Budget session kick starts today
The Budget session of the Parliament kick starts today. 28 bills will be tabled in the Lok Sabha and 39 bills in the Rajya Sabha. All eyes will be on the last full budget of the present government which will also be the first budget after GST. Today, the Economic Survey will be presented to the Parliament which reviews the state of the economy in the past one year. Analysts and rating agencies have indicated a recovery for the economy. Prime Minister Modi has asked all political parties to create a constructive atmosphere during the budget session
Foreign player expresses interest in Air India
Air India's disinvestment process is generating a lot of interest. According to a report in the English news daily The Times of India a foreign player has expressed interest in acquiring 49% of Air India. The identity of this player has not been revealed. However, it is known that Singapore Airlines is among the foreign players that are taking an active interest in Air India. Qatar Airways too wants to start a domestic carrier in India.Sources have revealed that Tata-SIA and IndiGo are the main contenders for AI's airline arm.
Govt might woo rural voters in upcoming budget
Prime Minister Modi barely scraped through an election in his home state of Gujarat last month and is now faced with elections in eight states spread over 2018 and a general election that must be held by May next year. Modi is facing voter discontent over falling farm incomes and the lack of jobs for hundreds entering the labor force each month. Considering this scenario, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley might step up funding of existing rural programs such as a jobs guarantee scheme, rural housing and a crop insurance plan in his final full year budget. A finance ministry official with direct knowledge of the discussions said, "The government's top priority is to create jobs and boost growth, " as quoted in a Reuters report.
Colgate's shares drop
Toothpaste maker Colgate has fallen out of favour with consumers. The company reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales despite spending more on advertising and cutting prices to spur enough demand.The world's largest toothpaste maker said gross margins fell to 59.8 percent in the fourth quarter from 60.4 percent a year earlier. The brand has said it expects sales growth n 2018. In most markets, Colgate lowered prices as much as 2 percent to drive sales and volume. Its worldwide advertising spending rose 24 percent and the company has said it plans to boost ad spends further in 2018.
Nitin Gadkari announces flex-engine bikes for the Indian market
Two bike makers are expected to soon come up with electric and flex engine motorcycles in the Indian markets, according to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. A flex-fuel or dual fuel vehicle can operate on both petrol and ethanol. The Transport and Shipping minister, who is keen to promote electric vehicles fleet as well as vehicles on alternative fuel like ethanol, has also been emphasising the need to enhance ethanol output in a bid to move towards ethanol- based transportation. By the end of this month, two two-wheeler manufacturers have promised to come up with electric as well as flex-engine motorcycles which can run both on petrol and ethanol, said Gadkari. He said both bikes are expected to hit the market soon.
Founder of Ikea furniture chain dies at 91
The Swedish founder of the Ikea furniture chain, Ingvar Kamprad, died at the age of 91. The company said that Mr Kamprad was "one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century". The billionaire founded Ikea at the age of 17. Kamprad stepped down from the company's board in 2013, at the age of 87. His designs radically changed how people designed products for the home. His vision was to build a company that would make life easier for consumers.