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HPCL GRM for H1 at $2.87 was better than last year’s H1 at $2.58: MK Surana

“We are trying to ensure that we are able to supply the fuel to the end consumers at the most reasonable prices at the same time keep it aligned to international markets,” says MK Surana, CMD,



Q2 witnessed quite a few disruptions in terms of shutdowns. What are the trends that you are witnessing on the GRM front and what is the reason for the sequential decline in GRMs?
Our Q2 GRM was $2.44 and the first half H1 of FY21-22 was $2.87. So H1 at $2.87 was better than last year’s H1 which was around $2.58.

One of the reasons for GRM being low is because our Mumbai refinery was in a shutdown for a major revamp and expansion. The Mumbai refinery expansion has got a few new revamped units. We did one very complex and major revamp during the first half of this year. It coincided with the corona second wave. Now the good part was that we could take the shutdown at a time when the margins were low and the demand was also low. But at the same time, it also had a little bit of spillover because there was some restriction on oxygen used for industrial purposes. But we have completed it.

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What is the trend you are witnessing in marketing margins? How do you see the performance going forward?
We were not in the practice of providing marketing margins as such. There was a faster pick up in demand and a slower pick up in supply due to restricted supply from OPEC plus countries and the hurricane in Gulf of Mexico called Ida as also some disruption in the pipeline in Libya. So there was a jump in crude prices. Parallely the product prices were also high.

We are trying to ensure that we are able to supply the fuel to the end consumers at the most reasonable prices at the same time keep it aligned to international markets.

How have the volumes picked up given that we are seeing recovery now? Do you see any reasons for worry going ahead as there has been a pickup in the pace for EVs?
Demand has picked up very smartly. In October, petrol was up 5.83% month on month, month on month diesel was up 20%. ATF was up 15.8%. So there is smart recovery in all the major products that are visible if you go outside on the airports, on the roads, on the shops. So demand is coming up without any doubt.

Sensex down 650 points from day’s high: Key factors dragging markets

NEW DELHI: Benchmark indices edged lower, wiping off morning gains, on Wednesday, ahead of the much-awaited US Federal Reserve policy meeting outcome later in the day, in which many believe the central bank will announce the tapering of its asset purchase program.

Meanwhile, ahead of a long holiday, investors are also looking at the next Samvat starting on Diwali. Top private sector banking names, a few top PSU banks and the leading NBFCs are well placed to deliver market-beating returns, said an analyst.

“The reality and metal stories appear to be multi-year upcycle stories, and therefore, might remain resilient during Samvat 2078. Construction-related stocks are likely to do well gaining from the low-interest tailwind,” said VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

How are bluechips doing
After opening in the green, benchmark indices maintained their lead. At 2.42 pm, BSE flagship Sensex was down 297 points or 0.50 per cent at 59,732. NSE benchmark Nifty declined 85 points or 0.47 per cent to 17,804.

“On the technical front, though Indian markets declined marginally yesterday, overall breadth seems positive and outperformance was witnessed in the majority of the indices. We believe the positive trend in the market is intact and investors can witness further upside. Immediate support and resistance in the markets are 17,800 and 18,200, respectively,” said Mohit Nigam, Head – PMS, Hem Securities.

In the 50-share pack Nifty, Tech Mahindra was the biggest gainer, up 2.02 per cent. SBI Life Insurance, L&T, Adani Ports, NTPC, Hindalco, JSW Steel, Tata Steel and M&M were among other gainers.

Divi’s Labs was the top loser in the pack, down 1.43 per cent. Sun Pharma, Titan, HDFC Bank, Asian Paints, HUL, Tata Motors and Britannia Industries were among those that traded in the red.

Factors driving markets
US Fed meeting: The Federal Reserve is expected to announce the tapering of its $120 billion-a-month asset purchase program in its policy statement at 1800 GMT.

Dollar, bond yields steady: Moves in currency markets were muted on Thursday. The dollar kept within sight of its recent highs against the yen and euro. US benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were steady at 1.5540 per cent, a little off last month’s recent top of 1.7 per cent. This also adds to uncertainty in the equity markets.

Broader markets
Broader market indices were trading higher, in line with their headline peers, in morning trade. Nifty Smallcap was up 0.18 per cent while Nifty Midcap advanced 0.57 per cent. Broadest index on NSE, Nifty 500 was up 0.44 per cent.

Mazdock Shipbuilders, Sequent Scientific, Cochin Shipyard, Trent, Manappuram Finance and REC were gainers from the space while Balkrishna Industries, Oil India, Bharat Forge, Laxmi Chemicals, IDBI and Century Ply witnessed selling pressure.

Global markets
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.33 per cent in early trading on Thursday. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

The Australian benchmark share index was the biggest gainer, rising 1.3 per cent. But those gains were outweighed by falls in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, down 1 per cent, and South Korea’s KOSPI, down 1.2 per cent.

No major decision to be taken by 9 centre heads at JNU; appointments by VC without authority: HC

The Delhi High Court has restrained the heads of nine JNU centres from taking any “major decisions” and said that their appointment by the varsity’s Vice Chancellor was prima facie without any authority. A bench headed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher stated that the Vice Chancellor is not vested with the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres or Special Centres as the JNU statute confers the power of appointment on the Executive Council.

The bench, also comprising Justice Talwant Singh, was dealing with an appeal against a Single-Judge order which had refused to grant a stay on the appointments on a petition by Professor Atul Sood.

Observing that it was “cognizant of the fact that the Centres/Special Centres need Chairpersons for effective functioning”, the court requested the Single Judge, who is hearing the challenge to the appointments, to advance the hearing on the writ petition.

“We are prima facie of the view that respondent no.2 (Vice Chancellor) is not vested with the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres. The Statute confers the power of appointment on the Executive Council. Thus, clearly the appointment of Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres by respondent no.2 is, as is evident at this stage, prima facie, without authority,” the bench opined in its order dated October 26.

“Pending decision in the writ petition, the nine (9) Chairpersons, who have been appointed.. (as stated in) Minutes of the 296th meeting of the Executive Council, will not take any major decisions, including functions relating to convening of selection committees and/or carrying out selection(s), concerning the Centres/special centres,” it added.

The court clarified that the views are only prima facie and the single judge will decide the writ petition on merits, after hearing both sides.

Lawyer Abhik Chimni, representing the appellant, said that the exercise of power of appointment in the present case by the Vice Chancellor was null and void in law and the Executive Council could not have approved the same subsequently.

JNU counsel Monika Arora stated that the power to appoint chairpersons to various centres is exercised by the Vice Chancellor from time to time, which is subsequently ratified by the Executive Council.

She informed that the single judge has indicated that he would examine the aspect as to whether the Vice-Chancellor could at all initiate the process of appointment of Chairpersons to various Centres/Special Centres, under the provisions of the JNU statute.

Deepawali picks for the year – 2021’22



CMP :- 476
Stoploss :- 433
Rating :- BUY
Target Price: – 507 – 520
Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale:

2. While the stock of Easy Trip Planners commands a premium to its global peers despite its small size, we expect good momentum as travel picks up and the company capitalises on this efficient execution model.

3. The company had delivered a strong Q1 result despite Covid disruptions and a significant near-term opportunity from revenge travel.

4. One of the key success factors is its “no convenience model”, which it feels will be difficult to be replicated by competitors as they are mostly running at a loss and will not survive without charging convenience fees to customers.

5. The next area of focus is going to be the non-airline business — hotel, bus, cabs, etc. It sees a significant cross-selling opportunity to its existing clients. In the hotel booking business, it has a tie-up with 23 service providers at the backend, enabling it to offer the cheapest rate for any hotel to its clients. The company recently announced its intention to do its first-ever acquisition to bolster its hotel and holiday portfolios.


CMP :- 97

Stoploss :- 80

Rating :- BUY

Target Price: – 120 – 150

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale:

  • Turnaround companies- loss to profit QoQ.
  • Growth in Net Profit with increasing Profit Margin (QoQ).
  • Growth in Quarterly Net Profit with increasing Profit Margin (YoY).
  • Company with Zero Promoter Pledge.
  • FII / FPI or Institutions increasing their shareholding.
  • Companies with rising net profit margins – quarterly as well as TTM basis.
  • Negative to Positive growth in Sales and Profit with Strong Price momentum.
  • Highest Recovery from 52 Week Low.


CMP :- 72

Stoploss :- 60

Rating :- BUY

Target Price: – 83 – 95

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale:

8. Wardwizard innovation, one of the leading manufacturers of electric two-wheelers brand- ‘Joy e-bike’ – has registered on BSE.

9. The company will soon bring passenger electric three-wheelers, launch four new electric scooters and build a new facility as part of its expansion plans, the top executive told Mobility Outlook in an exclusive interaction.

10. The company has further observed a strong rebound of sales with a growth of 112% as compared to last month (August 2021) where the sales stood at 945 units.


CMP :- 71

Stoploss :- 55

Rating :- BUY

Target Price: – 83 – 90

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale :

  • BSE listed, La Tim Metal and Industries Limited engaged into business of trading of color coated coils and profile sheets has recently considered.
  • To evaluate opportunities in utilization of commercial land.
  • The company owns several land parcels in Maharashtra. The company is planning to set up new projects also.


CMP :- 68

Stoploss :- 55

Rating :- BUY

Target Price: – 83 – 90

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale:

  • Company with Low Debt
  • Strong cash generating ability from core business – Improving Cash Flow from operation for last 2 years
  • Company with Zero Promoter Pledge
  • FII / FPI or Institutions increasing their shareholding
  • Stock with Low PE (PE < = 10)


CMP :- 57

Stoploss :- 40

Rating :- BUY

Target Price: – 73 – 80

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale:

  • Rising Net Cash Flow and Cash from Operating activity
  • Growth in Net Profit with increasing Profit Margin (QoQ)
  • Strong Momentum: Price above short-, medium- and long-term moving averages
  • Stock with Low PE (PE < = 10)
  • RSI indicating price strength

14. INDIA HOME LOAN LTD. (BSE: 530979)

CMP :- 37

Stoploss :- 32

Rating :- Buy

Target Price :- 43 – 50

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale:

  • BSE listed, India Home Loan Ltd, a licensee of National Housing Bank (NHB) is a housing finance company that primarily offers retail home loan products for the affordable housing segment with the ticket size of home loans up to Rs 25 lac is offering Microfinance in Housing sector.
  • The company offers loans to the customers for the purchase of a home, home improvement, home extension, etc. The company operates from branches in urban, semi-urban & rural areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat with its own offices, direct selling agents, and business partners.
  • Earlier, J M Financial had acquired a 24.5 percent stake in India Home Loan on a preferential allotment basis by acquiring full holding of one of the promoters and another’s non-locked-in shares and preferential allotment.
  • India Home has a strong Loan book of INR 200 crore.
  • The company was amongst the first to List NCD issuance subscribed by PSU bank.

15. GAUTAM GEMS LTD. (BSE: 540936)

CMP :- 11

Stoploss :- 8

Rating :- Buy

Target Price :- 17 – 22

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale:

  • BSE listed Gautam Gems Limited engaged into Imports Exports and Manufacturing of rough and polished diamonds located in Surat, which is the diamond hub of India.
  • The company deals in diamonds of multiple categories, shape, cut, size, and color.


CMP :- 10

Stoploss :- 7

Rating :- Buy

Target Price :- 16 to 23

Target Period :- For Investment Purpose

Investment Rationale :

  • BSE listed Indowind Energy Limited develops wind farms for sale, manages the wind assets, and generates Green Power ® for sale to utilities and corporate.
  • Turnkey implementation of Wind Power Projects, from concept to commissioning.
  • Wind Asset Management Solution for installed assets, including operations, billing, and collection of revenue to project customers. Supply of Green Power ® to Customers. CERs (Carbon Credit) Sales and Trading, is in limelight since some time.

About Nikhil Bhatt:


The founder – editor and owner of Investment Point, Nikhil Bhatt is a SEBI registered inpidual Research Analyst under the SEBI (Research Analysts) Regulations, 2014 is an entrepreneur, global thought leader with a sound understanding trend of BSE, NSE, financial segments, and market trends.

Mr. Bhatt has built a reputation as a professional Research Analyst with a keen understanding of various industries and sectors and he is a much sought-after speaker on stocks and capital markets, personal finance, trading methods of emerging business markets.

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Disclosure:- I, Nikhil Bhatt, author and the name subscribed to this report, hereby certify that all views expressed in this research report accurately reflect our views about the subject issuer(s) or securities. We also certify that no part of our compensation was, is, or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendation(s) or view(s) in this report. The information contained herein is from sources believed to be reliable. There are risks involved in securities trading. The price of securities can and does fluctuate, and an inpidual security may even become valueless, please note that before act refer & agree Disclaimer, Terms & conditions, privacy policy & agreement on

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India, Russia line up engagements in run-up to annual meet in December

India and Russia are planning to hold a series of high-level engagements in November and December in the run-up to the proposed annual summit in Delhi in December.

Besides exploring the possibility of holding their maiden 2 + 2 ministerial meet (foreign and defence ministers) this month, two joint commission meets are being planned, according to people aware of the matter.

The Joint Military Commission and Joint Economic-Technical Cooperation Commission are led by the two defence ministers and Russian deputy PM and Indian foreign minister respectively. Russian Deputy PM Yury Borisov is expected to travel to India for the Joint Economic Commission meeting.

While the two sides concluded a long-term pact on coking coal and India received the first direct LNG supply from Russian assets under the pact, the two sides are considering major projects in the energy sector and with respect to the supply of fertilisers. Besides connectivity projects via Iran and Vlapostok-Chennai shipping link, the Northern Sea route is being explored by India. Far East Russia is a key focus for India.

The 2 + 2 meet could be held mid-November and see foreign minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh travelling to Moscow. The decision to set up a 2 + 2 ministerial dialogue mechanism was taken during the April phone call between PM Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin. The Afghan situation is expected to figure high during the 2 + 2 meet, said persons familiar with the issue.

A document on the next ten years of military cooperation and mutual logistics pact for the two militaries could be inked at the annual summit besides new pacts in the energy sectors – hydrocarbon and civil nuclear energy. The summit could also focus on India-Russia cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region and Central Asia.

Ahead of the 2 + 2 meet, India will host a key meet of national security advisers (NSAs) from Russia, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran. While Pakistan has ruled out its NSA’s participation in the meet, being held in Delhi on November 10-11, Russian NSA Gen Nikolay Patrushev may attend the meeting.

PM Modi meets PM of Palestine too on COP26 summit sidelines

In what would mark a traditional balancing act in Indian foreign policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Palestinian counterpart Mohammad Shtayyeh on the sidelines of the COP26 summit in Glasgow to discuss developments in West Asia and New Delhi’s support to Palestine.

This high-level meeting is the first of its kind between Palestine and India since Modi’s last visit to Palestine in February 2018 to meet President Mahmoud Abbas. Modi had also met his Israeli counterpart in Glasgow in what was the first meeting between Naftali Bennett and Modi.

The Palestine PM briefed his Indian counterpart on the latest political developments in Palestine, informed sources told ET.

Shtayyeh stressed that the Palestine attaches great importance to its relations with India, which has a growing weight in international politics. During the meeting, the Palestinian PM said: “We are ready for all forms of cooperation with India, which serves as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2021-2022, and was re-elected to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term.”

The PM is understood to have said, “We look forward to a well-established and distinguished Indian role in the Middle East based on the historical perspective of India’s foreign policy.”

Trai starts consultation on tariff issues for alerts during disasters

The telecom regulator on Wednesday floated a consultation paper to discuss tariff-related issues for SMS and cell broadcast alerts disseminated through Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) platform during disasters and non-disasters.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has explained that there are certain occasions when the government would like to send alert messages free of cost to the public forewarning of a possible disaster. “ Or occasions where the public has to be informed of special events such as holding of relief/ vaccine/ medical camps/ specific law and order related situations etc,” the regulator said, highlighting the relevance of the consultation paper.

At present, the department of telecommunications (DoT) allows SMS & Cell broadcast free of cost for a certain period and for events where a specific request for free of cost messages comes from specific nodal authorities.

Trai further said the purpose of the latest consultation paper was to seek stakeholders’ views on the tariff for SMS/cell broadcast disseminated by telecom service providers through the CAP platform during disasters and non-disasters.

It also aims to understand the technical aspects that might have an impact on the cost of the service.

“Department of Telecom has requested TRAI to provide tariff for SMS and Cell Broadcast alerts/messages to be disseminated by telecom service providers through CAP platform during disasters/ non-disasters,” the paper added.

The regulator has invited written comments by December 1, and counter-comments by December 15, 2021.

China reports over 100 COVID-19 cases amid virus spike

China on Wednesday reported over 100 COVID-19 cases, including nine in Beijing, which has already imposed several curbs restricting the travel of the city residents to other parts of the country amid the new spike in infections.

China’s National Health Commission said on Wednesday that 93 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 16 new imported cases were reported on Tuesday, the highest in a single day in recent weeks.

Of the new local cases, 35 were reported in the province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, 14 in Hebei, another 14 in Gansu, nine in Beijing, six in Inner Mongolia, four each in Chongqing and Qinghai, two each in Jiangxi, Yunnan and Ningxia, and one in Sichuan, the Commission said.

Tuesday also saw 16 new imported cases, including three previously reported asymptomatic carriers, it said.

One new suspected case arriving from outside the mainland was reported in Shanghai and no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday, the Commission said.

Since the coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan in December 2019, China has so far officially reported 97,423 as of Tuesday of which 4,636 had died as a result of the virus. As of Tuesday, 1,000 patients are still receiving treatment. Among them, 37 were in severe condition, the Commission report said.

China, which has been pursuing a Zero COVID policy, continues to experience periodic outbreaks of the virus in different places despite vaccinating over 76 per cent of its population.

China’s top respiratory diseases expert Zhong Nanshan has fended off criticism against the Zero-COVOD strategy saying it was still less costly than living with the virus and reintroducing restrictions each time outbreaks occurred.

The country had no option but to aim for zero infections because the coronavirus was replicating quickly and the global death rate of about 2 per cent was unacceptable, Zhong told state-run CGTN-TV on Monday.

“Some countries have decided to open up entirely despite still having a few infections,” Zhong said.

“That led to a large number of infections in the past two months and they decided to re-impose restrictions. This flip-flopping approach is actually more costly. The psychological impact on citizens and society is greater,” he said.

Backing the COVID Zero policy, an article in Global Times said “if we change course to the European and US way of “coexistence with the virus,” China will fall victim to the virus within just a few months, with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of cases a day”.

“The daily death toll could mount to hundreds or even thousands of people. The situation is definitely not something most Chinese are willing to bear”, it said.

“Every time an outbreak occurs, the implementation of the zero-COVID policy will mean economic and social costs. But if we don’t adopt this policy, it will lead to a serious spread of the virus, and the cost will only be higher”, it said.

Centre cuts excise duty on petrol by Rs 5, diesel by Rs 10 in Diwali reprieve

The Centre announced cuts in excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10, respectively, giving a Diwali-eve reprieve to consumers across the country from all-time high fuel prices they’ve been paying in the past few months. The reductions take effect Thursday.

“Prices of petrol and diesel will thus come down accordingly,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

Since May 2020, prices of petrol and diesel have risen by Rs 38.85 and Rs 29.35 per litre, respectively. On Wednesday, petrol was being sold at Rs 110.04 per litre in Delhi and Rs 115.85 per litre in Mumbai. Diesel sold for Rs 98.42 in Delhi and Rs 106.62 in Mumbai.

The late-evening announcement followed a review chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sources told ET a presentation was made to the prime minister on the revenue situation.

“The reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel will also boost consumption and keep inflation low, thus helping the poor and middle classes. The decision is expected to further spur the overall economic cycle,” the ministry said. “States are also urged to commensurately reduce VAT (value added tax) on petrol and diesel to give relief to consumers… decision is expected to further spur the overall economic cycle.”

Following the finance ministry’s announcement, Assam, Tripura and Goa announced reduction in VAT by Rs 7 on both petrol and diesel.

Rising Prices Feeding into Inflation
The Centre’s move follows calls for a cut in fuel taxes in view of rising prices feeding into inflation and the wider impact on growth.

Government revenues have jumped on the back of a recovery. Economists expect them to exceed the budgeted estimate by about Rs 2 lakh crore. As per the latest estimates, tax revenues touched about 60% of the budget estimate of Rs 15.45 lakh crore in the April-September period.

The latest move is likely to cost the exchequer about Rs 55,000 crore for the remaining five months of FY22, a government source said.

Before the reduction, a consumer in Delhi paid Rs 58.21 in taxes on a litre of petrol, including excise of Rs 32.90 and state VAT of Rs 25.31. Diesel users paid a tax of Rs 46.17 per litre, including Rs 31.8 of excise.

The central government had raised duties on petrol and diesel by Rs 13-16 per litre in March-May last year after crude oil prices collapsed in the international market. But after oil prices started recovering in the international market, domestic fuel rates climbed to record highs.

Oil prices have rallied by a quarter in the last two months to $83 a barrel as demand has returned at a faster-than-expected pace while supply has been slow to respond. OPEC+, a group of nearly two dozen oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, has kept supplies artificially curbed, boosting prices.

Various agencies and experts have flagged issues including coal shortages besides high fuel prices leading to inflationary pressures and rising costs for consumers.

“The welcome and much-awaited excise cut will boost sentiment during the festive season, aiding consumption. Moreover, this will ease the inflation pressures arising out of the impact of global supply pressures, helping to avert early policy normalisation,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist at rating agency ICRA.

She added that improved mobility will partly offset the impact of the excise duty cut on the government’s tax collections.

“Based on the available data on total tax collections in H1 FY22, we had expected the gross tax collections to exceed the FY22 BE by Rs 2 lakh crore, which will mitigate the impact of the excise cut,” she noted.

Experts cheered the move, saying it will have a broad positive impact. “This reduction will not only reduce the fuel prices directly for the consumers but also assist in reduction of costs through the supply chain, eg, inputs, logistics cost, etc, as the excise duty is a non-creditable cost for businesses too, being outside of GST,” said Mahesh Jaising, partner at Deloitte India.

The Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training said that the Rs 10 per litre cut in excise on diesel should lower truck rentals by at least 10-12 % in the next few days. The Rs 7.55 per litre hike in diesel price in October had resulted in a jump in freight rates for full truck loads by 12% on most trunk routes.

The finance ministry stated that lower diesel prices will come as a boost to farmers during the upcoming rabi season.

“The Indian farmers have, through their hard work, kept the economic growth momentum going even during the lockdown phase,” the ministry said.”The government has made efforts to ensure that there is no energy shortage in the country and that commodities such as petrol and diesel are available adequately to meet our requirements.”

However, the government said that the Indian economy has witnessed a remarkable turnaround since the Covid-led slowdown. “All sectors of the economy – be it manufacturing, services or agriculture – are experiencing significant upward economic activity,” it said.

( Originally published on Nov 03, 2021 )

In Video: Diwali bonanza: Govt cuts excise duty on Petrol, diesel; fuel price to go down from tomorrow

Punjab CM announces financial aid of Rs 3,100 each for registered construction workers

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi announced an interim financial relief of Rs 3,100 each for registered construction workers in the state on Wednesday, a day ahead of Diwali. ”The financial grant of Rs 3,100 is a ‘shagun’ for construction workers and their families on the joyous festival of lights,” he said.

The decision is aimed at mitigating the hardships faced by these workers due to loss of livelihood in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an official statement said. The amount will be directly transferred into the bank accounts of the workers registered with the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, it said.

The board has nearly 3.17 lakh registered construction workers across the state, and the disbursement is likely to involve an expenditure of Rs 90-100 crore, the statement said. Earlier this year, another instalment of financial relief was given to registered construction workers in Punjab. Channi also asked all sarpanch and councillors to get construction workers registered so that they could benefit from welfare schemes extended by the board.

The chief minister, who is also the chairman of the board, said his government was committed to help those sections of the society who did not have the means to fend for themselves.

Labour Minister Sangat Singh Gilzian said with the considerable improvement in the Covid situation, efforts are being made to accelerate the pace of construction activity across the state so as to ensure the livelihood of these workers.