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Monday,10-August-2020

Business

Edtech firm Unacademy acquires PrepLadder for $112 crore

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Bengaluru-based edtech firm Unacademy on Tuesday announced to acquire PrepLadder, a leading post-graduate medical entrance exam preparation platform, for $50 million (approx Rs 112.3 crore).

Founded by Deepanshu Goyal, Vitul Goyal and Sahil Goyal in 2016, PrepLadder prepares students for medical examinations and provides access to education services and preparation material for exams such as NEET PG, AIIMS PG, NEET SS, and FMGE.

Currently, PrepLadder has expert educators teaching over 85,000 active subscribers.

According to Unacademy, the acquisition will strengthen its presence in medical entrance examination categories. Unacademy recently acquired Kreatryx and taken over the custodianship of CodeChef.

“The exponential growth in Unacademy’s subscriber base is a testament to the increasing demand for quality online education and our consistent efforts. I look forward to working with the PrepLadder team as they become a part of the Unacademy Group,” said Gaurav Munjal, Co-Founder, and CEO, Unacademy.

The acquisition comes on the heels of news reports that Think and Learn, the parent company of Bengaluru-based edtech unicorn BYJU’S, is in talks to acquire Mumbai-based startup WhiteHat Jr for Rs 300 million.

In the last three months, Unacademy has recorded a 100 per cent increase in its paid subscriber base.

The monthly watch time minutes has also reached an all-time high of over 1 billion. Additionally, over 525,000 learners attempted various mock tests on the platform for competitive examinations such as UPSC, NEET-PG, and CAT, among others, during this period.

“Unacademy and PrepLadder are working towards the common goal of making quality education accessible to all. We believe that the synergies between both products will truly create a mark in the industry,” said Deepanshu Goyal, Co-Founder, PrepLadder.

Founded in 2015, Unacademy currently has over 10,000 educators, more than 30 million learners and caters to over 35 exam categories.

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Business

SpiceJet operates first long-haul wide-body charter flight to Canada

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SpiceJet

Airline major SpiceJet on Saturday became the first Indian budget carrier to operate a long-haul wide-body charter flight to North America.

The airline repatriated 352 Canadian nationals and permanent residency holders from New Delhi to Toronto on Saturday. The airline chartered a wide-body Airbus A330-900 Neo aircraft for the purpose.

The twin-aisle A330 Neo aircraft has a configuration of 353 economy and 18 business class seats.

“Our first-ever long-haul charter flight to Canada is yet another example of our commitment to helping as many people as we can to get back home to their families in these troubled times. Being the first Indian budget airline to operate a non-stop long-haul flight to North America is a proud moment for the SpiceJet family,” Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, said in a statement.

“We have operated flights across the globe repatriating close to 85,000 people and transporting over 28,000 tonnes of medical and essential supplies, and we intend to keep on with our efforts,” the statement said.

On August 1, SpiceJet had repatriated 269 Indians from Amsterdam to Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

The airline has operated over 515 charter and Vande Bharat flights to help repatriate close to 85,000 stranded Indian citizens from countries such as the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, the Netherlands, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

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PM Narendra Modi to launch Rs 1 lakh crore financing facility on Sunday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund on Sunday and also release the sixth instalment of funds of Rs 17,000 crore to 8.5 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme.

Modi will take part in the event around 11 a.m. via video conferencing and the occasion will be witnessed by lakhs of farmers, cooperatives, and citizens across the country. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, will also be present on the occasion.

The Union Cabinet has approved the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under “Agriculture Infrastructure Fund” of Rs 1 lakh crore. The fund will catalyse the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets such as cold storage, collection centres, processing units.

These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce, as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage, and increase processing and value addition.

Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a statement said Rs 1 lakh crore will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with multiple lending institutions.

Eleven of the 12 Public Sector Banks have already signed MOUs with the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW). A three per cent interest subvention and credit guarantee of up to Rs 2 crore will be provided to the beneficiaries to increase the viability of these projects.

The beneficiaries of the scheme will include farmers, Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producer Organization Scheme (FPOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, startups, and Central or state agency or local body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna (PM-KISAN) scheme, launched on December 1, 2018 has provided a direct cash benefit of over Rs 75,000 crore to more than 9.9 crore farmers. This has enabled them to fulfil their agricultural requirements and support their families.

The rollout and implementation of the PM-KISAN scheme has happened at an unparalleled pace, with funds being directly transferred into the Aadhaar authenticated beneficiaries’ bank account to prevent leakage and increase convenience for farmers.

The scheme has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic, through the release of nearly Rs 22,000 crore to aid the farmers during the lockdown period.

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Business

Petrol and diesel prices may rise again from next week

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Petrol

Consumers might see fuel prices going up again as oil companies are bracing up to pass the rise in global crude and product prices on retail sales.

Accordingly, petrol and diesel prices may begin their rising trend all over again much to the discomfort of fuel consumers that have faced constant increasing prices since June 7.

The pump price of petrol and diesel had remained unchanged for last one week as oil prices were steady and crude was hovering around $42 per barrel mark for past several days. But with crude price now rising and inching towards $45 per barrel mark, oil companies said that they will be left with no option but to raise retail prices of petrol and diesel.

“We will observe the price movement for next couple of days and if oil prices remains firm, a decision may be taken to revise retail product prices again under the daily price revision mechanism,” said an executive of a public sector oil company on condition of anonymity.

Diesel continues to be priced at Rs 73.56 per litre in Delhi while petrol price remains static at Rs 80.43 per litre. This price level has been maintained since last Friday when diesel were cut by a sharp Rs 8.38 per litre following Delhi government’s decision to reduce VAT on the product from 30 per cent to 16.75 per cent.

This price cut has again made diesel cheaper than petrol in the city after more than month. In fact, diesel is cheaper than petrol in Delhi by the widest margin among all metros now.

Delhi was the only major city in the country where diesel prices were higher than petrol. Diesel prices first rose above petrol in Delhi last month, much to the discomfort of the transport sector and the fuel dealers.

The Rs 1.5 per litre differential had led substantial loss of business to pump operators in Delhi as vehicles were getting diesel filled in neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

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