Birla Sun Life MF floats 370 days fixed term plan

Birla Sun Life MF new issue closes on 16th July

Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund has launched Birla Sun Life Fixed Term Plan-Series DK, a close-ended income scheme.

The investment objective of the scheme is to generate income by investing in a portfolio of fixed income securities maturing on or before the duration of the scheme.. The tenure of the scheme is 370 days.

The new issue closes on 16th July. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.

CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. Kaustubh Gupta is the fund manager.


Ammonium nitrate stockpile in Vishakhapatnam raises serious questions on naval security

Former power secretary has repeatedly sent letters to the home minister and senior bureaucrats for monitoring the hazardous chemical, but has not received any response so far 

The mysterious case of MV Rak's long wait and the subsequent sinking near Juhu in Mumbai has raised some serious questions about the nation's naval security. The authorities concerned appear clueless about the ship's stay and the managing of the subsequent oil-spill. In such a situation, storage of large quantities of ammonium nitrate at Vishakhapatnam only raises the levels of anxiety.

Former power and finance secretary, EAS Sarma, has written to the home minister, asking for tightened surveillance on the substance. While he has sent many letters to several Union ministers and bureaucrats, there has been no response. "I had written about one specific case of ammonium nitrate storage facility being set up near Visakhapatnam, no attempt had been made by any one in the government to stop it," said Mr Sarma in his letter.

Incidentally, the department of industrial policy and promotion had declared ammonium nitrate to be an 'explosive' after the recent Mumbai blasts. However, the Andhra Pradesh Coastal Zone Management Authority (APCZMA) appears unaware of this fact. With container traffic increasing day-by-day at Indian ports, storage of such huge amounts of the chemical appears risky. "While the navy is very alert, many of these containers go unchecked. Having a system of screening will be very helpful," said Mr Sarma.

Vishakhapatnam has six companies that act as intermediaries in the import and inland distribution of ammonium nitrate, which is used as a fertiliser. There is little knowledge about where the truckloads are delivered. In May 2010, a truck was hijacked by Maoists in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, while on its way from Vishakhapatnam to Raipur.

Mr Sarma cited several techniques and norms used globally for monitoring movement of this substance which is often used for making explosive devices by terrorists. In Vishakhapatnam, the most (in)famous storage facility is that of Sravan Shipping, which houses some 20,000 tonnes. There are six such godowns in the port city, and the amount stored in these totals to more than 100,000 tonnes.

Sravan Shipping's warehouse is located near highly hazardous establishments like the Hindustan Petroleum refinery, Hindustan Zinc and major fertiliser units. "It is very close to the airport and public settlements are just a stone's throw away," said Mr Sarma. In case of an explosion, severe damage can be caused in that area.

At the time of setting up of this facility in 2007, there was a furore. After the environment assessment report was presented before the MoEF (ministry of environment and forests), the matter went for public hearing, which saw many local residents protesting storage of this hazardous substance, backed by some political parties as well. "But like in many other cases, public objection was overlooked and the government cleared the project, which is again illegally built on the CRZ (costal regulation zone) area," said Mr Sarma.

"Vishakhapatnam is a busy and an important area," he added, "it is a major Coromandel port, it houses the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command, is an ecologically sensitive zone and is an industrial and commercial hub. Several incidents—from the 26/11 massacre to the sinking of MV Rak—have shown us how vulnerable our coastlines are. In such a situation, storage of explosive substances like ammonium nitrate is a big risk, especially when there are no checks on it."



P R Kumar

5 years ago

Environmentalists and University Professors has to take proactive roles as to safe guard the Civilians

Car sales down 15.76% in July; first decline in 30 months

Total sales of vehicles across categories registered a growth of 8.99% to 13,48,753 units in July as against 12,37,521 units in the same month last year, as per data released by SIAM

New Delhi: Domestic passenger car sales have fallen for the first time after 30 months of continuous growth, registering a 15.76% decline in July this year mainly due to hikes in lending rates and lower production by market leader Maruti Suzuki during the month, reports PTI.

Car sales in the country stood at 1,33,747 units in July 2011, as against 1,58,767 units in the same month last year, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today.

"This is the first time since January 2009 that car sales have fallen. Interest rates and fuel prices were going up in recent months and that led to an overall negative sentiment in the market," SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.

The car market last witnessed a fall in January 2009, when sales shrunk by 3.16% year-on-year. Last month's decline is the steepest since November 2008, when car segment sales fell by 19.34%, he added.

The production loss at Maruti's Manesar facility due to preparations for the launch of its new Swift model and realignment of its DZiRE model's output also severely impacted sales, he said.

Earlier this month, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said that due to these two planned activities, sales in July were negatively impacted by nearly 17,000 units.

"There is no lack of demand, but just lack of conversion of demand into purchases by customers," Mr Mathur said.

SIAM senior director Sugato Sen said non-availability of certain components like castings also impacted the output of many car-makers.

During the month, MSI India posted a 31.04% dip in domestic car sales to 52,483 units.

Rival Hyundai Motor India's sales were down by 11.49% to 25,501 units. Tata Motors saw a decline of 43.13% in sales to 13,997 units during the month.

When asked about the outlook, Mr Mathur said: "Interest rates and fuel prices are challenges for the market.

Hopefully, interest rates have reached their peak... If crude continues to soften, then there may be some positive impact as it will lead to inflation coming down."

The forthcoming festive season is also likely to help car-makers push sales, but to what extent it can boost growth has to be looked at, he added.

The auto industry has started slowing down this fiscal, with the passenger car segment growing by only 7% in May. In June, it saw its slowest growth rate in 27 months of 1.62%.

SIAM had last month revised the growth projection downward to 10%-12% for 2011-12, as against its earlier forecast of 16%-18%.

According to SIAM, two-wheeler sales increased by 12.61% in July 2011, to 10,56,906 units from 9,38,514 units in July 2010.

Motorcycle sales grew by 10.51% during the month to 7,85,278 units from 7,10,621 units in the corresponding month last year.

Hero MotoCorp (formerly Hero Honda) continued its impressive performance with a 13.89% increase in sales to 4,43,948 units. Rival Bajaj Auto also posted a 5.30% increase in sales to 2,02,326 units during the month.

However, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) saw its bike sales falling by 6.52% to 51,920 units.

Chennai-based TVS Motor Co saw its motorcycle sales going up by 9.58% to 48,091 units during the month.

The scooter segment witnessed a growth of 23.03% in sales during July this year to 2,05,695 units from 1,67,195 units in the same month last year.

HMSI's scooter sales during the month were up 19.54% to 89,869 units while that of TVS Motor Co grew by 20.47% to 46,324 units. Hero MotoCorp's scooter sales during the month grew by 36.29% to 33,766 units.

Three-wheeler sales during July 2011 declined by 3.13% to 43,949 units from 45,369 in the same month last year.

Sales of commercial vehicles jumped by 23.70% to 64,241 units from 51,934 units in the year-ago period.

Light commercial vehicle sales grew by 35.95% to 37,111 units from 27,297 units last year. Medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales stood at 27,130 units as against 24,637 units in July last year, up 10.12%, SIAM said.

Total sales of vehicles across categories registered a growth of 8.99% to 13,48,753 units in July, compared to 12,37,521 units in the same month last year, it added.


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