India’s telecom subscribers base crosses 120 crore: Trai data

Source: LiveMint.com, Mar 20, 2019

NEW DELHI: The country’s telecom subscriber base for the third time crossed 120-crore mark with Reliance Jio, BSNL and Airtel adding new customers in January, according to a report released by telecom regulator Trai.

“The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,197.87 million at the end of December 2018 to 1,203.77 million at the end of January 2019, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.49 per cent,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in monthly subscriber report for January 2019.

Earlier, the subscriber base crossed the 120-crore mark in July 2017 and May 2018.

The mobile customer base grew to 118 crore in January from 117 crore in December. The wireline connection in the country slid to 2.17 crore in January from 2.18 crore in December. Read the rest of this entry »

Organic farming is proving a big plus for climate-hit farmers

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Mar 21, 2019

As climate change brought less predictable weather, farmers Deepankar Mandal and Sanjib Mandal used to struggle with growing uncertainty about whether they would get a crop each season.

“Rains have become erratic, insufficient or wrongly timed,” said Deepankar. “The crops failed, the water table got lower each year (and) there were newer pests attacking our paddy and vegetables.”

In recent years, they have tried a new way to cope: producing biogas from cow manure to provide clean energy at home, and then using the leftover slurry to improve the soil in their fields.

The change has helped them save money by cutting out costly chemical fertilisers. It has also reduced deforestation and allowed them to restore the earth so it now holds more water, helping them through droughts, the farmers said. Read the rest of this entry »

Italian superbike maker Benelli plans to set up India unit in two years

Source: Business Standard, Mar 20, 2019

Kolkata: Italian superbike maker Benelli is considering setting up a plant in India in two years, and is in discussion with six state governments to decide on the location.

While it has already appointed two consultants to decide upon the nitty-gritties of the plan, including the various bikes or scooters which can be made at the proposed unit, the various sops offered to it will also play a crucial role in the final decision-making process.

The states under consideration are Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (Noida). “We are talking to various states for land parcels and availability. However, it has taken a temporary halt as elections are near,” said Vikas Jhabakh, managing director of Adishwar Auto Ride India.

After its first stint of India operations with DSP Group ended in 2017, Benelli India, after a year-long hiatus, made a comeback by roping in Adishwar Auto Ride India, part of Mahavir Group, as its distribution partner in India. Read the rest of this entry »

India expresses concern over widening trade deficit with China

Source: The Economic Times, Mar 20, 2019

BEIJING: India on Wednesday expressed concern over the widening trade deficit with China which has ballooned to over USD 58 billion, with the country’s new envoy here saying that addressing the issue would be his top priority.

India’s Ambassador to China Vikram Misri, who assumed charge on January 8 at a time when the two Asian giants were trying to boost their bilateral ties, told the state-run Global Times that India is working with the Chinese side for ensuring greater market access to the Indian agricultural products.

He expressed concern over the growing trade deficit, which has now crossed over USD 58 billion in over USD 80 billion trade.

The bilateral trade will cross the USD 100 billion mark this year, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

General Electric sees turnkey opportunity in India’s renewable power sector

Source: IBEF.com, Mar 20, 2019

New Delhi: American energy giant General Electric (GE) is increasing its footprint in India’s power sector by integrating its renewable and grid offerings. On March 1, GE, which got a foothold in the country after acquiring Alstom’s energy business globally in 2015, announced the integration of GE Grid Solutions and associated products and solutions with its renewable energy vertical.

In an exclusive interview, Jérôme Pécresse, senior vice-president, GE, and chief executive officer, GE Renewable Energy, said, “Within GE, the grid business has been put in the same one as renewable. It is now a $15-billion business globally, with 40,000 people. In India, we see most activity is in the renewable sector and also in transmission and distribution.”

GE will now strengthen the turnkey solution offering, which represents over 80 per cent of the Indian wind market. Read the rest of this entry »

Small packs are now a thing of beauty in cosmetics industry

Source: LiveMint.com, Mar 20, 2019

Mumbai: In the world of cosmetics small is, quite literally, beautiful.

If Chennai-based shampoo maker Velvette introduced the product in sachets and Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) later revolutionized the concept, it is brands such as Maybelline New York, MAC Cosmetics and Nykaa that embraced this approach to disrupt the market in segments such as lipsticks, foundations, lip gloss and pigments.

The only difference is while HUL attracted consumers by selling shampoo in sachets instead of bottles, the beauty brands are packaging smaller versions of their products into tubes instead of bottles.

The move is aimed at addressing consumer complaints that these products are expensive with too short expiry dates. The smaller packs not only help bring down the cost of these products, but also increase sales by reaching out to a wider customer base, more importantly in tier II and tier III cities. These packs are handy, easy to use and convenient to carry on journeys and may also tempt non-users to try out a new product. They also do well with students, who earlier found it difficult to afford such products. Read the rest of this entry »

India’s fuel demand rises 3.8% in Feb

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Mar 19, 2019

New Delhi: India’s fuel demand rose 3.8 per cent in February as free cooking gas connections spurred LPG consumption while petrol and diesel use continued to rise. Fuel consumption in February totalled 17.41 million tonnes as compared to 16.77 million tonnes in the same month last year, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Oil Ministry showed.

Consumption rose for the third month in a row as ensuing general elections are likely to spike demand further. With retail prices moderating, petrol consumption soared 8 per cent to 2.25 million tonnes while the government push to give every household a cooking gas connection led to LPG demand spiking by 14.2 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes. Diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country, saw consumption rise by 2.7 per cent to 6.7 million tonnes.

Hectic campaigning is likely as India goes to poll over the next two months, which will boost the use of transportation fuel as political parties traverse the country courting voters.

General elections will be held in seven phases starting on April 11.

During February, aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sales were up 10.5 per cent to 6,80,000 tonnes.

With the government pushing for use of cleaner liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as cooking fuel by giving free connections to poor women, kerosene usage dropped 12 per cent to 272,000 tonnes in February when compared to the year-ago period.

Naphtha sales were up by a steep 25.2 per cent at 1.28 million tonnes as power demand soared, while consumption of petroleum coke dropped 15.3 per cent to 1.58 million tonnes.