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FDI In Insurance Raised, Indian Stocks Hit Record Highs

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Mumbai: A benchmark index of Indian equities markets Thursday hit a record high of 26,292.66 points, surpassing its highest peak of 26,190.44 points of July 8.

The index closed at 26,271.85 points (provisional), up 124.52 points or 0.48 percent from its previous closing of 26,147.33 points.

Healthy buying was observed in metal, information technology (IT), bank, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and capital goods stocks. However, consumer durables, healthcare, oil and gas and power scrips came under selling pressure.

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 26,188.50 points, closed trade at 26,271.85 points (provisional), up 124.52 points or 0.48 percent from the previous day’s close at 26,147.33 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 26,292.66 points and a low of 26,077.70 points  intra-day.

The S&P BSE metal index rose 196.37 points, IT index jumped 87.79 points, bank index gained 77.29 points, FMCG index increased 60.69 points and capital goods index ended 30.46 points up.

However, consumer durables index fell 80.26 points, healthcare index slipped 30.02 points, oil and gas index dropped 21.22 points and power index ended 7.44 points down.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was also closed 34.85 points or 0.45 percent up at 7,830.60 points.

The Nifty touched a new record high intra-day at 7,835.65 points, surpassing its record high of 7,809.20 points touched Wednesday.

India approved a proposal to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the insurance sector to 49 percent from the current 26 percent.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi okayed the proposal for the hike but maintains Indian management control. 

A senior government official who did not want to be named said the overseas investments in the insurance sector would be allowed through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route. 

In the budget for 2014-15 presented earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed to hike the overseas investment limit in the insurance sector to 49 percent.

Welcoming the government’s move, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director general Chandrajit Banerjee said the increase in FDI limit “will help attracting the much needed long term capital for the sector which can have multiplier effect on the state of economy especially in meeting the huge infrastructure financing requirements”. 

Capital infusion in the insurance sector, through greater FDI, would ensure innovations on product design and distribution, better risk management, introducing superior technology and greater investments.

CII said the end result will be sizeable improvement in the insurance penetration and density for the Indian economy which is considerably lower when compared with other emerging economies.

Indian Business News

COCA-COLA BOTTLERS TO INVEST RS510 CR IN HARYANA

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Coca-Cola bottling firms Kandhari Beverages and Enrich Agro Food Products on Tuesday said they will invest Rs510 crore in Haryana to add new manufacturing lines. The authorised franchise bottlers of Coca-Cola India, inked a pact with the State Government to expand their manufacturing infrastructure.

“A fresh, combined infusion of Rs510 crore will create an additional direct employment for 325 people,” both the companies said in a joint statement. As a part of the pact, Kandhari Beverages will invest Rs300 crore to set up multiple high speed manufacturing lines for juice, energy and sparkling drinks at Saha in Ambala and will be completed by 2018.

Enrich Agro Food Products will invest Rs165 crore to set up a new manufacturing line for beverages in Rohtak by 2018 and also invest Rs45 crore in a packaging unit for Coca-Cola.

Kandhari Beverages Pvt Ltd Executive Director Bikram Kandhari said: “This investment which will be utilised to enhance infrastructure in our bottling facilities and setting-up new manufacturing lines.”

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Indian Business News

Uber to Invest Rs. 120 Crores in India

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Taxi-hailing app Uber on Tuesday signed a pact with the Haryana Government, wherein it will invest Rs120 crore in technology based ride-sharing services. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed at the Happening Haryana Global Investors Summit 2016.

Under the agreement, Uber will invest in technology based ride-sharing services, which includes peer-to-peer transportation using private vehicles where the driver is reasonably compensated for expenses, tolls and other related costs.

Uber said this new form of reliable and convenient urban mobility will help create a real alternative to car ownership. Uber will also collaborate with the Government in creating smarter cities in Haryana.

“Haryana has been a leader in promoting information technology and we are excited to launch private vehicle ride-sharing to promote urban mobility, prevent pollution and reduce the time spent in traffic in our cities,” Vijayendra Kumar, Secretary IT, Haryana said in a statement.

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Indian Business News

FM Arun Jaitley rolls back Budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawal – Big win for salaried class!

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FM Arun Jaitley rolls back Budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawal - Big win for salaried class!

New Delhi: In what will bring cheers to millions of salaried class individuals in the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday rolled back the controversial budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawals.

Taking the first opportunity available, he made a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha in which he also announced withdrawal of imposing monetary limit for contribution of employers to provident and superannuation fund of Rs 1.5 lakh for taking tax benefit.

He however stated that 40 percent exemption given to National Pension Scheme (NPS) subscriber at the time of withdrawal remains.

“In view of representations received, the government would like to do a comprehensive review of this proposal and therefore I withdraw the proposal,” Jaitley added.

Clarifying government’s stand on EPF in Lok Sabha, Jaitley said, “The main argument is that employees should have choice of where to invest. Our intention was to encourage more and more employees join the national pension scheme”.

Jaitley in his Budget for 2016-17 had proposed that 60 percent of the withdrawal on contribution to employee PF made after April 1 this year will be subject to tax. This would apply to superannuation funds and recognised provident funds including EPF.

This was criticised by all employees unions as well as political parties.

The proposal would not have impacted 3.26 crore EPFO subscribers drawing statutory wage of upto Rs 15,000 per month. Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has a total subscriber base of 3.7 crore.

(With Agency Inputs)

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