Current Affairs October 2016 - Economic
News 1 - Cabinet approves acquisition of 11% stake in JSC Vankorneft by ONGC Videsh Limited
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to an acquisition by ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) for 11% stake in JSC Vankorneft from M/s Rosneft Oil Company (Rosneft), the National Oil Company (NOC) of Russian Federation (Russia). Rosneft operates Vankor fields, with Vankorneft, its wholly owned subsidiary.
OVL will be paying an amount of US $ 930 million for acquiring 11% stake in Vankorneft. The acquisition of stake in Vankorneft will provide 3.2 Million Metric Ton of Oil Equivalent (MMTOE) to OVL by 2017. It will also provide an opportunity to acquire new technologies from Rosneft.
News 2 - Spectrum auction ended with bids worth Rs. 65,789 Crores in 5 days
India’s biggest auction of telecom spectrum ended with Rs 65,789 crore of bids coming in over five days. It is against an expectation of Rs 5.6 lakh crore leaving nearly 60% of airwaves, including premium 4G bands unsold.
Bids were received for 964.80 Mega Hertz of spectrum out of 2,354.55 Mega Hertz across seven bands put on offer. The total upfront payment to the government is about Rs 32,000 crore which is the highest in the last five years.
News 3 - Government to get Rs. 37000 crores from spectrum auction this fiscal
The government will garner as much as 37,000 crore rupees this fiscal from spectrum auction after considering close to 5,000 crore rupees of service tax that telecom companies will pay. The government has received commitment of 65,789 crore rupees by selling 964.80 MHz of spectrum.
The spectrum will be assigned to the winning companies within one month of their depositing the money. Against total of 930 MHz of spectrum sold over the last four years, government sold 965 MHz of spectrum in the 2016 auctions.
News 4 - Union Government extends anti-dumping duty on certain Chinese products
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has extended anti-dumping duty on import of Chinese products for another 5 years based on recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD).
The products under consideration are Narrow woven fabrics hook and loop velcro tapes, mainly used in garment manufacturing, surgical and orthopaedic apparatus, shoes and footwear, luggage/bags, toys, automobile upholstery and various other industrial segments. Anti-dumping duty will be charged at the rate of $1.87 per kilogram.
News 5 - Nirmala Sitharaman launched Enhanced Foreign Trade Data Dashboard
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched a new enhanced Dashboard on Foreign Trade Data as part of the initiative of the ministry to provide easy access to the public regarding India’s export, import and balance of trade data in an analytical format, over time and space.
The Dashboard is an improved version of the earlier EXIM Analytics's Dashboard developed with many added features. It gives a graphical collection of exports, imports and balance of trade of India; the Export turnover of the country, how it performs over time and space and what are the export destinations.
News 6 - Indirect tax collection shows an increase of 25.9%
Indirect tax collections in the first six months in the current fiscal have shown an increase of 25.9% over the net collections for the corresponding period last year. Total Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs tax collections as on 30th Sep, 2016 stood at 4.08 lakh crore rupees. 52.5% of the Budget Estimates of indirect taxes for 2016-17 has been achieved so far.
Central Excise tax collections stood at 1.83 lakh crore rupees, registering a growth of 46.3%. Net Tax collections on account of Service Tax during April-September, 2016 were 1.16 crore rupees. Customs tax collections during April-September 2016 stood at 1.08 lakh crore rupees.
News 7 - Punjab Agricultural University inked MoU with FieldFresh
The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FieldFresh Foods, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises & Del Monte Pacific Limited. The MoU entails grant from FieldFresh Foods to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to conduct the three-year Research Programme.
The MoU aims to boost corn / baby corn productivity in the country besides strengthening small farmer income in corn growing regions and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
News 8 - Rosneft-led consortium buys India’s Essar Oil for $13 billion in largest FDI deal
A consortium led by Russian oil major Rosneft Oil Company has agreed to acquire India’s second biggest private oil firm Essar Oil in an all-cash deal valued at about US $13 billion. The acquisition is the biggest foreign acquisition ever in India and Russia’s largest outbound deal.
Rosneft bought a 49% stake in Essar Oil, while Netherlands-based Trafigura Group Pte and Russian investment fund United Capital Partners split another 49% equity equally. The deal is expected to close in first quarter of 2017.
News 9 - India gets its first Iranian oil parcel for emergency reserves
India has received the first parcel of crude oil from Iran to partly fill the strategic storage in southern India as part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRs) storage in southern India, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. MRPL shipped in 2 million barrels of Iranian oil.
India will fill half of the storage with 6 million barrels of Iranian oil. The second parcel of such reserve will be procured by Bharat Petroleum Corp. Since 2003, the Central Government has commissioned the strategic oil reserves to maintain nation’s energy as well as economic security.
News 10 - Wholesale inflation eased to 3.57% in September
The Wholesale inflation eased to 3.57 percent in September 2016. Inflation fell as prices of food items, especially vegetables, softened. Wholesale price-based inflation had stood at 3.74 percent in August 2016, and minus 4.59 percent in September 2015.
As per the official data released, overall food inflation moderated to 5.75 per cent in September 2016, from 8.23 per cent in August. Data released had showed that retail inflation fell to a 13-month low of 4.31 percent in September.
News 11 - Ashok Leyland launched India’s first electric bus
Ashok Leyland launched India's first locally designed, engineered and produced electric bus. The Ashok Leyland 'Circuit' is 100 per cent electric and leaves zero emissions upon operation.
The bus can travel up to 120km on a single charge and takes three hours to become fully charged. It can attain a top speed of 75 km/h. It can accommodate 31 passengers. The bus is also integrated with a fire detection and suppression system (FDSS).
News 12 - Cipla inked agreement to set up first biosimilars units in South Africa
Cipla has signed a memorandum of agreement with KwaZulu-Natal Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone for Cipla BIOTEC’s new facility in South Africa. The facility will be set up at a cost of nearly $91 million.
The facility will be South Africa’s first biotech manufacturing unit to produce biosimilars and produce a range of affordable treatments for cancer and other autoimmune diseases for the African and global market.
News 13 - PM Modi inaugurated 3 hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh
Prime Minster Narendra Modi inaugurated 3 state-run hydropower projects of 1752 MW capacities in Himachal Pradesh. He inaugurated inaugurated NTPC's 800MW Koldam Hydro Project in Bilaspur district, NHPC's 540MW Parbati Stage-III project in Kullu district and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd's 412MW Rampur project in Shimla district.
The completion cost of the NHPC’s Parbati-III Power Station is around Rs 2600 crore. The NTPC- Koldam shall annually generate 3054 GWh electricity at 90% dependable year basis. The SJVN’s Rampur Project will provide 13 percent free power to the state of Himachal Pradesh.
News 14 - Government grants BP Plc licence to set up petrol pumps in India
Government has formally granted a licence to BP Plc, Europe's third-biggest oil company, to set up 3,500 petrol pumps in India. It became the 10th company to enter the lucrative fuel retailing sector. The company had won inprinciple approval to retail aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to airlines in India in January 2016. It is also known as Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd.
India currently has about 56,190 petrol pumps. BP had cited investment of nearly USD 500 million in oil and gas exploration and production for gaining the licence.
News 15 - India and World Bank Sign $650 Million Agreement for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor
India signed a 650-million-dollar loan agreement with the World Bank for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor. This the third loan agreement that the World Bank has signed for the Eastern Corridor, which is 1,840 km long and extends from Ludhiana to Kolkata.
The project will benefit industries of Northern and Eastern India, which rely on railway network for transportation of material inputs and exports. It would also accelerate creation of jobs in the northern and eastern regions of the country.
News 16 - GST Council decided to compensate states for any loss of revenue due to GST implementation
The GST panel chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and states representatives reached on decision to compensate states for any loss of revenue arising from implementation of the new indirect tax regime from April 1, 2017. A Four-slab structure of 6, 12, 18 and 26 percent with lower rates for essential items and highest band for luxury goods was discussed.
The 2015-16 fiscal will be considered as base year for calculating the revenue of a state and 14% as secular growth rate for calculating the likely revenue of each state in the first five years of implementation of GST.
News 17 - TRAI recommended Rs 3,050 crore penalty on Airtel, Vodafone & Idea
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended to impose a whopping 3,050 crore rupee penalty on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular for allegedly denying interconnectivity to newcomer Reliance Jio.
Detail of Penalties recommended:
Airtel − Penalty amounts to 1050 crore rupees for 21 service areas (all, except Jammu and Kashmir)
Vodafone − Penalty amounts to 1050 crore rupees for 21 service areas (all, except Jammu and Kashmir)
Idea − Penalty amounts to 950 crore rupees for 19 service areas (all, except Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and North-eastern States)
News 18 - Power Grid's board approved investments of Rs. 1184.45 crores
Power Grid Corp board has approved three investment proposals to invest Rs. 1,184.45 crores in the power transmission projects across the country. The proposals are −
‘Augmentation of Transformation Capacity in Southern Region’ at an estimated cost of Rs. 167.75 crores.
‘Sub-station works associated with strengthening of transmission system beyond Vemagiri’ at an estimated cost of Rs. 608.24 crores.
‘Transmission System for Ultra Mega Solar Park at Tumkur (Pavagada), Karnataka – Phase-II (Part A)’ at an estimated cost of Rs. 408.46 crores.
News 19 - AT&T Inc to buy Time Warner Inc for 85.4 billion US dollars
Telecommunications giant, AT&T, has agreed to buy Time Warner, the home of HBO and CNN, for about $85.4 billion that will reshape the mobile company into a media giant.
The wireless carrier will acquire Time Warner in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at 107.50 dollars per share. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2017. AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson would head the new company. Time Warner is a media and entertainment giant.
News 20 - CBDT releases data relating to Income Tax Return Statistics for Assessment Years (AY) 2013-14 & 2014-15
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had proactively released in April, 2016 time-series data relating to direct tax collections, number of taxpayers etc. CBDT has further released data relating to distribution of income and tax payable in respect of returns filed for Assessment Years 2013-14 and 2014-15.
With this release, detailed income-tax data for three recent assessment years have become available in public domain enabling researchers, scholars, policy makers, students and all other stakeholders to make a better analysis of the trends in incomes and tax payments. Reports containing the data are available at www.incometaxindia.gov.in.
News 21 - MMTC along with World Gold Council launches a multimedia advertising campaign to drive awareness of the Indian Gold Coin
With an aim to drive awareness around Diwali on the availability of Indian Gold Coin, MMTC along with World Gold Council has launched a multimedia advertising campaign. It is India’s first ever sovereign gold offering and only Gold Coin hallmarked by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for purity.
The coins are currently available in denominations of 5 gms and 10 gms coin and 20 gms bar at all MMTC outlets across India, along with select branches of seven Banks - Indian Overseas Bank, Vijaya Bank, Federal Bank, Yes Bank, Andhra Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank.
News 22 - Strategic deal signed between Dr Reddy's Lab and Gland Pharma in US market
Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd announced its strategic collaboration with Gland Pharma to promote marketing of eight injectable Abbreviated New Drug Applications. Strategic union was decided on the fact that combined sale of branded and generic versions of the products in the U.S. has been around US$ 1 Billion in the past.
The portfolio comprises of filed ANDAs pending approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and ANDAs that will be filed imminently, including that of generic injectables administered in hospitals and clinics in the U.S.
News 23 - GSTN signs MoU with DGFT for sharing of foreign exchange realisation data
The Goods and Services Network(GSTN) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for sharing of foreign exchange realisation and Import Export code data, a move that is expected to strengthen processing of export transactions of taxpayers under GST, increase transparency and reduce human interface.
The eBRC project implemented by DGFT to upload foreign exchange realisation information related to exports, created an integrated platform for receipt, processing and subsequent use of all Bank Realization related information by exporters, banks, government departments.