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Thursday,24-September-2020

Business

Indian Railways changes freight policy to boost economy

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Indian-Railways

With an aim to boost economic activities in the country during unlock 3.0, the Indian Railways is offering a slew of incentives, including 50 per cent concession in terminal access charges for covered wagons, to boost freight traffic.

A Railway Ministry spokesperson said that its new policy measures will further boost the incentives for all suppliers to transport their goods through railways.

In the revised policy, the Railways has worked on the alternate goods shed policy, under which terminal charge will not be levied on consignments booked from alternate goods sheds, instead of identified busy goods shed, the official said.

The railways has already surpassed the freight loading figures in August so far, adding that 8.64 million tonnes of freight had been loaded compared with 8.37 million tonnes during the corresponding period last year.

The official said that under the free-time relaxation for covered wagons, zonal railways are empowered to relax the free time up to double the normal free time and/or non-levy of demurrage/wharfage in case of covered stock up to September 30.

The official said that to boost the freight traffic, the railways has decided to give 50 per cent concession in terminal access charge on container traffic handled at Group-III Container Rail Terminals.

The Ministry has decided to not collect the stabling charges on container traffic from May 18 to October 31.

A discount of 5 per cent on haulage charge per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) is being given on loaded containers from August 4 to April 30, 2021, the official said.

The official said permission to accept road weighbridge weight figures to certain goods sheds of South Central Railway for loading granite-all documents and data to be captured in the system.

The railways has also decided to give a concession of 40 per cent for loading in open wagons covered with tarpaulin.

Business

Reliance Retail asset monetization picks up pace

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Reliance. (File Photo: IANS)

Retail asset monetization is picking up pace as private equity firm KKR announced a Rs 55.5 billion ($ 0.75 billion) investment in Reliance Retail for a 1.28 per cent stake implying a pre-money equity value of $57 billion.

According to a report by Morgan Stanley, the valuation is in line with the last transaction valuation announced with Silverlake and compares to its retail base case valuation of $45 billion.

“At these valuations, it would add 6 per cent to Morgan Stanley’s base case NAV for RIL. KKR earlier invested $1.51 billion for 2.3 per cent of Reliance Digital platforms. RIL has sold a 3 per cent stake in RIL retail till date for $1.75 billion,” the report said.

“We see capital allocation,execution and de-gearing as key to the next leg of stock outperformance,” the report said.

“With industry consolidation pickingup pace in telecom, retail,and global refining, we expect RIL to emerge stronger post-Covid-19 and margins to surprise as pricing power rises,” it added.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) announced today that global investment firm KKR will invest Rs 5,550 crore into RRVL, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries. This investment values Reliance Retail at a pre-money equity value of Rs 4.21 lakh crore. KKR’s investment will translate into a 1.28 per cent equity stake in RRVL on a fully diluted basis.

This marks the second investment by KKR in a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, following a Rs 11,367 crore investment in Jio Platforms announced earlier this year.

Reliance Retail Limited, a subsidiary of RRVL, operates India’s largest, fastest growing and most profitable retail business serving close to 640 million footfalls across its 12,000 stores nationwide.

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India tops up strategic reserves with cheaper crude, saves over $685M

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Petrol. (File Photo: IANS)

Taking advantage of low prices in major oil-producing centres in Saudi Arabia and UAE, India has filled up its strategic crude oil reserves to meet its energy needs in times of emergency and saved a neat $685.11 million in the process.

It bought crude oil at an average price of $19 per barrel to fill its reserves in April and May when prices reached an all-time low while the US oil touched negative price levels in futures market.

The state-funded reserves are meant to tide over short-term supply disruptions and will take care of India’s oil needs for 9.5 days.

The country was already holding half of its total 5.33 million tonnes oil reserves capacity when the government decided to take advantage of the low crude prices.

India’s three petroleum reserve caverns at Visakhapatnam (1.33MT), Mangaluru (1.5MT) and Padur (2.5MT), managed by India Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL), are now full.

Another 6.5MT facility is coming up at Padur in Karnataka, and Chandikhole in Jajpur.

Work on two more facility at Bikaner in Rajasthan and Rajkot in Gujarat will be initiated soon. When complete, these facilities will hold enough oil to meet domestic requirements for over a month.

The oil ministry has also told the ISPRL to identify new sites so that the storage facility is increased to ensure oil stock of 90-100 days for use in an emergency at all times.

A large strategic oil reserve capacity can benefit even more from lower oil prices as these lead to huge savings for the exchequer.

The ISPRL has signed a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) for the lease of half of its 2.5 million tonnes Padur facility. Last year, it signed an MoU with Saudi Aramco for the lease of a quarter of Padur SPR.

The ISPRL has already leased half of the 1.5 million tonne capacity in Mangaluru storage to ADNOC. It has also filled its 1.03 million tonne Vizag facility with Basra oil from another OPEC producer, Iraq.

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Feeling of burnout increases among global workforce: Microsoft

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Microsoft

If youve been feeling overwhelmed at work lately, you are not alone as a new Microsoft study has shown that the pandemic has increased the feeling of burnout at work among about 30 per cent of workers.

Longer workdays have contributed significantly to these feelings of burnout amid the pandemic, said the “Work Trend Index” report.

Workers in Australia saw the highest increase in workday span in Microsoft Teams, with a medium increase in burnout. While workers in Germany saw very little change to workday span or feelings of burnout, said the report.

“The top stressor shared globally was worry about getting Covid-19, followed by lack of separation between work and life, feeling disconnected from co-workers, and unmanageable workload or hours,” Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

The report looked at how the pandemic has impacted wellbeing at work globally.

The study examined how productivity patterns in Microsoft Teams have shifted since early this year and surveyed over 6,000 information and “Firstline” workers in eight countries including Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, India, Singapore, the UK, and the US.

Microsoft defines first-line workers as people whose primary role function is to work directly with customers or the general public.

The report also includes studies from the Microsoft Research group that shed light on the surprising productivity benefits of our once-dreaded commute.

The study also found that nearly 30 per cent of workers have not been provided the tech or protective equipment they need to effectively socially distance by their company.

The data showed that even six months past the first work-from-home orders, people are in significantly more meetings, taking more ad hoc calls and managing more incoming chats than they did before the pandemic.

After-hours chats, or chats between 5pm and midnight, have also increased.

Perhaps more interestingly, the share of Microsoft Teams users sending those chats after hours has more than doubled.

In other words, there is a whole group of people who never touched a keyboard after 5pm before the pandemic — now, they do.

In the study, one third of remote workers said the lack of separation between work and life is negatively impacting their wellbeing.

“Commutes provide blocks of uninterrupted time for mentally transitioning to and from work, an important aspect of wellbeing and productivity,” Shamsi Iqbal, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research said in a statement.

“People will say, ‘I’m happy I don’t have to commute anymore. I’m saving time.’ But without a routine for ramping up for work and then winding down, we’re emotionally exhausted at the end of the day.”

Of those surveyed, 70 per cent said meditation could help decrease their work-related stress.

This number increased to 83 per cent for those managing childcare or homeschooling.

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