BigBasket to invest Rs500 crore to ramp up farmer sourcing, technology

Source: LiveMint.com, Jan 22, 2018

Mumbai: Online grocery store BigBasket expects to spend up to Rs500 crore to strengthen its technology and back-end farmer supply chain as it looks to more than double its customer base to 20 million by 2020, a top company executive said.

“We are focusing significantly on strengthening our back-end farmer supply chain programme called Farmer Connect. Presently we are working with 1,800 farmers, and we will bring about 5,000 farmers into our fold in a year’s time,” Hari Menon, co-founder and CEO of BigBasket, said here.

“We ensure they get better prices, paid on time. About 85% of our produce comes directly from farmers and we are going to strengthen that. We work closely with hotels, and restaurants as well as nearly 2,000 kirana stores. We want to deepen our engagement with farmers for the supply,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fiscal deficit may widen to 3.5%, says Morgan Stanley report

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jan 21, 2018

New Delhi: India’s fiscal deficit is expected to increase to 3.5 per cent of GDP in 2018-19 but it will not have any material impact on macro stability risks, says a Morgan Stanley report.

As per the report, fiscal deficit target may widen to 3.5 per cent of GDP in 2018-19 from 3.4 per cent in 2017-18.

However, “the mix will still be favourable and hence we don’t expect macro stability risks to arise,” the financial services firm said in the report. Read the rest of this entry »

Flipkart, Ola, Paytm, other e-retailers raise over $7 bn in 2017

Source: Financial Express, Jan 22, 2018

New Delhi: A fairly hefty $7 billion flowed into e-commerce ventures in 2017, data put together by research firm Jefferies shows, suggesting Indian e-retailers are living up to their promise. After a somewhat dull 2016, when the e-commerce space attracted just $3 billion in investments, 2017 saw (PE) players and venture capitalists firms top up their exposure to e-tailers. The stand-out investor last year was undoubtedly Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Bank Group which committed $4 billion to three companies — Flipkart, Ola and Paytm. The Masayoshi Son-led Softbank has bet close to $6 billion in the last three years, data from Traxn shows. Other big players such as Tencent and Alibaba were also supportive of e-commerce ventures last year. Meanwhile, Amazon, which has committed $5 billion to its India venture, continues to infuse capital arm from time to time. While e-tailing continued to account for the largest share of the investments in value terms, travel, fintech and gaming businesses also managed to raise a fair bit as part of larger rounds of fund raising of $50 million or more. Read the rest of this entry »

Government to auction eight more mineral blocks in three states

Source: Financial Express, Jan 22, 2018

New Delhi: The government has identified eight more mineral blocks with a cumulative reserve of 1,133 million tonnes (MT) in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to be auctioned by mid-march. So far, a total of 88 mineral blocks have been notified by 9 states for auction, of which 33 blocks have been successfully auctioned with an estimated revenue of Rs 1.28 lakh crore over the lease period to the states. Of the eight mines, six are of lime stone – five in Rajasthan and one in Chhattisgarh, one of iron ore and the remaining one is of graphite & quartz – both in Jharkhand. Five of the limestone blocks in Rajasthan – four in Nagaur district and one in Jaisalmer – will be put under hammer on February 7, while the Chhattishgarh mine in district Baloda will go for e-auction on March 12, as per the mines ministry. The remaining two iron ore and graphite & quartz blocks will be auctioned on March 14. These mines have a cumulative reserve of 1,133 million tonnes of limestone, iron ore and graphite & quartz. Of these eight blocks, only one limestone block in Chhattisgarh is reserved for clinker and cement plants, while there is no end use reservation for the remaining, the ministry said. The ministry, meanwhile is also contemplating at setting up special purpose vehicles (SPVs) that will acquire necessary project clearances, including environmental, for the mineral blocks before bidding, a move that may add pace to the auction process, an official said. Read the rest of this entry »

Govt set to make company registration process faster, user-friendly

Source: Business Standard, Jan 21, 2018

New Delhi: The government will soon bring in changes in the registration process for new companies to make it faster and more user-friendly, wherein applicants will be required to provide only “need-based” information, a senior official said.

Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas said that if only need-based information is taken from the applicants, then with minimal information the name of a company can be reserved.

“At that stage, it might not be necessary to give so many other details because name reservation might not lead to registration. Now, name is reserved for 20 days and earlier it was 60 days. Read the rest of this entry »

Mauritius largest source of FDI in India, says RBI

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 19, 2018

MUMBAI: Mauritius was the largest source of foreign investment in India, followed by the US and the UK, according to a census by the Reserve Bank.

Singapore and Japan were the next two sources of foreign direct investment (FDI), said the Census on Foreign Liabilities and Assets of Indian Direct Investment Companies 2016-17, released by RBI today.

Of the 18,667 companies that participated in the census, 17,020 had FDI/overseas direct investment in their balance sheets in March 2017, it said. Read the rest of this entry »

Swiss President to discuss trade pacts with Modi in Davos

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 19, 2017

Negotiations on a bilateral investment protection pact will figure prominently during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Switzerland’s President Alain Berset in Davos next week, the Swiss government has said.

The two leaders will also discuss, among other trade and business matter, the envisaged free trade agreement between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Switzerland is a member.

The Swiss government statement on topics for the meeting of the two leaders did not mention black money, an issue which has been central to most of the high-level deliberations between the two countries. Read the rest of this entry »