Kingfisher cannot be closed down because of losses: Civil aviation minister

“You can't close down a company because they are making losses or banks are not giving them money. As long as passenger safety is not jeopardised, as long as they keep their schedule, why should we close down any industry?” civil aviation minister Ajit Singh told reporters

New Delhi: Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines cannot be closed down just because it is making losses and banks are not helping it out with funds, reports PTI quoting civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.

“You can't close down a company because they are making losses or banks are not giving them money. As long as passenger safety is not jeopardised, as long as they keep their schedule, why should we close down any industry,” civil aviation minister Ajit Singh told reporters here.

He was responding to a question from reporters whether the government would take stringent action against the airline if it flouts rules.

His comments came even as the Vijay Mallya-owned carrier was asked by its bankers to infuse fresh equity on its own before they lent it additional funds.

Bank chiefs have been quoted as saying that Kingfisher would need to arrange fresh equity of Rs1,000-Rs2,000 crore before seeking additional funds from the consortium of banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI).

To another question, the minister said closing down of any airline would impact passengers.

He said Kingfisher has submitted a new schedule of its flights to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which would closely monitor it.

A consortium of 18 banks, comprising 14 state-owned and four private banks, have provided huge sums to the cash-strapped airline, which has a total debt of about Rs7,057 crore and accumulated losses of about Rs6,000 crore.

The banks are expected to hold meetings with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the financial mess facing the airline as its loans are reportedly turning to non-performing assets (NPAs) in the past weeks. They are expected to take a call on whether or not to extend fresh credit line to the ailing carrier.

Kingfisher’s net loss shot up to Rs444.26 crore for the quarter ending 31 December 2011 from Rs253.69 crore in the October-December quarter of the previous fiscal. It had suffered a loss of Rs1,027 crore in 2010-11.

The ailing carrier has been put on cash-and-carry mode by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) as well as the oil companies for airport charges and jet fuel supplies.

Compounding its troubles, the excise authorities have frozen the bank accounts of the carrier for its failure to pay service tax dues of about Rs35 crore. The Income Tax authorities had earlier frozen Kingfisher’s accounts.

As per its new schedule, Kingfisher is now operating about 170 daily flights against over 400 it sought permission for in November. It would not be operating direct flights to some major cities and several Tier-II cities now on, as per the truncated schedule it has submitted to the DGCA.

The airline has also informed DGCA that it would strive to bring in to service in the next week or 10 days 16 more planes in addition to the 28 it has promised to the regulator that it would operate. Of the 64 aircraft fleet, 28 are now operational.

Due to its truncated flight schedule, the airline is likely to lose several prime flying slots, which are a period of time within which a plane has to take-off.

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Bharti AXA iProtect renamed as eProtect—what’s in a name?

Bharti AXA new online term plan iProtect has been renamed as eProtect. The obvious reason for it seems to be clash of name with ICICI Pru iProtect. It got the plan name approved from IRDA, then why was it renamed? Why did it even take up the same name in the first place?

Bharti AXA Life has re-christened its new online term plan iProtect as eProtect. It was surprising that it had copied the same name as ICICI Pru Life iProtect in the first place. Was it intentional coping of the product name? We don’t know. Renaming it to eProtect seems to be a logical decision considering that ICICI Pru iProtect is still available in the market for sum assured of Rs1.5 crore and above.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) had allowed same product name for the new term life insurance plan. IRDA has done this in the past too, but it is rare to have same product name from different insurers.

Bharti AXA Life eProtect is now the cheapest online term life insurance plan for non-smokers. There is wide difference in the premium between smokers and non-smokers. The premium for Rs50 lakh Sum Assured (SA) for a 27 year old non-smoker male based in Mumbai for a policy term of 25 years is Rs3700 (excluding taxes). The premium for a smoker in the same case will be Rs6150 (excluding taxes).

Emails to IRDA, Bharti AXA Life and ICICI Pru Life on the issue of product renaming went unanswered.

Also read: Bharti AXA iProtect—Online term life insurance hits a new price bottom

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Economic growth slows down to 6.1% in Q3; lowest in two years

India Inc has been blaming the RBI’s tight monetary policy, which has increased the cost of borrowings, for hindering fresh investments and slowing down industrial growth

New Delhi: India’s economic growth rate slipped to 6.1% in the third quarter this fiscal, lowest in more than two years due to poor performance of the manufacturing, mining and farm sectors, reports PTI.

The gross domestic product (GDP) growth the in third quarter (October-December) of the last fiscal was 8.3%, as per the latest data released by the government today.

GDP in April-December period also moderated to 6.9% from 8.1% in the first nine months of 2010-11.

During the quarter ending 31st December, growth in the manufacturing sector dipped to a meagre 0.4% from 7.8% in the corresponding period of 2010-11.

Farm output also exhibited a similar trend and expanded by just 2.7% during the quarter, compared to 11% in the corresponding period last fiscal.

Mining and quarrying production contracted by 3.1% during the quarter under review, as against a growth of 6.1% in Q3 of last fiscal.

Growth in the construction sector also slowed to 7.2% during the quarter from 8.7% in the same period a year ago.

Furthermore, the trade, hotels, transport and communications segments grew by just 9.2% in the quarter under review, as against 9.8% expansion in the year-ago period.

However, electricity, gas and water supply grew by robust 9% in the October-December period, compared to 3.8% growth in the corresponding period last fiscal.

The growth of the services sector, including insurance and real estate, slowed to 9.9% in the third quarter ended December compared to 11.2% expansion in Q3 of 2010-11.

The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) has pegged the GDP growth for 2011-12 at 6.9%, while the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) expects that it would be 7.1 per cent.

The Indian economy expanded by 8.4% in 2010-11.

As per the data released today, manufacturing growth in the nine-month period ending December slowed to 3.4% compared to 7.6% during the same period a year ago.

During April-December, output of mining and quarrying sector declined by 1.4% as against a positive growth of 6.7% in same period last fiscal.

Furthermore, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector grew by just 3.2% in the nine month period, as against 6.8% expansion a year ago.

Growth of the construction sector stood at 4.2% during the nine-month period compared to 7.7% in the same period last fiscal.

The slowdown in the manufacturing sector, coupled with decline in mining and quarrying, is likely to put pressure on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut interest rate at its mid-quarter monetary policy review on 15th March.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee too, in his Budget for 2012-13, to be presented on 16th March in the Lok Sabha, is expected to announce steps for arresting economic slowdown.

India Inc has been blaming the RBI’s tight monetary policy, which has increased the cost of borrowings, for hindering fresh investments and slowing down industrial growth.

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