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IRCTC ofers attractive prospects going forward



It was yet another week of gains with BSE Sensex up 807.65 points or 2.12 per cent to close at 38,822.57 points, while the Nifty gained 238.20 points or 2.11 per cent to close at 11,512.40 points.

Broader markets saw BSE 100, BSE 200 and BSE 500 gain 1.84 per cent, 1.80 per cent and 1.75 per cent, respectively. The BSE midcap was up 1.03 per cent while the BSE smallcap was up 0.97 per cent.

The Indian rupee recovered lost ground and gained 37 paisa or 0.52 per cent to close at Rs 70.57 to the US dollar.

Dow Jones lost some ground and was down 114.82 points or 0.43 per cent to close at 26,820.25 points.

The US-China trade war seems to be never ending and becoming a cause of concern. In the latest round, the US wants Chinese companies to stop trading on US exchanges.

The September futures expired with a major victory for bulls. The series ended at 11571.20 points, a gain of 622.90 points or 5.69 per cent.

Exactly a week before expiry, the low of the day on the Nifty was 10,670, a loss of about 280 points for the series. It effectively means that the Nifty has gained 900 points in five trading sessions.

The week ahead will see a trading holiday on October 2 on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This will be followed by the RBI meet, which is widely expected to cut interest rates during its meeting on Friday, October 4.

The week sees IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) tapping the capital markets with its offer for sale of 2,01,60,000 equity shares in a price band of Rs 315-320 per share.

Retail investors and eligible employees would be offered a discount of Rs 10 per share. The issue opens on Monday and closes on Thursday. The company had reported an EPS (earnings per share) of Rs 17.04 for the year ended March 2019.

At these earnings, the PE ratio is between 18.49 and 18.78 times. This PE ratio needs to be readjusted because post demonetisation, the service charge that IRCTC charged passengers for booking railway tickets was discontinued.

Since September 2019, the company has been allowed to charge Rs 15 for lower class and Rs 30 for AC class per ticket as service charges.

With the company selling approximately 2.5 crore tickets per month or 30 crore tickets annually, and taking an average rate of Rs 20 per ticket, this amount would come to an annual fee of Rs 600 crore.

The issue is interesting and more than adequately priced. Even discounting the fact that PSU stocks lose steam after listing, this company offers attractive prospects going forward.

The second IPO is from Vishwaraj Sugar Industries Limited which is tapping the markets with its simultaneous offer for sale of 70 lakh shares and fresh issue of 30 lakh in a price band of Rs 65-70 per share. The issue opens on Monday and closes on Friday.

The company is into sugar, ENA, IML and vinegar. It has co-generation facilities and produces power from bagasse which is sold to various discoms during the sugar season.

Sugar has been under pressure because of increased production. The sugar crushing season 2019-20 is expected to be better for sugar producers as the overall production this year is expected to reduce.

Large parts of cane producing areas in the sugar belts of Maharashtra and Karnataka were flooded and the crop has been badly damaged. This would reduce sugar output.

Secondly, the government has introduced subsidy for export of sugar which would help in stabilising low sugar prices in the country and help both cane growers and sugar producers.

Further, the government is trying to balance demand and supply by encouraging manufacture of ethanol. Vishwaraj would also look to maximise shareholder returns from this avenue as well.

While the company was profit making earlier, it had made losses in the last three years only because of higher sugar carrying inventory costs. With the change in demand and supply and better options in product utilisation and manufacture, it should return to profit in the current year.

The markets had made a new life-time high post the Lok Sabha election results and the BSE Sensex had made a level of 40,308.90 points while the Nifty had made a level of 12,103.05 points. These levels are under threat and are likely to be breached well before Diwali. What would be the trigger is still to be decided.

The week ahead with a midweek holiday will be volatile, but trade with a positive bias. Take positions accordingly.

(Arun Kejriwal is the founder of Kejriwal Research and Investment Services. The views expressed are personal)


Punjabi diaspora worried, shocked over ‘brutality’ against farmers

“Farmers are peacefully protesting over controversial bills that will impact their livelihoods. Water cannons and tear gas, are being used to silence them.”




Farmers Beaten

Chandigarh, Nov 29: The planned protest against new farm laws and the ‘brutality’ of the security forces by lobbing teargas shells and using water cannons to stop the peaceful march of the farmers towards the national capital has left the diaspora largely from Canada worried and shocked.

They asked the Indian government to engage in an open dialogue with the farmers as their livelihoods are going to be impacted.

Expressing solidarity with the farmers, Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the reports of peaceful protesters being brutalized were very troubling.

“Many of my constituents have family there and are worried about the safety of their loved ones. Healthy democracies allow peaceful protest. I urge those involved to uphold this fundamental right,” he tweeted on Sunday.

Joining the issue, Sonia Sidhu, MP for Brampton South, Canada, tweeted, “I received many messages from constituents concerned in Brampton South about the situation in India.

“My residents told me how worried they are about the protests of the Punjab farmers. I share their concerns and hope that the situation will be resolved peacefully.”

Joining her counterpart, Ruby Sahota, MP for Brampton (North), said the determination and resilience of the farmers is admirable.

“In a free and just society one should be able to advocate for their cause without the threat of force being used against them. The brutality being faced by the Indian farmers in these images is deplorable,” she said in a tweet.

Joining the cause, Chandigarh-born Rachna Singh, Parliament Secretary of British Columbia, said she was really saddened by the way Punjab farmers are being treated. “This is unacceptable.”

Describing the violence perpetrated by the Indian government against farmers peacefully protesting is appalling, Canada’s New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted: “I stand in solidarity with the farmers from Punjab and across India — and, I call on the Indian government to engage in peaceful dialogue rather than violence”

He thanked Jack Harris, MP for St. John’s East, for his advocacy.

“We are shocked to see the Indian government’s suppression of farmers protesting new laws which will endanger their livelihood. Instead of using water cannons and tear gas, the Indian government needs to engage in open dialogue with farmers,” said Harris.

“Peaceful protests are fundamental in any democracy, and I urge for the rights of the protestors to be respected,” said Navdeep Bains, MP for Mississauga-Malton.

“Shocking scenes from Delhi,” remarked MP from Britain, Preet Kaur Gill.

“Farmers are peacefully protesting over controversial bills that will impact their livelihoods. Water cannons and tear gas, are being used to silence them.”

Tracing his roots to a farmer family, Indo-Canadian politician Gurratan Singh said the images of police brutality were horrific.

“I come from a family of farmers. I feel the pain and struggle of farmers protesting laws that threaten their livelihoods. The state continues to meet peaceful protestors with violence and brutality,” he tweeted along with the video of his speech made by him in the Ontario Assembly.

“Farmers are the backbone of our society. They feed cities, and right now they are under attack in India. Folks in my riding are concerned about new laws that are passed by the Indian government that are going to hurt the farmers in Punjab, Haryana and others across India.

“That’s why I am asking all the members of this House to come together to stand with farmers against these unjust laws passed by the Indian government, so farmers in India can live with respect and dignity that they deserve,” Gurratan Singh said in his speech.

Standing with farmers in India, Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, Andrea Horwath, said: “Everyone deserves to be able to exercise their democratic rights without fear of state-sanctioned violence”.

Canadian MP Tim Uppal posted, “India’s farmers deserve to be heard and respected. This is horrific.”

The farmers are protesting against the farm laws as they feel that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate entities.

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The new team in Washington surveys West Asia Trump leaves behind

To point fingers at the Muslim Brotherhood (Akhwan ul Muslimeen) as the enemy would isolate most of the GCC Sheikhdoms from the larger Muslim ‘Umma’. They would then be perceived as only the ‘Wahabi’ sect of the Sunni world.




Joe Biden

New Delhi, Nov 29: For the new team being announced by the Biden administration any innovation can only follow repair work of the considerable wreckage that is being left behind by the outgoing team.

At this moment of transition, what construct does one place on the outgoing Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s participation in the cloak-and-dagger meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in the mega city of Neom being built on the Red Sea? The drama of this meeting was heightened by Netanyahu’s office denying the meeting in tones which seemed to suggest that the Israelis were not busting their guts to keep the meeting secret. A pretense of secrecy was essential because otherwise ‘MBS’ would be in ‘trouble’.

Netanyahu’s Education Minister, Yoav Galant, could not contain his joy at the “amazing achievement” because the “Sunni world” was joining the Israel-US alliance to counter “Iranian Shiite extremism”.

This Shia-Sunni confrontation, real or simulated, has been the game ever since the Shah was toppled in Iran. Why then this secrecy now? Why is MBS so scared being seen in an embrace with Netanyahu on Saudi soil? Because his people will find out? Do his people matter? But it turns out that human rights is an article of faith with the incoming Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. This may well be a source of anxiety not just for Saudi Arabia but all monarchies and authoritarian systems. Are there any in our vicinity?

A hint about MBS’s source of anxiety was available in the other crucial meeting the Saudi king had with President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. The Turkish strongman is part of a quadrangle which both, Washington (the incoming administration) and MBS, Netanyahu too, should by analyzing.

After the Soviet collapse in 1991, it was elementary that creating a distance between Moscow and Beijing would remain a US strategic goal. But George W Bush and his deluded neo-cons asked for the moon — full spectrum global dominance into the American century. The financial crisis of 2008 rapped them hard on the knuckles. American decline was well underway when Trump greased the downward slide even more effectively.

The evolving Biden team will contemplate at the menacing quadrangle I mentioned at the outset. To begin with, Moscow and Beijing have never been closer. The duet spotted the potential of Iran too, and included it in the club. After all, Washington is just about to dust up the Iranian nuclear file for a resumption of a conversation with Tehran.

No sooner had Trump lost the election, when Imran Khan was on his maiden trip to Kabul. This, when the US troop withdrawal from the Afghan capital had run into the sort of snags which US representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad was trying to sort out. Was the Pakistan Prime Minister now effectively being positioned to handle the Afghan file? This became a very real anxiety in both Tehran and New Delhi. But Iran being re-invited on the nuclear file, mollifies it somewhat. How happy New Delhi should be with its exertions in the Quad (US, Australia, Japan, India) only time can tell. The Japanese Foreign Minister has already clarified: our membership of the Quad is not directed against any country.

So, while the US was on the Trump rollercoaster and coping with the social mayhem and galloping Covid, other countries were moving increasingly in concert. There has been so much continuous chanting of the Shia-Sunni conflict that real and abiding antipathies have been lost sight of.

A convenient point of departure to explain this narrative are the two events in December, 1979, which rattled the Saudis, indeed the world — Ayatollah Khomeini’s return, signaling the Iranian revolution. Around the same date, an anti-monarchy, Sunni, an extreme version of the Muslim Brotherhood, Juhayman al-Otaybi, defied the Saudi state by occupying the holiest Muslim mosque of Mecca.

Unable to flush out Otaybi and his armed supporters, Saudis sought Western help. A situation emerged which to a non Muslim would read like a situation comedy. Since non Muslims are not allowed in Mecca, US and French soldiers had to be converted to Islam to enter the mosque and accomplish the holy task of killing Otaybi and his men. This “rebellion within” gives Saudis nightmares. But they feel more secure externalizing the threat. They have persistently targeted Iran and Shiaism as threats to themselves, Israel, indeed, the West. When did you last hear of the 15 days siege of the Mecca Mosque?

To point fingers at the Muslim Brotherhood (Akhwan ul Muslimeen) as the enemy would isolate most of the GCC Sheikhdoms from the larger Muslim ‘Umma’. They would then be perceived as only the ‘Wahabi’ sect of the Sunni world.

Incalculable Saudi wealth, particularly after the quadrupling of oil prices following the 1973 Yom Kippur war, had the Western Military Industrial Complex salivating on Arab petro dollars. The oil rich Sheikhs are, by formal agreements, dependent on Western arms. Their wealth plus their links to Israel give them considerable control on Western media which has quite shockingly harped only on the Shia-Sunni conflict.

When the Arab Spring dethroned Hosni Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s Prime Minister. Coming to power of a Brother in Egypt caused the Saudis to load their camels with their billions and turn up in Cairo to stabilize Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s coup in Cairo. Brothers in power in Egypt was anathema to the Israelis too because the Hamas in Gaza would now have help from all sides. Brother in Turkey, Qatar and Egypt. They were ideologically coherent with Hamas.

At the Shia end, the Hezbullah in Lebanon, Iran, the Alawi elements in the Syrian Army, the Shia majority in Iraq, Houthis of Yemen are all supporting the Palestinian cause to the hilt.

No, it is not the Shia Sunni divide which is bothering MBS and Netanyahu. What worries them deeply is the Shia-Sunni combine zeroing in on the Israelis and the Wahabis in unlikely comradeship.

(Saeed Naqvi is a senior commentator on political and diplomatic issues. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached on [email protected])

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Astro Zindagi – Daily Horoscopes

Horoscope Today: Astrological prediction for November 29, what’s in store for Aries, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio and other zodiac signs




Astrology book

Here is a guide to the week ahead for you. This is your forecast for November 30-December 6


Despite seeing positive developments in your life in recent times, you may feel things moving rather slowly. There could be some issues within the family which will require your attention. You are advised to maintain your calm and solve things amicably. Your father may face some health issues and you are advised to keep medical help on standby if required. While your financial condition will be good, you need to pay special attention to your expenses. Use your words thoughtfully when conversing with people outside your family. Avoid boasting about yourself and stay grounded. Do not waste your energy on needless things. It is a good time to plan for the future. Do not let your morale down under any circumstances. During the later part of the week household matters could keep you busy. You can get help from your mother. Dealing in matters relating to real estate will be profitable. You could face health problems relating to stomach.

Tip of the week: Stay grounded


This will be a challenging phase for you mentally and emotionally. You could face some anxiety issues due to problems in personal life. Those married may find it difficult to maintain harmony in their married life. You are advised to avoid arguments with your spouse. Overall, it is advised to not have expectations from near and dear ones. Health issues relating to throat and eyes could be a cause for worry. Your father is likely to undergo some unpleasant changes in his life and may need your support. To improve your life, take care of your elders and seek advice from them as and when required. During this period, negligence in money matters can prove to be problematic for you. Additional expenditure is foreseen in matters relating to children and entertainment. Those in a job are likely to get favourable results in their field. The stars indicate a change of job for you, hence, you are advised to seek suitable opportunities.

Tip of the week: Manage your emotions


Students looking to study abroad will find success. You need to be careful about financial matters as sudden losses are indicated. Also keep a check on your expenses which are likely to overshoot unexpectedly. Your efficiency at work will increase which will impress your seniors. Those in a job can expect some positive developments relating to their appraisal. Those in business are advised to form new partnerships to have sustained growth. Work which was on hold for a long time will get completed and you can take some necessary decisions at this time. You will be able to express your feelings freely and your mental strength will increase. Avoid arrogance as it could cost you dearly. Choose your words wisely during a conversation else it could hurt others. You could stay worried due to lack of family support on important issues. Be careful of any injury to the middle part of your body.

Tip of the week: Look for new partnerships


This is a favourable time for your career and financial life. Your seniors will applaud you for your work and you may get an increment during this time. This is a favourable period to look for a change of job. Business professionals can enter into new deals which will enhance their growth and income. You should be extra careful about any fresh investments. Prudent investments in the stock market are likely to bring additional gains. However, if you are doing any documentation work, then ensure that you have some trustworthy people around you. Avoid any kind of confusion during this time. You will have a loving relationship with your partner. Your better half will support you in your professional life. You are likely to receive support from your elder siblings. Married couples can expect to become parents which will keep the family atmosphere jovial. You need to be careful about health issues relating to kidney and gall bladder.

Tip of the week: Look forward to a career change


This is a positive phase for your career. You will get success in your business during this time. Your income will grow substantially which will improve your financial situation. You will earn a good reputation at your work. You could hear some good news on the job front. However, you are advised to be cautious while interacting with your seniors as any kind of negative communication could affect your goodwill with them. Also, avoid any kind of negative thoughts since it will impact you mentally and physically. You may receive some genuine advice from an experienced person. You should keep a check on your temperament during this time; else you may get into futile arguments with your better half. Your mother’s health may need your attention. Avoid making any investment in real estate as it can lead to losses. You should avoid any kind of travel during this time as it could impact your health.

Tip of the week: Avoid negative thoughts


This will be a favourable time for those looking to travel. Both short and long-distance travels are indicated during this period. Tasks that were stuck earlier will kick off again on a positive note. Those in a job will get respect and promotion at their work and will get desired results. Your boss will like the way you work. You can also get good results for the efforts you have made in the past. Those without a job can get employed during this time. During this time, your thoughts will improve and your concentration will increase. With regard to family life, you may spend additional time with your elder siblings and give some valuable advice to them. You can plan out a new business venture. You can also get benefit in matters related to money. Students will get good results in their field of education. However, you could face some misunderstanding with your partner. You can take interest in religious activities and charity.

Tip of the week: Traveling will keep you occupied


This will be a beneficial phase for you. You are likely to be attracted to a luxurious lifestyle and may plan to buy new items. You can get money from some unknown source. New business avenues will open up which you can explore. Your career will experience a positive phase of growth. Your position at the workplace will be strong. Your ideas will be appreciated and shared. If you are a student then this period will bring lot of success. Those awaiting results of any competitive examination are likely to taste success. Your mind will be involved in religious activities and you can engage in the act of giving. This is a favourable time for love life. If you are single, then you can expect to meet your prospective partner. There could be unwanted troubles in family life which can create stress. Avoid making an investment in any new scheme or property. Be careful of eye infections. Food-related disorders can also cause problems.

Tip of the week: Romance is on the cards


You will receive auspicious results in your married life and you will overcome misunderstandings with your spouse. You will also get the support of your life partner during this period, so you need to be in sync with each other. You are likely to benefit in a business that is run under partnership. Any ongoing obstacles in your life will be eliminated. However, you may get worried unnecessarily. To avoid this situation, you should keep yourself away from negativity, read books and stay in the company of noble people. Your competitors may hatch conspiracies against you during this period, but they will not be able to affect you in any way. You will enjoy serving and talking with the elders of the house. You can also plan to go on a religious trip with your family. At the same time, it is advised not to get involved in any illegal work and follow the government guidelines properly. Skin ailments can bother you.

Tip of the week: Personal life will improve


Your family life is likely to remain the centre of your attention during this period. Your relations with your father will improve and he will extend his whole-hearted support to you. Married people will be able to spend quality time with their spouse. You are likely to recover from any pre-existing illness. Those who are in a job will gain success over their competitors. The position of people doing business will also improve and they will get beneficial results. You can start your own business venture during this time. Those of you working in the field of counseling or consultancy are likely to see positive results in their career. You need to take special care of health issues relating to stress and anxiety. You should resort to yoga to improve your mental health. People who are studying or inclined towards learning should meditate in order to keep their mind focused. Your love relationship will also be good and you can go on a short distance journey with your partner.

Tip of the week: Meditate to improve focus


You are likely to unfold a new chapter in your life. Your attitude will transform radically and you will develop a fresh approach to life. To begin with, you will feel physically fit. If you were troubled by some disease for a long time, then you can get rid of it. In work life, you will be able to crush your opponents and emerge victorious. You can expect positive changes in your career. If you are into higher education, then you will get the support of your teachers and parents due to which you will be able to perform well. Your intellectual abilities will increase. This time will be very favourable for students looking to clear a competitive examination. Married people can get good news and welcome a new member to the family. At the same time, love will flourish among people who are in a romantic relationship. Your family life will improve and all members will be affectionate towards each other. Those desirous of moving abroad will be successful.

Tip of the week: Transform your attitude


You need to be careful about family matters. In case of any misunderstanding, you need to play a proactive role and make a reconciliation. Stay cautious when driving as an accident is indicated. Pay attention to your mother’s health, if she has any disease, get her treated immediately. Overall, it may take some effort on your part to bring balance in your family life. Students may face some problems in their education. If you are preparing for some competitive examination, then it will be difficult for you to concentrate during this time. Stay away from matters of love in this period; otherwise, it may hamper your growth. Those who are in a job will get the cooperation of their colleagues, and your opponent will remain subdued. Those working in the government sector can expect a promotion. Avoid financial investment in general and look to consolidate your savings. Gains are indicated for those dealing with overseas market.

Tip of the week: Consolidate your savings


You will get auspicious results during this period. Your grasping power will increase and intellectual ability will become stronger. Your risk-taking ability will increase and you will be able to undertake tasks that you were not able to execute in the past. You can plan to go on a trip with friends. Your family atmosphere will be good, and you will be able to spend quality time with younger siblings. Health concerns are indicated for your mother and all medical help needs to be arranged if required. With regard to your financial life, there may be some expenses related to the amenities or renovation of the house. Some of you may face challenges in academic life. Students need to improve their focus and avoid diversions due to their love life. Married couples are likely to be blessed with a child. Stay cautious while signing any document else it may lead to an unpleasant situation in future.

Tip of the week: Take calculated risks

(Neeraj Dhankher is an astrologer with proficiency in Vedic, KP and Nadi Astrology. He is Founder and CEO of Astro Zindagi. The observations are made by the writer based on his own analysis)

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