Current Affairs September 2017 - Economic


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News 1 - Country's foreign exchange reserves reached a lifetime high of USD 394.55 Billion

Country's Foreign Exchange

The country's foreign exchange reserves swelled by USD 1.148 Billion to a new lifetime high of USD 394.55 billion for the week ended August 25 on the back of a healthy rise in core currency assets.

RBI data showed the foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves, increased by USD 1.142 Billion to USD 370.833 Billion for the week under review. Gold reserves remained unchanged at USD 19.943 Billion. The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by USD 2.3 Million to USD 1.499 Billion. The country's reserve position with the IMF also rose by USD 3.6 Million to USD 2.273 Billion.

News 2 - Estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the First Quarter (April-June) of 2017-18

Gross Domestic Product

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released the estimates of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter (April-June) Q1, of 2017-18. It is as follows −

  • GDP at constant (2011-12) prices in Q1 of 2017-18 is estimated at Rs. 31.10 lakh crore, as against Rs. 29.42 lakh crore in Q1 of 2016-17, showing a growth rate of 5.7%.

  • GDP at current prices in Q1 of 2017-18 is estimated at Rs. 38.84 lakh crore, as against Rs. 35.55 lakh crore in Q1 of 2016-17, showing a growth rate of 9.3%.

(For Details: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170409, Dated: 31st August 2017)

News 3 - GST Collections hit Rs 92,283 Crore in July

GST Collections

The Goods and Services Tax collections has exceeded the revenue target for the first month after taxes worth Rs 92,283 crore was collected in July from just 64.42% of the total taxpayer base. The collections so far are in excess of the finance ministry's internal estimate of Rs. 91,000 crores.

Around Rs. 14,894 crores have come in from the Central GST (CGST), Rs. 22,722 crores from State GST (SGST), Rs. 47,469 crores from Integrated GST (IGST) and Rs. 7,198 crores from compensation cess levied on demerit and luxury goods.

News 4 - Growth of eight core sectors slips to 2.4% in July

Eight Core Sectors Slips

The country's eight infrastructure sectors grew 2.4% in July this year. The infrastructure sector had expanded 3.1% in July 2016, and had grown 0.8% in June 2017. According to official data, coal production increased 0.7% in July this year, natural gas output grew 6.6%, steel production rose 9.2%, and electricity generation climbed 5.4%.

However, crude oil output decreased 0.5% in July, petroleum refinery output declined 2.7%, fertilizer production fell 0.3%, and cement production dropped 2% during the month.

News 5 - Fiscal deficit touches 92.4% of budget estimates at July-end

Fiscal

The government's fiscal deficit at the end of July this year touched 92.4% of the budget estimate. This was mainly because of front loading of expenditure by government departments.

The fiscal deficit is the difference between the government's expenditure and revenue. The government aims to bring down the fiscal deficit to 3.2% of GDP in the current fiscal. The government's revenue receipts improved to 2.91 lakh crore rupees during the April to July 2017 period, which is 19.2% of the target for the whole year. Revenue expenditure widened to 131.2% of the budget estimate, from 93% in the corresponding period last year.

News 6 - Punj Llyod JV won NHAI project in Myanmar

Punj Llyod JV

The National Highway Authority of India has awarded its first international project in Myanmar to a joint venture of Punj Lloyd-Varaha.

Punj Llyod and Varaha Infrastructure Ltd has won the bid to construct the Yagyi-Kalewa road section in Myanmar at a cost of Rs 1,177 crore. The project will be based on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model. The project is 120 km long and is to be completed within 36 months.

News 7 - Indian Government allowed import of 3-lakh tonne sugar at 25% duty

Indian Government

The government allowed import of three lakh tonnes of raw sugar at concessional duty of 25% to augment domestic supplies ahead of the festive season. It had hiked import duty on sugar to 50% from 40% to curb dumping of the commodity in India as international prices fell.

Sugar production in the country is estimated to decline to around 21 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 25 MT in the previous year. The annual demand is 24 to 25 Million tonne. The government had previously allowed duty free import of five lakh tonnes of raw sugar to boost domestic supply.

News 8 - Ashok Leyland entered into pact with Rosoboronexport, ELCOM

Ashok Leyland

A Mou regarding supply of tracked vehicle solutions to the armed forces was signed between Hinduja Group Flagship Company Ashok Leyland and Rosoboronexport, Russia. Ashok Leyland will receive different range of military products and technologies. Rosoboronexport is expert in manufacturing of main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles with new technology.

MoU was inked at the International Military Technical Forum Army 2017 held at Kubinka near Moscow. It will address the tracked vehicle upgrade programs of the Indian Armed Forces and issues pertaining to availability of service and parts.

News 9 - BSNL and US-based networking solutions provider Coriant scaled up to Chart 5G

BSNL and US-Based Networking

In order to design a path for 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) in India, US-based networking solutions provider Coriant entered into an agreement with BSNL. Various issues were discussed such as network architectures and services leveraging 5G, IoT, Software Defined Networking/Network Functions Virtualization (SDN/NFV), and mobile edge computing technologies.

Since 5G is going to be next future, BSNL aims to keep a fast track development toward a 5G and IoT future and welcome these new technologies to India. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited is an Indian state-owned telecommunications company headquartered in New Delhi.

News 10 - India slapped countervailing duty for period of 5 years on some Chinese steel products

Chinese Steel Products

India has slapped countervailing duty (CVD) for a period of five years on certain Chinese flat steel products to guard domestic players from imports that are subsidised by the exporting nation. The government has prescribed 18.95% CVD on imports of Stainless steel flat products from China for the next five years.

The commerce ministry's investigation arm, Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) in its probe had concluded that despite sufficient demand in India and capacities, the domestic industry has lost sales opportunities, which is a direct consequence of subsidised imports from China.

News 11 - Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana generates 5.5 crore jobs

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana

According to a report y SKOCH, the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY), which provides access to institutional finance to small business units, has helped in creating 5.5 crore jobs. The industrialised states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have been the biggest beneficiaries of the PMMY.

Around Rs. 3.42 lakh crore loan has been disbursed to over eight crore people under the scheme, mostly small entrepreneurs. The MUDRA scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 8, 2015 with an objective to fund the unfunded.

News 12 - Airtel Arm launched ‘GST Advantage’ for SMEs

GST Advantage

Airtel Business has launched Airtel GST Advantage − a solution designed to enable small businesses and start-ups to file their GST returns “accurately, securely and seamlessly.” It has been launched in partnership with ClearTax. It is being offered free to all existing Airtel Business customers.

Customers can get free and secure access to the GST Network via Clear Tax, and all Airtel customers will have access to its newly launched GST Advantage Helpdesk between 8 am and 8 pm on all weekdays. Airtel Business is the B2B arm of telecom major Bharti Airtel.

News 13 - Amazon opened India’s largest fulfilment centre in Hyderabad

Amazon

Amazon has opened its largest fulfilment centre in India at Hyderabad, near the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad.

The 400,000 Sq. feet centre is the fifth such centre in Telangana. The centre has 2.1 million cubic feet of storage space. The total storage capacity of Amazon has reached to 3.2 million cubic feet in the State alone.

This new centre will help increase speed of delivery. It will help serve customers with one day and two-day delivery.

News 14 - BPCL set to get Maharatna status

BPCL

State-run oil marketing company, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), is all set to become a Maharatna company. It is currently a Navratna firm.

A company is eligible for Maharatna status, if it is already a listed Navratna firm, has an average turnover, net worth and annual net profit after tax of at least Rs. 25,000 crores, Rs. 15,000 crores and Rs. 5,000 crores, respectively, in the last three years. Presently there are seven Maharatna companies - Bharat Heavy Electricals, Coal India, GAIL (India), Indian Oil Corporation, NTPC, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Steel Authority of India.

News 15 - SC directs Jaypee associates to deposit Rs. 2000 crores by Oct 27 to protect interest of homebuyers

SC Directs Jaypee

The Supreme Court revived the insolvency proceedings against real estate major Jaypee Infratech Ltd and gave its management control to the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP), appointed by the National Company Law Tribunal, with immediate effect.

The apex court restrained the Managing Director and Directors of the company from travelling abroad without its permission and asked its parent company, Jaypee Associates, to deposit 2000 crore rupees with the registry to safeguard the interest of the home buyers.

News 16 - Direct tax revenue grows 17.5% to Rs. 2.24 lakh crores in Apr-Aug

Direct Tax

Direct Tax Collections has shown a growth of 17.5% up to August 2017, standing at 2.24 lakh crore rupees, which is 17.5% higher than net collections for same period last year.

This collection is 22.9% of the total Budget Estimates of Direct Taxes for the Financial Year 2017-18.

The growth rate for Corporate Income Tax (CIT) during the period is 5%, while that for Personal Income Tax, it is 16%. However, after adjusting for refunds, the net growth in CIT collections is 18.1% while that in PIT collections, it is 16.5%.

News 17 - BSNL mobile tower assets to be hived off into separate company

BSNL

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for hiving off mobile tower assets of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) into a separate company, fully owned by BSNL. It will help BSNL monetize its telecom tower infrastructure with the formation of a separate subsidiary company.

There are around 4,42,000 mobile towers in the country out of which more than 66,000 mobile tower are of BSNL. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) policy allows sharing of passive infrastructure i.e. the tower structure, Diesel Generator sets, battery units, power interface unit, air-conditioning etc.

News 18 - India's industrial production grows 1.2% in July

India's Industrial Production

The country's industrial production grew 1.2% in July 2017. Industrial output had grown 4.5% in July 2016, and contracted 0.2% in June 2017.

According to data released by the Central Statistics Office, manufacturing output grew 0.1% in July, and electricity generation increased 6.5% during the month.

Capital goods output contracted 1% in July. Consumer durables output shrank 1.3%, but production of consumer non-durables rose 3.4% in July.

News 19 - Retail inflation rises to a five-month high of 3.36% in August

Retail

Retail inflation rose to a five-month high of 3.36% in August 2017, due to some food items turning costlier. Consumer price index based inflation had stood at 2.36% in July 2017.

Overall food inflation in August reversed its deflationary trend, and rose to 1.52% in August. This has reduced the chances of another rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India, which has a central inflation target of 4%.

Last month, the RBI cut its main policy rate by 25 basis points to 6%, the lowest since 2010.

News 20 - Government imposed anti-dumping duty on chemical from four countries

Anti-Dumping Duty

Government has imposed an anti-dumping duty of up to 60.35 dollar per tonne for five years on a chemical used in fertiliser industry imported from Russia, Indonesia, Georgia and Iran. The move will help guard domestic players from below- cost imports of ammonium nitrate.

The Finance Ministry imposed the duty after the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) in its finding concluded that the product has been exported to India from these countries below its normal value, resulting in dumping.

News 21 - Bharti Airtel teams up with SK Telecom for 5G network

Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel has joined hands with SK Telecom of South Korea as a part of a strategic partnership to build the most advanced telecom network in India. They will collaborate to evolve standards for 5G as well as advanced technologies like network functions virtualisation (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT).

SK Telecom is Korea's largest telecommunications company and has led the launch of CDMA (2G), WCDMA (3G) and LTE-A (4G) for the first time in the world.

News 22 - 'Made in India' phones poised to touch 50 crore mark by 2019-20

Made in India

'Made in India' phones have seen significant growth, with the number of such devices poised to touch the 50 crore mark by 2019-20.

Also, according to a report titled 'Indian Mobile Phone market: Emerging Opportunities for fulfilling India's Digital Economy Dream', released by Enixta, by 2020, almost 96% of mobile phones sold in India will be locally manufactured.

In 2016, two out of every three mobile phones sold in India were domestically produced.

News 23 - Force Motors Tied Up With Rolls-Royce Power Systems

Force Motors

Force Motors has tied up with Rolls-Royce Power Systems in India to set up a joint venture for producing engines for railway application as well as power generation.

Force Motors will build a manufacturing facility as a part of the JV at a cost of about Rs 300 crore at its site in Chakan near Pune.

Rolls Royce Power Systems portfolio includes high speed engines and propulsion systems for ships, power generation and defence vehicles.

News 24 - India's exports rose to 10.29% in August

India's Exports

India's exports have recorded a double-digit growth of 10.29% during August 2017, mainly because of the rise in shipments of chemicals, petroleum and engineering products. According to the data released by the commerce ministry, India exported goods worth 23.81 billion US$ against 21.59 billion dollars in 2016. Exports grew 8% in May and 4.39% in June.

The growth came even as exporters complained over the refund mechanism under GST, saying it is affecting outbound shipments. Imports also rose by 21.02% to 35.46 billion dollars from 29.3 billion dollars.

News 25 - M&M joined hands with Ford

M and M

Mahindra Group signed a memorandum of understanding with Ford Motor Company to explore a strategic alliance, designed to leverage the benefits of Ford’s global reach and expertise and Mahindra’s scale in India and successful operating model.

The areas of potential cooperation include −

  • Mobility programs

  • Connected vehicle projects

  • Electrification

  • Product development

  • Sourcing and commercial efficiencies

  • Distribution within India; improving Ford’s reach within India

  • Global emerging markets; improving Mahindra’s reach outside of India.

News 26 - Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp sign MOU to create a leading European steel enterprise

Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp

Tata Steel Limited and Thyssenkrupp AG have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a leading European steel enterprise by combining the flat steel businesses of the two companies in Europe and the steel mill services of the Thyssenkrupp group.

The proposed 50:50 joint venture will be called Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel and would be focused on quality and technology leadership, and on the supply of premium and differentiated products to customers. It would be headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

News 27 - India replaced China as the top Retail Destination in 2017

Retail Destination

According to industry experts, India has replaced China as the top retail destination in 2017 as part of the global retail development index.

India's movement up the ladder was driven mainly by four factors including increased consumer spending beyond essentials, rising mobile and internet penetration, favourable foreign investment climate and bold action on cashless transaction and GST. Many international food and retail brands are expected to invest about $300-500 million cumulatively to open roughly 2,500-3,000 stores.

News 28 - Mineral Production during July 2017 (Provisional)

Mineral Production

The index of mineral production of mining and quarrying sector for the month of July (new Series 2011-12=100) 2017 at 92.6, was 4.8% higher as compared to the level in the month of July 2016. The cumulative growth for the period April-July 2017-18 over the corresponding period of previous year has been (+) 2.1 percent.

The total value of mineral production (excluding atomic & minor minerals) in the country during July 2017 was Rs. 18037 crore. The contribution of Coal was the highest at Rs. 5924 crore (33%).

News 29 - GST revenue collections in August at Rs 90,669 cr

GST

Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue collections in August stood at 90,669 crore rupees. Out of this, CGST revenue is Rs. 14,402 crore rupees, SGST Rs. 21,067 crore, IGST Rs. 47,377 crore and Compensation Cess is Rs. 7,823 crore rupees.

According to an official release, the figure, however, do not include the GST to be paid by 10.24 lakh assessees, who have opted for the composition scheme. The Finance Ministry also released the revised data of GST collection for July which is to the tune of 94,063 crore rupees.

News 30 - ADB lowers India growth outlook to 7% for 2017-18

ADB

Asian Development Bank, in its Asian Development Outlook, has downgraded India's growth projection to 7% for the current fiscal while lowering its forecast for the next financial year as well. In financial year 2018-19, the forecast is adjusted down to 7.4%, from 7.6%.

However, according to ADB, India continues its strong showing although demonetization and implementation of the new goods and services tax regime have dented consumer spending and business investment. These short-term disruptions are expected to dissipate allowing these initiatives to generate growth dividends over the medium term.



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