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India Business Briefs for March 29: Akasa Air commences international operations

An Akasa Air aircraft (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

HERE are news in brief on Indian economy and business for Friday, March 29, 2024:

India’s domestic carrier Akasa Air has commenced its international operations with its inaugural overseas flight departing from Mumbai to Doha in Qatar. In a statement on Thursday, the airline said it has been granted traffic rights for three other international destinations — Kuwait, Jeddah, and Riyadh. Akasa will be rapidly expanding its global footprint in the coming months, the statement said. Further, the airline said with its conveniently timed flight schedule, travellers from other domestic cities such as Ahmedabad, Goa, Varanasi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Kochi, and Delhi will also have multiple connecting options for travel to and from Doha via Mumbai. Domestically, Akasa operates from a host of cities including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, among others.

India’s foreign exchange reserves rose for the fifth straight week to hit a fresh all-time high of $642.631 billion (£509.3 billion) in the week ending on March 22, as per the latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Prior to the week that ended on March 22, the foreign exchange kitty rose by $6.396 billion (£5.06 billion). Coming back to the latest week, India’s foreign currency assets (FCA), the biggest component of the forex reserves, though declined by $123 million (£97.4 million) to $568.264 billion (£450.3 billion), the central bank’s weekly statistical data showed. Gold reserves during the week rose from $347 million (£275 million) to $51.487 billion (£40.8 billion). In the calendar year 2023, the RBI added about $58 billion (£46 billion) to its foreign exchange kitty. In 2022, India’s forex kitty slumped by $71 billion (£56.2 billion) cumulatively.

At a time when Nepal is facing a power crisis, India on Friday renewed the agreement to export electricity to its northern neighbour for the next three months. Under the agreement, which was to expire on Sunday (31), Nepal can import a total of 554 MW (megawatt) electricity from India between 6 am and 6 pm. Nepal’s domestic electricity production currently stands at around 1,200 MW while the country’s demand for electricity is 1,800 MW to 2,000 MW during this period. Nepal is experiencing a shortage of electricity as most of the domestic power plants in the country are based on a run-of-the-river system and during winter, there is less water in the rivers.

Indian prime minister Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said parameters used to measure progress are detrimental to climate and suggested developing the concept of a green gross domestic product. In an interaction with philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, he also said that climate action has gained momentum since the G20 summit in New Delhi last September. When Gates asked if the green approach could be made more affordable for easier adoption, Modi said the world needs to adopt a two-pronged strategy: first, nature and climate-friendly innovation, and second, environmentally-friendly lifestyles.

Veranda Learning Solutions Ltd, a comprehensive education solutions provider based in the southern Indian city of Chennai, has secured approval to raise Rs 425 crore (£40.4 million) through issuance of Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) to funds managed by BPEA Investment Managers Private Limited (BPEA Credit), the Hindu businessline reported. The NCD forms part of a larger fund raise targeted within three to six months. In line with its long-term strategy, the company plans to balance its risk profile by issuing equity-like instruments for future acquisitions, bolstering its market leadership in the education sector. It is likely to complete the acquisitions by the first half of FY25.

(With agencies)

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