IL&FS puts Tamil Nadu power plant on the block

MUMBAI: Beleaguered infrastructure lender IL&FS has put its Tamil Nadu power assets on the block. A power plant in Tamil Nadu, a port and a coal mine in Indonesia — together estimated at around Rs 10,000 crore, are on sale.
The infrastructure lender has invited expression of interest (EOI) from potential bidders, which will help the board in price discovery. The sale process is expected to be completed in the next financial year. So far IL&FS has invited bids for its securities business, road projects, renewable energy and education assets.
The power project is located in Cuddalore, nearly 175km south of Chennai. The project includes an operational 1200 MW thermal power plant, with further expansion potential of additional 2700 MW — housed under IL&FS Tamil Power Company (ITPCL). The project has a captive port for direct import and transfer of coal to the power plant which is held under Porto Novo Maritime. The coal is imported from Indonesia from IL&FS Maritime Offshore, Singapore — a group company that owns the coal mines.

When contacted, IL&FS spokesperson Sharad Goel confirmed that EOI are being invited for the said asset as part of the resolution plan outlined by the board. Arpwood and JM Financial will assist in the transaction, which is subject to necessary approvals, he added.

ITPCL is a SPV incorporated under the energy platform — IL&FS Energy Development Company. The SPV has plans to have 3180 MW generating capacity through thermal power plants in Kothattai, Ariyagoshti and Villianallur revenue villages of Chidambaram Taluk, Cuddalore District. Phase I of the project is for 1200 MW comprising of 2 units of 600 MW each. The first unit commenced operations in September 2015 while the second started in April 2016. Phase II will have three units of 660MW.

2014 oil price crash to blame for Canada’s slow wage growth: Bank of Canada official

A top Bank of Canada official says the lingering effects of the 2014 oil-price crash should take some of the blame for the country’s disappointing wage gains – but she argues it’s just one of many reasons.

Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins offered explanations Thursday for the country’s “puzzling” stretch of weak wage growth at a time when the job market has been experiencing one of its biggest labour shortages in years.

Story continues below

READ MORE: Nova Scotia may no longer have the lowest minimum wage in Canada after increase on April 1

Lower-than-expected wage expansion, which Wilkins noted is present in other advanced economies, has perplexed many experts.

For starters, Wilkins said the struggles of energy-producing provinces, which began with the late-2014 oil slump, have dragged down national wage-growth numbers.

But she said even after accounting for these regional, sectoral factors, wages have fallen short of where they should be in a tightened job market that has seen Canada’s unemployment rate drop to a 43-year low.

WATCH: BoC’s Wilkins outlines risks and positive developments from fall Monetary Policy Report

“This is particularly puzzling when you consider what businesses are telling us about how hard it is to fill jobs,” Wilkins told the Toronto Region Board of Trade in a speech.

“As far as I can tell, no one has found a smoking gun. But there are at least a couple of compelling suspects.”

Wilkins went on to list several possibilities.

WATCH: Canada Post workers ‘begging’ for fair wages for hours worked

She said wages are also likely lower than they should be because employers are struggling to find candidates with the right skills to meet their needs, cautious employees are declining to trade up for higher-paying positions with different organizations and others may be reluctant to relocate in order to land a new gig.

When it comes to relocation, she said factors like commuting, housing affordability and proximity to family and friends have a big influence on decisions.

Structural factors, she added, may also be holding back wages.

READ MORE: Protest calls for $15 minimum wage in Nova Scotia, the province with lowest minimum wage in Canada

For instance, she said technological advances have lowered demand for routine jobs and declining competition in some industries has likely eased pressure on dominant companies to boost salaries.

The emergence of the so-called gig economy – including work with companies like the ride-hailing service Uber – has taken away bargaining power for some workers, Wilkins said.

She offered potential areas for policy-makers and businesses to focus on to help improve the job market. They could invest in education and training, find ways to encourage labour mobility and increase the competitiveness of Canadian firms.

watch: Alberta’s new $15 minimum wage the highest in Canada

The Bank of Canada remains confident that wage growth will pick up its pace.

The measure has already seen an improvement – she said it averaged about 2.5 per cent in 2018 after averaging two per cent over the last five years. The bank said it should be around three per cent.

In the months ahead, Wilkins said the central bank predicts Canada’s economic expansion to pick up its pace after a recent slow patch – and she anticipates wage growth will eventually accelerate along with it.

Wilkins noted the results of the bank’s latest business outlook survey suggested labour shortages were at one of their highest levels since the Great Recession a decade ago. Job vacancies, she added, are still rising in Canada and now total about 550,000.

SBI risks customer information, holds text messages in unsecured server

MUMBAI: State Bank of India (SBI) exposed text messages sent to millions of its customers by storing the data in an unsecured server. The infirmity in the bank’s systems was exposed by US-based TechCrunch, which publishes technology news.

TechCrunch said the information was available to anyone who knew where to look. The server held two months of data from SBI Quick — a service that allows customers to pull basic account information by sending an SMS or through a missed call. The text messages sent by the bank typically contain the account balance or the last five transactions.

SBI Graph

Besides the text message, the account-holder’s registered mobile number and partially masked account number could be accessed from the server. While TechCrunch did not make the server address public, it shared masked screenshots of text message details providing recent transactions.

SBI is understood to have secured the server with a password immediately upon being alerted.

Responding to a query, the bank neither confirmed nor denied exposing customer data, but said: “Basis our initial probe, we hereby confirm that SBI’s data continues to remain secure and all profiles and financial records of our customers are safe. The bank is continuing its investigation into all the components of the ecosystem to ascertain that there is no other impact.”

No breach notification norms in India

TechCrunch said it did not know for how long the server was open, but said it was long enough for it to be discovered by a security researcher, who told TechCrunch about the leak. Unlike the US and other countries in the West, there are no breach notification norms in India. These norms are aimed at informing customers of the risk they are exposed to and alerts them to change their passwords.

The biggest breach in recent months was at Marriott hotels where details of 500 million customers are said to have been exposed. In the case of SBI, customer credentials were not exposed, but anyone who knew the server address when it was exposed could have got mobile numbers and data pertaining to recent transactions undertaken using SBI Quick. This is a service which involves banking by giving a missed call or sending an SMS with pre-defined keywords to pre-defined mobile numbers.

According to cybersecurity experts, this information can be used by fraudsters to impersonate bank officials and convince gullible account-holders to give up their debit card credentials.

Revised GDP data shows year of demonetisation was best for Narendra Modi government

NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday sharply revised the GDP growth estimates for the last two financial years, resulting in a 7.2% expansion in 2017-18 and an 8.2% acceleration in economic activity in 2016-17 — making the year of demonetisation the fastest growing fiscal since 2010-11.

The numbers for 2016-17 surprised economists as there was widespread belief that demonetisation slowed down the economy. With quarterly estimates for the year unavailable, analysts were unable to get a fix on the numbers.

GDP Graph

“The GDP data for FY17 doesn’t fit in well with high frequency data and the narrative of slowdown after demonetisation. Once quarterly data is released there’ll be more clarity on how growth evolved during that year,” said A Prasanna, chief economist, ICICI Securities Primary Dealership.

GDP growth rate for 2017-18 revised upwards to 7.2%

“Real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for 2017-18 and 2016-17 stand at Rs 131.80 lakh crore and Rs 122.98 lakh crore, respectively, showing growth of 7.2 per cent during 2017-18 and 8.2 per cent during 2016-17,” the CSO said. Earlier, the CSO in its advance estimate had pegged the GDP growth rate for 2018-19 at 7.2 per cent.

Agriculture, real estate witness sharp revision

The economy took a hit in the March-quarter as well as the June-quarter, when the effect of de-stocking ahead of GST launch added to the pressure, according to government officials.

“The revision in the data is surprising and it turns the story of a slowdown beginning from the second quarter of FY17 on its head. It may be noted that first quarter FY17 GDP numbers were at their highest level of 8.1% and then started declining. Thus the common notion was that the slowdown in GDP growth had started well before the third quarter of FY17, when demonetization happened, now begs a completely different explanation,” SBI Group chief economic adviser Soumya Kanti Ghosh said. He suggested that demonetisation probably resulted in cash being used for consumption.

Based on the gross value added, at constant prices, the sharpest revision was seen in case of agriculture, real estate, transport, other services and construction, which some of the economists suggested did not tally with the reports post-demonetisation. Policymakers have been ecstatic that India has maintained its position as the fastest growing major economy in the world as growth in China is expected to moderate.

The Central Statistics Office said that the revision for 2016-17 was based on updated estimates of production and prices on the farm and industrial sector, revised spending and tax data for the Centre and the states, corporate performance numbers as well as the latest statistics on the financial sector.

Slip-and-slide car accidents: When to tell your insurance and how to negotiate

It’s slip-and-slide season in Canada. Much of the country is covered in ice and snow and facing negative double-digit temperatures — it’s the kind of weather in which even snow plows occasionally find themselves drifting.

Here’s what Canadian motorists should keep in mind.

WATCH: Fender bender becomes viral sensation

Does your insurance need to know about a fender-bender?

Most Canadians know to contact their insurance after a serious collision. In fact, in those circumstances, you also have a duty to report what happened to the police or a collision centre.

In general, you should dial 911 immediately if anyone was hurt or killed, when a driver involved is uninsured, unlicensed or appears intoxicated, and in hit-and-run cases. Often, you also have to file a police report when the crash caused significant property damage.

Story continues below

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Alberta, the police should be involved if the overall damage looks to be more than $2,000. In New Brunswick, the threshold is $1,000.

READ MORE: Own a car? You won’t believe how much that’s costing you every year

Wherever you live, if a police report is warranted, you also need to call up your insurance company.

But many of the collisions that happen around this time of year are just fender-benders. Often, the damage is less than the amount of your insurance deductible.

Does your insurance really need to know about things like minor dents and scratches?

“If the damage is less than the deductible, you won’t get an insurance payout so there is no point in reporting it to your insurance company,” said Anne Marie Thomas of InsuranceHotline.com, an insurance comparisons site.

That, though, is as long as both you and the other driver agree that there is no need to contact the insurance company.

“If the other driver was not at fault and is going to go through insurance, then it’s best for you to let your insurance company know,” Thomas added, speaking to Global News via email.

WATCH: Insurance companies offer consumers deals for data

There is also an important difference between simply notifying your insurance of an accident and making a claim for reimbursement of damages, said John Shmuel at Lowestrates.ca, a financial products comparison site.

Filing a claim will affect your premium but an accident report might not, depending on your insurance policy and whether it includes features like accident forgiveness, he added.

And while reporting a fender-bender could lead to higher premiums, keeping mum also comes with risks.

Sometimes, what looks like “a little bit of damage can result in big bills,” Shmuel said. Or you might discover that the person travelling with you at the time of the collision develops neck pain a few days later, he added.

READ MORE: 3 numbers you should check before deciding whether to lease or buy a car

Your vehicle is a write-off — now what?

Of course, icy roads and poor visibility can lead to far worse than a fender-bender. And it doesn’t take much, these days, for insurance companies to declare your vehicle a write-off.

If that happens, know that you don’t have to accept the first figure the insurance adjuster comes up with.

“You’re completely within your right to dispute that,” if the number seems too low, Shmuel said.

Your insurance will send you an offer that details how they came up with the number.

“Go through the report with a fine-tooth comb,” Shmuel said.

WATCH: Negotiating with your insurance in a write-off scenario

The insurance adjuster will justify her estimate with research that may include consulting used-car dealers and partner companies for vehicles of the same make, model, year and overall condition. You should do your own, parallel research, Shmuel said.

Canadian Black Book is the place to start, he added. The website provides a Total Loss Report with an independent estimate of your vehicle’s cash value based on the company’s database of comparable vehicles.

In addition to that, though, you should also search sites like Auto Trader and Kijiji, Shmuel said. Don’t just look at asking prices, though, which can be unreasonable. When you find an ad for a comparable vehicle, reach out to the seller to see if they are willing to provide you with proof of the final sale price.

READ MORE: Airbnb for cars is helping this Toronto man pay off his Tesla

You should also submit any receipts for repairs or upgrades done to your vehicle. If you’re just replaced the transmission, for example, your insurance should take that expense into account.

“If you can prove that the market value of your car is more than the insurance company is offering, then you can negotiate. Oftentimes this happens when the vehicle has low mileage and/or you can prove that it was in great shape,” Thomas said.

Canada’s GDP down 0.1% in November, confirming late-2018 slowdown

Statistics Canada says real gross domestic product shrank by 0.1 per cent in November. The decrease partly offset an increase of 0.3 per cent in October.

The report was in line with estimates that the contraction would be 0.1 per cent for the month, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

READ MORE: Canadian retail sales drop in November, fail to deliver holiday shopping boost

Story continues below

“October now looks to have been an island in the storm for the Canadian economy, as November saw a return to weakness,” CIBC Capital Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld wrote in a note to clients.

Canada’s GDP growth remained virtually flat in August and September, Shenfeld noted. With November, that marks “three of the last four months in which performance was lacklustre.”

In November, the overall move lower came despite gains in 13 of the 20 industrial sectors tracked. The wholesale trade sector fell 1.1 per cent in November as machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaling pulled back 2.1 per cent. The manufacturing sector also contracted 0.5 per cent for the month, the third decline in four months.

WATCH: China’s gloomy trade outlook could spill to global economy

Shenfeld predicted the latest stretch of ho-hum economic data would keep the Bank of Canada from further raising interest rates in the first six months of 2019.

— With files from Global News money reporter Erica Alini

‘Data not finalised’: Niti Aayog clarifies on jobs report

NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday clarified on the ‘leaked jobs data‘ and stated that the report is still being processed and will be released when it’s ready. Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said, “Government did not release the data (on jobs) as it is still being processed. When the data is ready we will release it.”

Kumar also stated that, “Data collection method is different now, we are using a computer assisted personal interviewee in the new survey. It is not right to compare the two data sets, this data is not verified. It is not correct to use this report as final.”

The government’s think-tank further said that the country is creating enough jobs for “new entrants” but “probably not” high-quality ones.

The Niti Aayog VC also hinted that the final report could be finalised by March.

Earlier in the day, a war of words erupted between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the leaked job creation report card. According to a newspaper report quoting a government survey, India’s unemployment rate rose to a 45-year high during 2017-2018. The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) conducted between July 2017-June 2018, showed the unemployment rate stood at 6.1 per cent, the highest since 1972-73, the newspaper reported.

In a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi-led government, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that the data revealed a “National Disaster”. In reaction, the BJP quickly responded and termed it as “#FakeNews!”

Citing the report, the Congress president tweeted: “NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 crore jobs a year. 5 years later, his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 years. 6.5 crore youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go. #HowsTheJobs.”

RG tweet

In reply to his tweet, the BJP said: “It’s clear that he has inherited Mussolini’s shortsightedness and has myopic understanding of issues. EPFO’s real data shows sharp increase in jobs, created in just the last 15 months. Only a man who hasn’t ever held a proper job & is totally jobless can peddle such #FakeNews!”

BJP tweet

The head of the government-funded National Statistical Commission PC Mohanan said on Wednesday that he and colleague J Meenakshi were unhappy at the non-publication of jobs data that had been due for release in December and alleged interference by other state agencies over backdated GDP data.

GDP growth rate for 2017-18 revised upwards to 7.2%

NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday revised the economic growth rate upwards to 7.2 per cent for 2017-18 from the 6.7 per cent estimated earlier.

“Real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for 2017-18 and 2016-17 stand at Rs 131.80 lakh crore and Rs 122.98 lakh crore, respectively, showing growth of 7.2 per cent during 2017-18 and 8.2 per cent during 2016-17,” the CSO said.

Earlier, the CSO in its advance estimate had pegged the GDP growth rate for 2018-19 at 7.2 per cent.

“The First Revised Estimates for 2017-18 have been compiled using industry-wise/institution-wise detailed information instead of using the benchmark-indicator method employed at the time of release of Provisional Estimates on 31st May, 2018,” said the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The CSO has also released the second revised estimates of National Income, Consumption Expenditure, Saving and Capital Formation for 2016-17.

During 2017-18, the growth rates of primary (comprising agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining and quarrying), secondary (comprising manufacturing, electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services, and construction) and tertiary (services) sectors have been estimated as 5 per cent, 6 per cent and 8.1 per cent as against a growth of 6.8 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 8.4 per cent, respectively, in the previous year.

Rahul Gandhi attacks Modi government, asks ‘#HowsTheJobs’

NEW DELHI: A war of words erupted on Thursday between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the leaked job creation report card. In a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi-led government, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that the data revealed a “National Disaster”. In reaction, the BJP quickly responded and termed it as “#FakeNews!”

According to a newspaper report quoting a government survey, India’s unemployment rate rose to a 45-year high during 2017-2018. The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) conducted between July 2017-June 2018, showed the unemployment rate stood at 6.1 per cent, the highest since 1972-73, the newspaper reported.

Citing the report, the Congress president tweeted: “NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 crore jobs a year. 5 years later, his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 years. 6.5 crore youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go. #HowsTheJobs”

RG tweet

(Image: Rahul Gandhi/Twitter)

India’s unemployment rate hit 45-year high in 2017-18: Report

The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) conducted between July 2017-June 2018, showed the unemployment rate stood at 6.1 per cent, the highest since 1972-73, the newspaper reported. The survey has become a political issue after the acting chairman and another member of the body that reviewed the job data resigned saying there was a delay in its release.

In reply to his tweet, the BJP said: “It’s clear that he has inherited Mussolini’s shortsightedness and has myopic understanding of issues. EPFO’s real data shows sharp increase in jobs, created in just the last 15 months. Only a man who hasn’t ever held a proper job & is totally jobless can peddle such #FakeNews!”

BJP tweet

(Image: BJP/Twitter)

The survey has become a political issue after the acting chairman and another member of the body that reviewed the job data resigned saying there was delay in its release.

The head of the government-funded National Statistical Commission PC Mohanan said on Wednesday that he and colleague J Meenakshi were unhappy at the non-publication of jobs data that had been due for release in December and alleged interference by other state agencies over backdated GDP data.

India’s economy has been expanding by 7 per cent plus annually — the fastest pace among major economies — but the uneven growth has meant there are not enough jobs created for millions of young Indians entering the workforce each year. This has put pressure on Modi as he seeks to retain power in a general election due by May.

Earlier this month, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a leading independent think-tank, said the country lost as many as 11 million jobs last year.

(With inputs from Reuters)

IndiGo to build MRO at B’luru airport, its 2nd in India

NEW DELHI: IndiGo will build its second maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Bengaluru. The airline, which has over 200 aircraft in its fleet with more than 360 more yet to be delivered according to existing orders, has a MRO facility at its Delhi airport base but given its size has gone in for another one. IndiGo operates over 1,300 daily flights, of which 158 are out of Bengaluru.
The airline on Thursday said its parent company InterGlobe Aviation and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), operator of Kempegowda International Airport, have entered into a 20-year agreement to sub-lease land at the airport to build a state-of-the-art MRO facility. The 13,000-sq metre hangar, to be built on five acres in the airport campus, will be able to accommodate two narrow body aircraft and have support infrastructure, including an engine shop warehouse and engineering offices for all repair and maintenance. This facility is expected to be operational by next March.

IndiGo COO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said: “Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB), with its strategic location, will play an even more important role going forward. It is for this reason that IndiGo decided to build a hangar as the core of our maintenance centre in south. This facility will become operational by 2020.”

BIAL MD and CEO Hari Marar said, “At BIAL, we believe that we must always offer a comprehensive bouquet of services that will facilitate the growth of our airline partners. IndiGo has been one of the fastest growing carriers at the BLR Airport. The outcome of this agreement will create more connectivity and open new markets, further enhancing its growth. We look forward to a fruitful partnership with IndiGo.”