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Thursday,26-November-2020

Business

Petrol-diesel prices increase after almost 2-month break

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Petrol

Oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Friday raised the retail price of petrol and diesel after a break of almost two months when auto fuel prices remained static on Covid affected global oil market.

The price of petrol has increased by 17 paisa per litre in the national Capital to Rs 81.23 from Rs 81.06 a litre on the previous day. Similarly, retail price of diesel has been increased by 22 paisa per litre to Rs 70.68 a litre.

While India has brought both petrol and diesel out from an earlier administrative price regime and their retail prices are revised daily based on global movement product prices, holding the retail price revision for almost two months was surprising. At a time when globally prices change by the hour, in India it could be kept static for such a long period.

Every dollar increase in price of crude results in retail price of petrol and diesel to be increased by upto 40 paisa per litre. This would mean that the fuel prices should be up by at least Rs 1.20 per litre by now.

However, oil companies have kept fuel prices static even when there was a need to revise it downwards last month. That saving prevented OMCs from increasing petrol and diesel prices by a higher margin. Now that option is exhausted and regular price revision could restart.

With the price revision, the retail price of the two auto fuel has also increased across the country but the level of increase is different in different cities due to variable taxation structure pursued by the states.

The increase in petrol and diesel prices was expected as global oil market had shown signs of firming up after positive news on successful introduction of a coronavirus vaccine soon. Moreover, the demand for oil and falling inventory levels in major consuming markets has also firmed up crude price.

The benchmark Brent crude price is hovering over $44 a barrel for some time now while the US WTI crude is also close to $42 a barrel. The two have remained firm since the beginning of the month after remaining soft in most parts of October at close to $40 a barrel or less.

The OMC sources said that auto fuel hike on Friday may not be one off exercise and the price of the two petroleum products may increase gradually over the next week as well. This is required to keep OMCs from incurring losses on the sale of petrol and diesel.

Business

International flights to remain suspended till December 31

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Runway

The Centre on Thursday extended the suspension of scheduled commercial international flight operations to and from India till December 31.

“This restriction shall not apply to the international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation),” an official statement said on Thursday.

“However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case to case basis,” it added.

At present, India has entered into ‘Air Bubble’ agreements with several countries.

This type of arrangement allows nationals of both the countries to travel in either direction.

Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.

Domestic flight services, however, resumed from May 25.

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50% tech startups expect pre-Covid level revenue in 6 months

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Indian-tech-start-ups

Indian tech start-ups are now witnessing a gradual road to recovery, with over 50 per cent of them saying that they expect revenue to reach pre-Covid level in less than six months, according to a Nasscom survey released on Wednesday.

Revenue acceleration and funding has improved the cash availability with startups, showed the findings of the “Nasscom Start-up Pulse Survey II”.

The IT industry body revisited its first tech startup pulse survey, conducted back in April-May 2020, to understand what the current perspectives are, what has changed and what the next six months look like for the tech start-up ecosystem in the country.

The results showed that 43 per cent of tech start-ups now have a runway for more than six months, compared to eight per cent in the earlier survey.

“The Indian start-up ecosystem has set a global benchmark in remaining resilient during this disruptive year,” Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom, said in a statement.

“Setting an example for many other industries across the globe to follow and learn from how Indian start-ups converted challenges into opportunities. A large tech start-ups pool, strong innovation focus and entrepreneur’s zeal have been the growth drivers of this ecosystem.”

The research showed that there has been an increased interest from venture capital and funding agencies to invest in seed-early stage start-ups.

Government initiatives such as Atmanirbhar Bharat, digitalisation of India, a greater focus on sustainable business models is attracting VC interest for Indian tech start-ups, Nasscom said.

Almost 25 per cent of the surveyed start-ups have been able to raise funds or find prospective investors as compared to seven per cent in the earlier survey.

Sectors like edtech, healthtech and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) continue to attract investor interests.

While the ecosystem continues to be cautious, it is increasingly looking at hiring talent with the right competencies.

As per the findings of the survey, hiring freeze at tech start-ups dropped by 20 per cent.

Digital skills — data, AI, product management, cloud architects — continue to be in high demand across the tech start-up ecosystem, Nasscom said, adding that four Indian startups became unicorns despite the pandemic.

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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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