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As Steel Prices Soar PSU Contractors Seek ‘Blacklisting’ To Escape Penalties For Not Executing The Projects

There was a time when a contractor would give an arm and a leg to win a big government tender. Not anymore. According to ministry mandarins, many contractors who bagged major contracts are doing their utmost to get blacklisted to avoid executing the tenders, and escape severe penalties for failing to meet the project execution milestones. According to a highly placed PSU source, many of the contractors had bagged the contracts in 2020, when steel prices were in the range of Rs 37,000 per tonne. The contractors, as is the norm, would have factored in a 15-20% hike in steel prices. In reality steel prices doubled to Rs 72,500 in March 2022 before falling to around Rs 60,000 per tonne in April 2022 “There is no way the contractors can execute projects at these prices; it’s totally unviable. But given the stringent penalties for failing to meet tender conditions, the only hope for contractors to escape the penalties is to get blacklisted on some count or the other,’’ said a source. If a large number of contractors get blacklisted it will be a big setback for all public sector undertakings. With the government chalking up a CAPEX of Rs 7.5 lakh crore in 2022-23, it will be a lose-lose proposition for everybody. So, should public sector undertakings go in for re-tendering the contracts?
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First Commodity Exchange Of Bangladesh, Harnesses Indian Expertise Through MoU With MCX

The Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) has signed an MoU, to provide technical support for Bangladesh’s first commodity exchange. The Chittagong Stock Exchange has decided to launch Bangladesh’s first commodities exchange, on futures markets next year and roped in MCX to draw up the regulations and bye-laws, the settlement methods, besides providing tech and infrastructure support for the new exchange. MCX which is working on a five-year plan is scouting for talent to manage and work on the project. The new exchange is expected to provide competitive pricing and rationalise price manipulations in the commodities sector in that country. The exchange is also expected to provide farmers with greater liquidity. The exchange is expected to trade in gold, tea, agricultural produce, iron ore etc. MCX, India’s first listed exchange, is a commodity derivatives exchange that facilitates online trading of commodity derivatives transactions, thereby providing a platform for price discovery and risk management. The Exchange, which started operations in November 2003, operates under the regulatory framework of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). MCX offers trading in commodity derivative contracts across varied segments including bullion, industrial metals, energy and agricultural commodities, as also on indices constituted from these contracts. It is India’s first Exchange to offer commodity options contracts, bullion index futures and base metals index futures contracts.
rock climbing

After Introducing India To Sport Climbing World Cup, The Gang Of Four Sets Sights On Olympics 2032

Sport Climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock for protection. Meet Franco Linhares – a retired microbiologist, Abhijit Burman – a robotic technician, Aniruddha Biswas – a senior scientist and Anushka Kalbag – an architect, all avid climbers with big dreams to host the Sport Climbing World Cup for the first time in India.  It was a difficult proposition without financial resources. Luckily, the Tata Trusts agreed to chip in. It all began with Burman organising several international climbing events in India. He then frequented Europe to convince the International Federation for the Sports (IFSC) to allow India to host the Sport Climbing World Cup. Then in 2016, India got lucky. The 2016 World Cup held in Mumbai was one of the best ever. Burman was offered the 2017 World Cup as well. Parallely, IFSC, was making a pitch for inclusion of the sports in the Tokyo Games, and one of the key criteria was that sports needed to have a global appeal, and Tokyo saw Sport Climbing making its debut. Now the foursome is looking at an Olympics medal for India in 2032, and have launched the Basalt Project, to train Indian climbers. More power to the Gang of Four.
uday shankar

Speculation Rife After Media Veteran Uday Shankar Joins Business Standard Board

Ever since Uday Shankar, former chairman & CEO of Star India and President of Walt Disney Asia Pacific, joined Business Standard as non-executive director in February this year, rumour mills have been on an overdrive. Avid media watchers say, BS has been looking for a good investor to buy a majority stake. Shankar, a former TV journalist who redefined media business in the country, is not joining the board for its ornate position. They say, going by his past track record, he may play an active role in the running of the paper and chalking out its growth plans. Coincidentally, Shankar has entered into a new venture with his former employer James Murdoch. The venture will be focusing on technology and media opportunities, including digital media, in the emerging markets. “The fact that BS has been looking for an investor is no secret and hence it will not be a surprise if Uday Shankar buys a majority stake in the paper,’’ said an insider. The paper has been quietly witnessing a slew of changes. Veteran business journalist TN Ninan, who transformed the paper, after getting in Uday Kotak and company to buy stake from Ananda Bazaar Patrika, has stepped down as chairman and director after over three decades of association. The business daily’s CEO Shivendra Gupta has been appointed as MD & CEO.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.