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LIC Q1 net surges multi-fold to Rs 682.8 crore


Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) on Friday reported a multi-fold increase in net profits to Rs 682.88 crore for the quarter ending June compared to a profit of Rs 2.94 crore in Q1FY22. It may be recalled that business activity in the country had come to a virtual standstill in the June 2021 quarter during the second wave of the Covid pandemic. Seen sequentially, LIC’s performance was less impressive as the insurer had posted profits of Rs 2,371.55 crore in the three months to March.

The total income stood at Rs 1.68 trillion as against Rs 1.54 trillion in the year-ago period, LIC said. Total income stood at Rs 2.11 trillion in March quarter. The net premium income during Q1FY23 of Rs 98,351.76 crore, was about 20 per cent higher y-o-y. On a sequential basis, net premium was lower by about 32 per cent.

The first-year premium for the reporting quarter came in at Rs 7,429 crore as against Rs 5,088 crore in the year-ago period.  FE





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‘Inflation spike, CAD concerns easing; govt being watchful’


With the easing of global commodity prices and India witnessing normal monsoon, concerns about any sharp spike in inflation or the current account deficit (CAD) are easing, a government source said on Thursday. The government, however, is not letting its guard down and is watchful of the evolving situation, the source added.

Despite having to bear additional fiscal burden, the Centre isn’t planning to slash the fertiliser subsidy rates at the moment, the source said. It doesn’t wish to add to farmers’ costs of production at this juncture. The government’s fertiliser subsidy bill is expected to exceed its FY23 Budget Estimate of Rs 1.05 trillion by about Rs 1.4 trillion, as global prices shot up in the wake of the Ukraine-Russia war.

The Centre is also unlikely to commit to extending the GST compensation for states beyond five years through FY22, acceding to some states’ demand, as any such decision will mean prolonging cess burden on consumers, said the source. “Will all the states be ready to say let’s keep the cess on the items in the 28% or 18% brackets for a much longer period to fund the GST compensation? These are things we all have to bear in mind,” said the source, indicating that the Centre isn’t going to take on extra burden on this front.

“(However) global crude oil prices are now moderating, so are fertiliser prices. So, the magnitude of worry that was there in March (just after the Ukraine war) has eased now. But we are closely watching the situation,” the source said.

The official data for retail inflation in July will be released on Friday and it is expected to ease 20-25 basis points sequentially from the June level of 7.01 per cent, according to some analysts. Retail inflation has remained above the upper band of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) medium-term target of 2-6 per cent for the sixth straight month till June. The aim is to first bring inflation down to 6 per cent, the source said.

India is in a much better position than peers on the economic front, and the steps initiated by the government and the central bank have started to yield results, the source said. The Centre has taken measures to check inflation by reducing fuel taxes, raising the export duty on select steel products and iron ore and cut import duty on pulses, among others.

On cryptocurrency, the source said that the recent volatility in the cryptocurrency market has started a debate among its followers about the merits and demerits of these virtual assets, which augurs well for policymakers across the globe, as they weigh how to regulate such assets.

As India is set to take over the G20 presidency in December, the forum can be used to firm up a global strategy on the regulation of crypto-currencies. However, the government is yet to take a final call on whether or not to push for such an agenda at the G20, said the source.

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The government is serious about pursuing disinvestment of all the companies that it has announced, said the source. In certain cases, the process is taking longer, as it involves comprehensive deliberations involving multiple stakeholders. The government has budgeted to garner

Rs 65,000 crore in disinvestment receipts in FY23, against a realisation of just Rs 13,531 crore in FY22, after the initial public offer of LIC was deferred to this fiscal.





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Syrma SGS Technology’s Rs 840-crore IPO to open on Friday


Electronic manufacturing services firm Syrma SGS Technology on Monday said it will come out with its Rs 840-crore initial share sale on August 12, which will end two-and-a-half months of the gap in the initial public offering (IPO) market.

The company has fixed a price band of Rs 209-220 per equity share for its IPO, according to a statement.

This would be the first company to tap the primary market in two-and-a-half months. Prior to that, the IPO of Aether Industries was opened for public subscription during May 24-26.

Companies were not taking the IPO route for fundraising due to the volatility in the markets. In fact, many firms that received Sebi’s go-ahead are waiting for the right time to float their issues as current market conditions are challenging.

So far in the current fiscal, 11 debutants have gone public to garner Rs 33,254 crore. Of these, a lion’s share (Rs 20,557 crore) was raised by a public issue of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).

The public issue of Syrma SGS Technology comprises a fresh issue of shares worth Rs 766 crore, and an offer for sale (OFS) of up to 33.69 lakh equity shares by Veena Kumari Tandon.

At the upper end of the price band, the company is expected to raise Rs 840 crore. The public issue will close on August 18.

The net proceeds from the fresh issue will be utilised for funding capital expenditure requirements to expand manufacturing, R&D facilities, long-term working capital requirements and general corporate purposes.

Half of the issue size has been reserved for qualified institutional buyers, 35 per cent for retail investors and the remaining 10 per cent for non-institutional investors.

Syrma SGS is a technology-focused engineering and design company engaged in turnkey electronics manufacturing services (EMS) that specialises in precision manufacturing. Its customers include TVS Motor Company, AO Smith India Water Products, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solution, Eureka Forbes and Total Power Europe BV.

The company currently operates through 11 strategically located manufacturing facilities in north India — Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh — and south India — Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — and three R&D facilities, two of which are located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Gurgaon, Haryana, and one is located in Stuttgart, Germany.

In September 2021, Syrma acquired Gurugram-based SGS Tekniks in a cash and stock deal. Additionally, it acquired Perfect ID in October 2021.

Dam Capital Advisors, ICICI Securities and IIFL Securities are the book-running lead managers to the issue.





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With RBI moving to rising rate cycle, banks hike RLLR


Several banks have raised their repo rate-linked lending rates (RLLR) after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday increased the repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) to 5.40 per cent.

Public sector lenders including Bank of Baroda (BoB), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Union Bank of India, as well as private sector ICICI Bank on Saturday raised their RLLRs.

Following the hike, BoB’s RLLR stands at 7.95 per cent, with 5.40 per cent as RBI repo rate and a mark-up of 2.55 per cent. The new RLLR will be effective from Saturday. PNB has increased its RLLR from 7.40 per cent to 7.90 per cent, while Bank of India’s RLLR stands at 8.25 per cent, with effect from Friday.

Bank of Maharashtra’s RLLR will stand at 7.70 per cent from August 10 and Union Bank of India’s external benchmarked lending rates (EBLR) stands at 7.70 per cent, effective August 11.

ICICI Bank’s EBLR, which is pegged to the RBI repo rate, stands at 9.10 per cent.

RLLR is linked to or is based on the repo rate and is revised every time the RBI changes policy rates. With the RBI moving into a rising rate cycle, banks too have started raising their lending rates, both externally benchmarked and marginal cost of funds-based (MCLR). Since April, the RBI has increased the repo rate by 140 bps in three tranches.

As the transmission of monetary policy takes place more effectively under the EBLR regime, banks are opting to switch to the system. As per RBI data, the share of loans under the EBLR-based system, for all banks, has increased to 39.2 per cent in December 2021 from 28.6 per cent in March.

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The immediate increase in RLLR or EBLR by banks and a comparatively delayed increase in deposit rates augurs well for their margins. In addition to the RLLR, banks are also increasing their MCLR. ICICI Bank, PNB, Yes Bank and Bank of India also raised their MCLR by 10-15 bps before the RBI policy decision.

While banks revise RLLR whenever there is a change in repo rate, MCLR is revised by lenders every month. Other lenders like Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) and LIC Housing Finance have also increased their retail prime lending rate (RPLR) on home loans.  WITH FE





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‘Counterbalancing’ in Indian markets: Domestic investors buy as FPIs sell


As FPIs continued to pull out funds from Indian equities in the quarter ended June 2022 amid rising inflation, interest rates and concerns over global growth, their share in NSE-listed companies fell to a 10-year low of 19.2 per cent.

In the same period, however, domestic institutional investors (DIIs), who continued to invest in Indian markets, raised their holding of Indian equities to an all-time high of 14.06 per cent.

According to data collated by primeinfobase.com the domestic retail holding (individuals holding up to Rs 2 lakh) also stood strong in April-June despite the Sensex witnessing a fall of nearly 15 per cent in the quarter from its closing on March 31, 2022. The retail share in National Stock Exchange (NSE)-listed entities stood at 7.4 per cent at the end of June, marginally lower over its highest share of 7.42 per cent seen in the quarter ended March.

“This further showcases the rise of domestic investors and the huge counterbalancing role they have played to foreign investors. To also put this in perspective, as on March 31, 2015, FPI share was 23.30 per cent while the combined share of DII, retail and HNI was just 18.47 per cent. The combined share of DII, retail and HNI now stands at an all-time high of 23.53 per cent,” said Pranav Haldea, managing director, PRIME Database Group.

During the quarter, while net outflows from FPIs stood at Rs 1,07,340 crore, net inflows from DIIs amounted to Rs 1,28,277 crore. The data shows that the gap between FPI and DII holding decreased to its lowest level in this quarter as DII holding is now just 26.77 per cent lower than FPI holding. (On March 31, 2022, DII holding was 31.99 per cent lower than FPI holding).

The FPI to DII ownership ratio too fell to a new low of 1.37 as on June 30, from 1.47 as on March 31. Over a 13-year period (starting June 2009), while FPI share has increased from 16.02 per cent to 19.2 per cent, DII share has risen from 11.38 per cent to 14.06 per cent.

The share of domestic mutual funds in companies listed on the NSE rose for the fourth quarter running and reached a 2-year high of 7.95 per cent as on June 30, 2022, up from 7.75 per cent as on March 31, 2022. This was after five quarters of consecutive decline from March 31, 2020 (7.96 per cent) to June 30, 2021 (7.25 per cent). The share has grown on the back of net inflows by domestic mutual funds of Rs 73,857 crore in the June quarter.

LIC’s share (across 286 companies where its holding is more than 1 per cent) rose to 3.92 per cent as on June 30, 2022 from 3.83 per cent as on March 31, 2022. Share of high net worth individuals (HNIs) (individuals with more than Rs 2 lakh shareholding in a company) in NSE-listed companies also declined to 2.08 per cent as on June 30 from 2.21 per cent on March 31.

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While disclosure of holdings of FPIs by name is available only for holdings in a company greater than 1 per cent, Haldea said it is time for complete details of all their holdings to be made mandatory to be disclosed in India.

The share of the government (as promoter) in companies listed on the NSE saw a huge spike and reached 7.15 per cent as on June 30, from 5.48 per cent as on March 31. According to Haldea, this was primarily on account of the mega IPO of LIC.

The share of private promoters in NSE-listed companies declined to 44.33 per cent as on June 30, from 45.12 per cent on March 31.





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Tejasvi Surya questioned for 2 hours


Sources in the Delhi Police headquarters told The Indian Express that the investigation officer served two notices to Surya under CrPC Section 41A on WhatsApp.

“Surya responded that he would join the probe when he comes to Delhi,” police sources said.

Last week, Surya came to Delhi and the investigation officer, station house officer (Civil Lines), approached him again to join the probe.

Later, police went to his residence and questioned him. “He was questioned for two hours; police also showed him CCTV footage of the incident,” said a source.

Sources further said that departmental action has been taken against some personnel posted at the Civil Lines police station, and an advisory memo issued to the additional DCP-II of the North Delhi district, who was the main supervisory officer during the protest, which took place to oppose the remarks of Arvind Kejriwal during the row over The Kashmir Files movie.

“Police, during investigation, found video footage which shows Surya, along with Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha workers, protesting outside the Chief Minister’s residence on March 30. He was seen with protesters who later indulged in vandalism,” an officer had said earlier.

As per CrPC Section 41A, a police officer may not arrest a person accused of an offence punishable up to seven years till he continues to join the probe. However, he can arrest the person if he fails to appear for investigation or for reasons to be recorded that in the opinion of the police officer he ought to be arrested.

The North district police had earlier ‘bound down’ former North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash, who represents the Sadar Bazar ward, and Delhi BJYM president Vasu Rukhar under Section 41A of the CrPC .

“They were called to Civil Lines police station from where they were released after legal documentation,” a senior police officer said.

DCP (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi had identified the eight arrested men in the incident as Chandrakant (27), Pradeep Tiwari (27), Raju Singh (28), Jitender Bisht (40), Naveen Kumar (38), Bablu Kumar (35), Neeraj Dixit (25) and Sunny (21).

They were identified based on CCTV footage and technical evidence recovered from the spot. They were later released on bail.





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Over 2 lakh Covid precaution doses administered in two Delhi districts


After a push from the government to increase the coverage of precaution doses of the Covid vaccine, the numbers crossed the 2 lakh mark in two Delhi districts – West and New Delhi – which have been leading in the administration of the third dose in terms of numbers and proportion of population covered. West district has administered 2.19 lakh precaution doses so far, while New Delhi district has administered 2.08 lakh.

Data from the government’s CoWIN portal shows that all but one, North Delhi district, have crossed the 1 lakh mark after the government’s ongoing Har Ghar Dastak Campaign 2.0.

As many as 16.3 lakh precaution doses of the Covid vaccine have been administered in the capital so far as against 1.5 crore adults who are eligible for the dose. Not all people are eligible for the dose as it needs to be given only on completion of nine months after the second dose. Although the Centre allows for paid precaution doses at private centres for those between the ages of 18 to 59, the Delhi government has made it free for all adults.

Although West Delhi has administered the highest precaution doses in terms of absolute numbers, if the number of people who have received the first dose in a district is considered to be the total eligible population – Delhi has administered the first dose to almost everyone – New Delhi is on the lead with 17.8% coverage, according to the CoWIN portal. To compare, West Delhi has covered 11.28% of those who have received their first dose.

After New Delhi and West district, South has immunised the highest proportion with a marginally lower 11.2% coverage. This makes three districts with a two-digit coverage rate, up from just one in the beginning of June.

The Har Ghar Dastak Campaign 2.0 has been asked to specifically focus on the third dose in those above the age of 60 years and first and second dose in children between the ages of 12 and 17 years. With rising cases of Covid-19, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also asked districts with high caseloads to focus on booster doses, in a recent meeting with key officials. The uptake of the precaution dose has been slow since the drive for the booster shot began in January this year. It picked up a little when the third dose was allowed for all adults in April and the Delhi government decided to provide it free of cost for all.





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Delhi weather: Maximum temperature to hit 40 degrees today, says IMD


The maximum temperature is likely to hit 40 degrees Celsius in Delhi on Saturday, going by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast. Partly cloudy skies are also on the forecast for the day.

On Friday, the maximum temperature settled at around 39.3 degrees Celsius, a degree above the normal, at the Safdarjung weather observatory. Meanwhile, the minimum temperature early on Saturday was 24.3 degrees Celsius, four degrees below the normal.

The maximum temperature crossed 40 degrees at a few weather stations in the city on Friday. The weather observatory at the Ridge in North Delhi, for instance, recorded a maximum temperature of 41.5 degrees Celsius. The observatory at Mungeshpur in Northwest Delhi recorded 41.4 degrees Celsius, while Najafgarh in Southwest Delhi recorded 41.9 degrees Celsius.

At 8.30 am on Saturday, the temperature was 29.6 degrees Celsius. The relative humidity was 58%, higher than the 40% recorded last evening.

The maximum temperature over northwest India is likely to increase by around two degrees over the next 24 hours, according to an IMD bulletin issued on Saturday.

Parts of northwest India are likely to receive rainfall from June 27 onwards. Rainfall is likely over Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh from June 27 to 29 on account of easterly winds, going by the IMD forecast. Scattered to fairly widespread rainfall is also on the forecast for northwest and central India from June 30 to July 2. Rainfall remains on the forecast for Delhi from June 28 to July 1.

The maximum temperature is set to fall to around 31 degrees Celsius on July 1, according to the IMD’s forecast for the next six days. The minimum temperature could range from 24 to 27 degrees Celsius over the next six days.

On Friday, the air quality in Delhi was in the ‘moderate’ category, when the air quality index (AQI) was 197, higher than the figure of 140 recorded on Thursday.





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Man robbed of Rs 34 lakh on Sarai Rohilla flyover


A money transfer agent was allegedly robbed of Rs 34 lakh by two bike-borne men in North Delhi Wednesday night on the busy streets of Sarai Rohilla, police said.

The victim, Vicky Gupta, was on his scooter when the accused allegedly hit him with their bike and Gupta fell on the road. While he was trying to get up, the accused waylaid him and fled with his bag containing Rs 34 lakh in cash, police said.

No arrests have been made in the case yet. Police said they are scanning CCTVs in the area and conducting an enquiry to identify and nab the accused.

A PCR call was made around 12.50 am Thursday about the incident.

Sagar Singh Kalsi, DCP (North) said, “The caller told us that Rs 15-17 lakhs was looted as he was uncertain of the amount. When we spoke to Gupta, he said he works with a businessman and was tasked to collect Rs 34 lakh from one shop and deliver it to another shop.”

During the investigation, police found that Gupta is a money transfer/ cash collection agent.
Raids are being conducted to arrest the accused. A case has been registered against unknown persons.





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If inflation is prolonged, then it’ll start impacting savings products too: MD & CEO, HDFC Life


Rising inflation has emerged as a key concern all across as it eats into disposable incomes of individuals. Vibha Padalkar, MD and CEO, HDFC Life, told Sandeep Singh that if the inflation is prolonged then it will start hurting demand for savings products too. Stating that the premiums should stabilise now, she also called for the regulator to permit life insurance companies to sell health indemnity as that will allow them to offer innovative solutions to customers. Edited excerpts:

How is inflation hurting the industry and what is the impact of interest rates?

Inflation remains a big concern as it has a bigger impact since it eats into the savings and reduces the disposable income. As disposable incomes reduce, customers react by going for slightly smaller cover or by not covering everyone in the family, etc. If you see the industry numbers, the impact is not much as of now. While there has been some impact on term, it is not so much on savings. However, if inflation is prolonged then it will start impacting savings products too.

As for interest rates’ rise, it is reasonably positive for us. Our transmission is faster and we can pass higher annuity rates. However, the volatility in equity markets is a downside. I think that of the other options to save, insurance continues to do well. The saving quantum itself is, however, reducing.

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The industry has witnessed a rise in premium. Do you see it stabilising now?

The premiums have risen mainly for term policies and the rise has been because of pandemic. Even as there is a lot of talk around rise in premiums, I would like to state that the increase in premium over the last 10 years is less than inflation. Reinsurers have suffered huge losses because of pandemic and if they raise the charge, it is difficult not to raise it. I think, it should stabilise now.

How have Covid death claims been for you?

We have settled claims amounting to over Rs 6,000 crore in FY22 but it has now eased off. We settled close to about 4 lakh claims with gross claims of around Rs 6,000 crore and net claims of Rs 4,300 crore. As a sector I would say that even as it was significantly higher, we paid so many claims without looking too much into the clause I believe that money is important if it is timely. For almost all our non-early claims (if the policy has completed 3 years) we paid within 24 hours or max 48 hours.

While this was for saving schemes, it took around 3 months for term policies as we need to check pre-existing etc and physical checks are required to be done by local field investigator.

Are life insurers getting permission to sell health indemnity?

We have been demanding the regulator to allow us to sell health indemnity but it hasn’t been permitted yet. Our point is that worldwide health sits closer with life than with motor. However, for some reason, general insurers in India are selling health whereas life insurers are not allowed to sell it. That is not logical. We used to be allowed to sell health, but it has been taken away.

My limited point is that life insurers have the largest touch points with their branches and network, but you are not alllowing us to sell. I think the focus should be on penetration of insurance and expansion.

As of now, nothing has moved. We even asked the regulator to allow us to distribute, if you don’t allow us to manufacture. Today, banks can distribute insurance but life insurers can’t distribute health. It doesn’t make sense.

We submitted it almost 18 months ago and the regulator has said that they will look at it. I stay hopeful.

When you say innovations are possible, if you are allowed, what could they be?

Innovation can’t happen if one key piece is missing. For example: When someone is young, he needs more life insurance. Suppose a person is paying Rs 60,000 as premium, I would say that until the age of 55 (nearer to retirement) we would give him maximum of life cover. After that, since he would have built savings too, we will reduce the life cover and increase the health cover. However, for the individual, Rs 60,000 premium will stay constant.

As of now we are not allowed to club various products and sell to the customer, unless we tie up with one insurer. But even that is not seamless.

What are the growth areas for the life insurance?

Growth will come with product innovation. Retirement products are another big growth area. As a nation, pension funds as a per cent of GDP is less than 5 per cent while it is more than 100 per cent in the developed world. While it is increasing, it is not at the desired pace.
People need to understand that the risk of an individual running out of money is very real because of increasing longevity.

How will the merger of HDFC Bank and HDFC limited benefit you?

It can only get significantly better. The way I see it is that today HDFC Bank is my largest distributor, but it is not my parent, so once that happens, there will be full alignment. HDFC Bank will become a financial conglomerate and will not just be a bank. It will have everything to do with any financial service products and will be the parent company of all. They will be able to tell the customer that they know them— if they have a home loan but not insurance etc so the advisory will be better.

If customers give their consent that they would like to be serviced as a single customer, they will be treated as a single customer across all HDFC Group products.





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