Current Affairs March 2017 - Economic


News 1 - DIFC and GIFT City signed MoU


The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation and collaboration between the two financial centres.

As a part of the MoU, both the centres will share best practices, exchange of information on banking, financial service and securities, legislation and regulation and cooperation in training. Indian institutions make up the third largest community of financial firms at DIFC after the US and the UK.

News 2 - Cisco and Reliance Jio Build World’s Largest All-IP Digital Services Platform


Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (“Jio”) has partnered with Cisco to further expand Jio’s existing multi-terabit capacity with the first All-IP converged network.

With this network, Jio offers a unique combination of high-speed data, mobile video, VoLTE, digital commerce, media, cloud, and payment services. The All-IP network is built for the ever-increasing volumes of data, and its promise to shape the future of India, with end-to-end digital solutions and broadband for all.

News 3 - BEML launched 200KW solar rooftop project in Mysore


Bharat Earth Movers Limited, a Mini Ratna Category-1 Public Sector Company under the Ministry of Defence, has inaugurated a 200 KWp grid connected Rooftop Solar project at its Mysore Complex. With this, BEML moved towards achieving the target of utilizing 100% Renewable energy for Captive Consumption.

BEML has commenced its initiation by setting up a 5MW Windmill Project at Gadag District, Karnataka. It also set up 18 MW windmill project in Koppal and Bagalkot districts in Karnataka from which 9MW electricity is already getting generated. The balance 9MW project is under commissioning.

News 4 - ET Money ties up with HDFC Life to launch data-led insurance policy

ET Money

HDFC Life launched an exclusive data-led group term insurance plan in partnership with ET Money. This is the country's first term insurance plan based on the spend pattern of the users.

It will help HDFC Life reach out to the customers in a paperless, self-help environment with privacy and convenience. One can get a group term life insurance coverage that ranges anywhere from Rs. 25-50 lakhs.

News 5 - Bharti Airtel and Millicom sign pact to merge in Ghana

Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel Ltd (Airtel) and Millicom International Cellular S.A. (Millicom) have inked an agreement through their subsidiaries Airtel Ghana Ltd and Tigo Ghana Ltd respectively to combine their operations in Ghana.

Airtel and Millicom will have equal ownership and governance rights in the combined entity. The combined business would serve nearly 10 million customers, of which 5.6 million are data customers. It would cover more than 80% of Ghana’s population with high speed data. The revenues would be around USD 300 million.

News 6 - MakeMyTrip partnered with PayPal for hotel bookings


PayPal has partnered with MakeMyTrip, Indian online travel booking company, to facilitate hotel and holidays booking in addition to airline tickets. MakeMyTrip will automatically send invoices to customers by an email along with a link that can be followed to complete payment through PayPal.

The partnership with MakeMyTrip will help foreign tourists continue to enjoy the seamless and secure PayPal experience to book hotels and holiday packages and tide through the recent challenges they are facing post the demonetisation of select Indian currencies.

News 7 - NTPC commissioned 45 MW of Bhadla solar plant


NTPC has commissioned 45 Megwatt of Bhadla solar power plant. It had commissioned 115 MW of the plant in the previous month. With this, the company’s total installed capacity has become 48,188 MW.

Bhadla solar park is a proposed 2,255 MW solar power plant located at Bhadla in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. NTPC has plans to set up 10,000 MW renewable projects by 2022. NTPC now has 19 coal based, seven gas based, 10 solar PV, one hydro and nine subsidiaries or joint venture power stations.

News 8 - Direct Tax Collections up to February, 2017 show growth of 10.7%

Direct Tax Collections

The Direct Tax collections up to February, 2017 net of refunds stands at Rs. 6.17 lakh crore, which is 10.7 % more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year. This collection is 72.9 % of the total Budget Estimates for Direct Taxes for Financial Year 2016-17.

The growth rate under Corporate Income Tax (CIT) is 11.9% while that under Personal Income Tax (PIT) (including STT) is 20.8 %. However, after adjusting for refunds, the net growth in CIT collections is 2.6 % while that in PIT collections is 19.5 %. Refunds amounting to Rs.1.48 lakh crore have been issued during April 2016- February 2017.

News 9 - Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation


The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation increased to 5.2% in January, 2017 from 3.4% in the previous month mainly due to rise in ‘fuel & power’ inflation reflecting hike in global crude oil prices.

The Government has taken a number of measures to control inflation like: (i) increased allocation for Price Stabilization Fund in the budget 2017-18 to check volatility of prices of essential commodities, in particular of pulses; (ii) created buffer stock of pulses through domestic procurement and imports; (iii) announced higher Minimum Support Prices so as to incentivize production; (iv) imposed 20 per cent duty on export of sugar; and (vi) reduced import duty on potatoes, wheat and palm oil.

News 10 - Intel buys Mobileye for $ 15.3 billion


Intel has acquired Mobileye, a leader in computer vision for autonomous driving technology, for $15.3 billion. It is the biggestever acquisition of an Israeli tech company. Mobileye accounts for 70 percent of the global market for advanced driver-assistance and anti-collision systems.

The deal values Mobileye at $63.54 per share in cash. The deal is expected to close in about nine months. Mobileye’s CTO and co-founder, Professor Amnon Shashua, will lead Intel’s autonomous driving division, which will be based in Israel.

News 11 - Jet Airways partnered with Uber

Jet Airways

Jet Airways has partnered with ride-hailing app Uber to offer its customers a greater choice by facilitating their travel to/from the airport once they have booked a ticket on the Jet Airways app.

Uber has 4 lakh driver partners registered on its platform and operates in 29 cities in India. The feature is also being rolled out in other markets like South Africa, Egypt, Russia, etc.

News 12 - BHEL's first 800-MW supercritical power plant starts commercial operation


Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commenced commercial operation of its first 800 MW unit, which is the highest-rating coalbased supercritical thermal power plant. The milestone was achieved for the first unit of the 2x800 MW Yeramarus Thermal Power Station of Raichur Power Corporation Limited (RPCL), in the Raichur district of Karnataka.

Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) and BHEL are the main equity partners of RPCL, the owner and operator of this power plant.

News 13 - Essar's Nand Niketan Township becomes India's First Private Sector Township to go cashless

Essar's Nand Niketan

Essar's Nand Niketan Township became India's first private sector township to go cashless with the help of The Mobile Wallet (TMW), a Mumbai-based financial technology company. The Wallet is powered by the RBL Bank Ltd.

The pilot project involved the adoption of TMW’s twin offering—the smartphone-based TMW app and the MasterCard-enabled TMW and RBL Bank co-branded Prepaid Card, which has almost universal acceptance at all outlets and billers that accept MasterCard in India.

News 14 - GST Council approved SGST & UTGST Draft Bills


The Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council in its 12th meeting held at New Delhi, approved the final drafts of UTGST (Union Territory GST) and SGST (state GST).

With this, all five enabling draft bills stand approved.

The draft bills now need to be approved by the Cabinet and tabled in the Parliament's ongoing budget session. July 1 is the tentative date of GST's implementation.

News 15 - ONGC to invest Rs. 21,500 crores in India's deepest gas find


State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will invest over Rs. 21,528.10 crores to develop India’s deepest gas discovery by 2022-23. The company will use the investment in developing the ultra-deep-sea UD-1 find. It will help ONGC double its output from its prime KG basin block.

ONGC is planning to drill nine wells on the discovery which will produce a peak output of 19 million standard cubic metres per day.

News 16 - Aeries Financial Tech and Rubique enter a partnership


Aeries Financial Technologies has inked a strategic partnership for its fin-tech tech product "CASHe" with online marketplace for financial products Rubique.

As a part of the agreement, Rubique will enlist CASHe on its online platform for borrowers to avail viable short-term loan products from CASHe. CASHe is India’s most preferred fintech company in the personal lending space with multiple loan products ranging from Rs. 5,000-1 lakh payable over 15, 30 and 90 days.

News 17 - NEXTracker to Expand Manufacturing in India


NEXTracker, a Flex company, will be manufacturing additional structural components of its solar tracking systems locally in India. It has partnered with APL Apollo Tubes Limited along with four other local steel fabricators.

NEXTracker will be increasing its local steel content percentage to over 80% by volume and weight of its final product. The association will reduce the shipment time by up to 50%.

News 18 - Samsung Pay launched in India

Samsung Pay

Samsung launched a new digital payments service in India, called Samsung Pay. Users of Samsung S7 Edge, S7, S6 Edge Plus, A series 2016 and 2017, and Note 5 can avail their service. It will be available on Visa, MasterCard and Rupay payment cards. ICICI, HDFC, Standard Chartered, SBI, Axis bank cards will be supported, along with Paytm and Amex cards.

The service enables consumers to pay for products and services by simply waving their Samsung smart phone near a cash register.

News 19 - HUDCO received SEBI approval to float an IPO


SEBI has approved the application of Staterun Housing and Urban Development Corp. Ltd (HUDCO) to raise funds through an initial share sale as part of the government’s disinvestment drive.

The initial public offer will comprise sale of 200,190,000 equity shares—10% stake—by the central government through an offer for sale (OFS) route. The government holds 100% stake in the company. IDBI Capital, Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities, SBI Capital Markets and ICICI Securities will manage the company’s public issue.

News 20 - Government removed 1% TCS on cash purchase above Rs. 2 lakh

Government removed

The Government has removed the 1% tax on cash payments of over 2 lakh rupees for purchase of any goods or service after it banned cash dealings above that limit from 1st of April. The tax at source on goods and services, including jewellery, has now been removed through an amendment to the Finance Bill, 2017.

The Government in the previous Budget had provided for the seller to collect tax at the rate of 1% from the purchaser on sale in cash of any goods or offering any services exceeding 2 lakh rupees.

News 21 - ONGC to buy debt-ridden Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation

Gujarat State Petroleum

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation announced to buy an 80% stake in the KG-basin natural gas block in debt-ridden Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation for $1.2 billion. Deal has been inked such that ONGC will pay $995.26 million for three discoveries in the KG-OSN-2001/3 block.

The share holding pattern will be such that 80% stake will be bought by ONGC, rest Geo Global Resources (India) and Jubilant Offshore Drilling Private Limited will hold 10% stake each. ONGC will pay for the full development cost.

News 22 - Idea Cellular approved the merger with Vodafone India, Vodafone Mobile Services

Idea Cellular

The board of directors of Idea Cellular approved the scheme of amalgamation of Vodafone India Limited (VIL) and its wholly owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services Limited (VMSL) with the company.

The transaction is subject to necessary approvals from concerned authorities, including SEBI, Department of Telecom, RBI and others. The Idea-Vodafone merger will create the country's biggest telecom services provider with a customer base of over 394 million.

News 23 - Airtel acquired Tikona’s 4G business for ₹1,600 crores


Tikona Digital Networks has sold its 4G spectrum to Airtel in a deal assumed to be at Rs. 1600 crore and expected to be completed in 60 days. Tikona had acquired the spectrum in 2010 for ₹1,058 crores.

Bharti Airtel will also assume Tikona’s debt of about ₹450-500 crore. The deal also includes 350 telecom towers owned by Tikona. Post completion of the deal, Airtel will have 30 MHz in the 2300 MHz band in 13 circles.

News 24 - Pawan Hans ties-up with HAL to train Helicopter Pilots


The State-run Pawan Hans together with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will train Helicopter Pilots. The tie-up is a first of its kind as there is no training facility for chopper pilots. The course will begin in Bengaluru in July.

Pawan Hans also tied-up with Mumbai University to offer a Bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering along with a course on aircraft maintenance engineering from the next academic session. Pawan Hans is a joint venture where state-owned ONGC holds 49%.

News 25 - BHEL commissioned a 250-MW eco-friendly power plant in Gujarat

power plant

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has successfully commissioned 250 MW unit based on eco-friendly Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFBC) technology, using low grade coal (lignite) as the primary fuel.

It is the second unit to be commissioned at Bhavnagar Energy Company Limited (BECL)'s 2x250 MW thermal power project, located at Padva village in Bhavnagar District of Gujarat. The first unit of the project was commissioned earlier in May, 2016. The project is based on CFBC technology – an environment friendly technology to utilize India's large resource of low grade, high moisture lignite.

News 26 - India exports buffalo meat worth over Rs. 21,300 Cr between April 2016 to Jan 2017

India exports

India exported buffalo meat worth over 21300 crore rupees between April 2016 to January 2017. As per the existing Meat Export Policy, export of beef is not permitted. Only boneless meat of buffalo, meat of goat, sheep and birds is permitted for export.

The major importers of these products include Bhutan, Nepal, Gabon, Germany and Japan. Processed meat is exported to the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Vietnam, Italy, Canada, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Maldives and the USA.

News 27 - Bharat Dynamics, L&T sign up for torpedo export

Bharat Dynamics

The Union Government has facilitated a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) and L&T for export Torpedoes (LWT-XP).

The torpedoes are designed and developed by the Naval Science & Technology Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam. However, they are manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), the defence public sector unit. Hyderabadbased BDL is also the main producer of all indigenously developed missiles. NSTL is a leading research lab under the DRDO, which is supporting the Navy.

News 28 - CCI imposed Rs. 591 crore as penalty on Coal India

Coal India

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of₹591.01 crore upon Coal India Limited (CIL) for fuel supply pacts.

The CCI had found that CIL and its subsidiaries violated the Competition Act by imposing unfair and discriminatory conditions in Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs) with power producers for supply of non-coking coal.

The CCI has also asked for modification of the FSA. CCI is the fair-trade regulator in the country.