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Daily Archives: December 28, 2017

Airline passengers reveal what first class travel is really like

Economy passengers have long wondered what goes on at the front of the plane. What the seats are like, what facilities first class passengers have access to, the standard of the food and whether you can actually sleep more comfortably are often ponder…

What can India learn from Singapore

Singapore, india, singapore economy, unemployment rate What can India learn from Singapore, the multi-ethnic, multi-religious state.

RC Acharya
Former member, Railway Board

What appears as a tiny red dot on the southern tip of Malaysia on most of the world maps is the city-state of Singapore, a pocket-size economic superpower. With a population of about 5.7 million and just under 720 sq km of landmass, it packs a mighty economic punch, much above its size, with a GDP of $90,000 per capita and an unemployment rate of just 1.7%. Consequent to attaining independence from the British in 1963 as a part of Malaysia, two years later it opted out of the uneasy alliance as it became an independent state, and since then it has never looked back. In 1960 itself, it had set its sights on making itself an economic powerhouse when the government decided to set up an industrial estate at an investment of $46 million, a princely sum those days, in the mangrove swamps of Jurong, southwest part of the main island of Singapore. As later on admitted by Goh Keng Swee who was then the finance minister in the government of Singapore, it could have easily turned into the biggest white elephant in Southeast Asia and would have become a major embarrassment for him to be known to the posterity as Goh’s folly. Although such an idea was not the first of its kind, Goh’s plans for an industrial estate in Jurong were highly ambitious and wide-reaching. Albert Winsemius, a Dutch economist engaged to pilot the project, selected an area of about 70 sq km in Jurong, where the low hills were levelled and soil used to fill the swamplands. One of the first industries to come up was the National Iron & Steel Mills (it’s now a subsidiary of Tata Steel), followed by a saw mill for timber products and later on facilities to manufacture oil rigs, shipbuilding, oil refinery, etc.

Since then, the area has been transformed into a self-sufficient town consisting of five administrative zones and a separate five-year master plan to further develop it. In fact, it now boasts of a port, an industrial estate, its own town hall, a science centre and a bird park. Singapore’s unique location on the major shipping lane from Europe to the Far East makes it an ideal spot for setting up container ports. It boasts of two such ports, with the second at Jurong that began operations in 1965. Currently, Singapore ranks as the third-largest container port in the world. In addition, the country’s first International Business Park, built in 1992 in Jurong East, is home to various international and domestic companies such as Creative Technology Centre Pte Ltd, Acer Computer International Ltd and Ascendas Pte Ltd. Of course, throughout Singapore’s spectacular growth has been the larger-than-life presence of one of the main founding fathers, Lee Kuan Yew, who was the first Prime Minister of Singapore and held office from 1959 to 1990, a full 31 years, giving its administration a very long spell of stability—one of the significant factors in Singapore’s remarkable economic growth. His torch is being now carried by his son Lee Hsien Loong, who became the Prime Minister in 2004. Singapore has had its share of immigrants over the ages and currently has 74% of its population of Chinese decent, 13% Malay, 9% Indian and rest a motley of other Southeast Asian origins. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the politically-active and highly-committed Lee Kuan Yew, who is from the majority Chinese community, had a fair chance of leading the nation for over three decades. Religious groups comprising of 30% Buddhists, 20% Christians, 14% Islam, 10% Taosim and 5% Hindus seldom have any conflicts as they are simply too busy doing their jobs and making money. One of the most interesting features of Singapore is not just its phenomenal development, but also the way it has handled its varied ethnic groups, providing each one to live and grow according to its abilities, yet not lose sight of the fact that they are all Singaporeans first. Towards this, allotment of flats in the government-sponsored housing estate for low-income groups is made strictly in proportion to the three major ethnic groups—Chinese, Malay and Indians—eliminating a possibility of ghettos being created.

Posts by RC Acharya

  • Singapore, india, singapore economy, unemployment rate
    What can India learn from Singapore

    What can India learn from Singapore, the multi-ethnic, multi-religious state.

  • technical, bureaucratic, secretary in central and state government ministries, animal husbandry, finance, public health, infrastructure, communication, social welfare, transportation
    Most ministers and babus seldom have the technical know-how required of their roles

    The only technical or domain expertise that most ministries boast of is carefully preserved in reams of files zealously guarded by hoards of clerks, section or desk officers, assistant directors, etc.

  • Elphinstone bridge collapse, Elphinstone bridge collapse tragedy, Bailey bridge, indian army, Elphinstone Road, Western Railway, Railways, Dadar-end bridge at Parel station, India Bulls
    Elphinstone Road station tragedy: Bailey bridge to the rescue, but it won’t be easy

    Army Engineers would have to assemble not only support columns at each end and intermediate locations, but also provide staircase—the whole works.

  • Mumbai, Maharashtra, Indian Railways
    Maximum city, minimum patience

    Mumbaikars, in their daily rush to and from their work locations, rely heavily on the local trains.

  • derailment, derailment news, derailment latest news, latest derailment news, train derailment, indian railways, railway derailment
    What set Indian Railways on path towards derailment? Find out here

    Past acts of commision and ommission are now fast catching up with the Railways, and it will be a long and slow struggle before the health of its assets is regained

  • indian railways, railways, suresh prabhu, suresh prabhu news, suresh prabhu freight transport, indian railways frieght, industry, india, opinion, financial express
    Suresh Prabhu- led Indian Railways is providing safe and fast rail transport for freight; here’s how

    Suresh Prabhu, the minister of railways, is a man in a tearing hurry. For he has to make up for the lack of any significant addition over the last two decades to the infrastructure of this 65,000-km-long network.

  • SAIL, Indian Railways, SAIL supplies , Railway Board, Parliament, Universal Rail Mill at Bhilai Steel Plant, Vishnu Deo Sai, 
    Railway trains from Bhilai steel plant can make Maoists, Naxals infested Bastar bloom

    Bordered in the by Nagpur-Raipur Railway line, in the east by Raipur-Rayagada line, in the south by Rayagada-Koraput-Jagdalpur-Kirandul line and on the west by Nagpur-Kazipet line is a huge swathe of Indian peninsula devoid of any railway network.

  • For Indian Railways, a dedicated freight corridor has a long way to go

    The need for for the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) arose from the fact that two decades of populist Rail Budgets had ended up introducing 5,000 new passenger trains, crowding out the freight, whose average speed had dropped to an abysmal 25kph.

  • Kolkata Metro: The oldest metro rail system in India shows signs it will pick up pace

    In spite of a head-start of more than three decades, the Kolkata Metro has lagged behind its younger sibling, the Delhi Metro.

  • To ensure food security, it is time to revisit the mega food park model in India

    A maximum grant of R50 crore is given for setting up a MFP, in minimum 50 acres of contiguous land with only 50% contribution to the total project cost.

  • Coal auction
    How Indian Railways will help Coal India achieve mammoth 1 bn tonne 2020 target

    Multiple joint ventures by Indian Railways with states and PSUs in mineral-rich areas bode well for coal, iron-ore production and logistics

  • Tracking Indian Railways: Decisions based on gut reaction can lead to costly mistakes

    Unfortunately, the present set of statistical data, collected often on an yearly basis, is mostly to evaluate operational performance

  • mamata banerjee
    Kolkata Metro & RVNL: Network set for quantum jump, time for Mamata to remove obstacles

    With a pan India presence, RVNL has a team of no less than 27 chief project managers located at various cities.

  • Indian railways, Indian railways website, Indian railways info, Indian Railways news,,,, rail budget 2016, rail budget 2016-17
    Reservation charts & printed tickets in your railway journey may soon be things of past!

    Reservation charts and printed tickets in the Indian Railway universe may soon be things of the past

  • Binding India with ribbons of steel

    Slowly but surely, the Northeast is getting connected to the rest of India

  • rail fare, rail fare hike, rail fare in Budget 2016, rail fare increase, railways fare hike, railways fare hike, railways fare increase, railways fare in Budget 2016
    Railway Budget 2016: Suresh Prabhu’s time to deliver now

    Railway Budget 2016:The most important part of the minister’s speech was the setting up of
    seven missions for attaining key long-term objectives for Indian Railways

  • INDIAN railways
    For Indian Railways, the customer must always come first

    With the rail network no longer being the preferred mode of transport for the cost-conscious private sector, all stops must be pulled to get them on board.

  • The dawn of a new rail era

    Bullet trains will help save on the nation’s fuel bill, reduce air pollution, road congestion and connected accidents

  • Scripting a change

    Suresh Prabhu had last year embarked on a crusade to revamp Indian Railways on a massive scale, and in the process has been removing whatever obstacles may come in the way, a virtual ‘Vighnaharta’.

  • Suresh Prabhu on fast track

    The minister has given a major push for doubling, gauge conversion and other initiatives to build track capacity so that the logjam on some of the key sections can be removed. He is also focusing on improving passenger amenities

  • Ircon, a Navratna in the making

    Spreading its wings, the Miniratna has been successfully completing rail, road, metro works and is constructing multifunctional complex buildings

  • Operation ‘bootstrap’ for the Railways

    In a move that could be a game-changer, a new Indian Railways General Management Service may come into being very soon in order to keep a check on the virus of departmentalism which has been its bane for over two decades.

  • Introducing competition in Indian Railways

    In Europe, a large number of private operators have entered the railway system and have changed the way people commute by train

  • Thailand Trade Data Due On Friday

    (RTTNews) – Thailand will on Friday release November numbers for imports, exports and trade balance, highlighting a modest day for Asia-Pacific economic activity.In October, imports were worth $18.39 billion and exports were at $20.01 billion for a tra…

    Oil prices stay near high on strong U.S. refinery runs, China data

    Oil prices edged up on Thursday, remaining near 2-1/2-year highs after data showed strong demand for crude imports in China and on increased U.S. refining activity that drew more crude from inventories.Trading was typically thin at year end, with many …

    SoftBank : succeeds in bid buy Uber shares

    A consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp (>> SoftBank Group Corp) will buy a large number of shares of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] in a deal that values the ride-services firm at $48 billion, Uber said on Thursday, in a victory for n…

    Cboe Global Markets : Announces Changes in Boards of Its U.S. Securities Exchanges

    CHICAGO, Dec. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE | Nasdaq: CBOE), one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, today announced changes in the membership of the boards of its six U.S. securities exchanges:  Cboe BZX Exchange, Cboe BYX Exchange, Cboe EDGA Exchange, Cboe EDGX Exchange, Cboe Options Exchange and Cboe C2 Options Exchange.  As a result of the changes, Cboe’s six U.S. securities exchanges will have the same six directors as of January 1, 2018. 

     (PRNewsfoto/Cboe Global Markets, Inc.)

    Directors Matthew Billings, Senior Vice President at Scottrade, Inc., Alexander “Sandy” Kemper, Chairman of The Collectors Fund and Chairman and CEO of C2FO, and Joseph Mecane, Head of Execution Services at Citadel, will resign from the boards of Cboe BZX Exchange, Cboe BYX Exchange, Cboe EDGA Exchange and Cboe EDGX Exchange effective upon the close of business on December 31, 2017.

    The current directors of the Cboe Options Exchange and Cboe C2 Options Exchange boards, with the exception of Cboe Global Markets Chairman and CEO Ed Tilly, will also resign from the Cboe Options Exchange and Cboe C2 Options Exchange boards, but will remain directors on the Cboe Global Markets board.  

    New board members Bruce Andrews, Chairman of Cboe’s Business Conduct Committee and a former Cboe Options Market-Maker, and Kevin Murphy, former Managing Director of Citigroup, will join Mr. Tilly and the three remaining current exchange directors, David Roscoe, Jill Sommers and Scott Wagner, in serving as directors of all six Cboe U.S. securities exchange boards going forward.

    “On behalf of Cboe, I would like to thank Matt Billings, Sandy Kemper and Joe Mecane for their outstanding service to our U.S. exchange boards.  Each contributed to the growth of our exchanges, and we are grateful to them for their leadership, guidance and dedication,” Mr. Tilly said.

    “We welcome incoming board members Bruce Andrews and Kevin Murphy,” Mr. Tilly added. “Each brings unique insight and industry experience to our boards, and I am confident our exchanges will benefit from their expertise.” 

    Cboe Global Markets, formerly CBOE Holdings, Inc., completed its acquisition of Bats Global Markets earlier this year, on February 28, 2017.

    About Cboe Global Markets, Inc.

    Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE | Nasdaq: CBOE) is one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, offering cutting-edge trading and investment solutions to investors around the world. The company is committed to relentless innovation, connecting global markets with world-class technology, and providing seamless solutions that enhance the customer experience.

    Cboe offers trading across a diverse range of products in multiple asset classes and geographies, including options, futures, U.S. and European equities, exchange-traded products (ETPs), global FX and multi-asset volatility products based on the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX Index), the world’s barometer for equity market volatility.

    Cboe’s trading venues include the largest options exchange in the U.S. and the largest stock exchange by value traded in Europe.  In addition, the company is the second-largest stock exchange operator in the U.S. and a leading market globally for ETP trading.

    The company is headquartered in Chicago with offices in Kansas City, New York, London, San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong and Quito, Ecuador.  For more information, visit


    Cboe®, VIX® and Cboe Volatility Index® are registered trademarks and Cboe Global MarketsSM is a service mark of Cboe Exchange, Inc. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

    Cision View original content with multimedia:

    SOURCE Cboe Global Markets, Inc.

    China issues 2018 crude oil import quotas of 121.32 mln T

    China has issued crude oil import quotas totalling 121.32 million tonnes for 44 companies in 2018, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by Reuters on Thursday.

    State-owned ChemChina has the largest quota at 16.67 million tonnes, followed by North Huajin Chemical Industries Group with 7.47 million tonnes, the documents showed.

    China’s imports are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new capacity is brought online and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude, with robust demand growth helping to support global oil prices.

    The total allocated volume, which equates to 2.43 million barrels per day, is lower than the 142.42 million tonnes announced by the Ministry of Commerce in November for 2018.

    The ministry said then that the quotas will be issued in batches, with the first lot based on companies’ actual purchases during the January to October period this year.

    The ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Beijing could also allocate more quotas to two new refineries built by Dalian Hengli Petrochemical and Zhejiang Rongsheng when they come on line next year, Chinese trade sources said.

    Among independent refiners, Haiyou Chemical’s allocation in 2018 tripled from this year while Shandong Wonfull Petrochemical’s quota nearly doubled, according to Reuters data. Chambroad Petrochemical, Baota Petrochemical and Sinochem Hongrun can also import more crude next year.

    State oil companies and their refining and trading subsidiaries will have a quarter of the crude import quotas for 2018, the documents showed.

    The quotas do not apply to China’s five major state-owned oil companies such as PetroChina and Sinopec, which are allowed to import crude freely.

        China's crude import quota in 2018
     Company                                     2018
     Dongming Petrochemical                      6750
     Panjin Beifang Asphalt Fuel                 6300
     Sinochem Hongrun                            5300
     Lijin Petrochemical                         3150
     Kenli Petrochemical                         2270
     Baota Petrochemical                         1080
     Yatong Petrochemical                        2480
     Wonfull Petrochemical (Huifeng)             4160
     Shouguang Luqing Petrochemical              2320
     Tianhong Chemical                           3960
     Chambroad Petrochemical (Jingbo)            2980
     Qirun Chemical                              1980
     Haiyou Petrochemical                        3200
     Hengyuan Petrochemical                      3150
     Wudi Xinyue Chemical                        1920
     Qingyuan Group                              3640
     Shenchi Chemical                            2270
     Jincheng Petrochemical                      2700
     Hebei Xinhai Chemical                       3350
     Shandong Zhonghai Fine Chemical             1860
     Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group            3600
     Jinao Science and Technology Hubei          2300
     Henan Fengli Petrochemical                  2000
     Zibo Xintai Petrochemical                   2000
     Shandong Qingyishan Petrochemical           3000
     Yuhuang Shengshi Chemical Co                1440
     Dongfang Hualong Group                      3000
     Shandong Qicheng Petrochemical Co           1600
     Shandong Shengxing Chemical Co              2200
     Haike Chemical Group                        1890
     Rizhao Landbridge Port Petrochemical Co     1800
     Dalian Jinyuan Petrochemical Co              800
     PetroChina International                    1490
     PetroChina International Guangxi Co          570
     PetroChina International Horgas Co           800
     PetroChina International Alashankou Co       580
     Sinopec International Petroleum              800
     Exploration & Production Corp            
     Sinopec Zhanjiang Dongxing                  1310
     Petrochemical Co                         
     Fujian Refining & Petrochemical Co           120
     CNOOC Beijing Trading Co                     620
     North Huajin Chemical Industries Group      7470
     Zhenhua Oil                                   80
     ChemChina                                  16670
     Huayue Group                                 360
     Total                                     121320
        Unit: 1000 tonnes
        Source: trade

    Source: Reuters (Reporting by Florence Tan in SINGAPORE; Additional reporting by Meng Meng in BEIJING; Editing by Tom Hogue and Richard Pullin)