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Paytm raises $1 Bn in financing round from SoftBank, Ant, others

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New Delhi: India’s digital payments pioneer Paytm announced new funding from existing shareholders like SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund and new investors, as competition in the country’s finance sector heats up.

The company has raised $1 billion in a funding round led by the US-based asset manager T Rowe Price. The others include existing investors Softbank and Ant Financials, which have invested $200 million and $400 million, respectively. Existing investor Discovery Capital and D1 Capital also participated in this round.

Company-founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma confirmed the investments. The funding round valued Paytm at $16 billion, making it the second most valued Indian startup after Flipkart. In 2018, Flipkart was valued at $21 billion when Walmart acquired a majority stake in the company.

The company will expand into insurance, lending and investments and invest 100 billion rupees ($1.39 billion) over the next three years to include more users in the country, Paytm said.

Paytm’s investment comes almost a year after it had raised money from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in September last year. The funding round had valued the company at $10 billion.In the previous round, Paytm had raised $300 million from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2018. The company was valued at $10 billion then. In the year since, the company has cashed out employee stock options. This is the first primary funding round since Berkshire Hathaway’s investment.

As for competition, Sharma was confident that they are miles ahead of Paytm’s rivals GooglePay, Amazon Pay and PhonePe. He added that these platforms have been spending billions of dollars in the last two-three years but couldn’t even “touch” their payments business. “We have been successful in not just protecting but increasing our market leadership,” he stated

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For Operation Of Passenger Train Services,Ministry of Railway Invites Private Participation.

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The Ministry of Railways has issued a notification inviting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for private participation for operation of passenger train services over 109 Origin Destination(OD) pairs of routes through introduction of 151 modern Trains (Rakes).

It has been stated by the Ministry that the 109 OD Pairs have been formed into 12 Clusters across the Indian Railway network. Each Train shall have a minimum of 16 coaches.

Majority of the trains will be manufactured in India while the project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore and the private entity will be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains.

Trains shall be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph which will make it faster than the fastest train of Indian Railways operating in the respective route.

Being the first initiative of private investment for running Passenger Trains over Indian Railways network, the objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers, and also reduce demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector.

The Concession Period for the project shall be 35 years.

These trains shall be operated by the Driver and Guard of Indian Railways. Further Operation and maintenance of the passenger trains would be governed by standards and specifications and requirements specified by Indian Railways.

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