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Hiring in July up 23% on improved biz confidence

New Delhi: A spurt in the economic growth and the improved business confidence resulted in a 23% growth in India Inc's hiring activity in the month of July, as against the same period a year ago, reports PTI.'s monthly job index-JobSpeak-moved up to 963 in July this year compared to 783 in the same month of 2009.

Recruitments in July also showed an improvement over the previous month as well, with the job index increasing by 2% (to 963) in July from 947 in June, the study found.

"Hiring activity has been increasing in the country on the back of improving business sentiments and higher attrition level," Info Edge chief financial officer Ambarish Raghuvanshi told PTI.

Besides he said, "There are some pleasant hues in terms of the core sectors like auto, insurance, pharma and oil and gas taking a lead in job creation in the economy."

The pharma and insurance sectors have been bullish on hiring, with the sector registering a notable growth of 19% and 17%, respectively in the job index for July compared to June.

Other key industry sectors such as auto and oil & gas exhibited strong hiring growth, with the sectoral job indices moving up by 9% and 7%, respectively, in July compared to June.

In July, some sectors seemed on a comeback mode with a growth of 6% in real estate jobs and 3% in the retail and IT-software over June-reflecting the underlying positive growth scenario and business confidence in these sectors.

Similarly, demand for professionals in project management and sales moved up by 13% and 10%, respectively in July against the last month.

Geographically, Mumbai and Delhi witnessed an upsurge in jobs in the period under review with their job indices moving up by 4% and 3%, respectively, as against June.

On the contrary, Bengaluru and Chennai saw a dip in the index by 7% and 3%, respectively.

In addition, hiring has been bullish in the first six months of this year, with 22% more recruitment seen in the January-June period of 2010 compared to the same period last year.

"The continuous upward movement of the job index over the last few months surely instils a lot of confidence in the psyche of the jobseeker," the report stated.


Govt to hike Ravva gas price by over 35% to $4.75 per mmBtu

New Delhi: The government is likely to hike the price of natural gas produced from Cairn India-operated Ravva fields by 35% to $4.75 in line with the rates it has approved for gas produced by Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) from the same area, reports PTI.

About 0.9 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of gas produced from the fields lying in Bay of Bengal, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, is currently sold at $3.5 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu).

"According to the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for the Ravva fields, gas prices were to be revised from December 1, 2008," an oil ministry official said. "Somehow, we have not been able to act on Cairn's request for price revision since 2008 but now things are moving."

Cairn had sought $6.75 per mmBtu, a price it had discovered from by inviting bids from consumers in the region.

But the ministry is inclined to fix the rates at $4.75 per mmBtu, the price it recently approved for all new gas to be produced by state-run ONGC from the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin, the same area were Ravva is situated.

This price will be before addition of transportation charges, marketing margin and local taxes.

Industry sources said Cairn is entitled to a higher price of gas from 1 December, 2008, till when the $3.5 per mmBtu rate was valid.

The company, they said, has a legitimate right to claim at least $4.205 per mmBtu-the price that the government had approved for Reliance Industries' (RIL) KG basin gas fields, from December 2008 till 30 June, 2010, the date on which the $4.75 per mmBtu price was approved the gas from the region.

State-owned gas utility GAIL India, which buys all of the gas produced from Ravva and the adjoining Ravva Satellite fields, is opposed to paying higher price. It was on GAIL's opposition last year that the price of gas from Ravva fields could not be revised, they said.

The oil ministry on 28th June issued guidelines for the price national oil companies like ONGC can charge for natural gas they produce from new fields in the blocks given to them on nomination basis.

ONGC will get $5.25 per mmBtu for the gas it produces for new fields in nominated blocks in the western offshore and $5 per mmBtu for fields in Cauvery basin. It will get $4.75 per mmBtu for fields in KG basin off the Andhra coast.

The price approved is more than $3.818 per mmBtu that the government had set for the gas ONGC produces from its currently producing fields in the blocks given to it on nomination basis.

The price for consumers of this gas, known as APM or government administered gas, after including royalty is $4.2 per mmBtu, sources said.
The oil ministry based the new price for ONGC on the rates at which dominant players in the region like Panna/Mukta and Tapti field in western offshore and Reliance Industries' KG-D6 fields in eastern offshore sell the fuel.

"Further, a premium of $0.25 per mmBtu would be allowed for production of natural gas from new fields which are offshore," the order said.

Sources said the government has for the first time implemented a distinct pricing for current and future fields in the same block that was given on nomination basis.

So far, all gas-current and future-produced from blocks given to ONGC and Oil India Ltd was priced at government-controlled rates, called administered price mechanism (APM).

The petroleum ministry has now made a distinction between existing producing fields and new ones in nomination blocks.


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