Saturday, 31 October 2015

Telangana: Upset price fixed for auction of 20 land parcels
Times of India, Hyderabad, 31st October, 2015

HYDERABAD: The Telangana government has approved the upset prices for 20 land parcels that would be put for public open auction in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts soon. The government also gave consent to appoint M/s MSTC as service provider for the e-auction.

According to a GO issued by the revenue department, the chairman and MD of Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) was permitted to appoint the MSTC as service provider for land auction. For conducting e-auctions, the agency would be paid service charges 0.5% of the sale proceeds or Rs 75 lakh whichever is less.

It may be recalled the state government last month gave order allowing the Hyderabad and RR district collectors to auction government land parcels. While 17 land parcels were identified in Ranga Reddy, 10 were identified in Hyderabad. The TSIIC proposed upset price for 10 land parcels in Hyderabad and 10 land parcels in Ranga Reddy district based on basic value, prevailing market value and as assessed in the market by the TSIIC.

The TSIIC earlier informed the government that M/s MSTC had executed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Information Technology, Electronics and Communication department for providing e-auction cum e-tender service to the state government departments and requested to accord permission for appointment of M/s MSTC as service provider for sale of land parcels through e-auction and to accord approval to the upset price and bid conditions.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Observation of Vigilance Awareness Week
The Pioneer, New Delhi, 30th October, 2015

Vigilance Awareness Week was inaugurated at MSTC with taking of pledge by employees. The pledge was administered in English and Hindi by Director (Finance), A K Basu, and Director (Commercial), B B Singh respectively. Also messages from the President of India, the Vice-President of India, the Prime Minister of India and the Central Vigilance Commission were read out on the occasion by S Ambastha, CVO. Various activities have been scheduled to raise awareness amongst the employees.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Marayoor sandalwood auction fetches record INR 40 cr
The Hindu Business Line, Munnar, 18th October 2015

Fiftytwo tonnes of sandalwood collected from the Marayoor sandalwood forest of the Kerala Forest Department were sold for a record INR 40 crore at the auction held at Marayoor late last week.
World’s largest auction
The Marayoor auction is said to be the world’s largest sandalwood auction and the auction is usually held twice a year. “This year, 14 different classes of sandalwood, including roots, were on auction,” R Shivaprasad, Divisional Forest Officer in charge of the Marayoor sandalwood plantation, told BusinessLine. “The prices this time were around 20 per cent more than last time.”
The Marayoor sandalwood commands high reputation and high prices and is used mainly as ‘prasadam’ in Kerala temples, as a key ingredient in sandal-based perfumes and also for soap-making. Guruvayur and Sabarimala temple authorities are regular bidders at the Marayoor auctions. The entire process of auctioning is now carried out online.

Only the fallen ones
The Marayoor forest, located on the Munnar-Udumalpet road , is the largest natural sandalwood forest of species santalum album in a rain-shadow region in the world. The government does not allow cutting down of sandalwood trees in the forest. Only those trees which are fallen are sold off. The fallen wood is collected and stored at the government sandalwood depot. There are around 60,000 sandal trees in Marayoor.
Officials point out that the cost of maintaining the Marayoor sandalwood forest is high because of the threat from smugglers and poachers. The increasing global price of sandalwood has encouraged poachers to take extreme risks to steal the wood. As a result, the Forest Department employs an army of watchers and other security staff to guard over the forest.
Voluntary forest protection forums which have local people’s support have an important role in keeping the forest intact. On Saturday, police arrested three persons for smuggling sandalwood weighing around 50 kg.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Festive Cheer as E-Sales Leap
The New Indian Express, Kolkata,18th October,2015

Okay, folks. The first round of the grand festive e-commerce sales season just got over. Deal seekers in tony neighborhoods of most big cities seemed to have bought a thing or two each. Some are delivered within 24 hours, while others are on their way, thanks to e-tailers’ improved logistics.

 Analysts say, consumers picked up more stuff than last year, despite the online sale bonanza coming a month after offline stores’ end of season sale that ended in August. “This shows consumers appetite. In some categories, discounts may not be significant, but any saving is a saving and that’s driving sales,” said Sridhar Tirumala, CEO, Trupik India, which offers a seamless 3-D interface to bridge online-offline shopping experience. 

  While bargain hunters were somewhat satisfied while shopping for electronics, other product categories like furniture, branded apparel, clothing accessories etc leave much to be desired. Interestingly, all the hype and action on the e-commerce sale war, like last year, was predominantly concentrated in major cities, while rural consumers, in hordes, are yet to join the online sales blitzkrieg. In line with the law of supply and demand principle, hottest-moving products continued to sell close to their sticker prices. For instance, Apple products like iPhone or iPad had no more than few bucks off the original price. This left some repeat online buyers from last year as visitors than buyers. 

  The Indian e-commerce market was worth about $2.5 billion in 2009, touched $8 billion in 2015 and is expected to touch a whopping $56 billion by 2023. But for this to happen, a significant chunk of rural consumers need to be on board. Thanks to smartphones, a part of the e-tailer penetration is already underway.

  According to Assocham, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru drove sales, but there is a surge of interest from Tier II and Tier III cities like Gurgaon, Noida, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Indore, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam, where online sales rose a sharp 120 per cent year-on-year.

 “In addition to Tier I and II cities, on-time deliveries also extend to customers in traditionally underserviced areas like Aizawl, Agartala, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Cooch Behar, Malda, Anantnag and Thoothukudi,” said Jayant Sood, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Snapdeal.

  E-tailers also believe the urban market is not completely tapped yet. According to Snapdeal, there was a 350 per cent increase in first time customers. While, electronics drew people to websites, the significant discounts offered on these products are largely related to local makes, or those with relatively outdated technology. On the other hand, sales of large size products like furniture, beds, TVs, sofas were up moderately. 

 “For the past four days of The Great Indian Festive Sale, the automotive department has been consistently registering record sales each day and today it saw a 450 per cent growth in unit sales over its previous biggest event, The Great Indian Freedom Sale hosted in August,” an Amazon India spokesperson said. 

  While Flipkart claimed to have sold 5 lakh smartphones in flat 10 hours, Snapdeal said there was a multi-fold increase in orders and claimed that 98.9 per cent of its orders were dispatched within 24 hours of order placement and achieved 98.6 per cent on-time delivery. 

  “Over the last year, all our teams have worked single-mindedly to deliver world class customer experience this Diwali. We have significantly ramped up our supply chain and technology capabilities which are now translating to superior customer value proposition. The sheer volume of positive feedback on social media is a great validation of our efforts,” said Jayant. 

  Unperturbed are the offline retailers, who think there is virtually no reason for deep discounts during festive season as demand for clothes and gifts already exist and hence no need to lure shoppers with site-crashing or door-bursting deals.

  Flash sales or deep discounts are supposed to come with a limited window offer, but these days, if you are in the market to shop for less, deals seem to be just round the clock. There may be merit in asking yourself a few questions to save some pretty pennies. Are these discount deals really deep? Did it really save huge money? Or do I really need to buy this or am I allowing my impulsive mind to have its way?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

4th phase of coal auction soon, 8-10 blocks on offer
Business Standard, Kolkata, 13 October 2015

The fourth round of coal mines auction is likely to get off the ground this month as the government is considering bringing 8-10 mines under the hammer.

Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said the process and formalities of the fourth round of auctions are at the last stage.

"The fourth phase of coal mines auction will start very soon. It (the auction of blocks) is likely this month," a source privy to the development said.

In the fourth phase, the government is planning to auction 8-10 blocks for the unregulated non-power sectors, including cement, steel and aluminium, the source said. The first three rounds as well as allotment of mines had fetched states around Rs 3 lakh crore.

Shri Vishnu Deo Sai, Hon’ble Minister of State for Steel & Mines, Government of India, visited MSTC Head Office at Kolkata on 10th October, 2015 and reviewed performance of MSTC.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Mineral auctions on way
from The Telegraph,Business, Calcutta Edition of 12th October 2015

New Delhi, Oct. 11: The Centre is set to start the auction of minerals other than coal next month.

About 71 mines will be put up for bidding on behalf of the states, with 20 iron ore blocks in Karnataka, shut down on court orders, part of the exercise.
Top officials said state-run Mecon had surveyed the mines and ruled out auctions in about a score of them as these had land acquisition issues or were in areas affected by militant activities.

The government expects to auction around 200 mines on behalf of the states in at least two phases. Top steel makers, such as Tata Steel, JSW and Essar, can be expected to bid for the mines as also aluminium manufacturers such as Vedanta and Hindalco.

India classifies manganese, iron ore, bauxite, limestone, kyanite, sillimanite, barites, chromite, silica sand, fluorite and quartz as major minerals where the central government is the final arbiter of allocations based on state recommendations. Other minerals are treated as minor, to be allocated, auctioned or disposed of by the state governments.

Earlier moves to bring in a bidding process to grant the lucrative iron ore mining rights were strongly opposed by the mineral-rich states as they feared it would be against their interests.
However, the Centre managed to get the states on board by assuring them that they would receive earnings from advance royalty.

Steel plants need fresh iron ore leases to continue operations, while a large number of proposed projects would like to buy mines to ensure cheap and dependable supplies.

India, a net exporter of iron ore three years back, had imported a record 15 million tonnes last year to feed its steel mills.
This year, with production going up and new mines expected to be thrown open, imports are projected at a lower level but still a significant 6 million tonnes.

Similarly, lack of bauxite was cited as the chief reason why Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources started shutting down its one-million-tonne a year aluminium sheet rolling division and foundry in Chhattisgarh.

The competition among bidders will be on production sharing - those offering the highest share to the state will get the mine.

Successful bidders will have to give a bank guarantee equal to three years of the share of production. If the mine is not developed in time, the guarantees will be encashed and leases cancelled.

Meanwhile, miners in Goa expect to sell 20 million tonnes of iron ore that they have been allowed to mine from the state and are prepared to slash prices to make the mineral competitive amidst a demand slowdown.

Goa mainly produces low grade iron ore that is exported to China and other countries.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Special coal e-auction for Power sector

There is a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. With a myriad of issues and challenges facing the Power sector, many power projects in the country have either been shelved or stalled. One of the major challenges which they are facing is the supply of fuel. The sector is in dire need of a boost as Coal and other fuel supplies fell far short of projections and their linkages became even rare.

The state owned coal producer: Coal India Limited (CIL) is ramping up productions and removing off take bottlenecks to ensure adequate stock of coal at the power plants. The issue for supply of coal to the power plants was recently addressed by Ministry of Coal, Gov. of India. 

For power plants which are stressed or in short supply of coal for the reason that they do not have coal block or linkages or do not have long term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), a separate quantity within the e-auction quantity has been earmarked for power sector so that assets created are put to use and they do not turn into NPAs. A separate e-auction scheme namely Special e-Auction Scheme, 2015 for power producers was formulated by CIL and approved by Govt. of India. Under this scheme, 10 Million ton of coal is to be made available for bidding by power plants (IPPs only) having Long/Medium/Short term PPAs or having no PPA at all. For the purpose the special e-auction for power plants having Short-term or no PPA was conducted by MSTC in the month of Sep’2015. 

The special e-auction was conducted on 30th Sep 2015 for which 25 prospective bidders registered with MSTC. The registration was done in a short period of 4-5 days and it went smoothly and effectively. Major power producers like Jindal Power, Adani, GMR, RattanIndia, BLA Power, Dhariwal and many more showed their interest and registered with MSTC for the said e-auction. Many subsidiaries of CIL namely Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), Western Coalfields Limited (WCL), South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) and North Eastern Coalfields (NEC) participated in the special e-auction and offered 5 Million ton of coal from various sources. The grades varied from G-2 to G-9 and size of coal offered was ROM and Steam. The offered price for the various grades ranged from 1638.00 to 6818.00. The offer was mainly for dispatch by Rail mode.

This initiative by the Govt. of India and CIL has widened the window for sourcing coal for the stressed power sector which shall further benefit the general population of India and this action has added a new chapter in the growth of our economy.

A new hope is visible on the horizon for the digital & shining India.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Hyderabad, 05th October, 2015

Sale of scrap, human hair, ores & minerals, forest produce etc will be done through e-auction by the Telangana government with the support of MSTC, a Central government unit. A memorandum of understanding between the two was signed with the latter being appointed the service provider for the e-auction.
Consequently, products like agricultural goods, immovable properties, including government land parcels, industrial goods etc will be put through the forward e-auction route and e- reverse auction services for purchase of various types of goods, services, plant & machinery.
The MoU was signed by Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary (IT), Government of Telangana and S K Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, MSTC.
MSTC is successfully conducting e-auction of de-allocated coal blocks for Government of India which resulted in huge revenues for the exchequer.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 7, 2015)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Published in Airports India, October 2015 Vol IV issue 1 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Coal mines auction may fetch Rs.4,364 crore in third round

Jaypee Cements bids the highest (Rs1,230/per tonne) for Majra coal block, coal secretary Anil Swarup tweeted
New Delhi: The third round of coal mine auctions concluded on Thursday with the government standing to get around Rs.4,364 crore.The curtains came down with Jaypee Cement winning the Majra coal mine for Rs.1,230 per tonne of coal. This bid is expected to fetch the government more than Rs.1,835 crore.Earlier in the round, two coal mines were sold on Tuesday for Rs.2,529 crore.
Marki Mangli-I mine in Maharashtra was won by Topworth Urja and Metals Ltd for Rs.715 per tonne. The Bhaskarpara mine in Chhattisgarh went to Crest Steel and Power Pvt. Ltd for Rs.755 per tonne of coal.Jaypee’s was the highest bid received by the coal ministry in this round. “Jaypee Cements bids the highest (Rs.) 1,230 (per tonne) for Majra coal block,” coal secretary Anil Swarup tweeted during the day.ACC Ltd, Crest Steel and Power Pvt. Ltd, Emami Cement Ltd and JK Lakshmi Cement Ltd were the other bidders eligible to compete for the Majra coal mine, located in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra.
The mine was previously allocated to Gondwana Ispat Ltd.The auction lasted more than seven hours, according to MSTC Ltd’s e-commerce website. MSTC is the nodal agency to monitor the auctions.Only three fields were auctioned in this round. Three other blocks—Jamkhani (Odisha), Chitarpur and Parbatpur (Jharkhand)—were withdrawn due to legal and technical reasons. The mines made available in this round belong exclusively to the unregulated sector, which means that industries can use coal for manufacturing products such as cement, aluminium and steel and iron. The 29 fields auctioned in the previous two rounds have fetched the government around Rs.1.72 trillion, giving credence to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s 2012 claim that allocation of mines over the years without auction had cost the exchequerRs.1.86 trillion.

Published in live mint e-paper, 3rd October 2015, Saturday

Thursday, 1 October 2015

NEW INITIATIVE TO ENSURE TRANSPARENCY - Want to Buy a House? This Govt Portal will Offer a New Window

Website to list residential properties cleared for sale by debt tribunals
Move over property portals. The government is set to launch one of its own, initially with about 50,000 residential properties that you can bid for online. 
These are properties that debt recovery tribunals (DRTs) have allowed banks to sell through auction after their owners defaulted on loan repayment. The government portal, which is yet to go live, will provide details such as the pictures and floor area and allow anyone to bid directly after electronically making the earnest money deposit.
“We will list all such properties where there are no encumbrances and hold auction for them ,“ said a senior government official with knowledge of the matter. “As of now, we have around 50,000 residential properties which are ready to be auctioned.“
The purpose of setting up a portal and holding electronic auctions is to make the process fair and transparent. “We had earlier received reports that in some cases auctions conducted by DRTs are controlled by certain groups and general public is not able participate in these auctions,“ the official said.
The auction will be managed by MSTC, a public sector trading firm that e-auctions commodities and assets ranging from human hair from the temple town of Tirupati to agriculture commodities and house plots. It also manages the government's auction of coal blocks.
Currently, banks advertise the auction of properties after the recovery officers issue the notice for sale. The new portal will remove banks from the auction process, although the sale proceeds will flow into their accounts for loan recovery.
To participate in the auction, a person will have to first register on the portal by submitting the know-your-customer (KYC) information, which includes PAN (permanent account number) and Aadhaar number, a second government official said, explaining the proposed process. “Once you have registered, a one-time PIN (personal identification number) will be sent to your registered mobile for confirmation,“ he said. Registered users will be able to see all auction-related information.
In the second round, the government will also auction commercial properties, the first official said. “We are working on that; it may be a new portal or a separate section within this portal.“
The initiative is being made at a time the Reserve Bank of India has eased the rules for commercial banks to recover bad loans that are weighing heavily on their performance. The nonperforming assets of state-run banks increased to 5.2% of their total outstanding loans at the end of March 2015 from 4.72% a year earlier, according to RBI data.
Many of the debt recovery cases reach DRTs. Though DRTs are required to adjudicate on a case within 180 days, there are many which are pending for more than a decade. According to finance ministry data, there were about 59,000 cases pending before the nation's 33 DRTs at the end of 2014, involving assets worth Rs 3.7 lakh crore. DRTs annually dispose of 11,000 cases covering loans worth Rs 21,000 crore.

Published in The Economic Times, 1st October 2015, Thursday, Kolkata Edition