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Mizoram Governor Jagdish Mukhi for more border trade with neighbouring nations




Acting Mizoram Governor Jagdish Mukhi has said border trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh would be pursued for the benefit of the state.

On the opening day of the budget session of the Assembly here on Tuesday, the Governor said: “In keeping with “Act East Policy”, border trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh would be vigorously pursued so that Mizoram can benefit economically.”

He said the state government would soon embark on a fresh “road map” of development under the new flagship programme — Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP).

“THe SEDP would accelerate progress and growth in all key sectors where the state has tremendous potential. The objective of the policy is to transform Mizoram into a truly welfare state that is self-reliant and its development both inclusive and sustainable and where governance is transparent and participatory.”

He told the House the SEDP, unlike earlier programmes of previous (Congress) government, would not be given as “doles” but as a hand-holding support on the viability of projects and feasibility of livelihood income generation.

“The menaces of drug abuse and drug trafficking have assumed alarming proportions in Mizoram. The state government would deal with the issue with all seriousness,” he said.

Mukhi said measures would be taken to eradicate social evils. A new bill to repeal the Mizoram Liquor (Control and Prohibition) Act, 2014, implemented since January 2015, would be tabled during this session.

“All-out efforts would be made for combating trafficking of women and children, juvenile delinquency and rehabilitation as well as restoration programmes through network of residential homes and non-institutional services in partnership with civil society,” he said.

The Governor said to develop Aizawl into a smart city under the Smart Cities Mission, a special purpose vehicle — Aizawl Smart City Limited — is now functional for implementation of varied features of the mission.

“In 2019-20, through a grant of Rs 500 crore from the Centre, of which Rs 53 crore has been released, Aizawl would get a complete facelift in various aspects,” he said.

The Governor also said tourism has tremendous potential in generating both revenue and employment.

“Efforts to place Mizoram as a preferred tourist destination in the domestic and international circuits would be undertaken in a focussed manner. Rural tourism can help the rural economy and special emphasis will be laid to encourage community participation in tourism activities,” said Mukhi.


Freecharge launches new features to empower SMBs




Digital payments platform Freecharge on Tuesday launched several features like Paisa Plus, Payment Links, Dynamic QR, Digital Khata and On-demand Settlement for small and medium businesses (SMBs).

Available on Freecharge Business App, Paisa Plus allows small merchants to issue digital shopping/gift vouchers to customers either as a reward or at a discounted price. With these vouchers, customers are encouraged to make a purchase in lieu of a discount or a refund.

The Payment Links tool provides a swift and secure way to send and receive payments. Through this product, businesses can send SMS, e-mail or WhatsApp messages to their customers with a link for making the pending payment.

The consumer, on receiving the link can pay using UPI, cards or netbanking, the company said in a statement.

“In the present scenario when social distancing has set the precedence, such secured modes of payments are eliminating the need of in-person transactions and aiding small businesses continue during uncertain times,” said Siddharth Mehta, CEO, Freecharge.

Freecharge Khata is a customised digital record book of the good old ‘Khata’, which enables merchant partners to maintain an account of all of their customer transactions.
Merchants can easily add customers through a simple mobile verification process.

Once verified, they can give credit and make debits in the customer account and can also send automated reminders to customers to settle their pending credit amount.

“We are hopeful that our customers and merchants would continue to have an impeccable experience on the app which would strengthen the merchant and customer relationship,” Mehta added.

A 100 per cent subsidiary of Axis Bank, Freecharge also introduced on-demand settlement, enabling the merchant to request for payments whenever they want at a click of a button.

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NTPC power plants to host industrial parks of cos, MSMEs




In a key initiative to promote ‘Make in India’ and give a boost to the government’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, the country’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd has thrown open a vast land bank within its power plants to Indian companies interested in setting up industrial parks and manufacturing facilities.

The power producer has invited expression of interest (EoI) from companies and MSMEs for setting up energy intensive manufacturing plants such as bulk chemicals, geopolymer, cooling & heating solutions, aluminum, mineral processing (ceramics, tiles, pottery, brick, glass etc), metallurgical and metal industries (foundries, forging, alloys, heat treatment, steel rerolling, etc) in the industrial parks to be developed at its existing power plants.

The pilots in this regard would be set up in the NTPC Thermal Power plants at Solapur (Maharashtra), Kudgi (Karnataka) and Gadarwara (Madhya Pradesh), a company statement said.

These industrial parks will be subjected to requisite approvals from respective state and central government. NTPC will process these approvals based on responses received in the EoI, the statement added.

The government has announced a slew of economic packages aimed to build self-reliant India by creating conducive investment environment and developing manufacturing hubs.

NTPC’s power plants across the country have evolved into economic centres with robust infrastructure system in place.

Capitalising on the economic ecosystem developed over a period of time, NTPC is exploring ideas to improve utilisation of land within its plant locations for enhancing economic activity and further contributing to economic growth of the country.

The initiative will create industrial parks within the power plants which, besides offering advantage of reliable electricity supply at competitive prices, will provide other benefits of readily available infrastructural services like adequate water supply, accessibility through road and rail network, robust connectivity with internet lease lines, accessibility to township, medical facilities and local market along with various testing facilities which will be co-opted on need basis.

As part of the plan, NTPC will enter into separate agreement with prospective entities for allotment of spaces.

With a total installed capacity of 62.9 GW, NTPC Group has 70 power stations comprising of 24 coal, 7 combined cycle gas/liquid fuel, 1 hydro, 13 renewables along with 25 Subsidiary & JV power stations. The group has over 20 GW of capacity under construction, of which 5GW comprises of renewable energy.

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SEBI may issue norms for minimum holding in liquid assets for MFs




The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) may soon come up with guidelines to mandate minimum asset allocation in liquid assets by debt mutual funds in their schemes.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi said that such a move is aimed at improving liquidity in schemes and it would also help schemes to meet sudden redemption pressures.

He was of the view that as far as the performance of the mutual fund industry is concerned, overall, the industry has weathered the pandemic’s storm well, which, he said demonstrates the robustness of the regulatory framework as well as the maturity of the industry.

Tyagi also noted that the mutual fund industry, however, also went through several patches of challenges, especially on the debt mutual fund side.

“Some of the issues that arose during the period are now addressed and some are in the process of being addressed. The contemplated policy measures inter-alia include stress testing, minimum asset allocation in liquid assets and a swing pricing like mechanism,” he said.

Tyagi said that an expert committee will be constituted to frame a stress testing methodology for all open ended debt mutual fund schemes.

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