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Budget proposals positive for India’s insurance industry: Fitch

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], Feb 10 (ANI): India’s 2021-2022 Budget has proposed relaxing foreign-ownership caps on insurers and listing the country’s largest state-owned insurer, measures that Fitch Ratings says will help the industry attract foreign capital, strengthen solvency and promote competition.
The proposals can encourage global insurers to enter the fast-expanding Indian market while international insurers already holding minority stakes in domestic companies may try to increase their ownership over the medium term.
The Budget presented on February 1 proposes to raise the foreign-ownership limit on insurers to 74 per cent from 49 per cent which will allow foreign investors to hold majority stakes in Indian-based insurer for the first time.
The government has also proposed new requirements to ensure sufficient local participation like majority of insurers’ key management personnel and board members to be resident Indians and a requirement that at least half of the board comprises independent directors.
The government also plans to specify a percentage of profit to be retained as general reserve within the insurer to prevent excessive capital extraction by foreign parents.
Fitch said it expects a relaxation of foreign-ownership rules to attract international insurers and promote competition within the sector. This will in turn increase insurers’ access to capital and improve the industry’s solvency position.
“We also believe an influx of new capital can be channelled to develop insurers’ distribution networks, enable digitisation and bring expertise to areas such as marketing and client servicing, which will improve insurance penetration in the long run,” said Senior Analyst Rishikesh Sivakumar.
India’s insurance penetration rate stood at 3.8 per cent in 2019, lagging some peer countries in the Asia Pacific.
The proposals once implemented can also boost merger and acquisition activity over the medium term. Last year, the government permitted full foreign ownership (previously 49 per cent) in insurance intermediary companies, including insurance agents, brokers, loss assessors and surveyors.
India’s foreign-ownership liberalisation will correspond with the deregulatory measures undertaken in some other Asia Pacific countries.
For instance, China permitted foreign companies to own 100 per cent of domestic life insurers in early 2020 while Indonesia’s regulator allowed foreign investors with an ownership stake of above 80 per cent in a private insurer to maintain their ownership percentage despite additional capital injections.
This compared with a previous foreign ownership cap of 80 per cent. Similarly, Thailand’s Ministry of Finance relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership in local insurance companies to 100 per cent from 49 per cent in 2017 and allowed boards of insurers to comprise majority foreign directors upon acquiring regulatory and ministry approval.
The government also used the budget to reiterate its commitment to list India’s largest state-owned insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India through an IPO in financial year ending March 2022.
“We believe the listing will improve the insurer’s accountability and transparency while attracting more foreign interest in the industry. The proposed IPO once executed could broaden the insurer’s capital base and improve its regulatory capital position which was 165 per cent at end-September 2020, marginally above the regulatory minimum of 150 per cent,” said Sivakumar.
Besides, the government has expressed its intention to privatise a non-life insurer along with some state-owned banks and corporations to meet its disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore set in the Union Budget for 2021-22. (ANI)

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Walmart expands Vriddhi programme in Uttar Pradesh to help MSMEs

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Agra (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 25 (ANI): US-based retailer Walmart on Thursday launched a new Vriddhi e-institute in Agra to provide small businesses in Uttar Pradesh access to skills and competencies to grow in a post-pandemic environment through online and offline channels like Flipkart’s marketplace and Walmart’s international supply chain.
With the new e-institute, Walmart is expanding its Vriddhi supplier development programme towards empowering 50,000 MSMEs across India for growth.
The programme provides MSMEs with specific training to leverage modern commerce and get ready for opportunities in Flipkart’s e-commerce marketplace, the supply chain of Flipkart wholesale and Walmart’s global sourcing operations, as well as the open marketplace.
In particular, the e-institute will focus on empowering skilled artisans and entrepreneurs to expand markets for Agra’s prominent footwear manufacturing and stone carving sectors.
As Walmart triples its exports from India to 10 billion dollars annually by 2027, businesses with export ambitions can learn how to qualify as a Walmart global sourcing supplier, taking ‘Make in India’ products to the world.
The first Vriddhi e-institute, opened in Haryana in October 2020, serves MSMEs from the Panipat-Sonipat-Kundli region.
Leigh Hopkins, Executive Vice President for International Strategy, Development and Asia Region at Walmart International, said the company had encouraging results from its first e-institute and strong interest from MSMEs in Uttar Pradesh.
“Walmart and Flipkart are helping artisans and entrepreneurs augment their Indian ingenuity with merchandising and logistics expertise and access to e-commerce customers across India and abroad,” he said in a statement.
“Growing MSME businesses creates employment opportunities in local communities and puts them at the heart of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ programmes.” (ANI)

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Hitachi launches super exciting range of new-age room air conditioners in India

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI/NewsVoir): Johnson Controls – Hitachi Air Conditioning India Limited, the joint venture company of Johnson Controls Inc, U.S.A and Hitachi Appliances, Japan and one of India’s most selling air-conditioner brand has recently launched its latest range of new-age Room Air Conditioners for 2021.
Inspired by nature and its Japanese roots, the new aesthetically appealing and premium looking product line-up includes Hitachi Cooling and Heating’s first-ever Ambience light which allows consumers to perfectly tune-in with their desired temperature and comfort level, a new stunning ‘iconic wave design’ that is inspired by naturally existing waveform and Hitachi’s fusion line which is inspired by the Japanese Kintsugi art.
The company has also introduced a new airCloud Home app for its Wi-Fi-enabled ACs with smart geo fencing feature and voice command and a plethora of other futuristic air conditioning products and technologies.
With the launch of its advanced range of energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly air conditioning solutions, the brand endeavours to set new standards in the Indian AC industry and become India’s top HVAC brand.
The consumer is the King and the company understand that consumer of the new Informed world is evolving every day and their need for NEW is changing. In its endeavour to meet the demands of this aspiring consumer, the company is committed to set new consumer satisfaction milestones with its best in class products and solutions, because at Hitachi ‘New begins with you’.
A global leader in air conditioning technology with over 30 years of legacy in India, Hitachi Heating and Cooling thrives to make people’s lives comfortable by providing the best possible air-conditioning solutions through the design, engineering and manufacturing of efficient, advanced and top-notch cooling solutions.
Hitachi Heating and Cooling have always strived to improve indoor air quality for its customers to help them live a healthy life. Hitachi Heating and Cooling provide air conditioning solutions, which offer clean, fresh, and odourless air to ensure a harmonious and balanced indoor air experience.
In its expanded product portfolio, Hitachi Cooling & Heating India offers innovations that offer unparalleled indoor experience and add comfort to life.
From premium looking, technologically advanced room ACs, SET-FREE mini (VRF based) & Cassette models for premium residential and smaller commercial spaces, to highly efficient SET-FREE Sigma (VRF System) & latest Ductable air conditioning type models for large commercial buildings, the company offers pathbreaking products that meet everyone’s diverse requirements.
Taking the sustainability and energy conservation agenda to new heights, Hitachi Cooling & Heating India is going heavily on inverter technology to help consumers save electricity, money and the environment.
With Inverter Split AC models ranging between 5, 4 and 3-Star category, almost as high as 80 percent of the entire Split AC line up is inverter-based and the majority of the Room AC models are charged with environment-friendly Green refrigerant.
Hitachi’s all-new range of expandable and energy-efficient air conditioners are designed keeping in mind the extreme heat conditions of the Northern Plains and hot-cum-humid conditions of the coastal areas of India. Inspired by the ever-changing seasons, the company has introduced Hitachi’s first-ever Ambience light in this year’s super exciting product range.
Ambience light is an immersive display on the ac which allows consumers to perfectly tune-in with their desired temperature and comfort level. With the Ambience light feature, consumers can easily know their surrounding ambience ranging from cold, comfort to warm.
Most suited to meet the cooling demands of a large room (up to 400 sq. ft), Hitachi Cooling & Heating has also launched its high capacity, heavy performing and truly powerful machines- Takeshi ACs.
In recent time with rapid urbanization going around, new constructions often have room sizes of 120 to 135 sq. ft. for which 1.5 TR model is oversized and 1 TR is undersized. To address this challenge, the company has introduced a special category of 1.25 TR, 3- & 5-Star inverter models, which fits in perfectly for this room size.
This is apt for markets such as Kerala, Karnataka, Mumbai, Pune, etc. A new compact 1.0 TR outdoor unit with outstanding aesthetics and an indoor spit AC unit for lower capacity AC requirements is also one of the latest additions to the new range.
For those who want something extra, Hitachi has launched a new series called the X series. Bringing the expandable inverter technology legacy of the split air conditioner to the window air conditioner, the new product lineup has Shizuka inverter window air conditioner range. It expands its cooling capacity when the temperature goes up in extreme summers and can work up to 52° C.
Catering to the rising demand for IoT-based products at smart homes, the company has introduced airCloud home along with its exciting range of Wi-Fi-connected smart air conditioners. airCloud home allows consumers to control their air conditioner remotely through smartphone or Google Home/Alexa digital device or even voice assistant on their mobile phones.
The new product range is also powered by Hitachi air technologies to ensure all-round comfort and unmatched indoor experience. The 5 unique features of Hitachi air comprise auto coil dry technology for odour free air, wave blade design for silent air, big flow deflector for surround air, iClean+ for clean air and iFresh for fresh air.
Johnson Controls – Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd. is a leading global air conditioning manufacturer providing homeowners and businesses with customized air conditioning solutions.
The company seamlessly blends in state-of-the-art design, engineering and advanced manufacturing capabilities to offer innovative, efficient and reliable cooling and heating solutions.
For more details, please visit www.hitachiaircon.in.
This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

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OnePlus 8 Pro now available on the Bajaj Finserv EMI Store on EMI starting Rs 3,056

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Pune (Maharashtra) [India], February 25 (ANI/NewsVoir): Whether one is looking for budget-friendly mobiles or premium handsets, customers can browse a range of smartphones on the EMI Store of Bajaj Finserv and buy them online on EMIs.
The EMI Store enables one to buy the latest mobiles on no-cost EMIs and zero down payment and conveniently get it delivered within 4 hours*.
One of the latest smartphones to have launched on the EMI Store is the OnePlus 8 Pro. The premium flagship offering from OnePlus is currently on sale at EMI starting at Rs. 3,056. Customers using the Bajaj Finserv EMI Network Card can conveniently purchase the OnePlus 8 Pro on cost-effective EMI schemes.
EMI Schemes on OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro can be purchased on easy EMIs with flexible tenors as mentioned below.

Customers can shop the OnePlus 8 Pro phone online on the EMI Store of Bajaj Finserv in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Surat.
OnePlus 8 Pro features
One of the first 5G mobile phones to have launched in India, the OnePlus 8 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor. It comes with a massive 4510-mAh battery and Warp Charge 30T to ensure fast charging. The smartphone features a dynamic 48MP Quad camera and a 48MP wide-angle camera.
It is currently available in Onyx Black, Glacial Green and Ultramarine Blue on the EMI Store of Bajaj Finserv.
Benefits of shopping online on the EMI Store
One need not worry about the OnePlus 8 Pro price because purchasing on the EMI Store is both convenient and easy. The EMI Store of Bajaj Finserv works on a hyperlocal shopping model which allows customers to purchase from retailers nearby and get everything delivered to their doorstep within 4 hours*.
One can find mobile phones on EMI with money-saving offers such as zero down payment, No Cost EMI, cashback, as well as discounts on the final price.
Customers can also opt for convenient repayment tenors ranging from 3-24 months.
To avail No Cost EMI benefits, customers need to purchase using the Bajaj Finserv EMI Network Card. The digital card comes with a pre-approved loan limit of up to Rs. 4 lakhs.
*T&C Apply
Finserv MARKETS is an online digital marketplace by Bajaj Finserv Direct Limited, a subsidiary of Bajaj Finserv. Finserv MARKETS is a one-stop digital marketplace, that assists consumers to compare and choose from a wide range of financial products. Its core proposition is driven by a strong intent to deliver tailor-made financial products to consumers. It offers customers an abundance of choices in offering the required financial products to achieve all their financial and personal goal. Finserv MARKETS has partnered with leading financial providers in the Lending, Insurance, Investments and Payments space to provide 500+ financial and lifestyle products, all in one place.
For further information, visit www.bajajfinservmarkets.in or download Finserv MARKETS App on Google Play Store or App Store.
This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

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eLearning app eMedicoz wins 5th South Asia Education Summit Award 2021

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI/NewsVoir): eMedicoz app wins 5th South Asia Education Summit Award 2021 organized by Digital Inclusion Foundation & ICTpost which is India’s first Think Tank and online media venture on ICT vertical. eMedicoz app got listed in the special mention Award category of Mobile Learning – Innovation in Medical Education. Dr Sumer Sethi Founder eMedicoz received the award.
The app was evaluated based on innovative educational identity, the creation of varied information content, and the digitalization of educational and scientific heritage. South Asia Education Summit Award is a dedicated platform to explore the latent potential of innovation in the education and healthcare sector across 12 countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia: India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and China Pacific. The prestigious event was started with the help of UNESCO in the year 2014.
Dr Sumer Sethi, Founder eMedicoz who himself is an edupreneur and practising radiologist, said, “It is an honor to be in the winning category of Mobile Learning – Innovation in Medical Education in the prestigious event of 5th South Asia Education Summit Award 2021. eMedicoz is the top 5 eLearning apps in India, we are glad that our students have put their efforts into making the eMedicoz app the fastest-growing smartphone market and we are proud of being part of this 5th South Asia Education Summit Award initiative by Digital Inclusion Foundation & ICTpost.”
eMedicoz was launched in 2018 and has 3 lac plus users on the app. The app is available on both android and iOS. The majority of these users have verified doctors and medical students. With the help of this app, medical students get insightful knowledge and discuss cases/questions on an interactive forum. Budding doctors get an idea about the latest technology and development in the field of medicine. eMedicoz app is the only medical education learning app in the top 5 in the eLearning category, had listed in the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge’ organized by the Government of India, in 2020.
This app helps to bridge the gap amongst medical students preparing for various career opportunities at the post-doctoral level and provides them with a common platform where they can get all useful information in one place and prepare for common national level examinations like NEET-PG, NEXT. Through this app, students get the opportunity to discuss medical cases with their seniors and peers across the world.
This app has many innovative features like a Two-way interactive teaching platform, an interactive forum for discussion, innovative features like Question Bank, and Flashcards for medical students. Unique features of this app also include practical courses for medical students and resident doctors where they can learn practical skills and even present Live Patient cases to the senior doctors.
This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

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MTAR Technologies’ Rs 597 crore IPO opens on March 3

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 25 (ANI): Hyderabad-based precision engineering solutions company MTAR Technologies will open the bid offer period in relation to its initial public offering of equity shares on March 3 and close on March 5.
The price band for offer has been decided at Rs 574 to 575 per equity share. The total IPO issue size is Rs 597 crore.
MTAR has undertaken a pre-IPO placement of 18.5 lakh equity shares aggregating to Rs 100 crore with Axis and SBI mutual funds.
The IPO is a fresh issuance of upto 21.4 lakh equity shares of Rs 10 face value aggregating up to Rs 124 crore and an offer for sale of up to 82.2 lakh equity shares aggregating up to Rs 473 crore.
The company proposes to utilise net proceeds from fresh issue towards repayments of borrowings, funding working capital requirements and for general corporate purposes.
JM Financial and IIFL Securities are appointed as book running lead managers to the issue.
MTAR’s key strength lies in its engineering capabilities which has enabled it to offer quality complex precision manufactured assemblies and components to customers in highly-valued strategic and key sectors like clean energy, nuclear, and space and defence segments. (ANI)

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Ind-Ra revises outlook for transport infrastructure to stable

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 25 (ANI): India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) on Thursday revised its infrastructure sector outlook to stable for FY22 from negative while maintaining a negative outlook on airports and wind power projects.
The stable outlook factors in contracted revenue visibility, long tenor contracts enabling financial flexibility to an extent, and improving people traffic and cargo volumes on the back of a strong economic recovery expectation.
Despite the doom and gloom beginning mid-March 2020, most sub-verticals of the infra sector have shown resilience and are above pre-Covid levels. However, internal liquidity continues to be critically monitorable compared to the business or counterparty stress expected in FY22.
Ind-Ra said any wide-ranging Covid-19 resurgence will change the expectations on counterparty behaviour or traffic recovery. Though infrastructure projects have a long operating period, stressed liquidity can lead to downgrades — especially in airports, metro rail and wind sectors.
“Pooling of assets is favoured in Indian and foreign markets as diversification has emerged as a dominant method of addressing counterparty risk in renewable projects and traffic risk in toll projects,” said Associate Director Vishal Kotecha.
“The traction in InvITs and pooled structures is expected to rise by about Rs 85,000 crore in roads and Rs one lakh crore in energy space over the next one to two years,” he said.
InvITs have proved to be effective for pooling the assets and attractive for investors, given their governing regulatory structures. Besides, infrastructure projects with a stable credit profile are taking advantage of a low interest regime to refinance their loans.
Sponsors are also using this opportunity to upsize debt and release funds for further growth, said Ind-Ra. (ANI)

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