Oil Secy: No proposal to raise subsidised LPG cylinder quota
New Delhi: The government has no proposal before it to raise the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12 per household in a year from current limit of nine, Oil Secretary Vivek Rae said on the sidelines of an industry event here. Finance Minister P Chidambaram had last week stated that there were demands from “several chief ministers” for raising the quota of subsidised cylinders and the government “will look into” them. Rae said his ministry, as of now, is not processing or proposing any change in the subsidised quota. With a view to cutting its subsidy bill, the government had capped the supply of subsidised domestic LPG cylinders to six per household in a year in September 2012. The quota was raised to nine bottles per household a year in January 2013.

India to auction 56 oil and gas blocks
New Delhi: India will offer at least 56 oil and gas blocks for bidding under completely revamped terms, Oil Secretary Vivek Rae said. “We will profile 56 blocks at the Petrotech conference next week. But notice inviting tender (or bids) will come out some time next month,” he said. The 10th round of auction under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-X) will require bidders to quote the amount of oil or gas output they are willing to offer to the government from the first day of production, he said. The company offering the highest share of oil or gas produced from the field would get the block, Rae said. Currently, oil firms can recover costs of exploration and production before sharing profit with the government. “We are going to the Cabinet shortly for approval of the production-linked payment regime for NELP-X,” he said.

Service sector output drops for 6th month
New Delhi: India’s services sector contracted further in December amid a decline in incoming new orders in tough economic conditions, an HSBC survey said. The HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers Index for the services industry fell to 46.7 in December from 47.2 in November, posting the sixth consecutive monthly drop in output levels, the longest since the 2008/2009 crisis. New business contracted at the quickest pace since September amid an increasingly fragile economy and competitive pressures. The upcoming general elections also contributed to the drop in new orders, it said.

DIPP to float note on FDI in construction
New Delhi: The commerce and industry ministry will soon float a revised cabinet note on relaxation of FDI norms for the construction sector. “Yes we will…very soon,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath here on the issue. The DIPP has proposed easy conditions for exit for developers before the three-year lock-in period and a change in the current requirement of having a minimum built-up area of 50,000 sq meters to 20,000 sq meters of carpet area for FDI in construction development projects.

Citibank scam: ED freezes Puri’s assets
New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate has issued fresh orders for attaching assets worth about Rs five crore in connection with its money laundering probe in the Citibank Gurgaon scam. The order on freezing bank accounts and assets in the name of bank’s relationship manager and alleged mastermind of the scam Shivraj Puri is the second such action by the agency in this 2011 case, after it had undertaken similar action against him related to properties and cash worth Rs 20 crore.

NSDL e-Gov introduces e-KYC for ICICI Pru
Mumbai: NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited, which is a Registrar for enrolment of residents for Aadhaar and is also a KYC Service Agency of UIDAI, has launched e-KYC services. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd has signed up with NSDL e-Gov to provide e-KYC facility to its insurance customers. Through e-KYC service, KYC process can be performed electronically using Aadhaar database with explicit authorisation by the resident.

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