India Insight

Stock market glitches in India over the past few years

India’s stock market, like its peers across the world, is no stranger to sudden trading halts due to technical glitches. On Thursday, India’s second-biggest exchange operator BSE halted trading across all its segments due to a network outage. Trading on the NSE bourse was not affected.

The three-hour outage was the longest in recent memory and follows three earlier outages in a year that has seen stocks scale fresh peaks on expectations of economic revival from a new government.

The BSE, Asia’s oldest stock exchange, has more than 5,000 listed companies. Data from the World Federation of Exchanges shows shares worth $85 trillion were traded on the BSE last year, compared to $479 trillion for the NSE, India’s leading stock exchange.

Here’s a list of glitches faced by India’s stock market exchanges over the past few years:

*July 3, 2014: The BSE resumed trading after a three-hour network outage that is being investigated. Preliminary reports will be sent to stock market regulator SEBI and the finance ministry. The trading disruption was the longest suffered by the BSE since at least 2010, a spokesman said.

Rajiv Chowk: that’s Rajiv Gandhi, not Goswami, Wikipedia

Rajiv Gandhi was the former prime minister of India. Rajiv Goswami was a Delhi student who set himself on fire in 1990 to protest job reservations for India’s so-called backward classes. Gandhi has a place named for him in the middle of New Delhi: Rajiv Chowk.

This is true everywhere but on Wikipedia. The online, user-maintained site’s entries for Rajiv Chowk (formerly Connaught Place), which is in Delhi’s central business district, and the city’s busiest metro station, say both were named after Rajiv Goswami.

The colonial-era Connaught Place, designed to resemble two concentric circles with a manicured park in the centre, was renamed by a Congress-led government in 1995. The inner circle was named Rajiv Chowk after Rajiv Gandhi, the former Congress prime minister killed by a suicide bomber in 1991. The outer circle was called Indira Chowk to honour his mother Indira, who had been assassinated nearly a decade earlier.

Short skirts, bad stars, chow mein: Why men in India rape women

Demonstrators from All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against the recent killings of two teenage girls, in New Delhi May 31, 2014. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The 2012 Delhi bus rape case and an ever-longer list of rapes and murders in India have prompted politicians and public figures in India to cite plenty of implausible reasons why rape happens and why men brutalise women or portray women in ways that suggest they had it coming. Many people, when speaking out, tend to minimise the crime or rationalise it in ways that sound ludicrous to many. We created this list of such comments more than a year ago, but it seems like it’s time to add some new entries.

(Updated July 15, 2014) Binay Bihari, minister for art, culture and youth affairs in the state of Bihar: The minister said that mobile phones and non-vegetarian food are reasons for a surge in rape cases, NDTV reports. “Many students misuse mobile phones by watching blue films and hearing obscene songs which pollute their mind,” he said. On food, he reportedly said that non-vegetarian food “contributed to hot temper… and cited sermons of sants that pure vegetarian food kept the body and mind pure and healthy.” (NDTV)

(Updated July 2, 2014) Tapas Pal, lawmaker from Trinamool Congress: The popular Bengali actor was caught on camera threatening workers of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and their families. “If any opponent touches any Trinamool girl, any father, any child, I will destroy his entire family. I will unleash my boys, they will rape them, rape them,” Pal said in the video. Pal later apologised for what he termed a “gross error of judgement”. (Indian Express)

Markets this week: ITC, Infosys top Sensex losers

By Sankalp Phartiyal and Ankush Arora

Brokers trade on their computer terminals at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai May 13, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/FilesThe benchmark BSE Sensex fell in three of five sessions this week, as higher crude prices hurt sentiment and the cabinet’s decision to delay a hike in gas prices disappointed investors. Caution also prevailed ahead of the June derivatives’ expiry on Thursday and fears of more violence in Iraq prompted investors to pare positions.

A Reuters poll on Thursday forecast the 30-share Sensex hitting 27,750 points by the end of December, following a brief correction after the budget.

For the week, the BSE Sensex ended 0.02 percent lower. Investors are now awaiting the new government’s first budget on July 10.

Markets this week: Mahindra and Mahindra, RIL top Sensex losers

By Ankush Arora and Sankalp Phartiyal

The BSE Sensex and Nifty, India’s main stock indexes, both fell 0.5 percent this week as worries over escalating Iraq tensions, a weak domestic monsoon and profit-taking weighed on sentiment.

On Friday, global oil prices inched towards a nine-month high on increased risks of supply disruption from Iraq. Investors fear spiraling crude prices and a weak monsoon could add to inflation woes and hurt India’s current account deficit.

The monsoon has covered half of India four days behind schedule, failing to recover from a late start that has slowed the sowing of summer crops.

Movie Review: ‘Humshakals’ is best avoided

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

In the opening scene of director Sajid Khan’s “Humshakals” (lookalikes), Ashok Singhania (Saif Ali Khan) rattles off a series of unfunny jokes at a club as unamused guests flee. In a way, the scene is a sign of things to come, portending a long-winded tale with dull, contrived and ineffective humour.

Humshakals With “Humshakals”, Sajid Khan returns with his particular brand of slapstick comedy (remember “Housefull?). The plot is predictably threadbare. Ashok is taking care of his comatose father’s business empire; he’s an amateur comedian, a devoted son and a caring lover. Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh) is his best friend. Then there is Kunwar Amar Singh (Ram Kapoor), Ashok’s scheming maternal uncle who wants to seize his property by proving he is mentally unstable.

Confusion arises when Ashok and Kumar are admitted to the ‘Cray G. Mental Asylum’ (you read that right) and are mistaken for a pair of doppelganger patients with the same names. If that isn’t bizarre enough, there is a third patient called Joe in the same institution who is a lookalike of the scheming uncle.

Vijender Singh enters the Bollywood ring with ‘Fugly’

Vijender Singh, the pin-up boy of Indian boxing, made his Bollywood debut on Friday, starring in a thriller about four youngsters who get into trouble with the police.

Singh, whose middleweight bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics helped raise the sport’s profile in India, is training for next month’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games at a boxing camp in Patiala and was yet to watch “Fugly”, a film produced by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, when we interviewed him.

Singh, a strapping 28-year-old with boyish looks, told India Insight in a phone interview that he was up for new challenges and making a movie was just one of them. Excerpts from the interview:

Highlights – President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to parliament

The new government will pursue an economic reform agenda that foresees introducing the goods and services tax, encouraging foreign investment and speeding approvals for major business projects, President Pranab Mukherjee said in a parliamentary address on Monday.

Mukherjee also said the focus of the Modi government would be to:

- contain food inflation

- improve supply side of agro-based products

- prepare contingency plans for sub-normal monsoons

- increase public and private investments in agriculture

- address issues in farm pricing and procurement

- set up IITs and IIMs in every state

- have zero tolerance against violence against women and will strengthen criminal justice system

- tackle illegal immigration and infiltration in the north east region

- roll out broadband highways in every village in next five years

- vigorously follow up issue of black money with foreign governments

- focus on social media as a tool for participative governance

- provide predictable, fair and stable policy environment

- make every effort to introduce goods and services tax

- encourage investment through foreign direct investment

- promote labour-intensive manufacturing, tourism for job creation

- move towards a single-window system of clearances to promote manufacturing

- fast-track investment friendly public, private partnership

- liberalise foreign direct investments in defence

- encourage private investments in defence production

- implement reforms in defence procurement

- take up modernisation and revamp of railways on priority

- chalk out infrastructure development programmes for high-speed rails, roads and airports

Markets this week: Sensex surges 5 percent on hopes from Modi, ONGC rallies

By Ankush Arora and Aditya Kalra

The BSE Sensex ended at a record closing high on Friday, rising 5 percent during the week, as Indian shares rallied on hopes of faster economic recovery after Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister last month.

Markets have high hopes that the new Modi-led government would push for policy reforms and end bottlenecks that have stymied growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

On Friday, the Sensex hit a new life high of 25,419.14 while the broader Nifty index touched its all-time record high of 7,592.70. Both indexes are now up about 20 percent this year.

Brokerages bullish on Sensex, revise targets after Modi win

By Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra

Indian stock markets rallied to record highs in May with the benchmark BSE Sensex breaching the 25,000 mark for the first time after Narendra Modi won a clear mandate to govern Asia’s third-largest economy.

Markets surged as Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies stormed to power on promises to revive India’s struggling economy, which is growing below 5 percent, and create more jobs for its 1.25 billion people.

The Sensex touched a record high of 25,375.63 on May 16, the day election results were announced, while the broader Nifty hit a life high of 7,563.50 the same day. The Sensex is up 18.1 percent so far this year.

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