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State run KPCL and engineering giant L&T sign a joint venture agreement to build two coal-based thermal power units at Godhna in Chhattisgarh.
State-owned power generating company Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) and engineering giant Larsen & Toubro today signed a joint venture (JV) agreement for the 1,600MW (2X800MW) coal-based thermal power project at Godhna in Chhattisgarh, reports PTI.
"Most of the clearances have been obtained and land acquisition (in Chhattisgarh) is in progress," chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said at the signing ceremony, attended by L&T chairman and managing director AM Naik.
KPCL officials said the Chhattisgarh government has allotted 1,260 acres to KPCL for the project.
The chief minister said the Karnataka government is not blessed with coal, gas or oil and so the government took initiatives to approach coal-rich Chhattisgarh to put up a super-critical (energy efficient and environment-friendly) thermal plant there.
Mr Naik said L&T is in discussions with the Karnataka government to participate in various infrastructure projects in the state.
NSE and BSE offer the AMFI exam online while a manual written examination is held in tier-2 and tier-3 towns, leaving a high chance for cheating
There is a major anomaly between the examinations conducted by the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) in the metros and in smaller towns and cities. The test administered to financial advisors seeking AMFI certification by the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is conducted in a professional manner; but in tier-2 and tier-3 towns, it is a different exam—literally.
NSE and BSE conduct the examinations online wherein each examinee gets a different question paper. This leaves no scope for cheating. However, in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, online tests are not available. So brokerage house NJ India Invest and UTI Institute of Capital Markets (UTIICM) conduct a manual written examination every two or three months in a nearby school or college. Just like a higher secondary school exam, the AMFI question papers are sealed in a pack. Each candidate gets the same paper. Many independent financial advisors (IFAs) say this leaves scope for cheating, particularly because the questions are close-ended and the examinees just need to tick the right answers.
“There is no sanctity to AMFI exams. People in the industry say that if you want to pass the AMFI exam, become a sub-broker of NJ India. There are people who can’t speak English but have passed the AMFI examination easily,” said an IFA. An email query sent to NJ India remained unanswered. AP Kurian, chairman of AMFI, also did not revert to a query by Moneylife.
What’s more, the test syllabus is not updated with the latest developments in the mutual fund industry. “It may well happen that if you give a right answer, it would be marked incorrect because the AMFI book is not updated. AMFI expects candidates to write what is mentioned in the book, even if it is wrong,” said a mutual fund distributor.
“It (the test) needs to be improved drastically to cater to very basic knowledge of financial planning or advisory requirements. It should be made a little bit tougher to limit the number of people who can become financial advisors. But if it is made very tough, it would be difficult to get more advisors. It is conducted efficiently in the metros, but it should go online in tier-2 and tier-3 cities,” argues Rajesh Jha, CEO, Jain Investment.
There are also certain anomalies between the application forms of NSE, BSE and AMFI. While NSE and AMFI do not require candidates to attach proof of residence, the BSE form mentions that it is mandatory. The NSE and AMFI application forms require only a copy of the candidate’s PAN card as proof of identity.
“We do the certification for AMFI. They (AMFI) have never insisted that we should collect residence proof,” said an NSE official.
The Union Budget may signal a partial roll-back of the generous stimulus extended in late 2008. Where would the action be?
Come 26th February and all eyes and ears will be on finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, as he enters into a long monologue on the government’s budgetary plans for the coming year. Very prominent on the agenda is the move towards fiscal consolidation, a subject on the tip of the tongue of every industrialist, banker, analyst, economist and, perhaps now, even the common man.
Debates abound whether the time is right for withdrawing the fiscal stimulus. The business community is against such a move while economists strongly believe the fruit is ripe and needs to be plucked. Both sides of the argument hold merit.
However, the question is not so much whether the government will act on its fiscal position or not. It is more a question of the extent of government action on this front.
Vikram Kotak, chief investment officer, Birla Sun Life Insurance, believes, that “whether the stimulus will be and should be withdrawn is no longer debatable. The question is (of) a clear roadmap on how it will be done. India has already withdrawn 40% of the monetary stimulus. With the economy already on a sustained recovery path, we expect fiscal stimulus to also follow suit, in a gradual and calibrated manner without snapping growth. The government would attempt to finely balance the dual objectives of sustaining growth momentum and addressing fiscal consolidation.”
The government is treading a fine line between growth and inflation, but the scale seems to be tilted more towards the latter. While the government’s fiscal deficit is nowhere near the bloated figures of western countries, it is indeed caught in a tight spot.
Anand Rathi Research says, “Although fiscal prudence would be the right choice for India, we do not expect any tough measures in the FY11 Budget—either a broad-based tax hike or a major across-the-board cut in expenditure. Yet, the non-recurrence of one-off expenditures as in FY10, strong non-tax revenue growth, partial rollback of tax rate cuts and the change in the composition of GDP is likely to lead to narrowing of the fiscal deficit.”
Vikram Kotak is of the opinion that the government should not miss the opportunity of fiscal consolidation as it did in the growth phase of 2003-2007. “At this juncture, it is pertinent to note that the economy does not require big promises. The need of the hour is the timely execution of the unfinished agendas which has the potential to take India to the next growth trajectory,” he added.
The government had doled out Rs1.80 lakh crore through three stimulus packages to prop up a faltering economy against the recent global downturn. The stimulus was mainly directed towards exports, especially textiles, leather and gems and jewellery; small and medium enterprises (SMEs), infrastructure and housing.
While exports in some of these sectors have witnessed a turnaround, others are still struggling to hold their own. As such, the government may opt for a selective withdrawal of stimulus measures, giving some more space for the laggards to put up a better performance.
Anand Rathi Research believes the focus of the Budget is likely to be on driving broad-based growth, fostering agro productivity, infrastructure development and exports. “Sectors that are likely to benefit include agro products, financials, capital goods, construction, IT services and utilities. Rising tax rates, however, are likely to be negative for the automobile and metal sectors.”