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EaseMyTrip withdraws bid for GoFirst to focus on core growth areas: CEO Nishant Pitti

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Online travel company EaseMyTrip’s CEO Nishant Pitti on Saturday said the company has decided to withdraw its bid for airline GoFirst to concentrate on its areas of strength.

The announcement came as the company posted a net loss of Rs 15 crore for the January-March quarter of the fiscal year 2024 (Q4 FY24), primarily owing to substantial write-offs related to now-bankrupt Go Airlines (India) Ltd, also known as GoFirst.

The company posted Rs 31 crore in net profit in the same period in the last fiscal year.

“We have decided to withdraw from the GoAir (GoFirst) bid to concentrate on our core areas of strength,” Pitti posted on X.

“Our focus remains on leveraging our expertise and resources to achieve sustainable growth and success,” he added.

The Q4 loss occurred after the travel company wrote off amounts recoverable from Go Airlines (India) Ltd after the holding company assessed that the chances of recovery are “remote in the pending dispute resolution proceedings of the airline at National Company Law Tribunal, Delhi Bench”.

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For the full fiscal FY24, EaseMyTrip recorded revenue of Rs 609 crore, a 31 per cent increase from Rs 464 crore in FY23.

In Q4 FY24, the company acquired a 50 per cent stake in Jeewani Hospitality to develop a luxurious 150-room Radisson Blu hotel in Ayodhya. It also introduced EaseMyTrip Insurance Broker Pvt Ltd, marking its entry into the Rs 7.9 trillion insurance industry.

–IANS

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Four children die in Gujarat from suspected Chandipura virus infection

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Sabarkantha (Gujarat), July 13 (IANS) Four children have succumbed to suspected Chandipura virus infection in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district, while two others are receiving treatment at the Himmatnagar civil hospital, an official statement said on Saturday.

In the wake of the outbreak, district authorities have initiated preventive measures, including dusting to eliminate sandflies in the affected areas to curb the spread of the infection.

The deaths occurred on July 10 and one of the deceased was from Sabarkantha, two were from the neighbouring Aravalli district, and the fourth was from Rajasthan. The two children undergoing treatment also hail from Rajasthan.

Rajasthan authorities have been notified about the death due to the suspected viral infection.

The Chandipura virus, a member of the Rhabdoviridae family, leads to symptoms akin to flu and can cause acute encephalitis, a severe inflammation of the brain. It was first identified in 1965 in Maharashtra and has been linked to various outbreaks of encephalitic illness in the country. A significant outbreak occurred in 2003 in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, resulting in 183 deaths among 329 affected children. Sporadic cases and fatalities were also noted in Gujarat in 2004.

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Transmission of the virus occurs through vectors like mosquitoes, ticks, and sandflies.

Sabarkantha Chief District Health Officer, Raj Sutariya, said that blood samples from the six affected children have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for confirmation.

“Paediatricians at the Himmatnagar Civil Hospital suspected the Chandipura virus following the deaths of four children on July 10. The two other children currently hospitalised are displaying similar symptoms, indicating a likely infection by the same virus,” an official said.

–IANS

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Urgent need to provide legal aid to cyber crime victims: Vice President

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New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) Underscoring the importance of data protection awareness even in the remotest corner of the country, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday emphasised the need of providing legal aid to cybercrime victims, especially in rural areas.

Taking cognisance of increasing cyber crime incidents with increasing digital penetration in the country, he said this was a new area of concern for agencies, investigators, regulators and the legal fraternity, and called for developing technical and human expertise to tackle it.

Addressing the valedictory session of the third cyber security conference organised by the Global Counter Terrorism Council (GCTC) at Vigyan Bhavan here, the Vice President said innocent people are being duped by fraudulent elements.

India now has over 820 million active internet users and has achieved banking inclusion for over 500 million individuals.

Dhankhar said a secure digital environment fosters innovation, attracts investment, and facilitates seamless economic activities.

Highlighting the changing nature of contemporary warfare, the Vice President emphasised that war has transcended conventional boundaries, extending beyond land, space, and sea into new technological realms.

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“A nation’s preparedness in terms of advanced technologies will be crucial in defining its global promise and strategic strength,” he noted.

The implementation of key initiatives, including the National Cyber Security Policy, the establishment of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, and updates to the Information Technology Act 2000, signify a significant advancement in safeguarding the country’s digital infrastructure, the Vice President noted.

–IANS

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Hyundai Motor union secures wage deal without strike for 6th consecutive year

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Seoul, July 13 (IANS) Hyundai Motor’s labour and management have concluded their wage negotiations without a strike for the sixth year in a row, agreeing on the highest wage increase in the company’s history.

The union said on Saturday its members have voted to accept a tentative wage deal reached earlier in the week.

Under the agreement, Hyundai will increase workers’ basic monthly pay by 4.65 percent, or 111,200 won ($81), and give a one-off performance-based bonus equivalent to 500 percent of the basic monthly salary, plus 18 million won, to each worker.

In addition, each employee will receive 25 shares in the company, reports Yonhap news agency.

The company also agreed to extend the maximum period for retired skilled workers to be reemployed as contract-based workers from the current one year to two years.

The agreed-upon wage increase is the highest in the company’s history.

With the unionised workers voting in favour of the deal, the carmaker has concluded wage bargaining without a strike since 2019.

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The deal was reached just two days ahead of the union’s planned strike. It reportedly withdrew the strike plan after management agreed on the highest-ever wage raise and the two-year reemployment programme for skilled retired workers.

“The union and the management will faithfully carry out their social roles as members of the global community and prepare together for a better future,” the automaker said in a statement.

Both sides will hold a signing ceremony for this year’s wage deal on Monday.

–IANS

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Mutual funds raise Rs 14,370 crore via new fund offers in June

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Mumbai, July 13 (IANS) Mutual fund industry witnessed strong inflow via new fund offers (NFOs) in June as 11 NFOs of different fund houses collected Rs 14,370 crore last month.

It is the highest-ever inflow in new offerings. The previous high was recorded in July 2021 when four NFOs had raised Rs 13,709 crore.

Thirty active equity schemes have been launched by mutual funds in the first half of 2024, compared to 51 in the entire 2023.

An investment of Rs 37,885 crore has been made in NFOs from the beginning of this year till June, which was Rs 36,657 crore in the entire last year. A total of 27 NFOs were launched in 2022 and a total investment of Rs 29,586 crore was made in them.

The Indian stock market continues to rise after the results of the Lok Sabha elections. Due to an ongoing rally, a large number of mutual fund houses are coming up with NFOs.

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Currently, around seven active and passive equity NFOs are open for subscription. Active NFOs include ICICI Prudential MF’s Energy Opportunities Fund, Franklin Templeton MF’s Multicap NFO, and Edelweiss MF’s Business Cycle Fund.

Most of the NFOs are coming in high-risk categories like thematic. Expressing concern over this, Neil Parekh, CEO and Chairman of Parag Parekh Financial Advisory Services Limited (PPFAS), said on social media, “Wow!, the number of new NFOs, especially thematic funds, has increased. This is quite scary… everyone needs to be careful.”

Investment in the mutual fund industry is continuously increasing. In June, inflow figures stood at Rs 40,608 crore. There was an inflow of Rs 34,697 crore in May with NFOs investment of Rs 9,563 crore.

In 2024, so far both Sensex and Nifty have given returns of more than 10 per cent to investors.

–IANS

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22 Indian startups secure over $116 million in funding this week

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New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The funding momentum continued in the Indian startup ecosystem this week as 22 startups raised nearly $116.26 million, led by four growth-stage transactions.

Last week, the domestic startup ecosystem raised nearly $176 million in funding across 16 deals.

This week, four startups raised around $80 million in funding among the growth-stage deals.

Wealth management platform Dezerv raised $32 million in a funding round led by Premji Invest. The round also saw participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India (aka Z47), Accel and Elevation Capital.

Other startups which raised funds are e-commerce brand Goat Brand Labs ($21 million) and B2B e-commerce firm Infra.Market ($18 million).

Sixteen early-stage startups also secured funding worth $36.26 million.

Meanwhile, fintech company Partior announced the first close of over $60 million Series B round led by the venture capital and growth investing firm Peak XV Partners.

The round was also supported by Valor Capital Group and Jump Trading Group as new investors, and JP Morgan, Standard Chartered and Temasek as existing shareholders.

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Last week, Maruti Suzuki India also announced it is expanding the accelerator programme to include global startups, as it aims to further support the government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ initiatives.

Maruti Suzuki has so far screened over 2,000 startups over eight cohorts and engaged with 56 startups.

–IANS

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