April 2016 | srei
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April 2016

Indian Economy Review

Upbeat monsoon forecast uplifts India’s economic prospects

India’s economic growth prospects have started looking up after the Indian Meteorological Department forecast the country's rainfall to be 106% of long period average this year. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government might revise its economic projection for 2016-17 to 8-8.5% from 7.5% if the monsoon is above normal. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expects the Indian economy to grow 7.6% in the current fiscal. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has retained India's growth outlook for FY17 and FY18 at 7.5% each.

Domestic GDP Growth


Inflation maintains downward trend

India’s retail inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) eased to a four-month low of 4.83% in March from 5.26% in February. Wholesale inflation fell for the 17th straight month in March, dropping 0.85% compared with -0.91% in February.

Government’s divestment program off to a positive start

The government successfully completed its first divestment of 11.36% stake in NHPC and raised about Rs 2,700 crore. It is also planning to sell 10% stake in Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and NMDC. It has invited bids from merchant bankers to assist in its stake sale in Oil India Ltd, National Fertilizers Ltd and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers. It is also exploring the possibility of leasing out central public sector companies or their assets to private sector players in an attempt to push its disinvestment agenda. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is planning to launch a new exchange traded fund comprising stocks of 10 public sector undertakings in the current fiscal. Meanwhile, the government issued a notification on renaming Department of Disinvestment as Department of Investment and Public Asset Management or DIPAM.

The Cabinet took the following key decisions:

  • Approved a new regime for crude oil imports that will allow oil public sector undertakings to evolve their own import policies.
  • Approved policy changes to enable liberalisation of spectrum that was assigned to telecom operators at an administrative price, without an auction.
  • Allowed states committing to greater fiscal discipline to relax the existing cap on fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP by 0.5%.

Other major developments in the month

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Rs 8,000 crore ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ scheme which will provide 5 crore free LPG connections to below poverty line families in the next three financial years. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradan said cooking gas consumers who have voluntarily surrendered their subsidy under the GiveItUp campaign will be allowed to reclaim their subsidy entitlement after a one-year gap.
  • The PM also launched the ‘Stand Up India Scheme’ to make it easy for backward castes and women entrepreneurs to access loans.
  • The government unveiled the National Agricultural Market or NAM, the government's e-platform that hopes to link all agriculture markets known as Agriculture Produce Market Committees or APMCs electronically, and to help link producers to buyers directly.
  • The government raised the interest rate on employee provident fund contributions to 8.8% for 2015-16 against 8.7% approved by the MoF. It also set up a welfare fund which utilises unclaimed money lying in PPF, EPF and small savings schemes to provide healthcare facilities and pension to senior citizens.
  • It cut interest rates on loans from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) to 8.8% from 9.5% for FY17.
  • It eased norms for the gold monetisation scheme, giving investors the option to redeem the principal amount in medium- and long-term deposits either in gold or in rupees.
  • It eased the approval process for setting up of branches, liaison and project offices by foreign firms in India.
  • It hiked the minimum wage for contract workers to Rs 10,000 per month.
  • It fixed a 2017-end target to transfer all subsidies through an Aadhaar-enabled direct benefits transfer.
  • Finance Minister Jaitley said the government will push for consolidation of public sector banks once they are capitalised and strengthened.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched ‘Twitter Seva’ to address issues and grievances of startups, exporters and importers, and other stakeholders.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has set a target of laying more than 40 km of roads every day in 2016-17, more than double the current pace.

Regulatory developments in the month

The RBI said the revival of public sector units and raising viability of power distribution companies are key to sustaining healthy finances. The Central Board of Direct Taxes issued draft rules that will allow resident tax payers to claim deduction or credit for taxes paid in foreign jurisdictions. The Central Board of Excise and Customs raised the monetary ceiling for filing appeals in indirect tax cases to Rs 10 lakh in appellate tribunals and to Rs 15 lakh in high courts. It also launched ‘SWIFT’, an initiative to speed up clearances for consignments and improve ‘ease of doing business’. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified guidelines for liberalisation of spectrum, allocated without auction to telecom companies. According to a DoT notification, all mobile handsets sold in India from January 2017 will have to feature a panic button that will allow women in distress to seek help. In addition, from January 2018, all mobile phones must have an inbuilt GPS to identify the handset user's location.

Among key economic indicators released in the month

India’s exports contracted by 5.47% to $22.71 billion in March, against $24.03 billion a year ago, while imports declined by 21.56% to $27.78 billion in March compared to the year-ago period, when it was $35.42 billion. The trade deficit shrank to $5.07 billion from $11.39 billion in March 2015. The MoF said the actual collection of direct and indirect tax revenue in 2015-16 was Rs 14.60 lakh crore as against the revised target of Rs 14.55 lakh crore.

The RBI said foreign direct investment in India rose to $42 billion during April-February 2015-16, up 27.45% from inflows in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. India’s Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to an eight-month high of 52.4 in March from 51.1 in February, while services PMI rose to a 21-month high of 54.3 in March after a contraction of 51.4 in February.

Indicators Current Previous
Monthly WPI Inflation -0.85% (March 2016) -0.91% (February 2016)
Industrial Growth 2.0% (February 2016) -1.5% (January 2016)
Exports $261.14bn (April-March 2015-16) $310.34bn (April-March 2014-15)
Imports $379.60bn (April-March 2015-16) $448.03bn (April-March 2014-15)
Trade Balance $118.46bn (April-March 2015-16) $137.69bn (April-March 2014-15)
Gross Tax Collections Rs 1,152,545cr (April-February 2015-16) Rs 954,953cr (April-February 2014-15)

IIP Growth

IIP Growth

  • India’s industrial production rose 2% in February compared to a 1.5% decline in January.

IIP-Core Sector Growth

Core IIP Growth

  • The country’s core sector growth accelerated to 6.4% in March compared to 5.7% in February.

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

Global Economy Review

Stagnation fear looms over the global economy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered the global economic forecast for 2016 for the second time this year to 3.2% from 3.4% predicted earlier. The fund warned that the global economy faces risks such as economic weakness in China, financial instability in emerging markets, terrorism and fraying political and economic ties in Europe. According to the IMF, a ‘potent mix’ of policies is needed to avoid global economic stagnation and tackle financial stability risks in advanced economies.

The IMF, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations and the World Bank have joined hands to set up a new ‘Platform for Collaboration on Tax’ to help developing countries fight tax evasion.

World GDP Growth

World GDP Growth

Major Indicators Current Previous Major Global Central Bank Latest Key Interest Rates
US GDP 0.5% Q1 2016 1.4% Q4 2015 US Fed Funds Rate 0.25-0.50%
US unemployment 5% April 2016 5% March 2016 Bank of England 0.50%
UK GDP 2.1% Q1 2016 2.1% Q4 2015 European Central Bank 0.05%
Euro Zone GDP 1.6% Q1 2016 1.6% Q4 2015 Japan Benchmark Rate 0-0.10%
Japan GDP -1.1% Q4 2015 1.4% Q3 2015    
China GDP 6.7% Q1 2016 6.8% Q4 2015    
Singapore’s GDP 1.8% Q4 2015 1.8% Q3 2015

US Fed keeps interest rates unchanged; growth slows in Q1, 2016

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) kept interest rates unchanged between 0.25% and 0.5% in its latest monetary policy meeting. It mentioned that it is closely watching inflation, and global economic and financial developments. The Fed pointed out that labour market conditions have improved even though growth in economic activity appears to have slowed. The country’s GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.5% in Q1 2016 following 1.4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, the IMF lowered the US’ 2016 growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.6% on anticipation of a hit on the country’s exports due to a strong dollar.

Key economic indicators

  • Trade gap widened 2.6% to $47.1 billion in February compared with January's trade deficit of $45.9 billion.
  • Import prices gained 0.2% in March after a downwardly revised 0.4% drop in February. Export prices were unchanged in March after declining 0.5% in February.
  • Industrial output fell 0.6% in March, same as in February.
  • Non-farm payrolls increased by 160,000 jobs in April compared with a downwardly revised 233,000 in March; the unemployment rate was steady at 5%.
  • Retail sales declined 0.3% in March after being unchanged in February.
  • Consumer prices gained 0.1% in March after falling 0.2% in February. Producer prices slipped 0.1% in March after dropping 0.2% in February.
  • In the housing sector, new home sales decreased 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 511,000 units in March. February's sales pace was revised up to 519,000 units. Existing home sales jumped 5.1% to an annual rate of 5.33 million in March after tumbling 7.3% to a revised 5.07 million in February.


ECB maintains its interest rates and warns about deflation

In the Eurozone, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept key interest rates unchanged in its latest meeting. ECB Chief Mario Draghi warned that inflation in the region is anticipated to turn negative again in the coming months. He expects negative interest rates for years to come. Inflation in the bloc was zero in March 2016 - well below the central bank’s target of close to 2%. The IMF lowered the growth forecast for the Eurozone to 1.5% in 2016 and 1.6% in 2017, down from its previous projection of 1.7% for both years. The region’s GDP expanded at an annualized pace of 1.6% in Q1 2016 compared to the same rate of growth in the previous quarter.

Key Eurozone economic indicators:

  • Trade surplus in goods was 19.0 billion euro in February 2016 compared with 20.0 billion euro surplus in February 2015.
  • Industrial output fell 0.8% in February after rising 1.9% in January.
  • Annual inflation was flat in March, up from -0.2% in February.
  • Retail sales increased 0.2% in February compared with 0.3% in January.
  • ZEW index of business expectations rose to a three-month high of 21.5 for April from 10.6 in March.

Increasing concerns about the UK’s likely exit from European Union

Uncertainty surrounding the UK’s referendum on the European Union (EU) membership took centre-stage in global parlance. The IMF issued stark warning that Britain’s exit (commonly termed as Brexit) from the EU could pose major challenges for the country as well as the region. Meanwhile, the UK economy expanded at an annualized pace of 2.1% in the March quarter, the same rate as in the previous quarter.

Key UK economic indicators:

  • Trade deficit came in at 12 billion pounds in February compared with a revised 12.2 billion for January.
  • Unemployment rose by 21,000 to 1.7 million in the three months to February. The jobless rate held steady at a decade low 5.1%.
  • Retail sales decreased 1.3% in February following a 0.4% decrease in the previous month.
  • Consumer prices rose 0.5% in March compared with February’s 0.3% gain.


Slowdown worries persist in China

China’s economic growth decelerated to 6.7% in Q1 2016 from 6.8% in Q4 2015. The IMF has nudged its growth forecast slightly higher to 6.5% this year, and 6.2% in 2017, partly due to previously announced policy stimulus moves.

Key Chinese economic indicators

  • Consumer price index rose 2.3% in March from a year earlier, same as in February.
  • The official manufacturing PMI rose to 50.2 in March, compared with 49 in February, while official nonmanufacturing PMI rose to 53.8 in March from 52.7 in February.
  • Exports rose 11.5% year-on-year in March, compared with February's 25.4% decline, while imports declined 7.6% in March, compared with February's 13.8% drop. Trade surplus narrowed to $29.86 billion in March from $32.5 billion in February.

BoJ unexpectedly refrains from introducing fresh stimulus measures

Japanese central bank – the Bank of Japan (BoJ) - kept interest rates unchanged at -0.1% as Governor Haruhiko Kuroda decided to take more time to assess the impact of negative interest rates. The BoJ also lowered the growth and inflation outlook. It trimmed FY16 growth forecast to 1.2% from the previous projection of 1.5% and reduced the inflation outlook to 0.5% from 0.8%. The IMF too cut Japan's growth forecast for 2016 in half to 0.5%.

Key Japanese economic indicators:

  • Trade surplus was 754.99 billion yen in March following 242.2 billion yen surplus in February. Current account surplus jumped 64% year-on-year in February to 2.43 trillion yen.
  • Retail sales fell 1.1% year-over-year in March against a rise of 0.4% in February.
  • The jobless rate fell to 3.2% in March from 3.3% in February.

Singapore’s Q1 growth beats expectations

Singapore’s economy expanded by 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2015 and by 2% for the whole of 2015, the weakest annual growth since 2009. The slow growth environment is expected to continue for Singapore's economy as cyclical factors put a dampener on economic growth, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in its biannual macroeconomic review. The central bank also said that company margins may come under pressure because of a weakening global economy, putting the labour market under further strain.

Domestic Fixed Income Review

Domestic G-sec Yield

6 Month LIBOR

Interbank call money rates remained below the repo rate of 6.50% for most parts of the month. Call rates were on the lower side primarily due to regular fund infusion by the RBI via repo auctions and open market operations, and inflows from the government’s month-end spending. The rates also declined as they aligned with the RBI's new repo rate of 6.50%. In the monetary policy review, the central bank had slashed the repo rate by 25 bps. The RBI raised the reverse repo rate to 6% and reduced the MSF rate to 7%, effectively shrinking the interest rate corridor to 100 bps from 200 bps. Further, the RBI said it would move to a neutral liquidity regime from its target of a banking system deficit of 1% of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL), which has been the norm for the last six years. Meanwhile, call rates rose slightly owing to redemption of repo auctions and outflows towards payment of state development bonds and value-added taxes.

Government bond prices (gilts) moved in a narrow range in the month. Yield on the 10-year benchmark – the 7.59%, 2026 paper – ended at 7.44% on April 29, 2016 compared with 7.46% on March 31, 2016. Gilts were positive earlier as market players built positions ahead of the RBI's policy announcement. However, some gains were reversed due to profit booking on the day of the policy review. Bonds were buoyed by the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD’s) above-average monsoon forecast and favourable consumer and wholesale inflation numbers. Expectations of open market bond purchases from the RBI enthused the investors further. The rupee’s sporadic recovery against the US dollar also lent some positive cues. Sentiments strengthened further following the outcome of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy announcement. In the policy meeting, the US central bank kept its interest rates unchanged and indicated that it is in no hurry to raise the same.

Further gain in the gilts was restricted as a result of tracking an intermittent rise in global crude oil prices and the US benchmark treasury yields. Bonds were also put under pressure as market players trimmed positions ahead of weekly gilt sales.

Among major developments

The government proposed to give more time to states to issue bonds under the UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana) scheme. It is also considering issuing fourth tranche of gold bonds around Akshaya Tritiya. RBI Deputy Governor H.R. Khan said the central bank is planning to prescribe a framework for authorisation of electronic dealing platforms for financial instruments regulated by it and also said the RBI will strive to develop the government bond market and will open up the market for foreign investors in a calibrated manner. The RBI said an entity can borrow a maximum of Rs 5,000 crore in a fiscal through issuance of rupee-denominated masala bonds overseas under the automatic route. It also reduced the minimum tenure of such bonds to three years from five years. The central bank permitted infrastructure debt funds to raise resources through bonds and commercial papers of less than five-year maturity. SEBI has made electronic book mandatory for all private placement issues on debt basis for more than Rs 500 crore.


Fixed Income Indicators

Rates & Liquidity

  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
Repo 6.50 6.50 6.75
Reverse Repo 6.00 6.00 5.75
CRR 4.00 4.00 4.00
LAF o/s Repo (Rscr) 10300 12110 17854
LAF o/s Rev Repo (Rscr) 15175 5375 41950

Overnight                                         Rate(%)

  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
Mibor 6.57 7.14 6.96
Call 6.65 5.90 12.00
CBLO 5.37 7.04 7.38
OIS 1Y 6.67 6.86 6.70
OIS 5Y 6.70 6.67 6.61

CDs                                                             Yield(%)

  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
1-Month 6.95 8.15 7.10
3-Month 7.35 8.03 7.06
6-Month 7.38 7.87 7.40
1-Year 7.48 7.85 7.40

CPs                                                   Yield(%)

  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
1-Month 7.93 9.24 7.80
3-Month 8.44 8.78 7.85
6-Month 8.50 8.87 8.43
1-Year 8.50 8.95 8.43

Short Term Bonds                                        Yield(%)

  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
1 Y G-Sec 7.04 7.23 7.02
1 Y AAA 7.73 7.90 7.80
1 Y AA 8.25 8.42 8.32
2 Y G-Sec 7.16 7.35 7.27
2 Y AAA 7.75 7.99 8.00
2 Y AA 8.22 8.46 8.47

Long Term Bonds                          Yield(%)

  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
5 Y G-Sec 7.46 7.66 7.52
5 Y AAA 8.08 8.20 8.17
5 Y AA 8.73 8.85 8.82
10 Y G-Sec 7.44 7.50 7.46
10 Y AAA 8.15 8.28 8.26
10 Y AA 8.97 9.10 9.08

Top 5 Graded G Secs                                   Yield(%)

  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
07.59% GS 2029 7.44 7.44 7.46
07.59% GS 2026 7.74 7.76 7.88
07.88% GS 2030 7.61 7.65 7.75
07.72% GS 2025 7.62 7.63 7.72
08.27% CGL 2020 7.38 7.40 7.54


  29-Apr-16 1 Week Ago 1 Month Ago
USD/INR 66.34 66.71 66.25
EURO/INR 97.40 95.75 75.10
GBP/INR 75.73 74.90 95.09
100 JPY/INR 61.96 59.37 59.06
USD/EURO 0.87 0.89 0.88


10 Year G-sec movement


Corporate Bond Yield


Corporate AAA, AA Bond Spreads


Economic Events Calendar

May 12, 2016
  • US Treasury Budget, April
  • US Import and Export Prices, April
  • Eurozone Industrial Production, March
  • Bank of England (BoE) Inflation report
  • BoE Monetary Policy Announcement & Minutes
  • India’s Consumer Price Index Inflation, April
  • India’s Index of Industrial Production, March
  May 27, 2016
  • US GDP, Q1 2016
  • US University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment, May
  • Japan’s Consumer Price Index, April
May 13, 2016
  • US Producer Price Index – Final Demand, April
  • US Retail Sales, April
  • US Business Inventories, March
  • US University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment, May
  • Eurozone GDP, Q1 2016
  • Japan’s Tertiary Index, March
  May 30, 2016
  • Eurozone Economic Sentiment, May
May 16, 2016
  • US Empire State Mfg Survey, May
  • US Housing Market Index, May
  • India’s Wholesale Price Index Inflation, April
  June 1, 2016
  • US Manufacturing PMI, May
  • US ISM Mfg Index, May
  • US ADP Employment Report, May
  • US Construction Spending, April
  • Eurozone Manufacturing PMI, May
  • UK CIPS/PMI Manufacturing, May
  • China’s Manufacturing PMI, May
  • Japan’s Manufacturing PMI, May
  • India’s Nikkei Manufacturing PMI, May
May 17, 2016
  • US Consumer Price Index, April
  • US Industrial Production, April
  • Eurozone Merchandise Trade, March
  • UK Consumer Price Index, April
  • UK Producer Price Index, April
  June 2, 2016
  • US Beige Book
  • Eurozone Central Bank Monetary Announcement
  • Eurozone Producer Price Index, April
May 18, 2016
  • Eurozone Consumer Price Index, April
  • UK Labour Market Report, April
  June 3, 2016
  • US Employment Situation, May
  • US International Trade, April
  • US Services PMI, May
  • US Factory Orders, April
  • US ISM Non-Mfg Index, April
  • Eurozone Retail Sales, April
  • UK CIPS/PMI Services Index, May
  • China’s Services PMI, May
  • Japan’s Composite PMI, May
  • India’s Nikkei Services PMI, May
May 19, 2016
  • US FOMC Minutes
  • US Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, May
  • US Chicago Fed National Activity Index, April
  • European Central bank Monetary Policy Minutes
  •  UK Retail Sales, April
  • Japan’s All Industry Index, March
  June 7, 2016
  • US Productivity and Costs, Q1 2016
  • Eurozone GDP (Preliminary), Q1 2016
  • China’s Trade Balance, May
May 20, 2016
  • US Existing Home Sales, April
  June 8, 2016
  • US Consumer Credit, April
  • UK Industrial Production, April
May 23, 2016
  • Eurozone Consumer Confidence, May
  June 9, 2016
  • US Wholesale Trade, April
  • UK Trade Balance, April
  • China’s Consumer Price Index, May
  • China’s Producer Price Index, May
May 24, 2016
  • US New Home Sales, April
  • US Manufacturing PMI, May
  • Eurozone Composite PMI, May
  • Japan’s PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, May
  June 10, 2016
  • US Producer Price Index, May
  • US University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment, June
  • Japan’s Tertiary Index, April
May 25, 2016
  • US International Trade, March
  • US FHFA House Price Index, March
May 26, 2016
  • US Durable Goods Orders, April
  • US Services PMI, April
  • US Pending Home Sales Index, April
  • UK GDP (revised), Q1 2016

US Fixed Income Markets - Overview

US treasury prices ended the month of April marginally lower after managing to recover losses in the second half of the month – the yield of the benchmark 10 year paper settled at 1.82% on April 29 as against 1.79% on March 31. Sentiment for safe haven debt improved after the US Federal Reserve in its latest policy meeting decided to keep interest rates unchanged, adding that further US interest rate hikes would be gradual. Some weak domestic economic data, including the latest GDP figures, triggered bond buying. Earlier, bond prices were under pressure as risk appetite improved due to intermittent rise in the domestic equity markets and an increase in crude oil prices. Selloffs were witnessed after ECB Chief Mario Draghi kept interest rates in the Eurozone unchanged, emphasizing that the ECB’s monetary policies are supporting the recovery in the bloc. Further gains were however capped owing to upbeat domestic jobs data and ISM manufacturing index for March. Rebound in the global equities and oil prices also prevented further rise of prices.

US 10 Year Govt. Bond Yield


Learning Centre– Marginal Cost-Based Lending (MCBL)

Until now banks were reluctant to pass on the benefits of rate cuts done by the RBI to their customers on the excuse that even through cost of fresh borrowing decreases because of rate cut, the legacy deposits interest rates remain high. This prompted the central bank to introduce a new concept called Marginal Cost-Based Lending (MCBL) wherein banks will have to link their lending rates to marginal funding costs (cost of fresh or incremental borrowings), with effect from April 1, 2016. This will ensure that if the bank cuts the rates on deposits, it will automatically have to transmit to lending rates also.

The rate used for this type of lending is called Marginal Cost-Based Lending Rate (MCLR). Technically, MCLR has four components – marginal cost of funds, negative carry on account of cash reserve ratio (CRR), operating costs and tenor premium. Earlier loans were priced at a spread over the Base Rate while now the spread will be over the MCLR, depending on the customer’s credit profile. It should be noted that banks are required to set at least five MCLR rates-overnight, one month, three month, six months and one year. Further, banks are free to set rates for longer durations as well. The rates have to be reviewed on a monthly basis, but banks that do not have the capacity to do monthly reviews on can do so quarterly till March 2017. Another point to be kept in mind is that these rates are applicable to all floating rate loans sanctioned after April 1, 2016 and fixed even fixed rate loans up to a tenor of three years.

On the customer front, if the loan was borrowed before March 31, 2016 it will be continue to be linked to the Base Rate, although it can be switched to MCLR at mutually agreed terms, including the charge for the switch.


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