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Nirmala Sitharaman joins leaders of tomorrow at IIM Ahmedabad for interactive session




The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), welcomed Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman as she joined MBA students of the globally recognized, premier management institute, for an interactive session on the theme ‘The Economic Rebound and the Indian Economy in 2021 and Beyond with its students.

Hosted by IIMA’s JSW-School of Public Policy, was the first on ground event held at the Institute since the pandemic. The session threw light on various aspects of the Indian economy including return of consumer confidence, robust financial markets, an uptick in manufacturing, education sector and the decrease in the budget allocation this year, PSU disinvestment target, health expenditure, skill India, fuel prices reduction, savings and borrowing scheme, upskilling: for automation and gig workers, investment in infrastructure, agriculture and many more.

Speaking on the occasion Prof. Errol D’Souza, Director, IIMA Programmes said, “It is our honour and an encouragement to have the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman at the Institute. We are grateful for her presence, in spite of her commitments. I am happy to share that IIMA and its faculty have been supporting the government with their expertise on various aspects of policymaking, which is our way of contributing to the growth of the country. Today’s interaction with the Hon’ble Minister will become a memorable and inspiring moment for our students, who are at the threshold of beginning their journey into the real world.”

Sitharaman is an inspiration for all, especially the young people of the country. As the first woman leader to hold the portfolios of Defence and Finance at the Centre, she has become an aspirational model for the young women in the country. During the session, the Finance Minister encouraged the students to expand their boundaries and said, “You all are fortunate enough to be in an institution like this [IIMA]. My only request to you is spare sometime for the country and the nation to get stronger. India needs your support. Concentrate on yourself but also concentrate on making India brighter and smarter”

Acting as co-chairs, Prof. Errol D’Souza, with IIMA students Arunabh Saxena and Sonakshi Agrawal, among other points discussed about disinvestment targets of PSUs and government’s approach towards it. They also addressed the concerns of consumers bearing the high costs of fuel today and how is the government resolving these challenges.

When asked about the rationale and steps taken by the government to ensure quality education, Sitharaman said, “That the desire for encouraging twinning programmes in hopes of getting a world class university certificate and technologically driven tools like optical fibres even at the panchayat level will add to the betterment of education in the country. Hence there has been a conscious attempt in improving the funding of education. I would want to underline the fact that the New Education Policy, the schemes under it, and the long term vision under which the NEP looks at making the Indian education a lot more vibrant has received due consideration in the budget making process.”

Sitharaman further addressed that the Indian economy was on a rebound and she expects to see an economic recovery in the coming year. While the budget gave a due consideration to the national education policy and its schemes, she also believes that there is a huge potential of digital learning in the country across states, especially for the ones who have lesser access to it. She also threw light on the need for skilling and up skilling across industries and its success rates with a focussed approach.

The institute has a unique model of a convivial combination of the union, state and the business community. IIMA research programmes are the most coveted and prominent in the areas like Strategy, Economics, Finance, Operations and Marketing. IIMA also set up a number of sector or mission-oriented thrust groups termed ‘Centres’ to apply management science to other sectors of the economy. These Centres are led by faculty members from different inter-disciplinary areas that come together to pursue research and consulting.


LG and GM to build $2.3B EV battery factory in US




South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd said on Saturday its joint venture with American automaker General Motors Corp. will build a $2.3 billion electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in Tennessee in the US.

Ultium Cells, the joint venture between LG and GM, will build a second US factory with an annual capacity of 35 gigawatt-hours, similar to the first one under construction in Ohio, LG Energy said.

“With the joint venture’s factory construction, LG Energy Solution has secured additional EV battery production capacity in the U.S. and will actively target the rapidly growing U.S. EV market,” LG Energy said in a statement.

The Tennessee factory will have 35 gigawatt-hours of annual capacity when it opens in late 2023, which is enough to provide battery packs for more than 500,000 electric vehicles, the Korean firm said.

LG Energy said in a regulatory briefing on Friday that it and GM will each invest $933.5 million for the battery production line through 2023, reports Yonhap news agency.

The planned construction of the EV battery factory came as GM plans to phase out internal combustion engine cars by 2035 and set a goal of offering 30 all-electric models by the middle of the decade, which would require a stable supply of EV batteries.

LG Energy currently operates a lithium-ion battery factory in Michigan and is building a new factory in Ohio through Ultium Cells, which will be completed in 2022.

The world’s No 2 battery maker said last month it plans to invest more than 5 trillion won to expand U.S. battery production capacity by 2025, including a scheme to build at least two new plants.

LG Energy vowed to step up its EV battery business in the U.S. after recently reaching an agreement on a two-year-long trade secret suit over EV battery technology. Its smaller home rival SK Innovation Co. agreed to pay 2 trillion won to LG Energy.

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Petrol and diesel price unchanged for 2nd consecutive day




Fuel prices in the country remained unchanged on Saturday as oil marketing companies decided to go on a pause mode and analyse the global developments on oil prices before effecting a revision.

Accordingly, pump price of petrol and diesel remained at Rs 90.40 a litre and Rs 80.73 a litre respectively in Delhi.

The price of the two auto fuels had fallen by 16 paisa and 14 paisa per litre respectively on Thursday after a 15 day break when OMCs kept its prices static.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel price remained unchanged on Saturday but its retail levels varied depending on the level of local levies on respective states.

Premium petrol, however, continues to remain over Rs 100 a litre in Mumbai and several other cities across the country.

The OMCs went on price cut for the first time this year on two consecutive days – March 24 and 25 after keeping oil prices steady for past 24 days. It again reduced the price on March 30. Thereafter, fuel prices have remained unchanged for past 15 days before falling again on April 15.

Earlier, petrol and diesel prices increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre respectively so far this year.

With global crude rising again and crossing $ 67 a barrel mark, OMCs may have revise fuel prices upwards again. OMCs benchmark retail fuel prices to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate.

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Government notifies Rs 6k cr PLI scheme for AC, LED light manufacturing




The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has notified the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for white goods — air conditioners and LED lights, with a budgetary outlay of Rs 6,238 crore.

With this, the new scheme has become operational and all eligible manufacturers can now take the benefit of financial incentives provided under it to boost capacity.

The PLI scheme for White Goods (PLIWG) proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the White Goods manufacturing value chain. Its prime objectives include removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale, enhancing exports, creating a robust component ecosystem and employment generation.

As per the notification, the PLI scheme for white goods will extend an incentive of 4-6 per cent on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India for a period of five years to companies engaged in manufacturing of air conditioners and LED lights. The period of five years will be calculated subsequent to the base year and one year of gestation period.

The applicant will have to fulfill both criteria of cumulative incremental investment in plant and machinery as well as incremental sales over the base year in that respective year to be eligible for PLI. The first year of investment will be FY 2021-22 and the first year of incremental sale will be FY 2022-23. Actual disbursement of PLI for a respective year will be subsequent to that year.

One entity may apply for one target segment only. However, separate Group companies may apply for different target segments. Further, sales by entities to their group companies should be at an arm’s length price as those to outside group companies.

Different segments have been earmarked for different types of components separately to specifically target global investments into desired areas.

Selection of companies for the scheme shall be done so as to incentivise manufacturing of components or sub-assemblies which are not manufactured in India presently with sufficient capacity, said the notification, adding that mere assembly of finished goods shall not be incentivised.

Companies investing in basic/core components shall have a higher priority. Also, within a target segment, ‘Large Investment’ shall have a higher priority over ‘Normal Investment’. The actual number of beneficiaries within a target segment shall be decided on the basis of the response of the industry.

Companies meeting the pre-qualification criteria for different target segments will be eligible to participate in the Scheme. Incentives shall be open to companies making brown field or green field Investments.

Thresholds of cumulative incremental investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods over the base year would have to be met for claiming incentives.

An entity availing benefits under any other PLI Scheme of the Centre will not be eligible under this scheme for the same products but the entity may take benefits under other applicable schemes of the union government or schemes of state governments.

An Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) chaired by Cabinet Secretary will monitor the PLI scheme, undertake periodic review of the outgo under the scheme, ensure uniformity of all PLIs and take appropriate action to ensure that the expenditure is within the prescribed outlay. In addition, EGoS will be empowered to make any changes in the modalities of the scheme within the overall financial outlay of Rs 6,238 crore.

As per the government, it is estimated that over the period of five years, the PLI scheme will lead to incremental investment of Rs 7,920 crore, incremental production worth Rs 1.68 lakh crore, exports worth Rs 64,400 crore, earn direct and indirect revenues of Rs 49,300 crore and create additional four lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities.

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