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India's exports surge to 11-month high in Feb despite Red Sea crisis

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New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) India’s merchandise exports surged to an 11-month high in February to touch the $41.4 billion mark despite the disruption in ship movement due to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea region, data released by the Commerce Ministry on Friday showed.

The main drivers of the 11.86 per cent year-on-year jump in exports in February this year include engineering goods, electronic goods, organic & inorganic chemicals, drugs & pharmaceuticals and petroleum products. Engineering Goods recorded a robust increase of 15.9 per cent at $9.94 billion over $8.58 billion in February 2023.

Electronic goods exports registered an increase of 54.81 per cent at $3 billion in February 2024 over $1.94 billion in February 2023.

Exports of organic and inorganic chemicals increased by 33.04 per cent from $2.22 billion in February 2023 to $2.95 billion in February 2024.

Similarly, exports of drugs and pharmaceutical products during the month shot up to $2.51 billion which is an increase of 22.24 per cent over $2.06 billion in February 2023 while the export of petroleum products registered a growth of 5.08 per cent at $8.24 billion.

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Exports of agricultural products including tobacco also did well to record a 58.24 per cent growth.

The overall trade deficit has improved by 37.80 per cent from $116.13 billion in April-February 2022-23 to $72.24 billion in April-February 2023-24.

The merchandise trade deficit fell by 8.43 per cent from $245.94 billion in April-February 2022-23 to $225.20 billion in April-February 2023-24.

The lower trade deficit reflects stronger macroeconomic fundamentals and will strengthen the rupee.

The increase in exports has come despite the geopolitical crisis in the Red Sea region due to which ships now have to be sent along the longer route via the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa which has led to an increase in transport costs.

This has also slowed the overall movement of goods. Around 80 per cent of India’s goods trade with Europe, estimated at nearly $14 billion a month, normally passes via the Red Sea, according to the government data. These goods now have to traverse an around 5,000 additional nautical miles on the longer route via Africa which takes another 15 days or so.

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–IANS

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Next 10 years going to be even more exciting for India’s tech journey: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) After a robust decade of innovation and digital growth, the next 10 years will see India on the global map for emerging technologies, be it artificial intelligence (AI) or high-performance computing, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said here on Monday.

The areas of focus for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for the next decade clearly are electronics and microelectronics manufacturing, AI, telecom, high-performance computing, semiconductors, cybersecurity, automotive and EVs.

“This is a whole vision that our prime minister has in terms of taking this whole tech innovation and digital economy forward. I think the next 10 years are going to be even more exciting than the last decade,” he told a gathering of startup/unicorn founders and innovators during the ‘Digital Bharat, Viksit Bharat’ event.

The Prime Minister has announced Rs 1 lakh crore (about $12 billion) capital into the research and innovation fund that will go towards science research and development (R&D).

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“For the next wave of startups, PM Modi has announced a Rs 20,000 crore India AI mission, which will include creating the AI compute infrastructure,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

PM Modi recently laid the foundation stone for semiconductor plants worth over Rs 1.25 lakh crore.

“In 2014, we were essentially a digital economy that was about 4 per cent of the GDP. We were essentially the back-office to the world,” said the minister.

The digital economy in India today is growing at 2.8 times due to innovation.

“We are already the fastest-growing digital economy in the world and are aiming to become a trillion dollar digital economy by 2030,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar added.

–IANS

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Centre urges states to leverage ULIP for unified logistics ecosystem

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Centre on Monday urged states to leverage the Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) to increase the efficiency of the country’s logistics sector to cut transport costs and spur economic growth.

Addressing representatives of states at a workshop organised in Vanihya Bhavan here, the Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Rajesh Kumar Singh emphasised the critical role of ULIP in fostering collaboration and integration among states to create a unified logistics ecosystem.

“ULIP offers an unprecedented opportunity for states to enhance their logistics frameworks. I encourage all states to actively leverage ULIP and drive forward a seamless, efficient, and inclusive logistics sector across India,” he said.

The event saw enthusiastic participation from representatives of various states including Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, and Rajasthan. Additionally, many industry associations, enterprises and start-ups joined the workshop.

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Singh also launched a ULIP booklet that illustrates how different private sector companies and Startups are utilizing ULIP APIs and highlighted the platform’s transformative impact on the logistics sector. This booklet serves as a comprehensive guide showcasing the innovative applications developed through ULIP and their significant contributions to enhancing logistics efficiency.

Rajat Kumar Saini, CEO & MD of the National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (NICDC) and Chairman of the National Logistics Data Services Limited (NLDSL), highlighted the importance of ULIP and urged start-ups to continue their innovative efforts and explore new ideas to leverage the platform.

He said, “The applications showcased today highlight the potential of ULIP to transform the logistics landscape. We must continue to push the boundaries and explore new possibilities for efficiency and growth.”

The workshop featured demonstrations from startups like Super Procure, Cargo Shakti, Shiprocket, and Enmovil showcasing their cutting-edge applications developed using the ULIP databases. Super Procure demonstrated its platform aimed at reducing empty miles using ULIP, while Enmovil showcased a logistics bot developed for route optimization. Shiprocket, with its cross-border logistics platform, highlighted how they are able to onboard sellers seamlessly through effective authentication facilitated by ULIP APIs.

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Additionally, how various ministries and departments use PM GatiShakti NMP tools for developing various assets was also discussed.

ULIP is a digital gateway that allows industry players to access logistics-related datasets from various government systems through API-based integration. Currently, the platform integrates with 37 systems from 10 ministries via 118 APIs, covering over 1800 data fields. Private sector participation in ULIP has been instrumental in amplifying its impact, with over 900 companies registered on the ULIP portal.

–IANS

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EPFO adds 14.41 lakh members in March, 57 pc are youths in new jobs

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) payroll data released on Monday shows that as many as 14.41 lakh net members in March this year, reflecting the increased employment created in the country’s organised sector during the month.

The data indicates that around 7.47 lakh new members have been enrolled during March out of which the 18-25 age group constitutes a dominant 56.83 per cent. This indicates that “the majority of individuals joining the organised workforce are youth, primarily first-time job seekers,” according to the official statement.

Gender-wise analysis of payroll data unveils that out of 7.47 lakh new members, around 2 lakh are new female members. Also, the net female member addition during the month stood at around 2.90 lakh. The female member addition is indicative of a broader shift towards a more inclusive and diverse workforce, the statement added.

The payroll data highlights that approximately 11.80 lakh members exited and subsequently rejoined EPFO. These members switched their jobs and re-joined the establishments covered under the ambit of EPFO and opted to transfer their accumulations instead of applying for final settlement thus, safeguarding long-term financial well-being and extending their social security protection.

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Month-on-month comparison of industry-wise data displays growth in the members working in establishments engaged in the manufacture, marketing services, usage of computers, restaurants, chartered, fish processing and non-veg food preservation, Beedi making etc.

–IANS

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Oil India posts 17 pc jump in Q4 net profit

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Oil India Limited (OIL) has reported a 17 per cent increase in consolidated net profit at Rs 2332.94 crore in the Jan-March quarter of the financial year 2023-24 compared to the corresponding figure of Rs 1,979.74 crore in the same period of 2022-23.

The upstream oil exploration and production company has registered revenue from operations at Rs 10,166 crore, up around 16 per cent from the same quarter last year.

Oil India’s Board of Directors have recommended the issue of bonus shares in the ratio of 1:2 which is one equity share of Rs 10 each for every two existing equity shares of Rs 10, each fully paid up subject to the approval of the company’s shareholders, the oil major said.

–IANS

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Cyber security company CyberArk acquires Venafi for $1.54 billion

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Cyber security company CyberArk on Monday announced it is acquiring Venafi, a leader in machine identity management, from software-focused investor Thoma Bravo, for $1.54 billion in a cash and stock deal.

The acquisition will help CyberArk establish a unified platform for end-to-end machine identity security at the enterprise scale.

Venafi’s certificate lifecycle management, private Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), IoT identity management and cryptographic code signing, along with CyberArk’s secrets management capabilities, will enable organisations to protect against misuse and compromise of machine identities, the company said in a statement.

“By combining forces with Venafi, we are expanding our abilities to secure machine identities in a cloud-first, GenAI, post-quantum world,” said Matt Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, CyberArk.

In the digital era, ongoing cloud migration has led to an exponential increase in the number of machine identities, such as workloads, code, applications, IoT devices and containers. These machine identities need to be discovered, managed, secured and automated to keep their connections and communications safe.

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Chip Virnig, a Partner at Thoma Bravo, said that Venafi has accelerated SaaS growth, expanded margins, and successfully created a best-in-class SaaS offering, setting the stage for continued innovation.

“We believe CyberArk is a great partner for Venafi and that the scaled end-to-end machine identity security platform created by this strategic combination will deliver significant value to shareholders,” he added.

Venafi is expected to add nearly $150 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

–IANS

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