Stocks
Nifty, Sensex make new highs – Monday closing report
We had mentioned in Friday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex were in consolidation mode. The major indices of the Indian stock markets were range-bound on Monday and closed with small gains over Friday’s close. The trends of the major indices in the course of Monday’s trading are given in the table below:
 
 
With the onset of quarterly results and Parliament's monsoon session, the Indian equity markets traded with gains during the mid-afternoon session on Monday.  On the NSE, there were 799 advances, 863 declines and 312 unchanged. On the BSE there were 1,299 advances, 1,378 declines and 178 unchanged.
 
Indian markets opened at record high. Both the Nifty and the Sensex opened 'gap-up' and hit levels of 9,920 and 32,131 respectively (intra-day). The Nifty50, which opened with a gap, hit a fresh record high of 9,920 on Monday but pared gains as investors preferred to book some profits at higher levels. Sensex firmed up 74 points aided by fresh buying by participants and availability of more foreign capital. BSE mid-cap and small-cap were trading in the green while healthcare and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) were trading in the red.
 
Upcoming quarterly results and Parliament's monsoon session, as also the direction of foreign funds flow will set the course for the equity indices in the coming week, market observers opine. With markets already at dizzying heights, potential triggers like news on monsoon's progress and global trends like monetary policy review by major international central banks could unleash "volatility", analysts feared. The markets will focus on earnings this week though the expectations remain muted for the last quarter. Markets are trying to analyse the earnings impact due to GST disruption, pointed out market analysts. The worry on rising PE (price-earning) ratio of benchmark indices is being overwhelmed by larger domestic fund flows and a buoyant global economy. Companies like Reliance Industries, Ultratech Cement, ACC, Wipro, Bajaj Auto, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Jubilant FoodWorks and Ashok Leyland are expected to announce their quarterly results in the course of the   week.
 
Industry body Assocham on Sunday said the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance has empowered the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take up "bad loans worth about Rs8 lakh crore" for resolution by March 2019. According to an Assocham study, the move has the potential to bring down the non-performing asset (NPA) levels and "significantly improve" the financial health of banks. "Somewhat bitter medicine came in the form of the Ordinance promulgated by the President in May," Assocham's Secretary General D.S. Rawat said. "The government gave wide-ranging legislative powers to the RBI to issue directions to lenders to initiate insolvency proceedings for the recovery of bad loans that have reached unacceptably high levels." In case of a default, the recent Ordinance has authorises RBI to direct lenders for initiating insolvency resolution process under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016. Bank Nifty closed at 24,015.05, up 0.32%.
 
Mahindra & Mahindra on Saturday said the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has brought down its stake to less than 10% in the company by divesting around two per cent of its holding in the firm. After the stake sale, the life insurer now has 9.958 per cent stake in the company, it said in a regulatory filing. The insurance firm has sold more than 1.24 crore shares through market sale, the company added. Mahindra & Mahindra shares closed at Rs1,383.30, up 0.44% on the BSE.
A plethora of events, such as hopes of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), fresh inflows of foreign funds and the onset of the quarterly earnings season, had pushed the Indian equity markets to a record high during the week ended Friday.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of the major Asian indices are given in the table below:
 

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Climate-resilient farming model in Pune wins Equator Prize
Till 2012, 60-year-old Vanita Sahebrao More used to spend Rs 40,000 every year to cultivate soybean, sorghum and cotton on seven acres of land in her village in drought-prone Nanded district in Maharashtra. The district is part of Marathwada, infamous for crippling droughts and farmer suicides.
 
Vanita's husband was working in a sugarcane factory, which left the responsibility of managing the farm entirely on her. She used to grow some vegetables and pulses as well but all of this came at a hefty cost as she was totally dependent on chemical inputs and seeds purchased from the market. Moreover, she used to allocate two acres of land just for growing cotton.
 
Focusing on the cash crop meant that those two acres remained underutilised in terms of farming capacity as the crop blocks the fields for a whole year. Neither she nor her family had an alternate means of livelihood to ensure steady income during adverse climatic conditions and changing market scenarios in the rain-deficient land.
 
This changed five years ago when she adopted the so-called one-acre model, an innovative way of practising climate-resilient agriculture. Starting off with half an acre, she today manages around 3.5 acres of land and cultivates vegetables, wheat, pulses and turmeric with 100 per cent organic inputs.
 
Instead of the traditional approach of focusing on cash crops, Vanita has been trained to put the nutritional needs of the family first. She grows mainly food crops for the family's consumption, crucial during the far-too-common drought years. She sells the surplus in the market, which fetches Rs 45,000.
 
Vanita is one of the 72,000 women farmers in Marathwada whose lives have been transformed by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a Pune-based non-profit that is empowering women to take up sustainable farming practices and effectively manage available natural resources to derive benefits such as continuous income, better health, food and water security in the region.
 
For its efforts to help women farmers to cope better during extreme events, SSP is among the 15 winners selected for this year's Equator Prize by the UNDP. The initiative that began in 2009 to promote a climate-resilient agro-ecological farming model and entrepreneurship has empowered over 20,000 women farmers to act as decision-makers in the area in the last two years alone.
 
It goes a step further. Engaging at the nexus of nutrition, sustainable agriculture and gender, the initiative has created 5,500 self-help groups that support women to engage as farmers, entrepreneurs and leaders. The programme trains them to negotiate with their families to obtain their own plot of land for cultivation, usually about one acre each. "After being trained by SSP, I began farming on half an acre of land in 2012. But elated with the incredible results, my husband gave me legal land rights for 3.5 acres," says Vanita.
 
Under the one-acre model, multiple crops are grown to boost nutritional security, soil fertility, agro-biodiversity and income viability. Women who run family kitchens and raise children understand the nutritional requirements of their family better than men, a reason why this programme is specifically for women.
 
"Men tend to focus on cash crops to generate income, while women understand the nutritional needs of the family and it is important that they make decisions on which crops to grow to ensure that food is available for family consumption during any crisis while generating income at the same time," says Anjali Verma, Programme Manager, SSP.
 
In Marathwada, where hundreds of farmers have committed suicide during five consecutive drought years, life gets tougher for women who are left to look after their families. "If you see the suicide cases, it is always the men who quit," says Verma. "For women, quitting is not an option. They fight for their families till the end."
 
"Marathwada is not just about farmers' suicide," says Shaila Narore, another woman farmer from Marathwada who has benefitted from the programme. "It is also about people like us who have challenged drought and destiny."
 
Under the model, low-input sustainable farming techniques including efficient water use, organic farming, mixed cropping, and increased crop cycles are adopted to enable the women to improve food security, increase climate resilience, enhance agro-biodiversity and reduce stress on water resources.
 
"This model addresses the issues of food security, income security, natural resource management and women empowerment, all at the same time," says Prema Gopalan, Executive Director, SSP.
 
Under the one-acre model, women are also trained in other means of livelihood and sources of nutrition such as livestock and poultry. With the integration of livestock, Vanita has also eliminated a big chunk of the farm input costs which earlier amounted to almost 30 per cent of the net earnings.
 
The model is now being scaled up in 600 villages to develop a cadre of trained women farmers who will act as resource people and reach out to support other women farmers. "We are working towards forming farmer producer cooperatives for women… producer groups led by women who can claim space in that market," says Verma.
 
The 15 winners of this year's Equator Prize have been selected from a pool of 806 nominations across 120 countries. Each winner will receive $10,000 and the opportunity for a community representative to join a weeklong summit in New York during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.
 
SSP has come as a ray of hope in the Marathwada region which is known as the suicide capital of the country. It is providing a space for local women to create their own development solutions and play a pivotal role in bringing sustainable change.
 
More is also embarking on the journey of personal and professional growth. At the age of 60, she has got a licence to drive a small truck. She now looks forward to transporting her farm produce from Nanded to other parts of the country.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Insurance: Fine Print
Insurers Still Rejecting Claims for Timelines Violation?
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all insurance companies (general, life, health) to comply with its previous order on how to deal with delayed intimation of claims and delayed submission of documents by the claimants. In the previous order, IRDAI had asked life and non-life companies to not...
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