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Gold has always been a favourite investment vehicle of Indian households as many people transfer the yellow metal from one generation to another. The biggest advantage of gold is that one can be flexible with investment size or the amount. Whether you have to put in Rs 1,000 or Rs 1 crore +, gold is accessible to everyone to buy. Also, gold is highly liquid. Real Estate also scores high for investment purposes but in comparison to gold, real estate requires bigger funds and the buyer needs to have long holding power. 

Well, real estate can be an attractive long-term investment option where the property value increases over time. So, if approached in the right way, real estate can deliver you incredible profits. The one thing that is common between gold and real estate is that both have a strong sentimental value for the Indian investors, with strong reliability and sustained nature. 

So how do you choose where to spend your money if you have a sizeable amount to invest? Well, I would recommend real estate any day as there are various reason because of which real estate scores over gold. Let’s have a look at them: PASSIVE INCOME Real-estate has the potential to create regular income with additional tax benefits. 

Whether residential or commercial, real estate has the potential to generate passive income for the investors in form of monthly rentals in cash, which gold investments cannot do. Rate of Return History suggests that real estate can give up to 15 per cent of annual return, thanks to rising rentals. The value of property improves with the market and economy. On the other hand, gold is used to hedge against inflation, which means that the return from gold is in line with the inflation, which is aimed low by all governments. Also, gold shines, when your paper currency is depreciated, making the return nominal. 


Real Estate is a highly stable investment option, which comes with low risk. Property brings mental satisfaction due to it securing your future. On the other hand, gold is a commodity, which is traded on the bourses. It comes with higher volatility and risks of being stolen. EXPENSES 


One may argue the property incurs the cost of maintenance and renovations, unlike gold which is altered at will. However, this cost not only appreciates your asset, but also allows you to take taxation benefits. 


It is a no brainer that the value of real estate increases, the longer you hold it. It is simply because you can not create land and with rising population, the demand increases, which ultimately leads to price rise. On the other hand, gold can be purchased into digital form as well. This might reduce the r i s k o f being sto len, but still is an intangible asset. 


Real estate might require large funds, but survival of a lot of sectors depend upon it. From debt servicing, cement, housing finance, building materials and various others depend upon real estate at large. It also creates a large number of informal and indirect employment opportunities, serving the economy at large. 


The investment in real estate comes with numerous tax benefits such as tax deduction on mortgage interest, operating expenses and legal costs, property taxes and depreciation. The real estate investment is not only a safe investment but can generate better returns over a period of time while you are still earning a regular income if you are using it as a rental property.

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Made in India, army cuts ammo imports



The Make in India policy has played a pivotal role in promoting indigenisation in the defence sector, particularly in ammunition production, leading to a significant reduction in the Indian Army’s reliance on imports to fulfill its requirements.

Senior defence officials have emphasized that the emergence of the private sector industry in ammunition manufacturing has been instrumental in achieving this milestone. The Indian Army has expressed its ambition to gradually cease the import of ammunition, except for a few specific types that may not be feasible to produce domestically.

With a budget of approximately Rs 20,000 crore allocated for ammunition acquisition, the Indian Army has substantially decreased its reliance on foreign imports. Previously, around 35-40 per cent of the budget was allocated for procuring ammunition from abroad. However, this figure has now plummeted to less than 10 per cent, with plans for further reduction in the coming years.

Ammunition indigenisation efforts have been focused on various weapon systems, including tanks, artillery guns, air defence missiles, and multiple grenade launcher systems. This initiative has not only reduced import dependency but has also paved the way for expanding India’s ammunition export capabilities.

Both indigenous public sector firms and a significant portion of the private sector industry are contributing to meeting the global demand for ammunition. The Indian Army is actively supporting and collaborating with industry partners to develop indigenous ammunition solutions and enhance product quality.

Key players in this endeavour include the public sector Munitions India Limited (formerly part of the Ordnance Factory Board) and private sector companies such as Solar Industries Limited, Adani Defence, Hughes Precision, and SMPP Limited. The emergence of new firms in the sector is expected to further bolster domestic ammunition production capabilities.

Munitions India Limited has secured substantial export orders for artillery shells, contributing to the growth of supporting industries. Additionally, both public and private sector firms are working on developing precision-guided artillery ammunition, which will significantly enhance the Indian Army’s artillery capabilities.

The enhanced production capacities within the country are poised to meet all ammunition requirements during emergencies, reinforcing India’s self-reliance in defence production. The collaborative efforts between the Indian Army and the defence industry signify a strategic shift towards bolstering indigenous defence manufacturing capabilities.

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Operating margin of primary aluminium makers to expand 25%



The operating margin of Indian primary aluminium manufacturers is expected to increase over 25 per cent on-year this fiscal owing to continued healthy demand, better realisations and a likely reduction in the cost of production driven by cheaper energy and alumina.

The operating margin increased 20 per cent increase in fiscal 2024. The industry is capital-intensive, requires upfront capital expenditure (capex) and is marked by volatile operating profitability. Therefore, an increase in operating profit will reduce reliance on debt to fund ongoing capex (mainly for increasing capacity and the share of value-added products and for operational linkages) and will support credit metrics, according to a CRISIL Ratings study of three domestic primary aluminium producers, accounting for 90 per cent of the 4.1 million tonne (MT) domestic capacity.

Last fiscal, the improvement in operating margin was driven by a decline of more than 30 per cent in power cost as domestic coal and energy prices stabilised after a meteoric rise in fiscal 2023 due to geopolitical uncertainty. This offset a moderation of more than 10 per cent in aluminium prices (benchmarked with London Metal Exchange or LME prices), even as demand remained robust. This fiscal, operating margin will improve on strong demand – both domestic and exports – besides an expected improvement in realisations and a likely reduction in production cost.

Ankit Hakhu, Director, points out that domestic demand, which accounts for almost half of the domestic primary aluminium sales volume, rose 10 per cent in the past two fiscals and is likely to rise 7-9 per cent this fiscal. This will be driven by increasing adoption of the metal in the automotive segment along with healthy growth in the power and construction segments. Export demand is also likely to remain buoyant this fiscal as there are signs of recovery in the US and Europe.

Added to this, increasing demand in China from the automotive and energy transition segments will push demand higher in calendar year 2024, after a lull in the past two years. Further, CRISIL expects average aluminium LME prices to inch up to USD 2,300-2,500 per tonne this year from last year’s average of USD 2,200. This will be supported by better demand, lower metal inventory (LME stocks at multi-year low) and potentially tighter global supply dynamics as China continues to cap annual aluminium production.

Says Ankush Tyagi, Associate Director, CRISIL Ratings, “We also expect overall cost of production to decline a further 5-10 per cent this fiscal, driven by lower spends on imported alumina (one of the key raw materials, accounting for 30 per cent of overall cost) and power and fuel (30-35 per cent of overall cost). Players are enhancing upstream alumina refinery capacity, which should reduce dependence on imports. Materialisation of low-cost coal linkage, along with operationalisation of some of the captive coal mines, should reduce coal costs and thus power and fuel expenses this fiscal.

Overall, we expect average operating margin to increase to more than $750 per tonne this fiscal from around $600 last fiscal, taking operating profit to above Rs 20,000-22,000 crore. The increased Ebitda will aid prudent funding of Rs 15,000 crore aluminium capex in fiscal 2025 (Rs 11,000 crore in fiscal 2024) for completion of ongoing smelter capacity expansion by 10 per cent and improving forward and backward integration to sustain global cost competitiveness. This, in turn, will keep debt in check this fiscal, thereby improving debt metrics and supporting credit profiles.

Any sharp correction in global aluminium prices, weaker-than-expected global and domestic demand and significant increase in input costs will bear watching.

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State-owned retailers IOC, BPCL, HPCL record Rs 81,000 cr profit in FY24



State-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd collectively recorded robust profits amounting to approximately Rs 81,000 crore in FY24. This figure significantly surpassed their annual earnings in the years preceding the oil crisis. Regulatory filings revealed that the combined standalone net profit of IOC, BPCL, and HPCL during April 2023 to March 2024 (FY24) surpassed their annual earnings of Rs 39,356 crore in the pre-oil crisis years.

All the three companies posted the highest-ever standalone as well as consolidated net profit in FY24. The retailers have resisted calls to revert to daily price revision and pass on softening in rates to consumers on grounds that prices continue to be extremely volatile – rising on one day and falling on the other – and that they needed to recoup losses incurred in the year when they kept rates lower than cost.

IOC in 2023-24 posted a standalone net profit of Rs 39,618.84 crore, according to the company’s regulatory filing. This is compared with Rs 8,241.82 crore annual net profit in 2022-23. While the company could argue that FY23 was impacted by the oil crisis, the FY24 earnings are higher than even the pre-crisis years – Rs 24,184 crore net profit in 2021-22 and Rs 21,836 crore in 2020-21.

BPCL posted a net profit of Rs 26,673.50 crore in FY24, higher than Rs 1,870.10 crore earning in 2022-23 and Rs 8,788.73 crore in FY22. HPCL’s 2023-24 profit of Rs 14,693.83 crore is compared with a Rs 8,974.03 crore loss in FY23 and a profit of Rs 6,382.63 crore in 2021-22, according to the filings.

The losses in FY23 led to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announcing Rs 30,000 crore for IOC, BPCL, and HPCL to support their energy transition plans in her budget for 2023-24. Mid-way through the year, that support was halved to Rs 15,000 crore. The support which was to happen by way of equity infusion via a rights issue, hasn’t been given yet.

The trio of companies, commanding approximately 90 percent of India’s fuel market share, have “voluntarily” refrained from altering prices of petrol, diesel, and cooking gas (LPG) for the past two years. This decision has led to losses during periods of elevated input costs, but gains when raw material prices were lower.

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Air India Express Fires Cabin Crew After Mass Sick Leave Disrupts Flight



The mass sick leave, deemed premeditated by management, disrupted over 95 flights, affecting 10,000 passengers and prompting the Civil Aviation Ministry to demand a report from Air India Express.

Amidst significant disruptions in flight operations, Air India Express has taken stern measures, terminating at least 25 cabin crew members following a sudden mass sick leave by nearly 300 employees. This unprecedented move came after hundreds of employees reported sick and failed to report to work, leading to widespread flight cancellations and delays.

Sources within the airline revealed that the management deemed the mass sick leave as a premeditated and coordinated absence from work without valid reasons, which violated the company’s employee service rules. This disruption impacted over 95 flights, affecting more than 10,000 passengers, prompting the Civil Aviation Ministry to seek a detailed report from Air India Express.

In response to the disruptions, Air India Express CEO, Aloke Singh, announced plans to reduce flight operations in the coming days to mitigate the impact. Singh emphasized that the actions of a few employees do not reflect the dedication of the majority of the cabin crew, who continue to serve with pride and commitment.

The termination of the cabin crew members was attributed to their violation of employment contract conditions, resulting in immediate dismissal from their positions. The airline management issued termination letters, stating that the employees’ actions caused inconvenience to passengers, disrupted flight schedules, and tarnished the company’s reputation.

Despite efforts to resolve the issues through discussions with the staff, including an ongoing meeting between the employees’ union, the labour commissioner, and the management, tensions remain high. The union has demanded the reinstatement of the sacked employees and raised concerns about unequal treatment and modifications in compensation packages.

The crisis at Air India Express comes at a challenging time for the Tata Group, which recently acquired Air India and is in the process of merging Air India Express with AIX Connect. The airline has assured passengers of its commitment to minimizing inconvenience and has offered refunds or rescheduling for affected flights.

Meanwhile, the Regional Labour Commissioner has intervened, highlighting genuine grievances raised by the employees and calling for corrective measures to address mismanagement and ensure harmonious industrial relations within the company.

Amidst the ongoing turmoil, Air India Express faces escalating challenges as the fallout from the mass sick leave intensifies. The abrupt termination of cabin crew members has sparked further discontent among employees, leading to heightened tensions within the organization.

The terminated employees’ union has vocally opposed the management’s decision, demanding the reinstatement of their colleagues and highlighting what they perceive as systemic issues within the company. Allegations of unequal treatment and discrepancies in compensation packages have further fueled the discontent among the workforce.

In response to the escalating situation, the Civil Aviation Ministry has been closely monitoring developments, underscoring the gravity of the crisis for both the airline and the passengers affected by the disruptions. The ministry’s intervention underscores the broader implications of the crisis, not only in terms of operational challenges but also regarding regulatory compliance and public perception.

The crisis at Air India Express comes at a critical juncture, with the Tata Group’s recent acquisition of Air India and ongoing efforts to streamline operations and enhance efficiency across its aviation portfolio. The disruption caused by the mass sick leave and subsequent terminations presents a significant setback to these efforts, highlighting the complexities of managing a large-scale merger and addressing the concerns of diverse stakeholder groups.

In addition to the immediate operational challenges, the crisis also raises broader questions about labour relations, corporate governance, and the management of organizational change within the aviation industry. The Regional Labour Commissioner’s intervention underscores the need for a systematic approach to address the underlying issues and ensure fair treatment of employees in line with labour laws and industry best practices.

As Air India Express grapples with the fallout from the mass sick leave and its aftermath, restoring trust and confidence among both employees and passengers will be paramount. Transparent communication, meaningful dialogue, and proactive measures to address grievances are essential to navigating the current crisis and laying the foundation for a sustainable and resilient future for the airline.

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Emirates announces first 9 destinations to join its A350 network



These aircraft are slated to serve short- to medium-haul routes within the Emirates network, with Bahrain being the debut destination.

Emirates has unveiled its inaugural lineup of destinations for its A350 aircraft, set to commence service in September 2024. The airline’s plan includes deploying 10 new A350s by March 31, 2025, to nine selected destinations, promising travelers the latest in cabin experiences.

The initial batch of Emirates A350s will feature three distinct cabin classes: 32 Business Class seats, 21 seats in Premium Economy, and 259 seats in Economy Class. These aircraft are slated to serve short- to medium-haul routes within the Emirates network, with Bahrain being the debut destination.

As Emirates integrates the A350s into its fleet, passengers will have more opportunities to enjoy the acclaimed Premium Economy product and explore the next generation of Business Class cabins, particularly on routes spanning the Middle East, GCC, West Asia, and Europe.

Adnan Kazim, Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer at Emirates Airline, emphasized the A350’s significance, stating it will revolutionize regional travel by enhancing operational efficiency and flexibility across key markets. The introduction of the latest cabin products underscores Emirates’ commitment to delivering unparalleled customer experiences, featuring sought-after Premium Economy offerings, advanced in-flight entertainment, and various customer-friendly amenities. Kazim noted that deploying the A350 to nine cities within a short timeframe expands premium cabin options across geographies, reinforcing Emirates’ competitive edge and industry-leading position.

The airline has outlined the following schedule for the rollout of A350 services:

Middle East/GCC:

The first A350 flight to Bahrain will commence on September 15, operating the daily EK839/840 service, with an increase in frequency to two services per day starting November 1.
Kuwait will welcome its first Emirates A350 on September 16, serving the daily EK853/854 route.
Muscat will see A350 service on the daily EK866/867 flight from December 1.

West Asia:

Mumbai will be served by the A350 starting October 27 on the EK502/503 route.
Ahmedabad’s daily EK538/539 service will transition to A350 operation from October 27.
Colombo’s fourth daily service, EK654/655, will be operated by the A350 from January 1, 2025.


Lyon will receive daily A350 service from December 1.
Bologna will be served by the A350 starting December 1.
Edinburgh will rejoin the Emirates network on November 4, operated by the A350, with further details to be announced.

Emirates plans to unveil additional destinations as new A350 aircraft join its fleet. Tickets for A350 flights are now available for purchase on emirates.com, the Emirates App, or through travel agents.

Passengers can anticipate a spacious and serene cabin onboard the A350, featuring high ceilings, ample bin space, and personalized mood lighting aimed at reducing fatigue and jet lag. Further details regarding seat features and cabin amenities will be disclosed in the coming months.

With 65 A350-900s on order, Emirates strategically aligns its fleet expansion with future growth plans and Dubai’s economic agenda, as outlined by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aiming to integrate 400 cities into Dubai’s foreign trade map over the next decade.

Emirates has today announced the first set of destinations to be served by its A350 aircraft, which will enter service in September 2024. With 10 new A350s expected to join the Emirates fleet by March 31, 2025, the airline plans to deploy its latest aircraft type to nine destinations in the coming months, offering customers its latest signature cabin experiences.

These first 10 Emirates A350 aircraft will offer three cabin classes, with 32 next-generation Business Class seats, 21 seats in Premium Economy, and 259 generously pitched Economy Class seats. All of these aircraft are earmarked to serve short- to medium-haul cities on the Emirates network, with Bahrain as its inaugural destination.

As the first Emirates A350s begin entering the fleet, the airline will offer customers more opportunities to experience its highly acclaimed Premium Economy product and sample its next generation of Business Class cabins for the first time, particularly on short and medium-haul routes in the Middle East and GCC, West Asia, and Europe.

Adnan Kazim, Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline, said: “The A350 will be a game-changer for Emirates, enabling us to serve regional points with superior operating efficiency and flexibility across the Middle East and GCC, West Asia, and Europe. With the latest generation of cabin products, including more of our sought-after Premium Economy in more cities, top-notch in-flight entertainment technologies, and an abundance of other customer-friendly features, the Emirates A350 builds on our long-standing commitment to investing in the very best customer experience in the sky. Flying the A350 to nine cities in such a short span of time adds more premium cabin options and choice across geographies for our customers and ensures we maintain our competitive edge and industry-leading position.”

Newly delivered aircraft sporting the airline’s latest cabins will roll into scheduled service in the following cities:

In the Middle East/GCC:
Emirates will operate its first A350 to Bahrain on the daily EK839/840 service from September 15. The frequency of A350 services will progressively increase to cover two Bahrain services, with the second service starting on November 1.
The first Emirates A350 will land in Kuwait on the daily EK853/854 service on September 16.
Muscat’s daily EK866/867 will be served by the A350 from December 1.

In West Asia:
The Emirates A350 will be deployed on EK502/503 to Mumbai on October 27.
Ahmedabad’s daily EK538/539 will be served by the A350 from October 27.
Colombo’s fourth daily service, EK654/655, will be served by the A350 from January 1, 2025.

In Europe:
Lyon will be served daily with the Emirates A350 from December 1.
Bologna will be served by the A350 from December 1.
Edinburgh will rejoin the Emirates network on November 4, operated by the A350. More details are to follow soon.

Emirates will announce more destinations in the coming months as new aircraft join its fleet.

Emirates flights to A350 destinations go on sale today and can be booked on emirates.com, the Emirates App, or via travel agents.

Customers can look forward to the A350’s spacious and quiet cabin, high ceilings, expansive bin space, and customized mood lighting designed to reduce fatigue and jet lag. Additional Emirates A350 seat features and other cabin details will be announced in the coming months.

Emirates has 65 A350-900s on order, and all are carefully planned to support the airline’s future growth as well as Dubai’s economic agenda set out by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to add 400 cities to Dubai’s foreign trade map over the next decade.

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Paytm’s UPI transactions drop again, market share shrinks




The company cornered 8.4 per cent market share in the UPI applications’ ecosystem in April. The share has come down from 10.8 per cent and 9.13 per cent.

Paytm, a leading fintech player, witnessed a third consecutive monthly decrease in Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions in April, according to data from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). In April, the company processed 1,117.13 million transactions, marking a 9% decrease from March’s 1,230.04 million transactions. Consequently, its market share within the UPI ecosystem has contracted, declining from 10.8% in February to 8.4% in April.

However, the Noida-based company has continued to retain its spot as the third largest player in the ecosystem because other players are considerably smaller in comparison to the fintech major. For instance, Cred, which finds itself in the fourth position on the UPI transaction charts, is a much smaller player as compared to Paytm. In April this year, Cred processed 138.46 million transactions, whereas Paytm handled 1,117.13 million transactions, indicating that Cred’s transaction volume is at least eight times lower than that of Paytm.

Meanwhile, the top two players, PhonePe and Google Pay, processed 6,500 million and 5,027.3 million transactions, respectively, in April. Their share in the overall transaction numbers was pegged at 48.8 per cent and 37.8 per cent, respectively.

Both the companies have seen their share of UPI transactions inch up after the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) action on Paytm’s associate entity Paytm Payments Bank. In February 2024, Walmart-owned PhonePe held a share of 47.3 per cent in overall transaction volumes. Meanwhile, Google Pay had a share of 36.7 per cent the same month.

As other major UPI apps gain traction, Paytm has seen a silver lining after NPCI allowed the fintech firm to function as a third-party application provider (TPAP) in March this year.

Following which in the last month, the NPCI allowed Paytm to start migration of users to new payment service provider (PSP) bank handles.

These four banks — State Bank of India (SBI), Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, and YES Bank — now act as PSPs to Paytm.

Paytm would continue to see a decline in the volume of transactions processed on UPI since the company cannot add new users until the existing ones are migrated to a new handle.

This came after the RBI’s crippling restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank.

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