Citizens' Issues
DGCA starts probe into 5,000 feet plunge by Jet Airways flight

Jet Airways' Boeing 777—300, operating flight 9W—228 from Mumbai to Brussels and onwards to Newark, plunged to 29,000 feet from 34,000 feet while traversing on the busy air route to Europe last week


In a major scare, a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Brussels, carrying around 280 passengers, plunged 5,000 feet while overflying Turkish airspace last week as the commander was asleep and the co-pilot busy with the iPad containing flight information.


Terming it as a “serious incident”, India's aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the two pilots and initiated a probe into the incident.


It has also set up a three-member team to review the airline’s flight training programmes and facilities following the incident last Friday, official sources said, adding the team has been asked to submit their report by 31st August.


DGCA has directed the airline to come forward with all related reports, as well as the records of the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) within this week, they said.


The incident occurred when the Boeing 777—300, operating flight 9W—228 from Mumbai to Brussels and onwards to Newark, plunged from 34,000 feet to 29,000 feet, while traversing on the busy air route to Europe.


As the aircraft descended, the air traffic control at Ankara sent an emergency message to the aircraft asking the pilots why they had deviated from the assigned flight path and directed them to climb up to the designated height immediately.


Both pilots were summoned by DGCA on Wednesday for questioning.


While the commander said he was on “controlled rest”, implying a short nap inside the cockpit, which is allowed by flight operation procedures, the co-pilot told the regulator that she was working on her iPad or the electronic flight bag which has all aircraft documents loaded on to it, the sources said.


Immediately after the Ankara ATC message, the co-pilot woke up the commander who restored the height of the plane.


Confirming the incident, an airline spokesperson said Jet Airways has initiated an internal inquiry into the matter.


“The airline is also extending all co—operation in the matter to the DGCA by providing all necessary assistance for the inquiry. Safety is of paramount importance to Jet Airways as is also the welfare of our guests and crew and the airline will always take appropriate steps to ensure the same,” the spokesperson said.


Adani Power partially rescues 'debt ridden' Lanco Infra

Adani Power would buy Lanco Infra's thermal power plant for Rs6,000 crore, including a debt of Rs4,000 crore. However, Lanco, headed by 'pepper-spray MP' L Rajagopal has a huge debt of Rs36,000 crore


Adani Power said it would acquire Lanco Infratech Ltd's 1,200MW Udupi thermal plant for Rs6,000 crore, including a debt of Rs4,000 crore. But that is minuscule money because Lanco Infra has a huge debt of Rs36,000 crore and had also obtained a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) package. While Adani group would provide Rs2,000 crore cash to Lanco, how it would take care of the CDR package availed by Lanco is not known.

“This transaction will support the company in reducing its debt and will enable Lanco to receive about Rs2,000 crore as cash and additionally, Adani Power will take Udupi plant’s long-time debt of around Rs4,000 crore,” Lanco Infra  had said in a statement.

According to reports, Lanco's Udupi thermal plant is India's first independent power plant based on 100% imported coal and has a captive jetty of 4 million tonnes a year. The plant had already signed a deal with Karnataka government to expand its capacity by 1,320MW.

Lanco Infra, headed by Congress leader and former member of Parliament (MP) L Rajagopal, who is better known as 'pepper-spray MP' was in a debt restructuring process.  By July 2013, the company had filed for corporate debt restructuring (CDR), citing a business slowdown. Nomura had kept its rating and valuation (target price) on Lanco 'suspended', as it says the company is in the process of restructuring the debt on its standalone balance sheet, by way of reference to the CDR Cell.

"Group net debt-to-equity, including working capital loans of power SPVs and Griffin Coal acquisition debt, stood at 12.7x as of December 2013 compared with 10.7x as of September 2013. Receivables from state discoms stood at Rs2,770 crore as of December 2013 compared with Rs2,940 crore as on September 2013, as impasse on tariff-related issues continued; the decline in receivables was largely on the back of recovery of Rs160 crore from Uttar Pradesh," Nomura said.

Then on 11 December 2013, a consortium of 27 lenders headed by the IDBI Bank cleared an Rs7,000 crore CDR package to release Rs3,500 crore as working capital advance to enable it to resume engineering, procurement and constructions operations. Of this Rs2,500 crore were to be fund based.

Lanco has a total debt of Rs36,000 crore and is reportedly also looking at options to sell its Griffin Coal in Australia which it had bought for $665 million (about Rs4,100 crore) in 2011.

Lanco and Adani closed Thursday 4.92% and 2.9% higher at Rs8.95 and Rs53.55, respectively on the BSE, while the 30-share Sensex ended the day marginally up at 26,103.


Investors use debt schemes mainly for tax benefits: Our online Survey results

Moneylife’s online survey on debt mutual funds shows that 65% of the respondents said they invested in these schemes to take advantage of the tax benefit


Moneylife conducted an online survey about how investors viewed Fixed Maturity Plans and Debt Schemes before and after Budget 2014. The focus of the survey was to gauge the views of savers—whether they still find debt mutual fund schemes attractive or not—after the Budget imposed taxes. Out of the 700 responses from members and subscribers, only 527 gave valid responses; the rest either did not invest in mutual funds (MFs) at all or did not complete the questionnaire. We have considered these 527 responses as the sample. Of these, 89% invest in equity schemes and as many as 458 (or 87%) invest in non-equity schemes like debt schemes, leading us to conclude that a high percentage of mutual fund investors would be impacted by the change in tax norms.
Based on their responses, many of them showed that they were knowledgeable about their tax management. Over 85% were aware of the tax advantage enjoyed by FMPs, debt schemes and other non-equity schemes over traditional fixed-income products, before the Budget. As many as 65% said they invested in these schemes to take advantage of the tax benefit.

Our Survey showed that investors use non-equity schemes mainly to avail of the tax benefits.
The taxation of FMPs and debt funds has not been raised. Earlier, it was 10% without indexation or 20% with indexation, whichever is lower. Now, it is only the latter.

A significant percentage of respondents hold units of liquid and debt schemes for a period of one year to three years. As many as 42% of the participants invest in liquid schemes for less than a year and an equal number hold investments in liquid schemes for a period between one year and three years. Just around 13% hold such investments for over three years. Similarly, just about 20% hold debt schemes for over three years, while around 70% stay invested between one year to three years.

When asked if they would invest in FMPs or debt schemes for period less than a year, as many as 65% said they would not; 20% were not sure. This is significant, because this explains three things to us, why investors used FMPs and debt schemes, was taxation the main driver or was it the inherent strength of the product and finally, whether they will invest in such schemes in the future. See the chart below.

If Investors pull money out from FMPs and Debt Schemes where will they put this money? On choosing alternatives to debt schemes and FMPs for an investment period less than a year, as many as 41% said that they would choose banks FDs. Surprisingly, 23% said they would invest in balanced mutual fund schemes, despite their high equity component. Many participants seemed to be aware of arbitrage schemes; 23% mentioned that they would invest in these schemes as well. Investing in corporate FDs and corporate bonds were picked as alternative options to debt mutual fund schemes by 21% and 14% of the respondents respectively. Just about 10% said they will continue to invest in FMPs and debt schemes. Hybrid schemes, such as MIPs found interest from just 5% of the participants.



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