difficult for many

“For many, the journey will prove difficult, but for those that can adapt, the benefits will be significant,” it stated.

Rapid advancements in digital technologies are allowing corporations to collect and analyse data and new ways of improving flexibility and efficiency are emerging within the firms.This has the potential to open up new growth areas and revenue streams, according to the report.

“Whether it be to provide a better, more personalised service to customers/consumers or whether it is used to ascertain trends and develop algorithms to improve knowledge and target more effectively, the possibilities (and potential benefits) are endless.”

“When it comes to being digital, the question is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’ and speed is vital for organisations to survive,” according to the report.

A vast array of digital trends are emerging and establishing which are really important to each sector hugely depends on where an organisation is currently placed and what they hope to achieve. “Organisations must put actions to words and embrace new technologies to evolve to being truly digital,” it stated.

 

‘Effective regulation need of the hour in banking sector’

What the banking sector needs right now is effective regulation and supervision and not increased privatisation, a group of prominent economists said on Friday.

“The scale of the recent bank scams and the potential losses faced by banks holding non-performing loans given to some large companies and individuals, has shocked all of us,” the economists said in a joint statement. “However, we are concerned to note that this has become an excuse to demand the privatisation of publicly held banks.”

While it was true that the Punjab National Bank scam involved the second largest public sector bank, “the basic cause is very clearly the inadequate and faulty regulation and monitoring of the banking sector,” they said.

‘Curious turn’

“This affects all banks, regardless of ownership. But in a curious turn, fraud that was led by and benefited private players pursuing super-profits at any cost is being made the reason for handing control of the nation’s savings to the private sector,” they said.

The statement said that poorly regulated private banks were even more prone to scams and failure, and that private profit orientation generated incentives for managements to exploit loopholes in rules and engage in risky behaviour, as shown by the U.S. and European bank behaviour leading up to the financial crisis of 2008-09.

“It is worth noting that even a scam as large as the present one has not led to a widespread run on PNB and other banks,” the economists added. “This is because of the state guarantee that still generates trust in the public banking system.”

Metal stocks fall after Trump’s tariff move

Indian metal stocks were trading lower early on Monday, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last week to levy hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium to protect local industry.

Tata Steel was trading down 2.27% at ₹659.95, Steel Authority of India Ltd was trading down 3.83% at ₹77.85, Hindalco Industries was trading down 3.41% at ₹232, Vedanta was trading down 1.53% at ₹ 318.25, and JSW Steel was trading down 5% at ₹292.15 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

According to research firm Maybank Kim Eng, India’s steel and aluminium exports (2-2.4% of U.S. imports) to the U.S. are negligible and the imposition of high tariff on these two metals is not significant.

However, it said, if the trade war escalated to other products, it could hurt and the manufacturing investments undertaken in the country.

The move could affect India indirectly because it is a net steel exporter and U.S. curtailing its imports will create a glut in the global steel supply, bring down prices, it added.

Agriculture needs a cure more than quick fixes

The government’s efforts to focus on the welfare of farmers in the Union Budget is admirable. However, in a zero-sum situation such as budget allocation, the government often finds itself trying to choose between short-term results and long-term benefits. Short term results might come with loan waivers and increase of Minimum Support Price (MSP), but care should be taken to address the sector’s competitiveness in a global scenario.

By taking a quick fix path, the government might be squandering its budget on suppressing symptoms instead of administering a cure. I believe the long-term cure will be in the form of policies that provide a boost to credit growth, crop insurance, drip irrigation, warehousing, mechanisation and availability of skilled farm labour. This will help the farmer more than double his income in the long run. Yet, there certainly are a few hits and a few misses:

The target for agricultural credit has been increased to ₹11 lakh crore from ₹10 lakh crore last year. This will empower farmers with much-needed funds to procure agricultural inputs in a timely manner. The Finance Minister agriculture atform. This will definitely help prevent undue volatility that creates stress for farmers.

Labour, a basic component of agriculture is becoming difficult. Last year, the Union Budget had an allocation of ₹48,000 crore for MNREGA. It is said that this year’s budget may increase it to ₹60,000 crore. This scheme would provide long-term benefit if the labour force is tied up to assist farmers overcome scarcity in farm labour, the absence of which is forcing many to give up on agriculture altogether.

Dangers around MSP

The Budget announced that the minimum support price (MSP) is to be fixed at 1.5 times of all input costs to protect the farmer. Care should be taken not to give too drastic an increase, which will render the commodity uncompetitive in global markets and unaffordable to mill owners. This might affect the farmer adversely if prices have to be corrected in the future

The Finance Minister has launched ‘Operation Green’, and allocated ₹500 Crore to promote farmer producer organisations and agri-logistics associations. While it is a good measure, the amount allocated is quite meagre for a country of our size.

Enhancement of mechanisation, drip irrigation and crop insurance should be encouraged given that climate change and global warming will effect output negatively. But surprisingly, there has been no mention of it in the 2018 Budget.

It is heartening to hear that 100% deduction will be allowed to farmer producer registered companies having ₹100 crore as turnover irrespective of profit. This, along with new policies that will be announced to address procurement, demand and forecast, will give the much-needed impetus to improve farmers’ incomes.

The agriculture sector gives employment to 50% of the total workforce and contributes 17-18% of the country’s GDP. On announcement of the Union Budget 2018, agriculture sector stocks surged with the slew of initiatives for the rural sector, including liberalising exports of agri commodities.

However, based on the line of thinking that long-term competitiveness is better than short-term relief, this Budget is definitely a mixed bag. While the impetus given to agricultural credit and rural infrastructure is laudable, I think the Budget could have been truly progressive had it not put so much focus on the regressive policy of MSP.

In future Budgets, I hope the government shifts even more towards forward-looking policies that boost the competitiveness of the agro-industry, and secure long-term growth in farmers’ income and quality of life.

Drought has affected sugar production in Tamil Nadu

Sugar output in Tamil nadu is expected to be the lowest this season despite a bumper harvest reported by major sugar-producing States, according to the South Indian Sugar Mills Association (SISMA).

There is bumper harvest in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka during the current season (2017-2018), Palani G. Periasamy, president, SISMA, told The Hindu. However, Tamil Nadu is expected to produce just six lakh tonnes.

“We used to produce 25 lakh tonnes six or seven years ago. Last year, we did 10 lakh tonnes. This year, it will be just about six lakh tonnes,” he said.

Low cane availability

Tamil Nadu had been experiencing drought for almost four years leading to low availability of cane and affecting sugar recovery. “Usually, we crush cane for nine months in a season. This year, most mills in the State are expected to stop crushing by the end of this month. Capacity utilisation is just about 20 %,” he said.

According to data available on Indian Sugar Mills’ Association website, in January this year, the association estimated sugar production this season (October 2017 to September 2018) to be 261 lakh tonne. Till February 18, about 500 factories have been in operation across the country and produced 203.14 lakh tonnes.

Mr. Periasamy said since Tamil Nadu mills were under stress, SISMA sought a revival package from the State government. However, the low production would not affect consumers as sugar would come in from the States that had reported surplus production, he said.

Rupee sheds 8 paise in early trade

The rupee depreciated 8 paise to 65.25 against the US dollar in early trade at the forex market on increased demand for the US currency from importers and firm foreign fund outflows even as the country’s economy grew to 7.2 % in the October-December quarter.

Besides, strength in dollar against other currencies overseas on rising hopes that the Fed would hike interest rates also kept pressure on the domestic unit, dealers said.

However, a higher opening in domestic equities capped the losses, they added.

Meanwhile, the domestic economy recorded a five-quarter high growth of 7.2 % in the October-December period on good show by key sectors like agriculture, construction and manufacturing.

The rupee on Wednesday fell by a steep 30 paise to end at a fresh three-month low of 65.17 against the American currency after Federal Reserve’s hawkish comments reignited interest rate hike fears.

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex was quoting higher by 63.02 points, or 0.18 %, to 34,247.06 in opening deals .

Automobile companies step on the gas

Market leader Maruti Suzuki on Thursday said it posted a growth of 14.2% in sales to more than 1.36 lakh units in February. The sales were driven by an almost 39% growth in compact segment cars, including Swift, Ignis, Celerio, Baleno, Dzire, Tour S, to 65,213 units. Sales of mini segment cars — Alto and WagonR— rose 2% wile those of utility vehicles increased almost 14%.

The company exported 11,924 units last month.

For Hyundai Motor India, domestic sales rose 5% to 44,505 units during the month under review. The company said it exported 10,917 units. Tata Motors posted a growth of 45% to 17,771 units against 12,272 units in the year-ago month. The demand was driven by the company’s Tiago, Tigor, Nexon and Hexa models. “The passenger car segment registered a strong growth of 17% while the UV [utility vehicle] segment grew by 165%, clearly showing a trend of growing customer base across segments,” the company said.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor sold 11,864 units in February 2018. “We are happy that we have been able to sustain the positive growth trend registering a 3% growth in February,” said N. Raja, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

Ford India sold 9,041 units in the domestic market compared with 8,338 units in the same month last year, a growth of 8%. Exports, however, declined to 14,924 units compared with 15,688 units in February 2017.

“Improvements in GDP growth and other industry indicators continue to support the year-on-year growth of the auto industry,” said Anurag Mehrotra, president and managing director, Ford India. “However, there are headwinds in terms of impending increase in interest rates, crude prices, and inflation.

We also believe the increase in customs duty and the cess of exports will drive up prices, with a potential of impacting demand.”

However, Honda Cars India reported decrease in sales. The company said it sold 11,650 units last month, a decline of 18% from 14,249 units in February 2017. It sold 375 units of Brio, 2,257 units of Jazz, 933 units of Amaze, 3,885 units of City, 3,364 units of WR-V, 822 units of BR-V and 14 units of CR-V.

Two-wheelers

In the two-wheeler segment, market leader Hero MotoCorp posted total sales of more than 6.29 lakh units in February 2018, a growth of 20% over the same month last year.

“This sales performance by Hero MotoCorp has been driven by strong growth in scooters, in addition to the continued momentum across the range of its motorcycle brands,” the firm said.

Royal Enfield sales in the domestic market rose 26% to 71,354 units. The company sold 1,723 units in the international markets. Suzuki Motorcycle India sold 46,147 units in domestic sales, a growth of 37%. Chennai-based TVS Motors said that its sold more than 2.30 lakh units in February in the domestic market, a growth of 33.5%. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India’s sales grew 32 % in the domestic market to 4.89 lakh vehicles.

Mother Dairy faces high attrition at top level

NEW DELHI: Dairy giant Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable is facing a high attrition at the top management level.
The company, one the country’s leading dairy players with sales of around Rs 8,000 crore, has lost some of its top executives after its former MD & director S Nagarajan abruptly quit in the middle of last year.

Mother Dairy’s head of dairy business Subhashis Basu put in his papers around the same time to join Indore-based Prataap Snacks as chief operating officer (COO).

Sources said other senior executives to follow in the footsteps of their colleagues are Meghnad Mitra, who served as group CFO at Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable, Vikas Dogra, the company’s head of sales, and Maheswaran Rajaram, responsible for regional sales. T S R Murali, head of R&D, may also be on his way out, sources said.
When asked about the development, a Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable spokesperson said, “Mother Dairy is a professionally managed company with a leading position in the dairy sector. While we do not wish to comment on specific changes, it will be sufficient to say that movement of professionals is an industry wide phenomena. Strong HR practices and the brand name of Mother Dairy is enabling us to get the right mix of talent for accelerated growth in alignment with the organisational strategy.”
Most of the senior executives, who have quit Mother Dairy, are ex-PepsiCo employees.

Harley-Davidson preparing to open brand stores in India

American cult bike-maker Harley-Davidson’s   is preparing to accelerate its India engagement by opening brand stores across top metros, while working on boosting exports to the US and countries across Europe. The push comes even as US President Donald Trump has voiced concern against the duty on imported Harley bikes. Trump feels that a recent cut in import duty (to 50%) is not sufficient.

Peter Mackenzie, MD for Harley-Davidson’s India and China markets, told TOI that the company is bullish on growth prospects in India and would strengthen operations.

Harley currently retails its products through 26 stores, but Mackenzie said it has plans for an expansion through a very different retail concept. These would be stores that would deal in specific Harley apparel for adults and other merchandise. “These stores will not sell motorcycles. The idea is to sell apparels in high-end shopping malls where there is heavy footfall. The stuff being sold here will not carry heavy branding from Harley, but will be subtle and less bold.”

The company is looking at partnerships for this retail expansion and will begin with 12 such stores that will come up in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. “We plan to have a lot more such stores.” Harley also sells specific merchandise through its motorcycle stores, but this is aimed at the enthusiasts. “These are heavy on branding.”

Harley had commenced business in India in 2009, and has sold around 28,000 motorcycles since then. The company has also set-up a manufacturing operation at Bawal in Haryana to make some of the models that it sells locally. Bikes that are exported to the US and Europe are also made here.

 Mackenzie said Harley holds the highest market share in the premium-end of the motorcycle market (for engines above 600cc) where competitors include companies such as UK’s Triumph and Italian Ducati. “This market is around 8,000 motorcycles per annum and we are the strongest in this segment. We feel that the appetite for leisure motorcycles is growing in India, and so is the riding culture.”

Power plants face coal shortage

The power sector seems to be facing coal shortage again as 46 coal-fired power plants reported stocks of less than a week, according to official data.

According to the daily coal stock report of 113 power plants monitored by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), six plants have coal stocks for zero day and eight plants have stocks of just one day to generate electricity as on February 22, 2018.

‘No improvement’

Industry sources said coal supplies have not improved since the monsoon season last year when some of the coal-fired power plants had faced acute shortage.

Power, coal and railway ministries had taken a series of measures to improve coal supplies to power plants after power prices crossed ₹11 per unit at energy exchanges in September last.

The CEA report stated that there are 12 non-pithead power plants facing super critical coal stock situation, or in other words, have coal stocks for less than four days.

Besides, there are six such plants that have coal stock of less than seven days. Of these 46 plants with stocks of less than a week, Badarpur, Bhatinda and Panki plants are shut down.

The government, in January-end, had decided on various steps, including the use of dedicated rail transportation and setting up of power projects only within 500 km from coal mines, to boost coal supplies to power plants.

Hospitality majors look east to expand

Hospitality majors, both domestic and international, are looking to expand their network in States in the east and north east of India due to demand for quality hotel rooms from this region.

These hospitality chains and their partners are vying for hotel projects as State governments are laying out the red carpet for prospective investors to set up hotels in prime locations to cater to the demand.

‘Offset price set’

“The offset price of the plots has been fixed at Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) rates. We are hopeful of attracting reputed national and international hotel players to participate in the auction,” he said.

Hospitality majors said that they were keen to expand in the region.

“We are keen to expand in this region through our partners. We are already present in 60 cities and will be happy to have hotels in Bhubaneswar and in the capitals of north eastern states,” said Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

In a recent interaction, Puneet Chhatwal, MD and CEO, Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (IHCL), which owns and operates the Taj brand of hotels, said the group would be expanding in under-served markets like the north east with upscale, mid-scale and budget hotel brands.

Santhosh Kumar, vice chairman, Anarock Property Consultants said, “The States in the north-east and east of India have the benefit of considerable natural beauty and great cultural heritage.

“As a result, these locations have always been on the radar of global tourists. With laser-focus development agenda of the government, large corporates are eyeing business opportunities in these States,” added Mr. Kumar

Odisha invites bids

Odisha, for example, has invited bids for development of 10 hotels in Bhubaneswar through an online auction. Of the 10 hotels, six would be in the Star category (3-star and above) and the remaining four would be in the budget category. This would an additional 715 rooms to the overall hotel inventory in the State capital.

“Keeping in mind the growing demand from tourists and sports lovers, we are creating a land bank of 1,000 acres to attract more investment in tourism,” said Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary, Industries, government of Odisha.

“In a related initiative, we are auctioning 10 identified plots for construction of 10 new hotels in Bhubaneswar,” Mr. Chopra said.

 M&M helps Ford make cheapest electric vehicle

The MoU was to explore joint work on electric vehicles and global distribution as teams from the companies have been working on striking synergies and areas for mutual benefit. Mahindra’s help will now enable Ford to get an “affordable electric vehicle” in India “substantially quicker” and ahead of launch by even market leader Maruti Suzuki, which has announced a 2020 entry into electric vehicles.

 “The vehicle will be right in the heart of the market. Apart from mainline customers, the vehicle will also help Ford participate in lucrative government orders, with a big thrust on cleaner vehicles in purchases by both central and state governments.”

 Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is set to give Ford its cheapest electric car globally, while the two companies have also started work on a new platform to develop an SUV that would be sold under their individual branding.

Top sources told TOI that M&M has helped Ford develop an electric version of its Aspire entry sedan, and this can hit the market by next year. “Ford has gained tremendously from Mahindra’s strength in electric vehicles technology. The Aspire will be the first to hit the roads and, unlike its existing petrol/diesel version, which is under 4 metres in length, the electric variant will be a longer one,” one source said.

The two companies had in September last year signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) — initially for a period of three years — “to leverage their mutual strengths during a period of unprecedented transformation in the global automotive industry”.

 Rajkot Foodgrain Prices

Rajkot Foodgrain Prices Open- February 27 Feb 27 (Reuters) – Market delivery prices of food grains and pulses at Rajkot in India’s western state of Gujarat opened on a steady to weak trend, traders said Tuesday. * * FOOD GRAINS & PULSES * Wheat prices moved down further due to increased arrivals. * Besan and Gram Daal prices eased due to low retail demand. * Tuar and Tuar Daal prices dropped due to supply pressure. Prices of food grains and pulses in rupees per 20 kilograms, and deliveries in 100-kilogram bags: Delivery Auction price Previous price FOOD GRAIN Wheat Lokwan 03,100 307-361 310-354 Wheat Tukda 08,500 310-405 311-425 Jowar White 092 380-710 375-735 Bajra 0,035 230-252 235-250 PULSES Gram 05,000 0,680-0,715 0,650-0,735 Udid 0,200 0,600-0,780 0,500-0,810 Moong 0,080 0,800-1,100 0,800-1,000 Tuar 1,000 0,680-0,830 0,700-0,830 Maize 012 225-280 245-282 Vaal Deshi 055 0,425-0,695 0,375-0,725 Choli 0,025 0,725-1,350 0,710-1,305 Rajkot market delivery prices in rupees per 100 kilograms:. Today’s Price Previous close FOOD GRAINS Wheat Mill quality 1,720-1,730 1,740-1,750 Wheat (medium) 1,950-2,000 1,975-2,025 Wheat (superior best) 2,100-2,150 2,100-2,150 Bajra 1,270-1,280 1,270-1,280 Jowar 3,200-3,250 3,200-3,250 PULSES Gram 03,850-03,900 03,850-03,900 Gram dal 05,000-05,100 05,100-05,200 Besan (65-kg bag) 3,950-4,000 4,000-4,050 Tuar 04,100-04,200 04,200-04,300 Tuardal 06,500-06,600 06,700-06,800 Moong 5,350-5,450 5,350-5,450 Moongdal 5,700-5,750 5,700-5,750 Udid 03,950-04,050 03,950-04,050 RICE IR-8 2,200-2,250 2,200-2,250 Basmati Best 9,700-9,800 09,700-09,800 Parimal 2,400-2,450 2,400-2,450 Punjab Parimal 2,900-2,950 2,900-2,950 Basmati Medium 6,800-6,900 6,800-6,900

Sensex jumps 107 points as March F&O series opens strong

December quarter GDP growth likely to be 7%: Morgan Stanley report

India’s economic recovery is expected to have gathered momentum and GDP growth for the December quarter is likely to have accelerated to 7%, says a Morgan Stanley report.

The gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.3% in July-September quarter of the fiscal, up from 5.7% in the first quarter.

According to the global financial services major, growth in industry and the services sector is expected to have accelerated while growth in the agriculture sector decelerated.

“We expect the economic recovery to have gathered further momentum with GDP growth accelerating to 7.0% year-on-year in the December-17 quarter from 6.3% in the September quarter,” Morgan Stanley said in a research note.

In GVA terms, growth picked up further to 6.7% year-on-year from 6.1% in the previous quarter, the brokerage said.

According to the report, corporate revenue trends, which track industry GVA (gross value added) growth closely, also improved further in the December quarter.

Moreover, auto and two-wheeler sales posted robust growth in the December quarter beyond what was implied by favourable base effects, while goods exports growth improved further to double-digit levels, it added.