Current Affairs May 2017 - Economic


News 1 - UN predicts India to achieve 7.1% growth this year and 7.5% in 2018

UN predicts

According to a UN report, India is expected to grow at 7.1% this year and at 7.5% in 2018 on account of higher private and public consumption and increased infrastructure spending.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific or ESCAP launched its annual flagship report 'The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017'.

The report also warned that the country faces heightened risks related to the concentration of bad loans in the public sector banks. It has projected inflation to reach 5.3-5.5% in 2017 and 2018.

News 2 - Reliance in union with SAP launched 'SARAL GST' app for taxpayers


Reliance Corporate IT Park Limited (“RCITPL”) in union with SAP software Solutions signed MoU to launch ‘SARAL GST’ solution for GST taxpayers. SARAL GST will ease the GST tax payment by GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) and SAP as Application Service Provider (ASP).

This will enable taxpayers to be GST compliant, pay online tax and smoothly access the Government’s GST System, once GST is rolled out from July 1, 2017.

SARAL GST offers taxpayers, focused and simplified operations, unified support and high quality of service, with enhanced with security features.

News 3 - Facebook ‘Express Wi-Fi’ launched in India

Express Wi-Fi

In order to get more people online, Facebook launched Facebook Express Wi-Fi in India in union with Bharti Airtel. With this Facebook will launch another 20,000 hotspots in India.

Anyone can run an Express Wi-Fi hotspot, which means entrepreneurs across the country can offer their communities faster and more affordable internet.

A user can access the Express Wi-Fi network by signing up with an Express Wi-Fi retailer and purchase a daily, weekly or monthly data pack. Then a user will be allowed to start browsing and get connected to the Express Wi Fi hotspot.

News 4 - India’s forex reserves reached record breaking $372.73 billion


Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement reported India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves at $372.73 billion. India’s foreign exchange reserves increased by $1.594 billion. The gold reserves remain at $19.869 billion.

Special Drawing Rights’ value has increased $8.5 million to reach $1.460 billion. RBI’s reserve position with the IMF also increased by $15.8 million to reach $2.347 billion.

The components of India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves include: Foreign currency assets (FCAs) and Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). RBI’s reserves with International Monetary Fund FCAs constitute the largest component of the Forex Reserves.

News 5 - India’s largest blog conference BlogX acquired by Techmagnate


India's largest blog conference BlogX was acquired by India's leading Digital Marketing Agency Techmagnate. Blog X is blog conference where bloggers and content managers connect.

The step was taken by Techmagnate to expand and increase the reach of BlogX across the country and hoping to connect with buzzing community of bloggers and social influencers. Techmagnate offers digital marketing services in India.

The new acquisition is meant to open doors of new opportunities for Techmagnate and further give a competitive edge to its growth.

News 6 - Ola in union with Airtel to bring digital offerings to customers


Ola Money to integrate with Airtel digital properties to offer a wide range of convenient digital payment solutions to customers.

In an innovative collaboration, Airtel retail points will set up special mobility assistance zones to help customers make Ola bookings; Ola’s driver partners to assist Airtel customers recharge prepaid accounts.

Ola devices will be powered by Airtel 4G so as to enhance Ola’s mobility experience and benefit Ola’s driver partners. Ola app will offer a range of exciting digital services to customers, after this strategic partnership.

News 7 - IMF predicted India’s GDP at 7.7% in 2018-19


The International Monetary Fund predicted India's growth at 7.2% in the 2017-18 and 7.7% in 2018-19 due to disruptions caused by demonetization.

IMF has also recommended the removal of long-standing structural bottlenecks to enhance market efficiency. It said temporary disruptions caused by cash shortages accompanying the currency exchange initiative are expected to gradually dissipate in 2017 as cash shortages ease.

According to IMF, disruptions would also be offset from a favorable monsoon season and continued progress in resolving supply-side bottlenecks.

News 8 - IRCTC launched cash-on-delivery for train tickets


IRCTC has launched ‘Pay on Delivery’, which allows people to book their train tickets online and get them delivered at home. ‘Pay on Delivery’ payment option would allow the user to pay at the time of delivery through any payment mode including cash. The customer will have to provide either their ADHAAR or PANCARD to avail this payment option.

IRCTC will make this service available in over 600 cities and towns in the first phase. The facility would be initially available 5 days before the departure date. The charges for delivery will be Rs 90 + service tax for transaction up to Rs 5,000 and Rs 120 + ST for more than Rs 5,000.

News 9 - India will clock over 7.5% growth in 2017-18: Finance Secretary

Finance Secretary

Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said that India can clock a GDP growth of over 7.5% in the fiscal 2017-18.

Mr Lavasa said that the potential for additional consumption in India, driven by changing lifestyles and growing urbanisation, are several positives in the Indian economy. This would help the Indian economy to continue to grow at a healthy rate as well as be a very attractive destination for many investors.

News 10 - Government revised base year of WPI, IIP to 2011-2012 from 2004-05


The government has revised the base year of Wholesale Price Index, WPI and Index of Industrial Production, IIP to 2011-2012 from 2004-05. As per the new series, April WPI inflation stood at 3.85% and March IIP at 2.7%. The Consumer Price Index-based inflation in April stood at 2.99%.

In the new series, prices used for compilation do not include indirect taxes and will remove impact of fiscal policy. 173 new items have been added under manufacturing goods. The new Index of Industrial Production, IIP series captures work in progress for capital goods to avoid volatility. It has 407 item groups, as against 399 in old series.

News 11 - FICCI projected India’s GDP at 7.4% in 2017-18


Economic Outlook Survey released by FICCI pegged India's gross domestic product at 7.4% for the year 2017-18, owing to performance in industry and services sector growth. According to FICCI, industry and services sector are expected to grow by 6.9% and 8.4% respectively in 2017-18.

FICCI projected a median forecast of 48% for the Consumer Price Index in 2017-18. The wholesale price index based inflation rate is projected at 5% in 2017-18, with a minimum and maximum range of 36% and 59% respectively.

News 12 - Tata Group Named as Most Valuable Brand in India

Tata Group

According to a report released by Brand Finance, a global brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm, Tata Group is the most valuable brand in India at an estimated $13.1 billion in 2017. The report published list of India’s 100 most valuable brands.

Airtel, with an estimated valuation of $7.7 billion, ranked second in the list followed by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) with $6.8 billion. Infosys ranked fourth in the list with an estimated value of $6.2 billion. SBI ranked fifth in the list.

News 13 - Japan's SoftBank made largest fund infusion in Indian start-up Paytm


A huge amount of funds Rs. 9,000 crore was invested by Japan's SoftBank in Indian start up Paytm. The deal values $8 billion. The deal will help Paytm achieve their targets, expand payments bank operations, introduce more financial products for consumers.

The other start-ups who are involved with the investment by SoftBank are Snapdeal and Ola earlier with an amount of $2 billion.

Paytm has marked huge expansion in number of users during demonetization and the company offers mobile wallet and e-commerce services to over 220 million users.

News 14 - Forex reserves decline by USD 443.6 million to USD 375.27 billion


India's foreign exchange reserves declined by USD 443.6 million to USD 375.27 billion in the week ended 12th May. Foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves, dipped by USD 429.4 million to USD 351.10 billion. In the previous week, the reserves had touched a life-time high of USD 375.71 billion.

Gold reserves remained steady at USD 20.438 billion. India's special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund decreased by USD 5.5 million to USD 1.454 billion, while the country's reserve position also dipped by USD 8.7 million to USD 2.280 billion.

News 15 - BSNL inked agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik


BSNL has signed a pact with Facebook and MobiKwik to commemorate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

As a part of the MoU with Facebook, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will provide connectivity for the social network’s Rs.Express Wi-Fi Program’ while Mobikwik will help co-create a BSNL mobile wallet to facilitate payment for its products and services. MobiKwik will also enable “digital sale” of BSNL SIM cards through its app and website.