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Budget 2018 paves the way for MSME sector to be a catalyst in economic growth

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JM Financial Group

It is beyond doubt that the most vibrant and resilient Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector shall act as a catalyst to the growth of the Indian economy. The Budget further strengthened the sector by making key structural changes, enabling ease of doing business, and providing tax benefits.

Key structural changes

One of the welcome structural changes announced was to bring on board state-owned banks and corporates on the MSME bill discounting platform and, more importantly, to link it with the GST Network. This will significantly ease cash flow challenges as the cost of working capital shall stand to reduce and MSMEs can easily access capital by discounting their trade receivables. Linking to GST will make credit assessment easier and faster.

The government has also proposed to evolve a scheme to provide a unique identity to every enterprise in India on the lines of Aadhaar, which will eventually give respite to the lender as it will be easier to access the KYC.

Both these structural changes in accessing KYC and assessing the credit shall provide greater benefits to the sector.

Enabling the ease of doing business

The budget also earmarked Rs 3 lakh crore for 2018-19 under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. The government has assured to address the issues of non-performing assets (NPAs) and stressed accounts of MSMEs. He also referred to a group in the finance ministry that is examining the policy and institutional development measures needed for creating right environment for fintech companies to grow.

The finance minister also stated that the government shall contribute 12 percent of the wages of the new employees in the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) for select sectors over the next three years.  He also referred to the extension of the facility of fixed term employment to these sectors. This in turn will attract good talent at a lower cost.

All these measures shall spur inclusive growth and development.

Providing tax benefits

The proposal to reduce tax for smaller companies with a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore to 25 percent (from the existing turnover of up to Rs 50 crore) emphasises the importance of MSME sector in economic activity. This will unleash entrepreneurial zeal, leading to job creation. This tax respite will provide relief to the sector by increasing their cash flow.

These measures to strengthen the sector shall go a long way in building a robust economy thereby not only creating opportunities in the job sector but also fulfilling the Prime Ministers dream of 'Housing for all' by 2022 under the affordable segment.

Union Budget 2018: Key Highlights:

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled his last full Budget in Parliament today. ETMarkets compiles the highlights that may matter to you. 

11.04 am: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley starts presenting the budget 2018-19. 
11.07 am: Promised to reduce poverty, expedite infra creation. 
11.08 am: Achieved 7.5% average growth in first 3 years of NDA government. 
11.08 am: Manufacturing sector is back on growth path. 
11.08 am: Achieved 7.5% average growth in first 3 years of NDA government. 
11.08 am: Manufacturing sector is back on growth path. 
11.09 am: 6.3% GDP growth signalled turnaround in economy 
11.10 am: Export expected to grow at 15% in FY18. 
11.13 am: DBT has reduced corruption & cost of delivery. 
11.13 am: Focus is now on ease on living after ease of doing business. 
11.13 am: On track for GDP growth of over 8%. 
11.14 am: Emphasis on generating higher income for the farmers.
11.15 am: MSP for Kharif crops to be 1.5X of cost of produce. 
11.16 am: Want farmers to earn 1.5x the cost of their produce. 
11.19 am: Setting up an agricultural market fund with corpus of Rs 2,000 crore. 
11.21 am: eNAM to be exempted from APMC regulation. 
11.22 am: Allocation to food processing to be doubled from Rs 715 crore last year to Rs 1400 crore in 2018-19. 
11.23 am: Food processing industry growing at average 8% per annum. 
11.23 am: 470 APMCs connected to eNAM. 
11.25 am: Government proposes to launch Operation Green for which sum of Rs 500 crore will be allocated. 
11.26 am: Allocate Rs 10,000 crore for fisheries, aqua cultural and animal husbandry funds. 
11.28 am: Allocate Rs 1,290 crore to National Bamboo Mission. 
11.29 am: 8 crore poor families will be given free gas connection under Ujjwala Scheme. 
11.30 am: Proposes to extend Kisan Credit Card to fisheries & animal husbandry farmers. 
11.31 am: Targets constructing 2 crore Toilets in FY19. 
11.34 am: Allocate Rs 16,000 crore to Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojana. 
11.36 am: To initiate special integrated B-Ed programme to teachers. 
11.37 am: Railway University to be set-up at Vadodara. 
11.38 am: Total investment of Rs 1 lakh crore for RISE. 
11.39 am: Two new Planning & Architecture schools to be set-up in IITs. 
11.40 am: Allocate Rs 1,200 crore for Specialised Health Wellness Centre. 
11.41 am: Government allots Rs 9,975 crore for social security schemes. 
11.42 am: National Health Protection Scheme for 10 crore poor families. 
11.45 am: PMJBY to be expanded to all poor households. 
11.47 am: Rs 5 lakh medical insurance cover per year for 10 crore families across the country. 
11.48 am: Ayushman Bharat Programme a move towards Universal Health Care Coverage. 
11.50 am: Rs 16,730 crore allocated for rural sanitation. 
11.50 am: Will soon announce measures for SME NPAs. 
11.51 am: Target Mudra Loans for Rs 3 lakh crore next FY. 
11.51 am: Govt to establish a dedicated affordable housing fund under National Housing Bank for priority sector lending. 
11.52 am: Setting up 24 new Government medical colleges. 
11.53 am: MSMEs sector gets Rs 3,794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy. 
11.55 am: Need investment of Rs 50 lakh crore for infrastructure sector. 
11.58 am: 99 cities selected under Smart City Mission. 
11.59 am: Proposed construction of tunnels under the SELA Pass. 
12.01 pm: Highway construction will exceed 9000 km by end of FY18. 
12.02 pm: Significant movement in achievement of the railways. 
12.02 pm: Railway Capex for FY19 at Rs 1.48 lakh crore. 
12.03 pm: Confident of completing 9000 kms national highways to be by 2018-19. 
12.04 pm: Allocate Rs 17,000 crore for Bengaluru metro network 
12.04 pm: Allocate Rs 11,000 crore for Mumbai rail Network. 
12.06 pm: 99 smart cities have been selected with an outlay Rs 2.04 lakh crore. 
12.07 pm: Govt to eliminate 4267 unmanned rail crossings in broad gauge in 2 years. 
12.08 pm: Allocated Rs 60 crore to kick start the airport expansion. 
12.11 pm: Allocation to Digital India doubled to Rs 373 crore. 
12.13 pm: SEBI to mull asking large companies to meet 25% debt from bond market. 
12.14 pm: Government to explore use of Block Chain Technology for payments. 
12.18 pm: Government to evolve a scheme to assign a Unique ID for companies. 
12.19 pm: PSU bank recap will allow banks to give additional lending of Rs 5 lakh crore. 
12.20 pm: Salary of President raised to Rs 5 lakh. 
12.22 pm: Allocate Rs 150 crore for commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi. 
12.22 pm: Law to be introduced to fix MPs' salary every 5 years indexed to inflation. 
12.23 pm: Proposes inflation-linked revision of salary of Members of Parliament. 
12.24 pm: FY19 fiscal Deficit target at 3.3% of GDP. 
12.27 pm: 85.51 lakh new taxpayers have filed returns for FY17. 
12.29 pm: Direct taxes growth at 12.6% this year. 
12.30 pm: Revised fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of GDP at Rs 5.95 lakh crore for the current fiscal. 
12.32 pm: Footwear & leather industry to get benefits extended to Apparel industry. 
12.33 pm: Corporate tax for companies with turnover up to Rs 250 crore cut to 25%. 
12.34 pm: Government will aim to lower debt to GDP ratio to 40%. 
12.35 pm: No change in Personal income tax structure. 
12.36 pm: Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 crore for salaried taxpayers. 
12.38 pm: To set up comprehensive gold policy; to revamp Gold Monetisation Scheme. 
12.38 pm: Number of tax payers increased to 8.27 crore from 6.47 crore. 
12.39 pm: Deduction for senior citizens with critical illness raise to Rs 1 lakh. 
12.40 pm: 100% tax deduction to companies with revenue of Rs 100 crore registered as farmer producers. 
2.42 pm: Rs 19,000 crore revenue loss on Direct tax. 
12.43 pm: Government levies long-term capital gains tax of 10% for over Rs 1 lakh investment. 
12.44 pm: Short-term capital gains tax continues to be 15%. 
12.48 pm: Propose next Financial Year health, education cess at 4%. 
12.50 pm: Propose to amend income tax act for electronic assessments. 
12.50 pm: Propose to cut import duty on raw cashews to 2.5% from 5%. 
12.44 pm: Short-term capital gains tax continues to be 15%. 
12.48 pm: Propose next Financial Year health, education cess at 4%. 
12.50 pm: Propose to amend income tax act for electronic assessments. 
12.50 pm: Propose to cut import duty on raw cashews to 2.5% from 5%. 
12.53 pm: FM announced 2 defence industrial production corridors to be set up 
12.56 pm: NHAI to make use of Toll-Operate-Transfer model & InvITs to mobilise funds 
1 pm: Tourist facilities to be upgraded at 210 important monuments.

Budget 2018: Jaitley fixes railways’ FY19 capex at Rs 1.48 lakh crore, higher by 18k crore

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has earmarked Rs. 1.48 lakh crores as railways’ total capital and development expenditure for 2018-19 (April-March). This is nearly 14 percent higher than the Rs 1.3 lakh crore Jaitley had set aside in the last financial year.

Jaitley in the last budget had announced the establishment of a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh for passenger safety. The fund will have a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore over five years.

According to reports, the railways aims to end FY19 with an operating ratio of 93 percent, a 200 basis point improvement from 2017-18’s 95 percent.

Operating ratio is a measure of money spent to earn every rupee, and hence, the lower, the better. The railways no more announces its operating ratio, a practice it stopped last year when the Railway Budget was merged with the General Budget.

IPO: A sparkle on the investors eyes

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Public issue of shares means the selling or marketing of shares for subscription by the public by issue of the prospectus. For raising capital from the public by the issue of shares, a public company has to comply with the provisions of the Companies Act, the Securities Contract Regulation Act, 1956 including the Rules made thereunder and the guidelines and instructions issued by the concerned Government authorities, the Stock exchanges and SEBI etc.

When an issue or offer of securities is made to new investors for becoming a part of the company is called a Public Issue. The public issue can be of two types i.e Initial Public offer (IPO) and Further Public offer (FPO). A company can make an Initial Public Offer of equity shares and other security which may be converted into or exchanged with equity shares at a later date. When a company makes an issue of securities for the first time to the general public it is called Initial Public Offer or IPO. This paves way for listing and trading of the issuer’s securities in the Stock exchanges.The company issues such securities in order to run the business efficiently.

The IPO is very well known due to its high potential for earning in a very short period of time. It is issued in a primary market i.e direct from the companies when the fresh issue of shares is made by them.  Here are a few steps to purchase an IPO.

·         Demat account

An investor should have a demat account in any recognized bank to buy an IPO. Proper trading can only be done through a demat account. It is compulsory to have a bank account, a pan card, and an Andhar card to open a Demat account.

·         Purchase of Shares

If the trading is done offline then the person has to buy an application form from the broker and has to fill the required details. But if the trading is done online then the person has to login to the trading account and select the IPO which the person intends to buy.

·         Transfer of money.

The exact amount of money for the number of shares that one intends to purchase should be transferred either through cheque in case of offline mode or through the money should be transferred to the trading account from the banking account.

·         Transfer of Stock

The shares will be transferred to the investor will be sent to their Demat account. This transfer will be made only after full payment of the application or the application money has been paid to the company offering Initial Public offer

 

A issues company cannot make any public issue of securities unless a draft offer document has been filed with SEBI through a Merchant banker at least days prior to the registering of the prospectus with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) or filing the letter of the offer with the designated stock exchange. If SEBI specifies change on the draft prospectus within a specified number of days from the date of receipt, the company or the head manager to the issue shall carry out such changes in the draft prospectus or comply with the observations issued by SEBI before filing the Prospectus with ROC.

In spite of all the risks, it is usually noticed that IPOs attract potential investors as they are freshly issued by the company. The company offers these issues basically to raise capital for its business with the vision to expand it. Often the IPOs are taken up by underwriters. The underwriters use different methods to sell these issues to the public. In most of the cases, the underwriters buy these stocks at a loss. The underwriters offer a price called the offering price of the IPOs to the public or the different investment institutions.

IPOs can contain high risk for individual investors. So before investing in an IPO, a person should acquire full knowledge about the company, its whereabouts. The investor should have full acquire his confidence in the company before investing its hard earned money. The capital market has many ups and downs and keeps on fluctuating. So it is essential to verify before investing a large amount in the IPOs.

No spending spree due in last Indian budget before elections: Poll

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India is expected to unveil only modest stimulus at this week's budget, a Reuters poll of analysts showed, despite it being the last before the next election, with government spending likely limited by longer-term efforts to trim the fiscal deficit. 


Fiscal consolidation was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in its maiden budget in fiscal 2014/15, aiming to break a long line of Indian governments that preferred to borrow and spend. 


But in following budgets, the timeframe for reaching a reduction to a 3.0 percent fiscal deficit target was pushed back. 


The latest Reuters poll shows the government is expected to delay the timeframe for hitting that target by another year, for the third year in a row, due to setbacks in the economic outlook. 


"As the current government will present its last full-year budget before the 2019 general elections, many in the market expect a heavier dose of populism. However, the government has limited financial resources to propose any targeted scheme for the poor," wrote Gautam Duggad, head of research at Motilal Oswal Securities, in a research note. 

"We also do not expect much relief on the tax front, except some reduction in the corporate tax rate for medium-sized companies." 


The government's own economic survey presented to parliament on Monday suggested that pushing further out the fiscal deficit target would give the economy some momentum. 


For the current fiscal year, the target is 3.2 percent and the government is unlikely to meet that as it has already overshot its full-year goal.With less than one quarter of the fiscal year left, the government is unlikely to meet its deficit target. 



Three-quarters of the 40 economists polled, based in India, Singapore and Europe, said that fiscal consolidation is likely to be Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's dominant theme when he unveils his budget on Thursday. 


Just under 10 percent of survey respondents said he will focus on boosting subsidies while about 18 percent expect a significant increase in borrowing and spending. 

Among those expecting a more populist budget are economists that say the government will announce new subsidies, such as loan waivers for farmers, an increase in healthcare spending, a cut to taxes on fuel and a ramp up in rural housing schemes. 


Some also said the focus on the potential budget provisions could address rising rural dissatisfaction shown by the increase in farmer protests and suicides across India. 


"We expect India's upcoming Union Budget to focus extensively on the agriculture sector, especially given that the government has only one year left in its current term and will want to boost its popularity before the next election," noted Kunal Kundu, India economist at Societe Generale. 


India's economy is forecast to grow by 6.6 percent in the current fiscal year, which would be its weakest since before a new calculation was introduced in fiscal 2014-15, a Reuters poll of economists found earlier in January. 


Economic Survey 2018: NPAs in highway projects rise to 20% in 2017

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The Economic Survey for 2017-18 presented a sober picture for delayed infrastructure projects as out of 482 road-related projects, only 43 face cost overruns and 74 face time overrun.

The Economic Survey which was tabled on Monday in the Parliament gives a review of the year gone by before the Union Budget for the next financial year is presented. Union Budget for 2018-19 will be presented on February 1.

It was pointed out that out of 1,263 infra related projects during 2017-18, projects worth Rs 3,17,373.9 crore belonged to roads and highways which faced delay in execution due to bottlenecks in obtaining land clearances, public agitation and arbitration-related issues.

“Some of the projects under different phases of National Highway Development Program are delayed mainly due to problems in land acquisition, utility shifting, poor performance of contractors, environment/ forest/wildlife clearances, Road Over Bridge (ROB) & Road Under Bridge (RUB) issue with Railways, public agitations for additional facilities, and arbitration/ contractual disputes with contractors etc,” said the survey.

NPAs stall infra progress

One of the glaring observation made by the Survey pointed out that Roads Sector witnessed increase in Non-Performing Asset (NPA) to 20.3 percent as of September 2017.

PM Modi makes waves in Davos: 10 key points from his speech

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In his keynote speech at World Economic Forum in Davos Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about renewable energy, terrorism, data, reforms, among other things. This is Modi's second visit to Switzerland in nearly two years after his visit in June 2016.

A look at the highlights of Modi’s speech-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India's future

India will be the world's fastest-growing major economy in 2018, according the IMF's latest World Economic Outlook update.

India's GDP has been growing at around 7% per year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office back in 2014, and next year India’s economy will be one-third bigger than when he came to power. However, major economic and social challenges - such as income inequality, gender disparity and extreme levels of pollution - persist.

Data an asset, but also presents challenges: PM Modi

Today, we face new and difficult challenges in terms of economic outlook and security. Technology driven transformation is taking place everywhere and data presents us with great opportunities to solve such issues. But data also presents its own challenges. It is believed whoever controls data is the most powerful and can shape the world.

Terrorism

Modi also spoke about terrorism. “As dangerous as terrorism is, even more dangerous is the artificial divide created between good and bad terrorists,” he said.

Technology

Modi also said that some two decades later, we live in a society that is a network of other complex networks. Today, we are living in the world of big data, AI and robots. Technology has impacted every aspect of our lives.

This is creating the greatest opportunities, but also huge challenges, said the Indian PM.

Rapidly changing technology could lead us to prosperity, but it is also creating fault lines, he added.

Democracy

Modi at WEF said that Indians are proud of their democracy and diversity. “For a society with diverse religions, cultures, languages, attires and cuisines, democracy is not just a political system but a way of living,” he said. In India democracy, demography and dynamism are giving shape to development and destiny, he added.

Growth in India

Change in India's ranking is an indicator that the people in India have warmly welcomed the change in policies as the road to a better future for them, Modi said.

India has cut red tape and removed artificial borders within the nation by introducing one nation, one tax in the form of GST, he added.

FDI in India

Modi also talked about how working, travelling and manufacturing in India is way easier now and added that all sectors of India are open for FDI.

World unity

It is necessary for the big powers to cooperate between themselves. We will have to set aside our differences, Modi added. He added that looking at the many fractures and many cracks in the world, it is necessary that everyone should focus on multiple directions for a shared future.

Changing world

Harry Potter was an unheard name, tweeting was done only by birds and Amazon referred to dense forests in 1997, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today to stress upon the changes the world has seen in the past 20 years.

“The world is changing fast today and there are new and serious challenges related to peace and security and various other matters,” Modi said.

India’s GDP

He also noted that the last time when an Indian prime minister came here in 1997, India's GDP was a little more than USD 400 billion, but now it has increased more than six times.

West must share benefits of growth with emerging world: Raghuram Rajan

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Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan today said the Western world must realise they cannot go a long way without the help of the emerging economies and warned that no one would be able to resolve any problem of a 'fractured world' if things are not set right soon.

Without naming any country, he said the West must realise that their population is ageing and the demand for their products would mostly come from the emerging world.

Speaking here at a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, Rajan said there is a risk that by the time the West goes to the emerging world for their support, they may have to answer quite a few questions about why they did not share the benefits earlier.

He warned that the approach of the Western world must change soon for the good, or else there may be a chance that we are not able to solve any of the problems of the 'fractured world'.

About issues facing the Western world, he listed technology, ageing population and climate change.

Rajan was speaking at a session on the power of economic narratives and how policymakers can address the challenges of the 21st century.

He said some governments such as Singapore have done something to address the problems arising out of income inequality and the divisions in the society by setting up housing projects where middle class and lower middle class families can live together.

Rajan said he's not sure about the US but some countries are doing things in this area and certainly the governments can play a role here.

The Chicago University professor is known for his frank  views on various economic and monetary policy matters and is credited with having predicted the global financial crisis of 2007.

Rajan also took on the economists who frown upon the idea of economic narratives and said it has become difficult to make people believe in them for setting things right.

"When the economist hears the word narratives and stories he thinks it's below me. They believe they are beyond the tradition of narratives," he said.

Post World War II, we realised we have to come together once again and we need to break barriers of trade and everything else, he said.

Asked whether he is optimistic or pessimistic on the issue of narratives, Rajan said politicians just pick the economic theory that fits in their scheme of things but he hopes things do not go out of hand and there is a solution before that.

He also said that for a long time technocrats were given a free hand.

"That pushed growth for a long time but then frictions began including between right and the left," Rajan said, adding that since the global financial crisis, the world has begun to question the technocrats.

He cautioned that the economists have a much harder task today and there are a lot of answers that they need to come up with.

"But the even harder task is to convince people that believe us and we will set things right," he said.

Rajan said we should realise that big ideas are always thought at least 15-20 years in advance.

"So if we talk about universal basic income, we can't brush it aside and today we are seeing people are talking about it," he said while giving examples.

In another example, he said driverless cars are on the horizon today but we should also assess their impact on jobs.

"We need to think what we are going to do when these people go jobless once driverless cars become widespread reality on our roads," he said.

Bajaj Allianz General chatbot debuts on Amazon Alexa

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Private general insurance company Bajaj Allianz General Insurance's chatbot ‘BOING’ has made its debut on Amazon’s Alexa. The company is the first in the Indian insurance industry to use Amazon’s cloud based voice service Alexa, which is available on Amazon’s Echo.

Through this move, the company aims to redefine the customer experience and provide them with instant customer query resolution and FAQ’s in voice format. The company also announced an additional feature of linking of Aadhaar and PAN card to the insurance policy on BOING chatbot.

BOING is an Artificial Intelligent Chatbot service platform that the company recently launched. It offers 24/7 customer assistance and instantly responds to customer queries.

As of now, BOING on Alexa will address generic insurance related queries and very soon it will also respond to policy specific queries that require authentication of the policyholder.

For instance, they can locate branch, locate hospital or workshop without any authentication required. In the next phase, services like registering a motor & extended warranty claim, renewing motor policy, getting soft copy of the policy, checking policy status & claim status (health and motor), etc. will be enabled.

BOING will be added as a skill within Alexa’s skill set enabling customers to interact with BOING through voice enabled commands. For instance, customers can ask their Amazon Echo Device, 'Alexa, ask BOING what is non claim bonus?. Alexa will immediately reply to the command.

Initially, BOING on Alexa will answer insurance related queries which don’t require any authentication and can be accessed by anyone, soon policy servicing related features like registering a claim, status of policy/claim, getting the soft copy of the policy, which require policyholder authentication will be rolled out.

Tapan Singhel, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance said, “The next wave of digitalization will be driven by ‘voice’ which will make the customer interaction even simpler and will take their experience to the next level. Through this move, our aim is to improve customer experience by being present where they are."

The general queries on insurance can be accessed by anyone even if that person is not a policyholder. Queries related to policy of the customer will have an authentication process before which Alexa will respond to the query.

Corporates open to public gaze as data available online

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Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley today said online availability of data has opened corporate activities to public gaze and raised the possibility of detecting any impropriety.

He said the ease at which the data is available now and is open for dissection has put pressure on everyone to ensure that there is compliance and transparency.

"It's now all open to public gaze. And being open to public gaze has its own advantages. It has the advantage that there is a pressure on everyone to make sure that compliances do take place, everyone is on his feet and realised that if there is any impropriety the possibility of it being detected is going to be very high," said Jaitley, who also holds the charge of the Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA).

The minister was speaking at the launch of National CSR Data Portal and Corporate Data Portal of the MCA. He said because of online availability of data, it has become easier to dissect any impropriety, including that of funds being channeled through shell companies.

"Therefore this transparency is good for the system, good for corporate India, it's good that your details to the extent that are to be made public, are being made public," Jaitley said.

With regard to corporates undertaking CSR activities, Jaitley said the 2013 amendment in the Companies Act has almost "formalised corporate philanthropy" in India. Under the Companies Act, 2013, certain class of profitable entities are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year annual average net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

Jaitley said philanthropy in India, unlike in the West, was more family and community centric, religious groups and caste groups, social groups did it. "But corporate India didn't have a structured manner of doing it. Some did it on their own initiatives. Now even though the provisions have been incorporated persuade corporate India to move in that direction, so far I think there has been a fairly credible and positive response to it," he said.

Jaitley said a public gaze into the CSR activists through the MCA portal would further institutionalise and consolidate it. As per the Companies Act, in case a company fails to spend the specified amount, then its board has to provide the specific reasons for the same in the board report.

A total of 5,870 companies shelled out Rs 9,553.72 crore towards CSR activities in 2014-15. In 2015-16, as many as 7,983 companies incurred CSR expenditure of Rs 13,625.24 crore, as per official data.

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