In a first, Indian domestic airline Vistara on Wednesday announced that it will provide sanitary napkins free of cost on board to women travellers on request. The move will come into effect from this Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.
The airline will provide ISO 9001:2015 certified bio-degradable and organic sanitary napkins which are made from plant-based fibres that are free of plastic, toxins and perfume, the company said in a statement.
The introduction of #PadsOnBoard, the hashtag used by the airline on Twitter, is a part of Vistara’s focus on services and amenities for women travellers, in addition to #VistaraWomanFlyer service, which was launched in 2017 to provide certain benefits and peace of mind to solo women travellers.
The airline’s cabin crew will make in-flight announcements on all flights about the latest initiative on March 8. Following the announcement of the service, all women passengers can freely ask for a sanitary pad in case they need one.
Commenting on the new initiative, Deepa Chadha, Senior Vice President – HR and Corporate Affairs, said: “The initiative to provide sanitary pads to our customers is a meaningful one that reflects our core philosophy that ‘small things make a big difference’. As a woman, I feel a greater sense of pride for being part of an organisation that provides such essential amenities to customers – something that will help so many travellers.
Additionally, to celebrate International Women’s Day, all-women crew and pilots will operate retro-themed flights on the Vistara Retro Jet between Delhi and Goa on March 8.
Piramal Enterprises Sells Entire Stake In Shriram Transport Finance
Piramal Enterprises Ltd. has exited Shriram Transport Finance Company Ltd. by selling its entire stake in the asset financier.
The billionaire Ajay Piramal-backed company sold 9.96 percent stake in Shriram Transport to third-party investors, according to an exchange filing. A total of 2.26 crore shares of Shriram Transport changed hands via two block deals in the National Stock Exchange—1.3 crore shares were sold at Rs 1,023.55 apiece and another 0.9 crore shares at Rs 1,027.25.
The total value of the deal stood at Rs 2,316 crore—a gain of 42 percent since 2013 when Piramal Enterprises had bought 10 percent in Shriram Transport for Rs 1,636 crore.
Piramal Enterprises is looking to consolidate the financial services businesses, Chairman Ajay Piramal had Reportedly said after the fourth quarter earnings announcement.
“We are seeing how to create value for Shriram and Piramal shareholders. One of the steps is to bring all Shriram companies into one. That will create value for Shriram shareholders,” Piramal had said in April. “We are also looking to exit. If we get the right value and the right buyer, we may do it.”
Piramal Enterprises also owns 10 percent in Shriram City and 20 percent stake in Shriram Capital—an unlisted holding company of the Shriram Group. It has invested Rs 801 crore and Rs 2,146 crore in Shriram City and Shriram Capital, respectively. Piramal Enterprises’ total investments in Shriram Group stood at Rs 7,259 crore as of March 2019. That, however, was prior to Monday’s block deals.
Shriram Transport shares fell as much as 7.8 percent after the block deal, while Piramal Enterprises’ stock rose nearly 2 percent. That compares with a 0.62 percent decline in the NSE Nifty 50 Index.
Maruti Ciaz sales surpass Hyundai Verna and Honda City in May 2019
Though it was the sub 4 meter SUV segment that attracted more buyers in May 2019, the C segment sedans also recorded decent sales. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz was a segment leader in a No. 1 spot on the list. The Hyundai Verna scored at No. 2 followed by the Honda City in a No. 3 spot.
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz sales stood at 3,592 units in May 2019, featuring at No. 1 on the list of best selling C segment sedans. Beating the Hyundai Verna by a margin of 1,000 units, the Ciaz commanded this top position despite sales being 11 percent lower as compared to sales of 4,024 units in May 2018.
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz facelift was introduced in 2018. It is priced from Rs.8.2 lakhs and gets its power via a 1.5 liter petrol hybrid engine offering 104 bhp power and 138 Nm torque mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox. Its diesel engine offerings include a 1.5 liter turbocharged diesel engine offering 94 bhp power and 225 Nm torque mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox and a 1.3 liter diesel engine offering 89 bhp power and 200 Nm torque.
Hyundai Verna of which 2,567 units were sold in the past month, came in at a No, 2 spot on the list of C segment sedans. This variant also noted a 32 percent decline in sales in May 2019 as compared to 3,801 units sold in May 2018.
Honda City was the third best selling midsized sedan with 2,557 units sold, just 10 units below the Hyundai Verna. Honda City is poised to get a new generation model which will come in with revised exteriors and interiors as well as with a hybrid variant and BS VI compliant engines.
Further down the order was the Skoda Rapid of which 734 units were sold, a dip of 16 percent as compared to sales in May 2018. At No. 5 was the Volkswagen Vento of which 654 units were sold in May 2019, an increase of 20 percent as compared to sales in May 2018.
Toyota Yaris. with 373 units sold in the past month, registered a a huge drop of as much as 87 percent as compared to 2,843 units sold in May 2018. However, the Yaris registered an increase by 4.42 percent as compared to sales of 339 units sold in April 2019.
Also featuring in the same segment were the Nissan Sunny with 136 units sold in the past month and the Fiat Linea of which only 14 units were sold.
Top 5 Things You Need To Know About Upcoming Honda Activa 6G
The Honda Activa is the best selling scooter in India that tops the sales chart every month. We have reported earlier that Honda has started testing the upcoming Activa 6G scooter already and it will be launched before April 2020 in India. The test mule of the upcoming scooter was wrapped in heavy camouflage and was caught recently during the homologation process in Pune.
Here are the 5 things that you need to know about the upcoming Honda Activa 6G
1. New Connectivity Feature
According to the reports, the upcoming Activa 6G will feature an advanced digital instrument cluster that will get a smartphone connectivity feature. The instrument cluster will get turn by turn navigation and call alert feature that can also be found in the TVS Ntorq 125.
2. Updated Suspension setup
The Honda Activa scooter uses an old school trailing link suspension setup towards the front since the very beginning. However, the upcoming Activa 6G will sport a pair of telescopic forks that will replace the old suspension setup. The updated suspension setup will help improve the ride and handling quality of the scooter.
3. Redesigned styling
The Activa 6G will feature a redesigned LED headlamp cluster and a different set of LED DRL lamp. The front apron will get integrated side turn indicators while the side body panels will also get some sharp creases and new graphics. Expect the scooter to also feature an updated taillamp as well.
4. Updated BS-VI compliant engine
Expect the upcoming Honda Activa 6G to feature an updated 110cc, air-cooled engine. This new motor will also get fuel injection technology and most probably Honda’s new idling stop system. The idle stop system will automatically turn off the engine when the scooter stops at a traffic light or any other brief halts. The motor is again turned on with the twist of a throttle. This feature will definitely help improve the overall fuel efficiency of the scooter.
5. Better stopping power
Honda will offer a disc brake on the top spec model of the Activa 6G which will help improve the overall braking performance of the upcoming scooter. Moreover, it will also get Honda’s combi-braking system as well for the safety of the rider.
Book a Bajaj Qute taxi through Uber now
Uber has announced the addition of a new category on its smartphone app that allows customers to book Bajaj’s Qute quadricycle. The category, called UberXS, is exclusive to users in Bengaluru.
While the company has not yet revealed if UberXS fares will be higher than its auto rickshaw hailing category (UberAuto), the option will almost certainly undercut other categories.
Launched officially in Maharashtra back in April 2019 (at Rs 2.48 lakh, ex-showroom), the Bajaj Qute.(at Rs 2.48 lakh, ex-showroom), the Bajaj Qute(at Rs 2.48 lakh, ex-showroom), the Bajaj Qute gets a 216cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that can be fuelled by either petrol or CNG – it produces 13.2hp and 18.9Nm on the former fuel and 11hp and 16.1Nm on the latter. Both options are available on Uber.
The smallest production four-wheeler on Indian roads, the Qute weighs 452kg (504kg with the CNG kit) and has an ARAI-rated mileage figure of 35kpl on petrol (43km/kg on CNG). It’s dinky dimensions and 7m turning diameter makes it a viable alternative to Bajaj’s three-wheelers that are used as auto rickshaws.
For now, Uber will only offer the UberXS category (and the Bajaj Qute) for users in Bengaluru, though it would make a lot of sense to roll out this category in other major metros such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata, among others.
It was only in November last year that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) added quadricycles to the ‘non-transport’ category of vehicles, making it available for personal use and commercial use.
Shortfall in personal levy hits direct tax collection
A shortfall in the personal income tax collection resulted in the union government closing the financial year with the direct tax mop-up at Rs 11.38 lakh crore as compared to the target of Rs 12 lakh crore for 2018-19. The direct tax includes personal income tax and corporation tax.
While the corporate tax collection stood at Rs 6.71 lakh crore, personal income tax took a beating last year. The I-T department collected Rs 4.67 lakh crore against the target of Rs 5.29 lakh crore in personal income tax. This included Rs 11,000 crore on account of securities transaction tax.
“The entire shortfall of Rs 62,000 crore is on account of personal income tax. It is harder to get people to pay taxes than to make them file returns,” said a senior official in the finance ministry.
The direct tax collection showed a growth of 13.6% over last year as against the target of 20.1% for 2018-19. In the Interim Budget, the direct tax collection target for the past year was revised at Rs 12 lakh crore, up from the budget estimate of Rs 11.5 lakh crore which represented a growth target of 15%. The higher revised target was seen as unrealistic by many in the government.
As many as 6.78 crore tax returns were filed during the last year. However, the number of people who filed returns were only 5.43 crore. This is mainly due to many taxpayers filing their returns twice, mostly to make corrections.
According to the government, the taxpayers’ base has gone up exponentially in the past four years with the number of return filers almost doubling in a short time. “This has, however, not resulted in higher tax collections in similar proportion,” pointed out the official.
A taxpayer is a person who has either filed I-T return or in whose favour tax has been deducted at source.
The number of people under the taxable category is expected to further decrease as anyone earning up to Rs 5 lakh will not have to pay income tax during the current financial year 2019-20. The income-tax threshold limit was increased to Rs 5 lakh per annum in the Interim Budget. In fact, individuals with annual gross income up to Rs 7-8 lakh are likely to avail the benefit if they make investments under the instruments such as Public Provident Fund (PPF) as well as pay home loan.
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This would lead to over 3 crore people getting tax exemption. The impact on the exchequer is likely to be around Rs 22,000 crore or more. The Interim Budget 2019-20 has estimated to collect Rs 13.80 lakh crore from direct taxes, representing a growth of 15%.
With lower direct tax revenue growth seen in 2018-19, the growth target of 15% for the current year will also have to be revised upwards to maintain the tax collection target.
Vodafone users take to social media over network outage
Services of Vodafone remained affected in Mumbai for the second consecutive day on Friday, wherein many of its customers posted their grievances on the social media platforms. Many customers, on Thursday, took to social media and complained about the network outage that was took place in Borivali, Mira Road, Bhayander, Bandra etc.
The social media has been having people posting their problems. Rusabh Kothari, another Vodafone user, said, “No service for 14 hours now. I have Vodafone Mumbai network, currently in Ahmedabad. Is it going to resolve soon?”
Further, when it comes to telecom sector, majority of the telecom users are of three companies majorly including Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance Jio. Another trouble in telecom that users face is that of call drops.
Meanwhile, DNA had earlier reported as to how out of the total complaints received by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) against call drops between January 1, 2018, and December 5, 2018, Delhi had the highest number of complaints against call drops followed by Mumbai having second highest in the country. Out of 1,073 complaints, around 35 per cent of complaints were from Mumbai and Delhi. According to the data, a total of 163 complaints of call drops were received by TRAI from Mumbai followed by total 220 complaints from Delhi.
Meanwhile, Vodafone said, “The network outage issue occurred only on one evening. The issue was promptly dealt with and resolved. There is no report of issues with the network in Mumbai today. As a result, stating that the issue was faced for the second consecutive day would be incorrect.”
What corporates can learn about branding from Gandhi
What is a brand? The term ‘brand’ originates from branding or identifying mark used for livestock. Today, it has become a very important, integral part of the corporate world and is associated strongly with it. Millions of dollars are spent every year to reinforce the brand and increase its recall value. Cut-throat competition has only increased this phenomenon.
Whether it is global brands such as Google, Apple, Nike or well-known Indian ones such as Tata or Amul, each has its own unique story to tell and sell. Brands are known through their logo, identity, colours, spaces and a whole range of experiences. But they are much more than a set of tangible experiences. Ultimately, brands are about a philosophy or a value system.
Corporates often pay much more attention to tangible manifestations of brands without introspecting enough about their philosophy, which is detrimental in the long term. They diversify into different verticals and there is no common brand identity which holds them together. Only brands with strong philosophies and value systems are able to unite multiple products, services coherently and create a deep impact.
Much has been already written about brand Gandhi. What made brand Gandhi was not the tangible manifestations but a unique philosophy which touched millions of lives, which outlived the freedom struggle and which continues to organically influence people to be a part of it.
A prominent Gandhian Padmashri Haku Shah, or Hakubhai as he was popularly known, passed away recently. He was an internationally acclaimed artist deeply influenced by the rich folk tradition of India, a cultural anthropologist and researcher who went for meticulous field studies and did in-depth analysis and documentation of crafts, an academic who greatly influenced a generation of students at National Institute of Design with his work, a curator who set up a unique tribal museum in Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, a designer who came up with the pioneering idea of a craft village in Udaipur and an activist who sought to improve the lives of artisans. He was also an author-illustrator of many books including children’s literature. Incidentally, his last book was called Manush, or human being. How was he able to wear so many hats? How could he bring forth a unique, unconventional approach in all that he did? The guiding force for all that he did was his Gandhian philosophy and a child-like optimistic belief in humanity.
The story of a brand is about being true to the philosophy and value system at the core and the ability to constantly create meaning and impact for others. This works at multiple levels, whether it is the brand identity of individuals, institutions, organisations or the corporate world.
Jet Airways lenders to invite preliminary bids on April 6
A day after Jet Airways deferred the March salaries of its employees, the airline’s management, lenders and government officials took stock of the situation on Thursday, holding series of meetings in the national capital.
Earlier during the day, the consortium of lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) met the civil aviation secretary, updating him on the plans of action. During the afternoon, the lenders met Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube to discuss the mode and period of funds infusion, which is likely to be made in trenches, the sources said.
Jet Airways’s lenders, in a cautiously worded statement issued late in the evening, said, “The lenders intend to pursue the Bank-Led Resolution Plan for sale of stake in the company in a time-bound manner under the present legal and regulatory framework and intend to invite Expressions of Interest (EoI).”
The lenders added that EoIs will be invited on April 6 and will need to be submitted by April 9. They also said that they are cognizant that the outcome of the efforts will depend on the interest shown by the parties in the sale of stake in the company.
“Whilst all efforts will be made for the stake sale by the lenders, other options may be considered by the lenders should these efforts not result in an acceptable outcome” the statement continued.
On March 25, Jet Airways’s Board had approved a resolution plan formulated by SBI-led domestic lenders, under which they had agreed to infuse an emergency funding of Rs 1,500 crore into the airline, and convert the same into equity worth 50.1% for a notional value of just Rs 1 each share.
However, the funds are yet to be disbursed as legal formalities are being worked out.
Civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said in a media interaction in Delhi on Thursday the ministry will see what is to be done of international flying if the number of Jet Airways aircraft in operations fall below 20. An airline is allowed to fly internationally only if it has at least 20 aircraft under its fleet. Jet is currently flying 26 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways faced more headwinds on Thursday. There were reports that oil companies had stopped supplying jet fuel to the airline at Delhi airport and it was resumed only after the airline’s management assured them of the payments.
Further, Avolon, one of the world’s biggest aircraft lessors, has applied with aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation for de-registration of two of its aircraft currently under the possession of Jet Airways. Sources said the earlier groundings of planes by Jet Airways have been on consensual terms.
IL&FS arm may lose 90% of Rs 19K cr gross bad loans
IL&FS Financial Services Ltd (IFIN) has a gross non-performing assets (GNPA) of around 90%, possibly a record for companies in its financial bracket.
“One of the things that would have struck many of you is that a company which reported GNPA of about 5% in March 2018 (has such a high GNPA later). I have heard double digit GNPA, but 90% GNPA, I am sure all of you would say is unusual by any standards that is the challenge which we have to face,” said Uday Kotak, non-executive chairman, IL&FS, on Wednesday.
Six months ago, on October 3, Uday Kotak-led management took charge of IL&FS group.
While updating on the last six months’ performance on the resolution and recovery processes undertaken by the management, N Sivaraman, chief operating officer, said, “Group entity’s recovery will be subject to the resolution process and what kind of valuation are we able to realise and get the money back.”
IFIN has an external exposure of Rs 10,656 crore, while the exposure to IL&FS Group and its various entities is Rs 6,849 crore. IFIN’s other current assets is Rs 1,300 crore, making the total exposure Rs 18,805 crore.
As of March 2018, the gross bad loans were around 5.3%, which jumped to around 61.8% in September 2018. This further increased to about 90% in December 2018.
“As far as enforcement with the third parties is concerned, the recovery process is on. But I still fear that we are staring at around 90% gross NPA, which means that these are difficult credits. We have lent money, but they have defaulted on their normal servicing. There’s a portion of the credit, which we have been able to collect Rs 697 crore from those assets. We have also been able to get Rs 235 crore from the recovery process,” said Sivaraman.
Showing confidence in improving the numbers, the senior executive said they are not saying that this 90% is to be forgotten.
“The recovery efforts are on. There are enough opportunities to make sure that we are able to recover. We will use the legal process to recover in the form of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), one-time settlement, even criminal process, etc; multiple ways of making the client or borrower to come to the table. We can’t predict the timeline over here. It’s going to be time consuming and long drawn process,” Sivaraman said.
At the group level, the total outstanding debt (fund based as well as non-fund based) currently stands at Rs 99,354 crore. Of this, Rs 48,470 crore is fund-based debt in four holding companies, namely, IL&FS, IFIN, IL&FS Energy Development Co Ltd (IEDCL) and IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd (ITNL).
Kotak also expressed concern about the net worth of the entities and businesses of the group. “It would be reasonable to assume that there is significant erosion in net worth, and in many cases there could be significantly negative net worth,” he said.
India’s manufacturing growth at 6-month low in March: PMI
Reflecting a loss of “growth momentum”, manufacturing activities in the country slowed down to a six-month low in March amid softer increases in new orders, production and employment, according to a survey.
The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) declined to 52.6 in March from 54.3 in February, a report said Tuesday.A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a print below that level points to contraction. “Falling from 54.3 in February to a six-month low, the latest figure highlighted a loss of growth momentum,” the report said, adding that although operating conditions in the Indian manufacturing industry continued to improve, there was a widespread slowdown in growth.
As per the report, factory orders and production expanded at the slowest pace since last September while job creation eased to an eight-month low in March.”Softer increases were registered for new orders, production, input buying and employment. The deceleration was accompanied by subdued inflationary pressures, with rates of increase in input costs and output charges below their respective long-run averages,” it noted.However, business sentiment strengthened to a seven-month high.
Pollyanna De Lima, Principal Economist at IHS Markit and the author of the report on the PMI, said manufacturing sector expansion in India took a step back in March, with metrics for factory orders, production, exports, input buying and employment all moving lower. “Still, growth was sustained on all fronts. Although global headwinds and a general slowdown in trade present some concerns for the future health of Indian manufacturers’ order books, so far companies have been able to weather the storm and secure healthy inflows of new work from abroad,” De Lima noted.
The index is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in more than 400 industrial companies. The latest data also comes ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s first monetary policy for the current financial year which is to be announced on April 4 and there are expectations of a rate cut.
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