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From November 27, Lakshmi Vilas Bank will cease to exist

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From November 27, the 94-year-old Karur-headquartered Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) will cease to exist officially and be amalgamated with DBS Bank India Ltd, a subsidiary of DBS Bank, Singapore.

The Central government on Wednesday notified in the official gazette that the Lakshmi Vilas Bank Limited (Amalgamation with DBS Bank India Limited) Scheme, 2020 will come into force on November 27.

As announced earlier by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its draft scheme of amalgamation, the Central government has notified: “On and from the appointed date, the entire amount of the paid-up share capital and reserves and surplus, including the balances in the shares or securities premium account of the transferor bank, shall stand written off.”

“On and from the appointed date (November 27, 2020), the transferor bank shall cease to exist by operation of this Scheme, and its shares or debentures listed in any stock exchange shall stand delisted without any further action from the transferor bank, transferee bank or order from any authority,” the notification states.

As per the amalgamation scheme, all the employees of the LVB shall continue in service and be deemed to have been appointed in DBS Bank India at the same remuneration and on the same terms and conditions of service, as were applicable to such employees immediately before the close of business on November 17 – the day when the LVB board was superseded and an administrator was appointed.

The notified scheme also enables DBS Bank India to discontinue the services of the key managerial personnel of the LVB after following the due procedure at any time after November 27, as it deems necessary, and providing them compensation as per the terms of their employment.

As per the notified scheme, DBS Bank India has the option of merging the 563 branches of LVB according to its convenience or close down or shift as per the instructions issued by the RBI.

Interestingly, DBS Bank India, with about 33 branches, has a deposit base of about Rs 20,000 crore and has much less employees.

On the other hand the LVB, with a branch network of 563, has a deposit base of Rs 20,000 crore spread over 20 lakh depositors.

Member of LVB’s superseded board Shakti Sinha had told IANS that for the bank’s size, the branch network was huge and nearly 200 of them were loss making.

“Nearly 100 branches were unviable. In these days of digital banking, there is all the possibility of DBS Bank India rationalising LVB’s branch network as well as the number of staff. The business per employee in the case of LVB was low compared to its peers,” he said.

He said there is every possibility of DBS Bank India going in for rationalisation of branch network and staff and saving on rent and salaries at a future date.

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Maruti Suzuki sells over 160,700 units of Swift in CY 2020

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Automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki has sold over 160,700 units of its premium hatchback Swift in CY 2020.

According to the company, over 2.3 million units of the premium hatchback have been sold in the past 15 years.

“Maruti Suzuki Swift has been the best-selling premium hatchback in the country for the past 15 years with over 2.3 million delighted customers,” said Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India Limited.

“Despite the adverse impact of Covid-19, brand Swift sold over 160,700 units in CY 2020, emerging as the top brand in the pecking order.”

In addition, the company said: “With more than 53 per cent of customers below the age of 35 years, Maruti Suzuki Swift has established itself as the ‘Coming of the age’ car with tech-savvy features, value-for-money offerings and sporty design”.

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Tata Motors launches hatchback Altroz’s i-Turbo variant

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Automobile manufacturer Tata Motors on Saturday launched the ‘i-Turbo’ variant of its premium hatchback, Altroz.

The variant’s petrol version starts at Rs 8.25 lakh while the diesel version costs Rs 9.45 lakh.

As per the company, ‘iRA’ comes with 27 connected car features along with natural voice tech, through which the car understands commands not only in ‘English or Hindi, but also in Hinglish’.

Besides, it is India’s first hatchback to introduce What3Words technology – a precise & unique tool that makes navigation easier than before.

The new variant is powered by a 1.2L turbocharged BS6 petrol engine.

Additionally, the Company has added a new top of the line ‘XZ+’ variant in a petrol and diesel fuel option to the Altroz family.

Tata Altroz was the first product on the ‘ALFA’ architecture.

It was launch in January 2020. Over 50,000 Altroz units have been sold within its first year of the vehicle’s launch.

“We are delighted to share that with its introduction, in FY21, our market share in the hatchback category has increased by 5.4 per cent compared to last fiscal and we have captured 17 per cent market share in the premium hatch segment,” said Shailesh Chandra – President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors.

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IndiGo to start Agra-Bengaluru flight from March

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As part of its strategy to bolster its regional connectivity, IndiGo has announced Agra as its 64th domestic destination. The airline will connect Agra to Bengaluru and Bhopal through direct flights under the RCS scheme from March 28.

A weekly flight to Goa is also likely to start early February, sources said.

The bookings are open with one-way fares starting at Rs 2,523 for Bhopal and Rs 3,789 for Bengaluru.

Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to have the Golden Triangle cities mapped on the 6E network, with the addition of Agra as our 64th domestic destination. This will not only enhance connectivity for domestic travellers, but also aid in expanding international air traffic once restrictions are lifted and travel opens up. Additionally, these connections will help promote tourism, trade and commerce, with Agra being home to multiple UNESCO world heritage sites, one of the hubs for leather goods production and known for its food and delicacies.”

The Agra tourism industry is upbeat as it expects a big inflow of tourists, both domestic and foreign, in the coming days. The industry had long been demanding air connectivity from Agra to major destinations in India. A lone flight to Jaipur was also halted some months ago.

The last 10 months saw a major setback to tourism, with the footfall of foreign tourists falling to just one per cent. The Taj Mahal and other monuments remained closed due to Covid-19 for over six months.

With restrictions now removed, the flow of visitors has increased and the hospitality industry is hoping to make good in the coming months. The daily evening cultural show at the Kalakriti Auditorium – Mohabbat the Taj – has resumed, as weekend crowds have begun thronging Agra again.

The inter-state buses have also begun operations, particularly to Delhi, from Monday, bringing relief to thousands of commuters heading for Palwal, Faridabad, Gurugram and other neighbouring areas.

Welcoming the announcement by IndiGo to start daily flights from Agra to Bangalore, Bhopal and Lucknow, Sunil Gupta, chairman IATO, northern region said “Tourists were hesitant to visit Agra as there are no flights which are usually considered very safe during the pandemic. We are hoping the number of visitors will now increase. We have demanded international flights also from Agra.”

Vice president of the Tourism Guild, Rajiv Saxena said “the flights will be very helpful and boost tourism in Agra. For the tourists, it will be such a big help as travel time would be reduced.”

Before the pandemic, Agra was annually visited by more than seven million tourists. “With three World Heritage monuments, and a number of other tourist attractions, plus Mathura and Vrindavan close by, Agra badly needed air connectivity. But due to pressure from the Delhi lobby of hoteliers and travel agents, all kinds of hurdles were being created, but now the Modi government has taken a huge initiative which should see a turnaround in the fortunes of the hospitality industry in Agra,” said founder president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, Surendra Sharma.

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