Current Affairs November 2017 - Economic
1 - Mineral Production during August 2017 (Provisional)
The index of mineral production of mining and quarrying sector for the month of August 2017 at 92.7 was 9.4% higher as compared to of August 2016. The cumulative growth for the period April- August 2017-18 over the corresponding period of previous year has been (+) 3.3%.
The total estimated value of mineral production in the country during August 2017 was Rs. 18015 crore. The contribution of Coal was the highest at Rs. 6158 crore (34%). Petroleum, Natural gas, Iron ore, Lignite and Limestone together contributed about 94% of the total value of mineral production in August 2017.
2 - Patanjali signed MoU with GoI of 1000 crore
The inaugural day of World Food India 2017 saw signing of 13 MoUs worth Rs. 68,000 crore. Patanjali committed to invest Rs 10,000 crore by signing MoU with GoI.
These investments will help in doubling farmers’ income as well as generating massive employment in the food-processing sector. Other MoUs signed included Amazon in food retail business, Sharaf Group of UAE for Farm produce, collection, processing and Export; YES Bank for financing food processing projects across the sector. Patanjali Ayurved Ltd is an Indian FMCG company that manufactures Ayurvedic herbal products.
3 - Third Protocol to the Convention between Government of India and New Zealand notified
The Third Protocol for amendment of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of New Zealand for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income was signed by both countries.
The Protocol updates the existing framework of exchange of tax related information to latest international standard, which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and will enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes.
4 - India signed loan agreement with World Bank for US$ 119 Million
Financing Agreement for IBRD loan of US$ 119 million (equivalent) for the “Odisha Higher Education Program for Excellence & Equity (OHEPEE) Project” was signed with the World Bank. A Project Agreement was also signed by Mr. G.V.V. Sarma, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Government of Odisha and Mr. Hisham A. Abdo Kahin, Acting Country Director, World Bank.
The Objective of the project is to improve the quality of 'students’ equitable access to selected institutions and enhance governance of the higher education system in Odisha.
5 - GST Council reduced tax from 28 to 18% on 178 items
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council announced major changes in the new national law, reducing tax rate on a wide range of products. After the Council's meeting in Guwahati, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reduced tax on 178 items, from 28% to 18% and now only 50 items remain in the highest tax slab of 28%.
Dining out will be taxed at 5% rather than 18%, without Input Tax Credit (ITC). Hotel and Restaurant Associations President Garish Oberoi demanded to bring down GST rate on restaurants to 12% with ITC or at 5% without ITC.
6 - Price of new series of SGBs fixed at ?2,961 per gram
The price of the new series of Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs) has been fixed at 2,961 rupees per gram. It has been offered at a discount of 50 rupees per gram to investors applying online and making payments digitally.
Under this scheme, the bonds are denominated in units of one gram of gold and multiples thereof.
Minimum investment in the bonds is one gram, with a maximum limit of 500 grams per person, per fiscal year.
7 - Ola in union with Microsoft will build connected vehicle platform
Microsoft and Ola will be creating a new connected vehicle platform for car manufacturers worldwide. According to partnership deal, Microsoft will be a preferred cloud provider and will use Microsoft Azure to power Ola Play, the company’s existing connected car platform. This will provide passengers, an improved experience due to better in-car productivity, advanced navigation system, denoting maintenance of vehicles etc.
Ola Play customers will be able to use Office 365 and Skype for Business, as well as voice-assisted controls, during their ride. Ola Play is the world’s first connected car platform for ridesharing to enhance driver experiences.
8 - Foreign tourist arrival in India increased by 18.1%
Foreign tourist arrival in India has increased by 18.1% as compared to 2016. The number of foreign tourist arrivals in India was 8.76 lakh as compared to 7.42 lakh previously. Most tourists came from Bangladesh followed by the US, the UK, Sri Lanka, Canada and Germany.
A total of 1.76 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa, registering a growth of 67.3 percent. Around 12.43 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-tourist visas against 7.81 lakh during the same period previous year, registering a growth of 59.2%.
9 - Uber entered into agreement with SoftBank
SoftBank and Uber Technologies Inc. entered into an agreement where SoftBank Group Corp.’s will invest $1 billion in Uber and proceed with a tender offer to buy up to $9 billion stake from existing investors. Deal states that SoftBank will buy shares from existing investors and Uber employees, which will allow SoftBank to maintain its stake up to 14%.
SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational telecommunications corporation, based in Tokyo. Uber Technologies Inc. is a global transportation technology company, based in San Francisco, California, United States.
10 - India launched BHARAT-22 Exchange Traded Fund
The Government of India launched the BHARAT-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) managed by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund targeting an initial amount of about Rs. 8,000 crore. The strength of this ETF lies in the specially created Index S&P BSE BHARAT-22 INDEX. This Index is a unique blend of shares of key CPSEs, Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and also the Government owned shares in blue chip private companies like Larsen & Tubro (L&T), Axis Bank and ITC.
The Sector and Stock exposure limits help in risk management and reduction of concentration, providing stability to the Index.
11 - NEA, CTGC signed JV pact for construction of West Seti Hydropower Project
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) signed a joint venture agreement with a Chinese company to construct 750-MW West Seti Hydropower Project. It will be one of the largest reservoir type hydro project in Nepal. The estimated cost of project will be 1.8 billion US dollars.
CTGC will have 75% stake in the joint venture and NEA will hold remaining 25%. The project will be completed in 79 months after start of construction work. West Seti project will be spread over Baitadi, Bajhang, Dadeldhura and Doti districts of Nepal.
12 - Bank of America-Merrill Lynch reported India to be third largest economy by 2028
According to a report unveiled by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, India will become third largest economy by 2028. India will lead ahead of Japan and Germany in terms of nominal GDP by 2028. India is expected to replace Japan in becoming world’s fifth largest economy by 2019. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch reported that India would grow by 10% every year in the upcoming 10 years.
It was reported on basis of India’s reduced dependency ratios, which are in-turn increasing saving and investment rates. While, lower lending rates structure due to financial maturity and increasing incomes that support 7% real GDP growth.
13 - SARTTAC meeting held in Delhi
An Interim Meeting of the Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) was held in Delhi, to assess the Centre’s activities since its inauguration in February 2017 and to review the Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan. The Committee welcomed progress in securing over 90 percent of the financing for SARTTAC’s first five-year (2017-2022) Phase.
The South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC), which was inaugurated in February 2017, is the first IMF Regional Capacity Development Center to integrate training and technical assistance activities.
14 - Moody’s upgraded Sovereign Credit Rating of India to Baa2 from Baa3
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has upgraded the Government of India's local and foreign currency issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed the outlook on the rating to stable from positive. India’s rating has been upgraded after a period of 13 years. India’s sovereign credit rating was last upgraded in January 2004 to Baa3 (from Ba1).
Moody’s have also rightly recognized the Government’s commitment to macro stability which has led to low inflation, declining deficit and prudent external balance and Government’s fiscal consolidation program, which has reduced fiscal deficits from 4.5% of GDP in 2013-14 to 3.5% in 2016-17.
15 - India inked loan agreement with the World Bank for USD 100 Million
A guarantee agreement for IBRD/CTF loan of USD 98 Million and grant agreement for USD 2 million for the “Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project” was inked between the World Bank and Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India.
The objective of the project is to increase solar generation capacity through establishment of large-scale parks in the country. The project will help establish large-scale solar parks and support the government’s plan to install 100 Gigawatts (GW) of solar power out of a total renewable-energy target of 175 GW by 2022.
16 - Moody's reported budget deficit may rise in FY18
US-based rating agency Moody's reported that, lower taxes and higher public expenditure may widen budget deficit in 2017-18, but steps taken by the government to broaden the tax base and improve spending efficiency would help in narrowing it going forward.
The government's commitment to fiscal consolidation and sustained growth would help it reduce debt burden. Moody's had, recently, raised India's sovereign rating for the first time in over 13 years, to Baa2 from Baa3 and rating outlook was changed to stable from positive.
17 - Moody’s Investors service upgraded ratings after 13 years
Moody's Investors Service upgraded ratings of nine state-owned firms. These are Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL), Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), NHPC, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and GAIL India.
This upgrade comes after 13 years. India's sovereign credit rating was last upgraded in January 2004 to Baa2 from Baa3. Ratings of NTPC, NHPC, NHAI) and GAIL India have been raised to Baa2 stable.
18 - India becomes second largest fish producing country in the world
India has become the second largest fish producing country in the world. The Union Government has launched the scheme 'Blue Revolution' with the outlay of Rs. 300 crore for the integrated development of the Fisheries sector in the country. As a result, overall fish production has registered an increase of about 18.86%.
The total fish production in the country has reached at about 11.41 million tonnes in 2016 17. India has exported fish products amounting to US$ 5.78 billion (Rs. 37,871 crore) during 2016-17.
19 - Facebook aims to train five lakh Indians on digital skills by 2020
Facebook plans to train five lakh people in India on digital skills by 2020. It has unveiled two-programs that are Facebook Digital Training and Facebook Start-up Training Hubs, designed for individuals and start-ups.
These programs are being rolled out in India before any other country. These tools will help people learn digital skills and enable entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses in digitizing their business. India is poised to have a digital economy worth $1 trillion by 2022.
20 - Government notified post-GST rates for claiming rebate of taxes on exports
Government notified post-GST rates for claiming rebate of state levies or taxes under the scheme for Remission of State Levies on exports of ready-made garments, made-ups and under AA-RoSL for garments. Government had also enhanced rates for incentives for garments and made-ups from 2% to 4% of value of exports under merchandise exports from India. This will boost exports and generate employment in labour intensive textiles and apparel sector.
Post-GST rates of RoSL were made up to a maximum of 1.7% for cotton garments, 1.25% for manmade fibre (MMF), silk and woolen garments and 1.48% for apparel of blends.
21 - FDI up 17% to $25.35 Billion during April-Sept this fiscal
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country increased by 17% to USD 25.35 billion during April-September fiscal from USD 21.62 billion in the year-ago period.
The total FDI into India including equity inflows, reinvested earnings and other capital stood at USD 518.10 Billion during April 2000 to September 2017. The main sectors, which attract foreign inflows, include services, telecom, trading, computer hardware, software, and automobile. Bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan.
22 - S&P Retains India’s Sovereign Rating at 'BBB-'
Global rating agency Standard and Poor has retained India’s sovereign rating at BBB- with a stable outlook. The agency affirmed its ‘BBB ’ long-term and ‘A-3’ short-term sovereign credit ratings on India.
India remains at the lowest investment grade. The rating by S&P was affected by India’s low wealth levels, measured by GDP per capita, which it estimated at $2,000 in 2017.Earlier, Moody’s had raised India’s sovereign ratings to Baa2 from Baa3. The rating upgrade by Moody’s was the first in 14 years.