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Economic Current affairs 2019

Following the current events and news in the area of Economic is very very important for the general studies paper in the UPSC exam. In recent times questions are set on only those topics that have made news. Regular study of Economics from NCERT books or otherwise is no longer required. The idea is to follow the current affairs news related to Economics and understand the Economics behind those issues. This is true for all levels of teh IAS exam - prelims, mains and also the interview.




Current Affairs Quiz

Current Affairs in Economic - September 2020

New income tax rules come into effect from September 1: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden budget speech announced some income tax-related changes which will come into effect from Sunday (September 1), September 1. Her key announcements were that the tax deducted at source (TDS) will be levied at the rate of 2 per cent on cash payments worth more than Rs 1 crore. Also, the TDS will be levied if life insurance maturity received is taxable. Further, the government amended 194-IA of Income Tax Act to include all charges of the nature of club membership fee, car parking fee, or any other charges of similar nature under immovable property for levy of the TDS. Here is a 5-point explainer of new tax-related changes that have come into effect in India from September 1.

  1. TDS on additional payment made when purchasing immovable property:The government had amended 194-IA of Income Tax Act during the budget announcement in July in which FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced that if any person purchases an immovable property of Rs 50 lakh or more than that (excluding agricultural land), is required to deduct TDS at the rate of 1 per cent from September 1, 2019, onward. The amendment included all charges of the nature of club membership fee, car parking fee, electricity and water facility fees, maintenance fee, advance fee or any other charges of similar nature, which are incidental to the transfer of immovable property.
  2. TDS on cash withdrawals from bank accounts:The government has included a new section 194N in the Act. With this new inclusion, the TDS can be levied at the rate of 2 per cent on cash payments worth more than Rs 1 crore in aggregate made within the year, by a cooperative bank, a banking company, or post office to any individual from an account, which is maintained by the recipient.
  3. TDS on payments made by HUF/Individual to professionals and contractors:Under this provision announced in the Budget, if the payment made to a contractor or a professional or a brokerage exceeds Rs 50 lakh in a year, an individual or HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) is required to deduct 5 per cent TDS at the time of crediting such amount. This will help check evasion but may lead to a higher burden of compliance for the payer.This means that individuals making payments of over Rs 50 lakh, let's say, house renovation, wedding functions or any other purpose to a single professional in a year would be required to deduct tax at the time of making the payment.
  4. TDS on life insurance:If life insurance maturity proceeds received are taxable, then the TDS will be deducted at the rate of 5 per cent on the net income portion. The net income portion is defined as the total sum received less of the total amount of insurance premium paid. Earlier, the TDS was 1% of the gross maturity payout under the policy.
  5. Interchangeability of Pan and Aadhaar:Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech had announced that taxpayers who don't own a PAN card (Permanent Account Number) can now file Income Tax returns with their Aadhaar Card also. The FM allowed the interchangeability of PAN and Aadhaar card for filing tax returns.

Himachal Pradesh : Mukhya Mantri Seva Sankalp Helpline ‘1100’ was launched in Himachal Pradesh  by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur. The helpline will function six days in a week from 7 AM to 10 PM. This helpline was started by the State Government so that it would deliver a speedy and time-bound redressal of public grievances by effective use of the latest technologies. Himachal Pradesh becomes the 4th state to launch this helpline after Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.

Bharati Airtel and Reliance Jio : According to the Business Stadard reports, India’s leading telecom players Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have decided to shun the Chinese technology companies including the beleaguered Huawei from their 5G roll out plans.Both the companies have reportedly tied up with non-Chinese companies. While the Reliance Jio has tied up with South Korean tech giant Samsung, Bharti Airtel has finalised agreements with European tech firms Ericsson and Nokia. The move comes amid the trade tensions between United States and China, and America along with its allies banning purchase of the equipment of the Chinese telecom gear maker. The US is also pressuring other countries to ban Huawei apart from threatening companies of sanctions if they buy or sell the Chinese technology.India has not taken any decision on whether to ban Huawei from participating in the 5G trials in India. However, Chinese officials and conveyed to India’s ambassador to China that if India bans Huawei, there could be reverse sanctions on Indian companies operating in China.

BBPS :  Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an integrated bill payment system in India initiated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expanding the scope of Bharat Bill Payment System. The objective of BBPS is to implement an integrated bill payment system that offers interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes, and providing instant confirmation of payment to cover all repetitive bill payments, which may include school fees, insurance premiums and municipal taxes. Currently, the facility of payment of recurring bills through BBPS is available only in five segments—direct to home (DTH), electricity, gas, telecom and water. BBPS functions under National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The move will help in greater digitisation of cash-based bill payments. BBPS payments can be made by using cash, cheques as well as through digital methods such as internet banking, debit, credit card, among others. Bill aggregators and banks function as operating units and carry out these payment transactions for customers.

NIRVIK Scheme : Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) has introduced ‘NIRVIK’ scheme to ease the lending process and enhance loan availability for exporters. The scheme was announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 14 as a part of measures to boost exports. Under the new ‘NIRVIK’ scheme, which is also called the  Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS), the insurance cover guaranteed will cover up to 90 percent of the principal and interest.The increased cover will ensure that foreign and rupee export credit interest rates are below 4% and 8% respectively for the exporters. The insurance cover will include both pre and post-shipment credit. The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) currently provides credit guarantee of up to 60 per cent loss.Under this scheme, the gems, jewellery and diamond(GJD) sector borrowers with limit of over Rs 80 crores will also have a higher premium rate in comparison to the non-GJD sector borrowers of this category due to the higher loss ratio.The benefits of this scheme is that it will enhance accessibility and affordability of credit for exporters, it will help make Indian exports competitive and it will make ECGC procedures exporter friendly. It will also bring down the cost of credit due to capital relief, less provision requirement and liquidity due to quick settlement of claims. It will ensure timely and adequate working capital to the export sector.

ECGC : It is the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) is a fully government-owned company that was established in 1957 to promote exports by providing credit insurance services.The ECGC provides Export Credit Insurance to Banks (ECIB) to protect the banks from losses on account of export credit at the Pre and Post-Shipment stage given to exporters due to the risks of insolvency or protracted default of the exporter borrower.

 

NAR: It refers to the National Academy of RUDSETI. E-Foundation stone laying ceremony of the new training Institute building of National Academy of RUDSETI (NAR) was recently held in Bengluru.

The NAR undertakes monitoring, mentoring and capacity building of the Rural Self Employment Training Institutes staff (585 RSETIs are spread across 566 districts of the country), State/UT Rural Livelihood Mission staff and the concerned Bank officials on behalf of the Ministry of Rural Development.

NAR is a Trust registered under Indian Trusts Act. It is a resource organization committed to Entrepreneurship Development through motivation, training and facilitation. It is also in to capacity building of development organizations by orienting and training the rural development workers and development officials

It is a joint venture promoted by two public sector Banks and an Educational Trust of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala.

National Academy of RUDSETI (NAR), an offshoot of RUDSETI movement is spearheading the concept by Training the Trainers,facilitators and mentoring the Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) established across the country.

Agriota E-Marketplace: It is a new technology-driven agri-commodity trading and sourcing e-market platform that will bridge the gap between millions of rural farmers in India and the Gulf nation’s food industry.

Agriota E-Marketplace has recently been launched by the Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

The platform which uses blockchain will help in bridging the gap between millions of rural farmers in India and the UAE’s food industry.

Under the initiative, the Agriota platform will connect Indian farmers directly with the entire food industry in the UAE, including food processing companies, traders as well as wholesalers.

The E-Marketplace will not only enable them to bypass intermediaries and optimise the supply chain but will also ensure end-to-end traceability and transparency in order to create value for all stakeholders. This will result in empowerment of local communities and provide better quality farm-to-shelf products, simultaneously expanding the UAE’s long-term food security.

DMCC: It refers to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre. DMCC was established in 2002 by the Government of Dubai to provide the physical, market and financial infrastructure required to establish a hub for global commodities trade. The current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DMCC is Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

South Indian Bank: South Indian Bank Limited (SIB) is a major private sector bank headquartered at Thrissur in Kerala. The Bank was founded on 29 January 1929. The South Indian Bank Tagline is 'Experience Next Generation Banking'.

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved the appointment of Murali Ramakrishnan as Managing Director and CEO of the South Indian Bank for a period of three years with effect from October 1, 2020.

Murali Ramakrishnan: Ramakrishnan had retired from ICICI Bank as Senior General Manager at Strategic Project Group on 30 May 2020. During his tenure at ICICI Bank, in the last assignment, Ramakrishnan was heading a business transformation project of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) business. He joined the South Indian Bank as an advisor on 1st July 2020. He represented the bank in the board of CIBIL and the risk advisory board of VISA for the Asia Pacific.

Punjab & Sind Bank: Punjab & Sind Bank is a government-owned bank, with headquarters in New Delhi. The bank has overall 1559 branches which are widely spread across India, out of which 623 branches are in Punjab state. The bank was founded on 24 June 1908. The Punjab & Sind Bank tagline is "Where Service is a Way of Life".

Recently, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of S Krishnan as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Punjab & Sind Bank. He will be replacing S Harishankar.

Earlier to this elevation, S Krishnan was as an Executive Director at Canara Bank.

Current Affairs in Economic - August 2020

Apple Inc.: It is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. It is considered one of the Big Tech technology companies, alongside Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. It was founded on 1 April 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne. It is headquartered in Cupertino, California, United States.

Recently, Apple has become the world’s most valuable company. This technology giant  dethroned oil giant Saudi Aramco to become the most valuable publicly listed company in the world after it reported a gain of 10 per cent in its shares.

Flipkart: Flipkart is an Indian e-commerce company based in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. It was founded on October 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The company initially focused on book sales, before expanding into other product categories such as consumer electronics, fashion, home essentials & groceries, and lifestyle products. Flipkart also owns PhonePe, a mobile payments service based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). In August 2018, U.S.-based retail chain Walmart acquired a 81% controlling stake in Flipkart for US$16 billion, valuing it at $20 billion.

Recently, Walmart-owned Flipkart announced that 6 lakh artisans across the country will be added this year to their Samarth programme.

Samarth Programme is an initiative started by Flipkart in 2019. The e-commerce company had collaborated with 5 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help local artisans use the online e-commerce platform to sell their products. The Programme supports 6 Lakh artisans (weavers, craftsmen etc.) across India earn their bread and butter by selling their handmade art & craftwork  to sell their products online to a customer base of nearly 200 million.

At present, with the help of government partnerships, this initiative has been able to bring artisans online from the remotest parts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha,   Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab and Karnataka.

Other Initiatives: Over the course of the year, Flipkart has partnered with several government entities including UP Khadi and Village Industries Board, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), and Gujarat State Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation.

It also supports MSMEs through a special initiative called Walmart Vriddhi. It is a make in India Initiative which empowers nearly 50,000 MSMEs to manufacture ‘Make in India’ product for local and global markets. The company also provides necessary training and support along with access to a huge e-commerce ecosystem of its peers and mentors group.

Co-branded Contactless Credit Card: It is a new RuPay credit card. It is empowered with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which will enable users to expedite their transactions at the POS machines by just tapping the card on the machines instead of swiping. The card will reward frequent railway travelers by offering them maximum savings proposition on their travel together with exclusive benefits.

Recently, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and SBI Card launched a new Co-branded Contactless Credit Card on RuPay Platform. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal dedicated this new card to the Nation. Launch of this card is one of the many “Make In India” activities undertaken by the Railways.

The newly launched card aims to ensure a safe, convenient and improved travel experience for the rail passengers.

Axis Bank: Axis Bank is the third-largest private sector Indian bank, and offers a range of financial products. The bank has its head office in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was founded on 3 December 1993. The Bank offers the entire spectrum of financial services to customer segments covering Large and Mid-Corporates, MSME, Agriculture and Retail Businesses. It is one of the first new generation private sector banks to have begun operations in 1994. The current CEO of Axis Bank is Amitabh Chaudhry.

Recently, an Automated Voice Assistant ‘AXAA’ was launched by Axis Bank. AXAA is an artificial intelligence-powered conversational voice BOT that can communicate in English, Hindi and Hinglish. The Automated Voice Assistant will function like a humanoid and has the ability to change the paradigm of customer experience from conventional Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.

It seeks to enhance customer experience by enabling in-depth understanding of their queries, its context and the intent of the call as it has the capacity to address one lakh customer queries and requests per day. 

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Recently, RBI launched “Innovation Hub” for ideation and incubation of new capabilities that can be leveraged to deepen financial inclusion.

According to the statement given by the Apex Bank, the hub will encourage start-ups and companies meet the challenges of financial inclusion and efficient banking transactions. It will not only support, promote and hand-hold cross-thinking spanning regulatory remits and national boundaries but will also help in ideation and incubation of new capabilities. This in turn will help to deepen financial inclusion in the country and promote efficient banking services.

The hub aims to bring solutions to the financial sector by tapping into areas such as cybersecurity, data analytics, delivery platforms, and payment services.

Earlier, the RBI had taken several similar initiatives to encourage responsible innovation. One such recent initiative is the “Regulatory Sandbox”. Six proposals were accepted under the Sandbox, the pilot studies and trials of which have been delayed on account of the present COVID-19 situation."

A Regulatory sandbox (RS) usually refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled/test regulatory environment for which regulators may (or may not) permit certain relaxations for the limited purpose of testing.

Transparent Taxation-Honouring the Honest: It is a platform for “Transparent Taxation - Honouring the Honest” which was recently launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The platform has been launched to meet the requirements of the 21st century taxation system. It is a significant step where the taxpayer is now assured of fair, courteous and rational behavior.

The platform has major reforms like Faceless Assessment, Faceless Appeal and Taxpayers Charter. This Tax system aims to be Seamless, Painless and Faceless.

Faceless Assessment and Taxpayers Charter will came into force with immediate effect and the facility of faceless appeal will be available from 25th September for citizens across the country. 25th September is Deen Dayal Upadhyay's birth anniversary.

The new platform apart from being faceless not only is aimed at boosting the confidence of the taxpayer but also making him or her fearless.

BRR: It refers to the Report of the Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting. BRR was recently released by Shri Rajesh Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). The committee was chaired by Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, MCA.

Recommendations made by the committee:

  1. It has recommended a new reporting framework called as the ‘Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR)’ to better reflect the intent and scope of reporting on non-financial parameters.
  2. It has recommended two formats for disclosures: one ‘comprehensive format’ and the second a ‘Lite version’. The lite version of the format, on a voluntary basis can be adopted by smaller companies.
  3. The implementation of the reporting requirements should be done in a gradual and phased manner.
  4. It also recommended that the BRSR be integrated with the MCA21 portal.
  5. As a long-term measure, the Committee envisions that the information captured through BRSR filings be used to develop a Business Responsibility-Sustainability Index for companies.

Earlier, the MCA, to update the NGRBC (National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct) released in March 2019 as a guidelines to ensure responsible business conduct by companies, had constituted a ‘Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting’ to develop new BRR formats for listed and unlisted companies. 

HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank Limited is an Indian banking and financial services company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. A subsidiary of the Housing Development Finance Corporation, HDFC Bank was founded in August 1994. It is India's largest private sector bank. The current Managing Director of HDFC Bank is Aditya Puri and Chairman is Deepak S. Parekh.

Recently, HDFC Bank launched 'Shaurya KGC (Kisan Gold Credit) Card', a loan product for the armed forces. It is a  a tri color themed card for Indian armed forces personnel, i.e, Army, Navy, Air force and Para military forces and their families. It was launched by Managing Director of HDFC Bank Aditya Puri virtually. The product is based on the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) guidelines by the government.

A first-of-its-kind product seeks to benefit over 45 lakh Indian armed forces personnel. The credit card comes with a life cover of Rs 10 lakh as against Rs 2 lakh for an average card.

It aims to provide finance for agricultural requirements like production of crop, post-harvest maintenance and consumption needs. It can also be used to purchase farm machinery, irrigation equipment or construct storage structures. This launch is part of the HDFC Bank’s ‘Har Gaon Hamara’ initiative to provide banking facilities to customers in the rural and under-served areas of the country.

Current Affairs in Economic - July 2020

NPC: It refers to National Productivity Council. NPC is an autonomous body under Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. It was founded in 1958. It is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization which has been registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. It is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an Inter-Governmental Body. India is the founder member of this body. The main objective of NPC is to promote productivity culture in India.

Recently, the 49th Governing Council Meeting of National Productivity Council (NPC) was held today through video conferencing. It was held under the Chairmanship of Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

The meeting witnessed the participation of Government Officers, Leaders of Industry Associations, Industry captains, Trade Union leaders, Productivity Councils of States and other eminent personalities.

The adoption of technology and digital economy which is going to play a vital role in not only transforming the business enterprises in the future, but also in achieving the target of a five  trillion dollar economy was suggested by Piyush Goyal in the meeting. The participants in the meeting also endorsed the view that India can reposition itself only through productivity enhancement. Some of the suggestions  that emerged were  formulation of  sector specific action plans by NPC especially in agriculture and logistics identification of Champion sectors which has the potential to drive the economy, adoption of technology to increase the productivity and delivering cost-effective solutions for marginalised sector, interlinking of academia and industry for creation of a highly skilled labor force, financing of specific products to support MSMEs and increase their productivity, national audit on security impact etc.

World Bank: The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association. It was founded in july 1944 by John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. The current President of World Bank is David Malpass.

Recently, World Bank, Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu signed an agreement to help low-income groups in Tamil Nadu State to get access to affordable housing. the agreement wotrth worth USD 250 million was signed on 29 June 2020.

The agreements have been signed for two projects. The first project is of $50 million Tamil Nadu Housing and Habitat Development Project and the second project is of $200 million First Tamil Nadu Housing Sector Strengthening Programme. The project aims to strengthen the state’s housing sector policies, institutions, and regulations. The funds for this project will be provided through the World Bank”s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

Udyam Registration: It is the name given to the new process of Classification and Registration of MSMEs. Union Minister of Road transport & Highways and MSME Nitin Gadkari recently launched Bank of Schemes, Ideas, Innovation and Research portal (http://ideas.msme.gov.in/) on MSMEs through Video Conference i Nagpur.

The Portal gives access to all Schemes of Union, State and UT Governments. It guides the entrepreneurs step by step as to what they should know, what they should doThe consolidated notification was released in the form of guidelines for classification and registration of MSMEs, which are facing several challenges due to the COVID-19 impact.

World Bank: The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It was founded on July 1944 by John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. Its main aim is providing financing, advice, and research to developing nations to aid their economic advancement. The bank predominantly acts as an organization that attempts to fight poverty by offering developmental assistance to middle- and low-income countries. The current President of World Bank is David Malpass.

Recently, the World Bank and the Government of India signed the $750 million agreement for the MSME Emergency Response Programme. This programme will address the immediate liquidity and credit needs of some 1.5 million viable MSMEs to help them withstand the impact of the current shock and protect millions of jobs.

Its aim is to support increased flow of finance into the hands of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

CBDT: It is an acronym of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes. It functions as a division of the Ministry of Finance under the Department of Revenue. Its functions include formulation of policies, dealing with natters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes, and supervision of the functioning of the entire Income Tax Department. The current Chairperson of CBDT is Pramod Chandra Mody.

Recently, an agreement for data exchange was signed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The agreement marks the initiation of cooperation and synergy between SEBI and CBDT. The agreement will facilitate data sharing and information sharing between SEBI and CBDT on an automatic and regular basis. To facilitate regular exchange of data between the two organizations to carry out their functions under various laws, the data will be shared on request and suo moto basis.

For this initiative, a Data Exchange Steering Group has been constituted. The group will meet periodically to review the data exchange status and take steps to further improve the effectiveness of the data-sharing mechanism.

CBDT: It refers to the Central Board of Direct Taxes.  CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes. It functions as a division of the Ministry of Finance under the Department of Revenue. Its functions include formulation of policies, dealing with natters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes, and supervision of the functioning of the entire Income Tax Department. The current Chairperson of CBDT is Pramod Chandra Mody.

Recently, CBDT announced that a new Utility Tool has been launched that will facilitate the Banks and Post Offices across the country with the accurate TDS rate (Tax Deduction at Source) applicable on cash withdrawals.

The utility tool can be accessed by the Banks and Post Offices by visiting the web portal- ‘incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in’ and is available under the name’ Verification of Applicability u/s 194N’ on the portal.

The Utility Tool was developed based on the Data of Cash Withdrawal from across the country that has suggested that large amounts of cash were withdrawn by Individuals who had never filed income tax returns.

Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry: The Minister of Commerce and Industry is the head of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and one of the cabinet ministers of the Government of India. The first Minister of Commerce and Industry of independent India was Syama Prasad Mukherjee. The current Minister is Piyush Goyal of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Recently, according to the data released by the commerce ministry, in 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at USD 88.75 billion as against USD 87.96 billion in 2018-19. Latest data also revealed that the bilateral trade between India and China has dipped from $87.08 billion in 2018-19 to $81.87 billion in 2019-20.

The reason behind increasing Indo-US bilateral ties, as per Biswajit Dhar, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University is, the presence of Indian diaspora in the US is one of the main reasons for increasing bilateral trade. Both nations are negotiating a limited trade pact with a view to remove differences at trade front and boost commercial ties.

India and Bangladesh Trade Relations: The Indian Railways for the first time has loaded special Parcel train beyond the country borders to Benapole (in Bangladesh) with Dry Chillies from Reddipalem (in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh).

The cost per tonne for carrying by Special Parcel Express train is Rs. 4,608 and which is very cheap and economical as compared to Road transport. Earlier, the farmers and merchants in and around Guntur area have been transporting Dry Chillies by road to Bangladesh in small quantities and that was costing around Rs 7000 per tonne.

Guntur and its surrounding areas in the state of Andhra Pradesh are well known for Chillies cultivation.

FMCBG: It refers to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The 3rd G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting was recently held under the Saudi Arabian Presidency through Video Conferencing. India was represented by Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman in the meeting.

During the meet, the participants deliberated on the global economic outlook amid evolving COVID-19 pandemic crisis along with other G20 Finance Track priorities for the year 2020. Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the measures taken by India to fight the COVID-19 pandemic such as direct benefit transfers, special support to agriculture and MSME sectors, rural employment guarantee measures etc.

G20: The G20 means the Group of Twenty. It is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU). The membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union. The members of the G20 group are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (EU). The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank. It was established on 26 September 1999 with an aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.  The objective of G20 is to unite world leaders around shared economic, political and health challenges. The current Chairman of G20 is King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (2020)

CBDT: It is an acronym of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes. It functions as a division of the Ministry of Finance under the Department of Revenue. Its functions include formulation of policies, dealing with natters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes, and supervision of the functioning of the entire Income Tax Department. The current Chairperson of CBDT is Pramod Chandra Mody.

Recently, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India (MoMSME).

As per MoU, certain Income-tax Return (ITR) related information will be shared with MoMSME by CBDT. The exchanged data will enable MoMSME to keep a check as well as to classify enterprises in Micro, Small and Medium categories as per the criteria.

Both the CBDT & MoMSME , for the successful process of data exchange, will appoint Nodal Officer and Alternate Nodal Officers. The MoU between the both the organizaions marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation and synergy between them.

MoMSME: It is an acronym for Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. MoMSME a branch of the Government of India (GoI) is the apex executive body for the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India. It was founded in 2007. The current Ministers in charge of MoMSME are Giriraj Singh (MOS independent charge) and Nitin Gadkari (Union Minister).

CBIC: It is an acronym for the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. CBIC is the nodal national agency responsible for administering Customs, GST, Central Excise, Service Tax  and Narcotics in India. It comes under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. It was founded on 1 January 1964. The current CBIC is M. Ajit Kumar.

Recently, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signed an  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to facilitate smoother bilateral exchange of data. The MoU was signed by Shri Pramod Chandra Mody, the Chairman of the CBDT, and Shri M. Ajit Kumar, the Chairman of the CBIC on the 21st of July 2020.

This MoU supersedes the MoU signed between CBDT and the erstwhile Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the year 2015.

As, significant developments have taken place since the signing of earlier MoU in 2015 including introduction of GST, incorporation of GSTN and change in the nomenclature of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). So, changed circumstances, including advancements in technology, are duly incorporated in the current MoU.

AS per the MoU, both the CBTD and CBIC will share data and information with each other on an automatic and regular basis. They will also share any information available in their respective databases which may be useful for the other organisation.

The signing of the new MoU marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation and synergy between the CBDT and CBIC.

OLA: The full form of OLA is An operational level agreement. Ola is an India-based mobility platform offering services that include peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride service hailing, taxi and food delivery. Ola was launched in December 2010 as Ola Cabs by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati. The company is based in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. It was developed by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. It was founded on 3 December 2010. The current CEO of Ola is Bhavish Aggarwal.

Ola is rolling out its enterprise mobility solution ‘Ola Corporate’ across global markets. It will be rolling out the enterprise offering to customers across Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

With the introduction of the service in international markets, Ola is widening the scale of its global offerings to provide business travelers with a cost-effective, flexible and easy-to-use solution for all their mobility needs.

The solution had first been introduced in the Indian market and had garnered 10,000 corporate users in the country. Ola Corporate will also offer a range of safety features under its Ride Safe initiative and will follow in class hygiene and sanitization protocols for safer mobility amid the pandemic.

NCPI: It refers to the National Payments Corporation of India. NPCI is an umbrella organization for all retail payments in India. It was founded in 2008. It has been incorporated as a Not for Profit Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013). It is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The current MD & CEO is Dilip Asbe.

Recently, NCPI launched its one-stop fintech payment solution Unified Payments Interface (UPI) AutoPay. It was launched in a virtual event of Global Fintech Fest.

This new UPI AutoPay feature in India aims to ease recurring online payments. It can be used for multiple financial purposes such as utility payments, train tickets, booking bus pass, paying DTH subscriptions, mobile bills, mutual funds and loan payments, transit or metro fares, EMI payments,insurance, electricity bills, and others.

Customers can create e-mandate through their UPI ID or QR Scan for transactions up to Rs.2000. For transactions above Rs.2000, the UPI PIN will be needed to authenticate the payment.

NPCI has introduced the facility to Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, HSBC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, Paytm Payments Bank, AutoPe-Delhi Metro, AutoPe-Dish TV, CAMS Pay, Furlenco, Growfitter, Policy Bazaar are some of the financial institutions.

Current Affairs in Economic - June 2020

NPCI: It refers to the National Payment Corporation of India. NPCI is an umbrella organization for all retail payments in India. It was founded in 2008. It has been incorporated as a Not for Profit Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013). It is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The current MD & CEO is Dilip Asbe.

Recently, NPCI launched an artificial intelligence (AI) based chatbot called PAi. The Chatbot aims to create awareness around its products like FASTag, RuPay, UPI, AePS on a real time basis, therefore, improving the digital financial inclusion in India. Thid SI based chtbot PAi has been developed by Bengaluru based startup CoRover Private Limited.

The AI virtual assistant “PAi” will have accurate information on products of NPCI. It will not only be available round the clock to provide accurate information on NPCI products but the customers can ask queries in Hindi and English, via text or voice on the websites of NPCI, RuPay, and UPI Chalega.

PAi will soon be available in several regional languages of India to help increase the adoption of digital payments among Indian citizens.

IIFPT: It refers to the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology. It was formerly known as the Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology.  IIFPT is a premier national Institute for promoting research and education in food processing. It was was established in 1967 and it works under the administrative control of Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI). It is headquatered in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.

Recently, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI) Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal appreciated the initiative taken by IIFPT to manufacture nutrient rich foods for COVID-19 patients at a time when the need for healthy and immunity boosting foods is indispensable.

IIFPT has been manufacturing such nutrient-rich foods for COVID-19 patients under medical examination and those who recently recovered from the pandemic after treatment at Thanjavur Medical College, Tamil Nadu.

NDB: It is the acronym for New Development Bank. NDB formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It was established on 15 July 2014 in Fortaleza, State of Ceará, Brazil. According to the Agreement on the NDB, "the Bank shall support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. The Vice President and CRO of New Development Bank is Sarquis J. B. Sarquis. The current President of New Development Bank is K. V Kamath.

Recently, a meeting of New Development Bank (NDB) was held through video confrencing. The Special Board of Governors meeting of NDB was held for the election of next President of NDB including the appointment of Vice-President, Chief Risk Officer and the membership expansion. India was represented by the Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman.

Marcos Troyjo has been elected as the next President of New Development Bank (NDB). He will be taking charge as the President of NDB from 7th July 2020 and Anil Kishora from India has been elected as next Vice President and CRO of the NDB.

 

MSMEs: It refers to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The Union Cabinet, recently, gave nod to historical decisions aimed at helping the MSMEs. The Cabinet has further revised the definition of MSMEs, a decision which will lead to inclusion of many industrial units under it's ambit.

As per the Cabinet's decision, those enterprises with investment up to Rs 50 crore and turnover of up to Rs 250 crore will be able to avail the benefits of the MSME sector. All export turnovers of such enterprises will also remain exempted from the total turnover.

The Cabinet has also approved distressed MSME fund of 20 thousand crore for extending helping hand to the enterprises in distress. This decision seeks to benefit over two lakh units in the country.

MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari highlighted the decision of creation of Fund of Funds with initial outlay of 50 thousand crore rupees. The amount will be infused in the MSME sector through equity route.

CHAMPIONS: It stands for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength. It is a technology-based solution recently launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to empower MSMEs. The technology-based CHAMPIONS platform is based on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the entire ICT architecture for this platform is developed by the National Informatics Center (NIC) at no cost. This platform is aimed to provide one stop solution to all the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

CHAMPIONS platform will address grievance redressal to resolve the issues of MSMEs including those of finance, raw materials, labour, regulatory permissions etc particularly within the COVID created a difficult situation. It will also help businesses to capture new opportunities including manufacturing of medical equipment and accessories like PPEs, masks, etc and provide them in National and International markets. Furthermore, this ICT based system will help encourage and identify sparks which means the portal will help identify national and international champions that are able to withstand the current situation.

The system is enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics and Machine Learning for providing quick solutions to the participating members. As part of the system a network of control rooms is created in a Hub & Spoke Model. The Hub is situated in New Delhi in the Secretary MSME’s office while the spokes are situated in the States in various offices and institutions of MSME Ministry.

Mudra Shishu loan: Mudra Shishu loan is a scheme for small businesses. The Central government, recently, announced the launch of ‘Mudra Shishu loan’ for small businesses and cottage industries so that shopkeepers do not suffer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move is expected to bring much-needed relief to small borrowers by helping small businesses, who won’t be able to make regular payments for the loans they have taken for the next few months. The businesses are already on the verge of shut down due to a lack of revenue and demand.

Under Mudra Shishu loan, a 1500 crore interest subvention for small business and cottage industries has been announced. Under this scheme, one lakh beneficiaries can avail interest benefit of 2% for a year and small borrowers under the Mudra Shishu loans up to ₹50,000 will also be benefited.

Earlier, the Mudra Shishu loan was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with a slew of other measures aimed at reviving the Indian economy amid the crisis during the announcement of the Centre’s 20 lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat economic package.

MoHUA: It refers to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. MoHUA is a federal ministry of Government of India with executive authority over the formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to the housing and urban development in India. It was founded in 1952. The current Minister responsible for MoHUA is Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge)

Recently, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs recently launched a Special Micro-Credit Facility Scheme - PM SVANidhi for providing affordable loans to street vendors. PM SVANidhi is an acronym for PM Street Vendor's Atma Nirbhar Nidhi.

Under this scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly installments in the tenure of one year. On timely and early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy at the rate of 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on six monthly basis.

Over 50 lakh street vendors including hawkers, thelewalas, rehriwala, theliphadwala etc. in different areas or contexts are likely to benefit from this scheme. The duration of the scheme is till March 2022.

It is for the first time in India’s history that street vendors from peri- urban and rural areas have become beneficiaries of an urban livelihood programme. It is also for the first time that MFIs, NBFCs, SHG Banks have been allowed in a scheme for the urban poor due to their ground level presence.

The scheme was announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 14 May to enable street vendors to resume their livelihoods, which have been hit hard due to the national lockdown

Union Cabinet: Recently, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi gave its approval for setting up of an “Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) in Ministries and Departments of Government of India for attracting investments in India.

This new mechanism seeks to reinforce India’s vision of becoming a five trillion economy by 2024-25. It will make India a more investment-friendly destination and give fillip to domestic industries. It also aims to bring about synergies between Ministries and Departments and among the Central and State Governments in investment and related incentive policies.

EGoS: It is an acronym for Empowered Group of Secretaries. The EGoS comprises of

1. Cabinet Secretary (Chairperson)

2. CEO, NitiAayog (Member)

3. Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and 4. Internal Trade (Member Convenor)

5. Secretary, Department of Commerce (Member)

6. Secretary, Department of Revenue (Member)

7. Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (Member)

8. Secretary of Department concerned (to be co-opted).

The main objectives of EGoS are to provide investment support to global investors by bringing synergies and ensure timely clearances from different departments and Ministries.

PDC: It is an acronym for Project Development Cell. PDC is also approved for the development of investible projects in coordination between the Central Government and State Governments and thereby grow the pipeline of investible projects in India and in turn increase FDI inflows.

Under the guidance of the Secretary, an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary of each relevant central line Ministry, who will be in-charge of the PDC will be tasked to conceptualize, implement, and disseminate details with respect to investable projects.

The main Objectives of PDC are to create projects with all approvals, land available for allocation and with the complete Detailed Project Reports for adoption/investment by investors and to identify issues that need to be resolved in order to attract and finalise the investments and put forth these before the Empowered Group.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Recently, The RBI has created a Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) with an outlay of Rs. 500 Cr. The main objective of PIDF is to encourage acquirers to deploy Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure — both physical and digital modes in tier-3 to tier-6 centres and north eastern states.

The setting of PIDF is in line with the measures proposed by the vision document on payment and settlement systems in India 2019-2021. It is also in line with the RBI’s proposal to set up an Acceptance Development Fund which will be used to develop card acceptance infrastructure across small towns and cities. It will be governed through an Advisory Council and managed and administered by RBI.

RBI will make an initial contribution of Rs 250 crore to the PIDF, covering half of the fund and the remaining contribution of the fund will come from card-issuing banks and card networks operating in the country. It will also receive recurring contributions to cover operational expenses from card-issuing banks and card networks. RBI will also contribute to its yearly shortfalls, if necessary.

According to RBI, the need for PIDF was felt, as for over the years, the payments ecosystem in the country has evolved with a wide range of options such as bank accounts, mobile phones, cards, etc., so, to provide further fillip to digitization of payment systems, it is necessary to give impetus to acceptance infrastructure across the country, more so in under-served areas.

CBIC: It is an acronym for the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. CBIC is the nodal national agency responsible for administering Customs, GST, Central Excise, Service Tax and Narcotics in India. It comes under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. It was founded on 1 January 1964. The current CBIC is M. Ajit Kumar.

Recently, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) launched its flagship programme Turant Customs at Bengaluru and Chennai which is a mega reform for the ease of doing business. The programme has been launched to take a leap forward to take advantage of the technology for faster Customs clearance of imported goods. With the initiation of programme at Bengaluru and Chennai it will be the first phase of the All India roll out which would get completed by 31st December this year. The first phase will cover imports of Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics machineries at the ports, airports and ICDs of Bengaluru and Chennai.

Under this programme the Customs officers located outside the port of import will clear the goods from Customs after doing faceless assessment remotely. Now, the goods imported at Chennai may be assessed by the Customs officers located at Bengaluru and vice versa, as assigned by the Customs’ automated system. Turant Customs will not only benefit the importers by eliminating routine interface with the Customs officers but also provide uniformity in assessment across the country.

NHAI: It refers to the National Highway Authority of India. NHAI is an autonomous agency of the Government of India. It was set up under the provisions of National Highway Authority of India Act, 1988. It is responsible for management of a network of over 50,000 km of National Highways out of 1,15,000 km in India. It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The current Chairman of NHAI is Sukhbir Singh Sandhu (IAS).

Recently, NHAI has become the first of its kind organisation in the construction sector to go fully digital with the launch of unique cloud based and Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered Big Data Analytics platform. It has integrated Data Lake and Project Management Software to ensure transparency, speed and quick decision making in the process.

With social distancing being one of the key methods to prevent COVID-19 infection, the online portal will help the NHAI employees in continuing their work without any physical contact.

Under the fully digitalised set up, entire project management work flow of NHAI is transformed from manual to online portal. All the project execution operations including workflow with time lines and mechanism have been configured digitally. All project documentation, contractual decisions and approvals are now being done only through the portal.

The whole correspondences and Project Management will be stored in Digital format in the cloud-based ‘Data Lake’ linked with GIS tagging and Unique Project ID, so that the project data can be easily retrieved as and when required from any location.

The Data Lake software, with advanced analytics, will not only forecast the delays, disputes and advance alerts but will also predict the financial impacts based on the historical data which will help in taking correct and timely decisions.

Data Lake: It is a repository of data. It allows storing all structured and unstructured data at any scale.

Airtel Payments Bank: Airtel Payments Bank is a public limited company. Its headquarters is in New Delhi, India. The company is a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel. It is the first company in India to receive a payments bank license from the Reserve Bank of India and it became the first live payments bank in the country. It was founded in 2017. On April 11, 2016 the Reserve Bank of India issued the license under Section 22 (1) of Banking Regulation Act, 1949 to Airtel Payments Bank. It is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. The current Airtel Payments Bank MD and CEO is Anubrata Biswas.

Recently, Airtel Payments Bank has launched ‘Suraksha Salary Account’ for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). India’s MSME sector has over 60 million units and accounts for 29 per cent of India’s GDP.

 Suraksha Salary Account has been designed specifically for this consumer cohort. Through this innovative account constructs, MSMEs and other organisations will be able to make cashless payments and also provide a financial security blanket to their employees.

The account not only offers benefits such as Hospicash Insurance and personal accident insurance cover, keeping in mind the low penetration of insurance in India but The account also has no minimum balance condition.

There are 500,000 banking points of  Airtel Payments Bank across India where the account-holders will be able to make cash withdrawals. There are no charges on cash withdrawals of up to Rs 50,000 and deposits of up to Rs 20,000 in one month. Customers will also be able to make cash deposits and transfer money at these points.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 in Kolkata. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Recently, RBI constituted an Internal Working Group (IWG). IWG has been constituted with a prime objective of reviewing the extant guidelines on ownership and corporate structure for Indian private sector banks. IWG will be headed by Dr. Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, Director, Central Board of RBI.  IWG consists of 5 members, namely -

1. Dr. Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, Director, Central Board of RBI

2. Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director Central Board of RBI

3. Smt. Lily Vadera, Executive Director, RBI

4. Shri S. C. Murmu, Executive Director, RBI

5. Shri Shrimohan Yadav, Chief General Manager, RBI-Convenor

IWG is supposed to submit its report by 30th September 2020.

MoHUA: It refers to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. MoHUA  is a federal ministry of Government of India with executive authority over the formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to the housing and urban development in India. It was founded in 1952. The current Minister responsible for MoHUA is Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge).

Recently, MoHUA has signed an MoU (Memorandum of Undersanding) with SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) for PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SAVNidhi Scheme). PM SVANidhi is a Special Micro-Credit Facility for Street Vendors.

As per the MoU, SIDBI will implement the PM SVANidhi Scheme under the guidance of MoHUA. It will also manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

It will provide Project Management Unit (PMU) for the period of PM SVANidhi i.e. upto March 2022. PMU will consist of experts from training and capacity building, banking, NBFC, MFI sectors, who in turn, will ensure effective implementation of the project and its management.

It will leverage the network of lending Institutions like Scheduled Commercials Banks (SCBs), Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), Co-operative Banks, Small Finance Banks (SFBs), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), etc. for the Scheme implementation.

PM SVANidhi: It was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on 1st June 2020 for providing affordable Working Capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown. This scheme targets provide financial support to over 50 lakh Street Vendors.

Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year.On timely or early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on quarterly basis.

In order to ensure fast implementation of the scheme with transparency, a digital platform with a web portal and mobile app is being developed to administer the scheme.

SIDBI: It refers to the Small Industries Development Bank of India. SIDBI is a development financial institution in India. It also coordinates the functions of institutions engaged in similar activities. It was founded on 2 April 1990 through an Act of Parliament. It acts as the principal financial institution for Promotion, Financing and Development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector as well as coordinator for institutions which are engaged in similar activities.The main aim of SIDBI is to facilitate and strengthen credit flow to MSMEs and address both financial and developmental gaps in the MSME ecosystem. It is headquartered in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

NIPFP: It refers to the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. NIPFP is an autonomous body set up jointly by the Ministry of Finance, the erstwhile Planning Commission, and several state governments. It was founded in 1976 and is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It maintains an independent non-government character and pursues research in public policy, advising the Central government as well as states. Its Governing Council includes the Revenue Secretary, Economic Affairs Secretary and the Chief Economic Advisor from the Union Finance Ministry, besides representatives from Niti Aayog, RBI and three state governments.

Recently, Urjit Patel has been appointed as the chairman of the (NIPFP), India’s premier economic think tank. He was appointed almost 18 months after his early exit as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor. He will be replacing former bureaucrat Vijay Kelkar, who chaired the institution for almost six years.

Co-operative Banks: Co-operative banks are the banks whose main objective is to provide financial assistance to economically weaker sections of the society. They are cooperative societies registered under co operative societies act and having license under Banking Regulation Act from RBI and they are owned by individual share holders from Public. These banks are governed by the Banking Regulations Act 1949 and Banking Laws (Co-operative Societies) Act, 1955 and regulated by RBI. These institutions play a crucial role in financial inclusion and cater to both rural and urban areas.

Recently, the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to bring Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) and Multi-state cooperative banks (MSCBs) under RBI supervision. This was announced by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar during a virtual press meet on 24th June, 2020. The ordinance has been passed with a view to protect the depositors.

The decision was taken by the Government following the financial irregularities of the Punjab $ Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) bank.  The ordinance will immediately come into effect from the date of signature of the President of India.

Earlier, the Finance Minister, on 1st February 2020, during her Budget Speech had announced that the Cooperative Banks will be brought under the Supervision of RBI. The amendment Bill was cleared by the Cabinet on 5th February 2020 following which the Banking Regulations (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 3rd March 2020. However, the Bill could not be passed as the Budget Session was curtailed due to the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

AHIDF: It refers to Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has recently approved setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund worth Rs. 15000 crore. The fund has been proposed as a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat that was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam to revive economic growth.

AHIDF is expected to incentivize infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants.

The fund aims to provide loans at subsidized interest rate to State Governments / UTs and State entities, cooperatives, individuals and entrepreneurs etc., for taking up of the identified investment activities of fisheries development.

The eligible beneficiaries under the scheme include farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and MSMEs, Section 8 Companies, Private Companies and individual entrepreneur with minimum 10% margin money contribution by them.

The balance 90% would be the loan component which is to be made available by scheduled banks.

Centre will provide 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries. There will be 2 years moratorium period for principal loan amount and 6 years repayment period thereafter. GoI would also set up Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs. 750 crore to be managed by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Credit guarantee would be provided to those sanctioned projects which are covered under MSME defined ceilings.

Guarantee Coverage would be upto 25% of Credit facility of borrower.

Shishu Loan: Sishu Loans are those loans extended for income generating activities up to Rs 50,000 under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), The Member Lending Institutions such as Scheduled Commercial Banks, Non Banking Finance Companies and Micro Financial Institutions, registered with Mudra Ltd are responsible for extending the above loans. This initiative aims to promote entrepreneurship among the new generation aspiring youth. It is to ensure that more focus is given to Shishu Category Units and then Kishore and Tarun categories.

Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the scheme for interest subvention of 2% to all Shishu loan accounts given under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) to eligible borrowers.  The scheme would be operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for a period of 12 months.

PMMY: It refers to the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana. PMMY was launched in April, 2015 with an objective to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers. Mudra’s unique features include a Mudra Card which permits access to Working Capital through ATMs and Card Machines.

Under PMMY, loans for income generating activities up to Rs. 50,000 are termed as Shishu loans. PMMY loans are extended by Member Lending Institutions viz. Scheduled Commercial Banks, Non-Banking Finance Companies and Micro Financial Institutions, registered with Mudra Ltd.

CGSSD: It refers to the Guarantee Scheme for Sub-ordinate Debt. It is also called Distressed Assets Fund–Sub-ordinate Debt for MSMEs.

 

Minister of MSME Nitin Gadkari recently launched Guarantee Scheme for Sub-ordinate Debt CGSSD. The Scheme will provide Rs. 20,000 crore of guarantee cover to two lakh MSMEs.

As per CGSSD, the guarantee cover worth Rs. 20,000 crores will be provided to the promoters who can take debt from the banks to further invest in their stressed MSMEs as equity. The scheme will be operationalised through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for MSEs (CGTMSE).

Under the scheme, Promoters of the MSMEs will be given credit equal to 15 percent of their stake or 75 lakh rupees whichever is lower.

90% guarantee coverage for this sub-debt will be given under the Scheme and 10% would come from the concerned promoters.

There will be a moratorium of 7 years on payment of principal whereas maximum tenor for repayment will be 10 years.

Current Affairs in Economic - May 2020

CAIT: It refers to Confederation of All India Traders. CAIT is an apex body of trading community of India comprising of prominent Trade Bodies of different States and having an access to more than 20 thousands such Trade Federations, Associations, Chambers across the Country. It was founded in the year 1990 to consolidate the trading community of the Country which is though self-organized but yet is classified as unorganized and to protect their interest. The trading community consists of traders, small and medium enterprises, self-employed persons and Professionals which are more than 5 crores in unorganized sector providing employment to more than 22 crore people in India. The current CAIT National President is BC Bhartia. 

Recently, CAIT has announced that it will launch a national e-commerce marketplace 'bharatmarket' soon for all retail traders. It will launch bharatmarket in collaboration with several technology partners. The initiative is to be guided and supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The main objective of this the initiative is that it will integrate capabilities of various technology companies to provide end-to-end services in the logistics and supply chains from manufacturers to end consumers, including deliveries at home. The ‘Bharat market’ e-commerce portal will include participation from retailers across the nation. It aims to bring at least 95 percent of the retail traders onboard, who would exclusively run the portal.

The traders body seeks to enroll about one crore retailers on this e-marketplace in 2020 and make it the world’s largest and most-unique e-marketplace ever.

e-NAM platform: National Agriculture Market or eNAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities. The e-NAM was launched on 14 April 2016 across India by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India. The main objective of the portal is to promote uniformity in agriculture marketing by streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets, removing information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promoting real time price discovery based on actual demand and supply.

Recently, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar has added 200 new mandis to the e-National Agriculture Market(e-NAM) platform. With this addition now the total number of e-NAM mandis in the country will be 785 and by the end of May 2020 1000 more mandis are expected to join the e-NAMplatform.

The newly 200 mandis includes 94 Mandis of Rajasthan, 27 Mandis of Tamil Nadu, 25 Mandis each from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, 16 Mandis of Odisha, 11 Mandis of Andhra Pradesh and two Mandis of Karnataka. Karnataka has been added to the list of e-NAM states for the first time.

The market aims to facilitate trade beyond mandi and state borders for farmers, traders and buyers with online trading in commodities. It is expected that the Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi's vision of using technology for the benefit of farmers will soon be realized.

Ministry of Finance: The Ministry of Finance is the apex controlling authority of the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Economic Service, Indian Cost Accounts Service and Indian Civil Accounts Service. It is an important ministry within the Government of India (GoI) concerned with the economy of India, serving as the Indian Treasury Department. It was founded on 29 October 1946. The ministry of finance is charged with the task of raising the resources for the overall expenditure of the Government of India and to see to the desirability of the demands of other departments, taking into consideration the interest of taxpayers. It is headquartered in New Delhi. The current Minister of Finance is Nirmala Sitharaman.

Recently, Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitaraman launched INR-USD (Rupee-Dollar) Futures and Options contracts. They were launched on the two International Exchanges, BSE’s India INX and NSE’s NSE-IFSC, at GIFT International Financial Services Centre in Gandhinagar through video conference.

A significant market share in financial services related to India has moved to other international financial centres in the last decade so this move will help in increasing economic activity and employment in India. The contracts have also been launched so that the world-class business environment at the GIFT IFSC will help to bring in larger global participation.

Future and Options: These are financial products which allow the investors to buy or sell shares at a given price on a specific date. Futures contract gives the right to the buyer to buy or sell the shares on a specific future date while Options Contract gives the right to buy or sell the shares at any time till the validity of the contract exists.

There are 2 types of options i.e. Call Option and Put Option. The Call Option is used to buy a stock at the strike price while the Put Option is used to sell a stock at a specific price.

RBI: It stands for the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Recently, RBI announced another 9 additional measures for strengthening the Economy in the uncertain times ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic. The earlier sets of measures were announced by RBI on 17 April 2020.

The recent 9 list of measures announced by RBI are:

1. Repo rate reduced by 40 basis points from 4.4% to 4.0%. The reverse repo rate has been reduced        3.75% to 3.35%. The Marginal Standing Facility rate and the Bank rate have been reduced from 4.65% to 4.25%

2. Measures to ease financial constraints faced by State Governments by allowing the states to borrow more from Consolidated Sinking Fund which is being maintained by state governments as a buffer for repayment of their liabilities.

3. Refinance Facility to SIDBI extended for another 90 days. The RBI on 17 April 2020, had announced a special refinance facility of ₹15,000 crore to SIDBI at RBI’s policy repo rate for a period of 90 days. This facility has now been extended by another 90 days.

4. There is Relaxation of Rules under Voluntary Retention Route (VRR), an investment window provided by RBI to Foreign Portfolio Investors, which provides easier rules in return for a commitment to make higher investments.

5. A line of credit of ₹15,000 crore will be given to the EXIM Bank, for financing India’s foreign trade. The loan facility has been given for a period of 90 days, with a provision to extend it by one year.

6. The maximum credit which banks can extend to a particular corporate group has been increased from 25% to 30% of the bank’s eligible capital base.

7. The time period for import payments against normal imports into India has been extended from 6 months to 12 months from the date of shipment.

8. Exporters can now Avail Bank Loans for Higher Period as the maximum permissible period of pre-shipment and post-shipment export credit sanctioned by banks to exporters has been increased from the existing one year to fifteen months, for disbursements made up to 31 July 2020.

9. Lending institutions have been allowed to convert the accumulated interest on working capital facilities over the total deferment period of 6 months into a funded interest term loan, to be fully repaid during the course of the current financial year, ending March 31, 2021.

Renewable Energy Business: Recently, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC Ltd.) have signed a MoU to set up a Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy business.

As per the MoU, ONGC and NTPC will explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India and overseas. They shall also explore opportunities in the fields of sustainability, storage, E-mobility and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) compliant projects. The MoU will enable both companies to accelerate their footprint in Renewable Energy.

NTPC Limited: It refers to National Thermal Power Corporation Limited. NTPC Ltd. is an Indian Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Power, engaged in the business of generation of electricity and allied activities. It is a company founded in 1975 which was incorporated under the Companies Act 1956 and is promoted by the Government of India. It is headquartered in New Delhi. The main purpose of NTPC is electricity generation and distribution natural gas exploration, production, transportation and distribution. The current Chairman and MD of NTPC Ltd: is Gurdeep Singh.

ONGC: It refers to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited. ONGC is a state-owned enterprise of the Government of India, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. It is an Indian Multinational Crude Oil and Gas Corporation. It was ranked as the largest profit making PSU in India. It is ranked 7th among the Top 250 Global Energy Companies by Platts. ONGC was founded on 14 August 1956 by Government of India (GoI). It is headquartered in New Delhi. The current CEO of ONGC is Shashi Shanker. 

Current Affairs in Economic - April 2020

Invest India: It is India’s national Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency. The agency functions under DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GoI. It was founded in 2009. It works with several states/UTs of India to build capacity and bring the best global practices in investment targeting, promotion and facilitation areas. The current Managing Director and CEO of Invest India is Deepak Bagla.

Recently, Invest India launched "The Invest India Business Immunity Platform" (BIP). It has been launched under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The platform is hosted on the Invest India website. It has been launched to assist businesses and investors in getting real-time updates on India’s active response to COVID-19. The BIP is the active platform for business issue redressal, operating 24/7, with a team of dedicated sector experts and responding to queries at the earliest.

Invest India has teamed up with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for responding and resolving queries for MSMEs. The platform, through the partnership, will to provide all the information they require while staying in the comfort of their homes due to the lockdown in the country.

Karur Vysya Bank: Karur Vysya Bank (KVB) is a Scheduled Commercial Bank in India. The KVB bank operates in the treasury, corporate/ wholesale banking and retail banking segments. It has completed 100 years of operation and is one of the leading banks in India. It was founded in 1916. It is headquartered in Karur in Tamil Nadu. It was set up  by M. A. Venkatarama Chettiar and Athi Krishna Chettiar. The current Chairman and MD & CEO are Mr. N. S. Srinath and Mr. P. R. Seshadri respectively.

Recently, the KVB launched India's 1st prepaid card 'Enkasu' to reduce cash transactions. It is a prepaid card. The Enkasu prepaid card works on Near Field Communication Technology and this prepaid card will be very useful to Merchants & Customers. The users can easily recharge their card through KVB DLite app, NEFT, UPI or through any KVB branches.

Labour and Employment Ministry: The Ministry of Labour & Employment is one of the oldest and most important Ministries of the Government of India. It is India's federal ministry which is responsible to protect and safeguard the interest of workers in general and the poor deprived and disadvantaged sections of the society. It is headquartered in New Delhi. The Minister of Labour and Employment is Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar.

Recently, the Labour and Employment Ministry has amended the EPF Scheme 1952. This step has been taken due to the Coronovirus outbreak (Covid-19). The Ministry has issued a notification in this regard.

According to the notification withdrawal of non-refundable advance by EPF members is allowed. Those who are members of the EPF Scheme 1952 are eligible for the benefits of non-refundable advance. The notification permits withdrawal not exceeding the basic wages and dearness allowance for three months or upto 75% of the amount standing to member's credit in the EPF account. Those who are members of the EPF Scheme 1952 are eligible for the benefits of non-refundable advance.

EPFO: It refers to Employees' Provident Fund Organisation. EFPO is a central government organization. It was founded on 4th March 1952. It is under the control of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, GoI. The current Commissioner of EFPO is Sunil Barthwal.

PNB: It refers to Punjab National Bank. PNB is the second-largest public sector bank of India. It is a Banking and Financial service bank owned by Government of India. It's headquartered in New Delhi, India. The bank was founded in 1894 in Lahore, Pakistan. The current MD & CEO of PNB is S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao.

Recently, Punjab National Bank launched the New logo. PNB launched its logo ahead of its merger with the United Bank of India (UBI) and the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) from 1st April 2020. The new logo contains signages of all the three PSU banks- Punjab National Bnk (PNB), United Bank of India (UBI) and the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC).

SIDBI: It refers to Small Industrial Development Bank of India. SIDBI is a development financial institution in India. It was founded on 2nd April 199. It is headquartered in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India. The current Chairman and Managing Director of SIDBI is Mohammad Mustafa.

Recently, SIDBI announced that it will provide emergency working capital to Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) of Rs 1 crore.

The SIDBI Assistance to Facilitate Emergency response against Corona virus - SAFE PLUS was launched by SIDBI on March 26, 2020. Under SAFE PLUS initiative, financial assistance will be provided to MSMEs engaged in the manufacturing of hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, headgear, bodysuits, shoe-covers, ventilators, etc.

SAFE plus will be offered collateral free and distributed within 48 hours. The loans will be offered at an interest rate of 5%. Along with the SAFE plus initiative, the bank has also increased the loans from 50 lakh rupees to two crore rupees.

MHA: It refers to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. MHA is the head of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India (GoI). It is one of the senior-most officers in the Union Cabinet. The chief responsibility of the Home Minister is the maintenance of India's internal security. The country's large police force comes under its jurisdiction. It is also mainly responsible for the maintenance of internal security and domestic policy. The Home Ministry is currently headed by Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah.

Recently, The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has exempted the operations of Fishing (Marine) and Aquaculture Industry from the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The operations such as harvesting, packaging, processing, cold chain, hatcheries, commercial aquaria, movement of shrimp and sale and marketing have been exempted from lockdown. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs said that the fishing and aquaculture could continue to operate as normal, as it would be the responsibility of the head of the organization or establishment to ensure compliance of social distancing and proper hygiene practices.

e-NAM: It refers to the Electronic- National Agriculture Market. eNAM is an online trading portal for agricultural products in India. This online trading portal was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 21 mandis on 14 April 2016. It functions under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India (GoI). The main aim of the portal is to realize the vision of One Nation One Market for agricultural produce. Farmers can register on the e-NAM portal for free and upload their produce for sale online to traders across all e-NAM mandis. E-NAM is managed by the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). At present there are more than 450 APMCs listed under E-NAM for trade.

Recently, the pan-India Agriculture trading portal e-NAM completed four years of implementation. It helped in realizing the vision of One Nation One Market for agri produce. The portal is being expanded to cover additional 415 mandis which will take the total number of e-NAM mandis to 1000 soon. Over 1.66 crore farmers and 1.28 Lakh traders are currently registered on the platform. The online platform seeks to reform the agriculture market in India.

During this current Covid-19 lockdown, Agriculture Ministry has initiated several steps to decongest wholesale markets and to make supply chain agile.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India launched its 49th round of order books, inventories and capacity utilization survey (OBICUS) of the manufacturing sector. This is the survey for the period of January to March 2020.

 OBICUS Survey: The full form of OBICUS is Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization survey. OBICUS survey is being conducted by RBI on a quarterly basis (4 times a year) since 2008. Under the survey, the companies of manufacturing sector are asked to volunteer information on their inventory level. It provides an insight into demands of the Indian manufacturing sector.

The information gathered in the survey consists of quantitative data, pending orders, work in progress, backlog of orders and finished goods. The data is provided item-wise. The survey covers 2,500 companies both in public and private sector.

The survey is helpful in providing valuable information required for the formulation of monetary policy and the data collected during the survey is very confidential. 

GoI: The Government of India has amemded its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy. The amendment has been made to the Consolidated FDI policy, 2017, with an aim towards curbing opportunistic takeovers and acquisitions of Indian companies due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

According to new revised policy, an entity of a country, which shares land border with India or where the beneficial owner of an investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the government route. However, entities in Bangladesh and Pakistan are required to obtain government permission.

The revised policy also states that in case of any change or transfer in ownership of an Indian entity arising because of FDIs from such countries would also require government approval.

The above decision will take effect from the date of FEMA notification.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India is a major monetary source for economic development in India. Foreign companies invest directly in fast growing private Indian businesses to take benefits of cheaper wages and changing business environment of India. Economic liberalisation started in India in wake of the 1991 economic crisis and since then FDI has steadily increased in India,[1][2] which subsequently generated more than one crore (10 million) jobs

Facebook: It is an American online social media and social networking service technology company. It is based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes. It was founded in February 2004 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. It is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, US. The current CEO of Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg.

Recently, the Tech Giant Facebook invested an astounding amount of $5.7 billion (Rs 43,574 crore) in Reliance Jio thereby buying 9.9 percent stake in the company. Reliance Jio is the telecom unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). The Jio deal is beneficial for both the companies as it will help reduce RIL’s debt burden while it will give Facebook a strong foothold in the Indian market, where its WhatsApp chat service is having 40 crore users.

  This acquisition has now put the value of Jio Platforms Ltd (JPL) at 4.62 lakh crore ($65.95 billion). JPL is the parent of phone and data unit Reliance Jio Infocomm. The Jio network not only includes calling and data services but also includes various other services such as the JioSaavan, Jiocinema , Jiomart amongst others.

XVFC: It refers to the 15th Finance Commission. The XVFC recently had online meetings with its Advisory Council on 23rd and 24th April 2020. The meeting was chaired by XVFC Chairman N. K. Singh. It was attended by all members and senior officials of the Commission.

The Members of the Advisory Council discussed implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on GDP growth. The members also discussed the possible assumptions for tax buoyancy and revenue in the current and next financial year. All the members unanimously suggested that the projections of real GDP growth made before March 2020 needs to be relooked into entirely, and, revised downwards considerably.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Recently, RBl has allowed banks to issue electronic cards to natural persons having Overdraft Accounts that are only in the nature of personal loan without any specific end-use restrictions.

The card are to be issued for a period not exceeding the validity of the facility and should also be subject to the usual rights of the banks as lenders and it is allowed to be used only for domestic transactions.

Previously, as per the Central bank's direction, the banks were allowed to issue debit cards to customers having Saving Bank/Current Accounts but not to cash credit/loan, account holders.

GoI: The Government of India (GoI) recently, declared banking industry as public utility service till 21st October 2020. It has been declared as public utility service under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. The order has been issued to prevent strikes by employees or officers during the operation of the law starting from 21 April. The order has been passed by the labour ministry for 6 months amid the lockdown imposed due to Covid-19 pandemic which has significantly impacted economic activities. The main objective of the Government behind this order is to ensure protection to the customers amid the economic crisis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Industrial Disputes Act, 1947: The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 extends to the whole of India. This Act regulates Indian labour laws. It was enacted by the Central Legislative Assembly on 11th March 1947 and it came into force 1 April 1947. The main objective of the act is to secure harmony and peace in the work culture of Indian Industries. The act applies only to organized sector.

Current Affairs in Economic - March 2020

LIDEA: It is an interactive AI Powered ChatBot solution. Birla Estates recently launched “LIDEA” for its customers on WhatsApp. The solution is aimed at providing information of its projects to users who are evaluating residential developments of Birla Estates. LIDEA which is powered with artificial intelligence, will answer the queries of the users regarding Birla Estates developments. It will also offer features like viewing location, configurations, amenities, virtual tours and accepting site visit requests. The launch of the ChatBot on WhatsApp adds to the digital experience of Birla Alokya, where the homes feature voice based automation and homebuyers can visualise their future home using an immersive Virtual Reality experience.

GoI: Recently, the Government of India (GoI) launched SPICe+, a web form that integrates 10 services of various ministries and departments. This will help boost Ease of Doing Business in India, especially for a startup. It was launched by the Secretary of Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) Injeti Srinivas.

 SPICE+: It is an acronym for Simplified Performa for Incorporating Company Electronically Plus. This web form provides 10 services thereby saving time, cost for starting a business in India. The 10 services that it provides are DIN allotment, issue of PAN, TAN, EPFO and ESIC registration, opening bank account for a company, allotment of GSTIN, issue of Profession Tax, etc. Out of the ten services it will also provide services of the three Central Government Ministries like Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Labour and the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance.

Initiatives such as SPICE+ is necessary to improve India's ranking globally.

Union Cabinet: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has approved the mega consolidation of ten PSBs into four PSBs. the 4 PSBs include the amalgamation of Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India into Punjab National Bank, amalgamation of Syndicate Bank into Canara Bank, amalgamation of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank into Union Bank of India and amalgamation of Allahabad Bank into Indian Bank. The merger will come into effect from the new financial year 1st April 2020.

Vadhvan Port: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its 'in-principle' approval for setting up a Major Port at Vadhavan near Dahanu in Maharashtra. An amount of Rs 65,545 crores has been sanctioned by the Government of India for the project.

The Vadhavan port will be developed on the 'Landlord Model'. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be set up to provide the necessary infrastructure to the port.

The SPV will develop the port infrastructure including reclamation, construction of breakwater, besides establishing connectivity to the hinterland. All business activities will be done by private developers under the PPP (private-public partnership) model.

The decision of setting a major port in Vadhavan is because the natural draft at the Vadhavan Port near the coast is about 20 meters. This makes it ideal to handle bigger vessels. The development of the Vadhavan port will house the container ships of 16,000 to 25,000 TEU capacities.

UNCTAD: It refers to the United Nations Conference on Trade, Investment and Development. UNCTAD has issued a warning that global foreign direct investment (FDI) could drop by up to 15% on previous estimates due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  The organization has predicted that as the visus spreads there will be further decline in the economic growth. COVID-19 outbreak would significantly drag down global FDI, which is a measure of cross-border private sector investment.

Surat: It is a city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is known as the textile hub of the nation or the Silk City of India. It is very famous for its cotton mills and Surat Zari Craft. Surat is the biggest centre of MMF (man-made fibre) in India. It is also known for its diamond industry.

Recently, the Surat diamond industry is likely to face a loss of around Rs 8,000 crore in next two months. This is due to a state of emergency is declared in Hong Kong as well as other states of China due to the coronavirus outbreak.  Hong Kong is a major business hub for the Surat diamond industry and according to Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) polished diamonds worth around Rs 50,000 crore are exported from Surat to Hong Kong every year. If the situation does not improve then the diamond industry of India will worsen

OIL: It refers to Oil India Limited. OIL, a Navratna PSU, is a fully integrated Exploration & Production (E&P) company in the upstream sector and is the second largest national oil and gas company of India as measured by total proved plus probable oil and natural gas reserves and production in India. Its operational headquarters is in Duliajan, Assam and the main headquarters is in Noida, New Delhi. It was founded in 18 February 1959. The company is a state-owned Navratna under the administrative control of India's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Recently, OIL signed the Crude Oil Sales Agreement (COSA) with Numaligarh Refinery. The agreement was signed by the finance directors of the two companies for purchase and sale of crude oil for a term of five years. The Crude Oil Sales Agreement (COSA) will come in effect from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2025. The agreement will streamline the sale and purchase transactions of crude oil produced from fields in North East India.

Numaligarh Refinery: It is a joint venture (JV) between Bharat Petroleum (61.65%), Oil India (26%), and Government of Assam (12.35%). It is locate in Morangi, Assam and is owned by Numaligarh Refinery Limited.

Finance Commission: The Finance Commission was established by the President of India in 1951 under Article 280 of the Indian Constitution. It was formed to define the financial relations between the central government of India and the individual state governments. It was founded on 22 November 1951. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Recently, the Finance Commission Constituted an 8-member committee under Shri N K Singh in order to build a fiscal consolidation road map for the centre and the states.

The first report by the Finance Commission was submitted to the GoI in February 2020. The Commission will submit its final report covering the financial years 2021-22 to 2025-26 by October 30.  NK Singh Committee will not only recommend the definition of deficit and debt but will also define contingent liabilities of PSUs.

FC: It refers to the Fiscal Consolidation. FC is a policy adopted by the Government to reduce the deficits. The objective behind the policy is to reduce debt stocks and deficits in the policies that are undertaken by the Government. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 (FRBMA) is the best example for the Fiscal Consolidation measure of the Government of India.

SIDBI: It refers to the Small Industries Development Bank of India. SIDBI is a development financial institution in India. It was founded on 2 April 1990 through an Act of Parliament. It is headquartered in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.  SIDBI also coordinates the functions of institutions engaged in similar activities.

Recently, SIDBI announced its plan to launch Swavalamban Express on 5 June 2020. It seeks to empower budding entrepreneurs under its mission Swavalamban. The aim is to promote budding business aspirants and entrepreneurs. The train is to cover more than 7,000 km in 15 days during which various workshops and programmes are to be organized. The Train is to visit 11 entrepreneurial cities which are Bengaluru, Kolakata, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Delhi, Varanasi and Jammu. The train has been launched to fulfil the goal of India of 5 trillion USD by 2024-25. 

Current Affairs in Economic - Feburary 2020

Indian Railways: Indian Railways is the largest rail network in Asia and the world's second largest has over 70,000 passenger coaches and more than 11,000 locomotives. The First train in India ran between Bombay and Thane on the 16th of April 1853. Indian Railways transports almost 2.5 crore passengers daily.

Recently, the Indian railways launched a high capacity parcel van at Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station. The Parcel van was designed and manufactured in Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory. The Speed of the train’s speed is 130 km per hour. The Indian Railways has launched an exclusive Banana Container train to boost the exports of the fruit.

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority(APEDA), along with State Government of Andhra Pradesh and one of the largest member exporter of banana, dispatched the first shipment of 890 MTs of high quality bananas, loaded in 43 refrigerated containers, from Tadipatri, Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai for export to international markets. More than 500 farmers cultivating bananas in more than 1800 hectares have been trained to boost the production and export of the fruit from Anantpur and nearby districts. Indian APEDA with the support of the State Government and exporters aims to provide a good opportunity for India to increase its share in the world trade of banana.

Economic Survey: The Economic Survey is a detailed report card on the economic performance in the year. The Survey brings out the economic trends in the country and facilitates a better appreciation of the mobilization of resources and their allocation in the Union Budget. It analyses the trends in agricultural and industrial production, infrastructure, employment, money supply, prices, exports, imports, foreign exchange reserves and other relevant economic factors that have a bearing on the Budget. It is presented in Parliament ahead of the Budget for the ensuing year.

Recently, the Economic Survey 2019-20 was tabled during the Budget Session of the Parliament on 31 January 2020 by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance. The survey was prepared under the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Krishnamurthy V Subramanian. The theme for the survey 2020 is "Ethical Wealth Creation". The Survey 2020 focuses on the theme of Wealth Creation, Promotion of pro-business policies, strengthening of trust in the economy. The document outlines strategies for making India a $5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25. The survey highlighted the fact that 2.62 crore new jobs were created in rural and urban areas between 2011-12 and 2017-18 in the country. The Economic Survey on Friday projected revival of economic growth to 6-6.5 per cent in the next fiscal beginning April 1 but suggested the government to relax the budget deficit target to boost growth from a decade low. For the current fiscal, it projected a GDP growth of 5 per cent, the lowest in 11 years, and worsening job prospects. The Survey emphasized on investment-led growth by focusing on reviving the MSME sector. The Survey 2020 also throws light on new ideas like Thalinomics, Adoption of China model, Trust and others, to boost growth and accelerate wealth creation.

BSE: It refers to Bombay Stock Exchange. It was founded in 9 July 1875. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Mumbai. BSE provides a transparent market for trading in equity, debt instruments, equity derivatives, currency derivatives, commodity derivatives, interest rate derivatives, mutual funds and stock lending and borrowing. The current Chairman of BSE is Vikramajit Sen and the Managing Director and CEO of BSE is Ashish Kumar Chauhan.

Recently, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has signed a licensing agreement with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Futures Europe. Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Futures Europe is an operator of global exchanges and clearinghouses.

India is one of the largest consumers and importers of crude oil in the world, and Brent crude is highly co-related with the Indian crude oil market. This agreement seeks to serve the needs and interests to the Indian energy commodities space and market participants to access Rupee-dominated Brent benchmark prices. It will also help Indian commodity markets by providing convenient and cost-effective onshore hedging products and enable the price discovery of Brent crude prices in the Indian time zone.

Union Budget: The Union Budget of India also referred to as the Annual Financial Statement in the Article 112 of the Constitution of India, is the annual budget of the Republic of India. The Government presents it on the first day of February so that it could be materialized before the beginning of new financial year in April.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her second and 90th Union Budget of India for 2020-2021 in the Lok Sabha. The Finance Minister unveiled a series of far-reaching reforms, aimed at energizing the Indian economy through a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long term measures. The government has taken some measures towards reaching the target of a $5 trillion economy by the end of 2022.

The Budget introduced several new schemes besides allocating new funds for the already running Government schemes such as PM-Kisan, Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat Mission, and others. The Union Budget 2020-2021 aims to boost incomes and enhance purchasing power.

The Union Budget has been structured on the overall theme of Ease of Living. The three prominant themes around which the budget has been woven are Aspirational India, Economic Development and Caring Society.

1. Aspirational India:

Under this theme, Union Budget 2020-21 with an allocation of Rs. 4,82401 cr focused on the aspects of:-

a. Agriculture, Irrigation, and Rural Development

b. Wellness, Water, and Sanitation Development and

c. Education and Skills Development

So that all sections of the society could seek better standards of living, with access to health, education and better jobs.

2. Economic development:

Under this theme, economic development for all i.e. – is ensuring SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas, SabkaVishwas”. Union Budget 2020-21 allocated a sum of Rs 2,37,604 cr for:-

a. Industry, Commerce and Investment

b. Infrastructure

c. New economy — led by startups and the tech ecosystem.

3. Caring Society:

Under this theme, the main focus was on creating a caring society which is both humane and compassionate a sum of Rs 62,626 cr was allocated.

a. Women & child

b. Social Welfare

c. Culture and Tourism.

d. Environment and Climate Change

The above themes are held together by Corruption free as well as policy-driven good governance and clean and sound financial sector.

The Key Budget Highlights are:-

INCOME TAX:

The income tax rates have been revised.

5% tax for in11come between Rs 2.5-5 lakh

10% tax for income between Rs 5-7.5 lakh as against 20%

15% tax for income between Rs 7.5-10 lakh as against 20%

20% tax for income between Rs 10-12.5 lakh as against 30%

25% tax for income between Rs 12.5-15 lakh as against 30%

30% tax for income above Rs 15 lakh

The Finance Minister said that the income tax rates would be significantly reduced for those who forego reliefs, exemptions.

HEALTHCARE

Rs 690 billion will be spent toward healthcare spending

TRANSPORT

100 more airports are planned by 2024.

Over 6,000 km of highways in 12 lots will be monetized by 2024.

One major airport will be privatized.

High-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmadabad will be actively pursued.

16-POINT ACTION PLAN FOR FARMERS

According to the Finance Minister, the government is committed to doubling farmers' income by 2022. She proposed to allocate Rs 2.83 lakh crore for agriculture and rural sectors such as irrigation.

MANUFACTURING

Those schemes that encourage manufacturing of mobile phones, electronic equipment and semiconductor packaging will be introduced

Private sector to build Data Centre Parks throughout the country will be encouraged.

80 billion rupees over five years to be provided for quantum technologies and applications and

Milk processing capacity which is to be doubled by 2025.

BANKING/INSURANCE

Insurance cover for bank depositors to be raised to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh

INFRASTRUCTURE

5 new smart cities in public-private partnership mode.

Delhi-Mumbai Expressway to be completed by 2023.

100 more airports to be developed by 2024.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the estimated nominal GDP growth rate for 2020-21 is 10 per cent. She further added that wealth creators would be respected in this country and tax harassment would not be tolerated.

RBI: It refers to Reserve Bank of India. The Reserve Bank of India is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. RBI is the regulator of entire Banking in India. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. RBI was set up in 1935 in Kolkata under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. The 25th Governor of RBI is Shaktikant Das.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will conduct the “Financial Literacy Week 2020” from February 10 to 14, 2020.

The theme of the Financial Literacy Week 2020 is “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)”.

The Financial Literacy Week 2020 will aim to aware people about the formalization, collateral free loan, discounting of receivables, rehabilitation of stressed units and timely repayment.

Financial Literacy Week (FLW) is being conducted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) every year since 2016 to disseminate financial education messages on a particular theme across the country.

South Indian Bank: South Indian Bank Limited is a major private sector bank. It is headquartered at Thrissur in Kerala, India. It was founded in 1929. South Indian Bank MD & CEO os the South Indian Bank is V.G. Mathew.

Recently, South Indian Bank bagged two awards at the Banking Technology 2019 awards. The awards were instituted by the Indian Banks’ Association. This event was held in Indian Bank Association’s 15th Annual Banking Technology Conference, Expo and Awards held in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The South Indian Bank won in the ‘Most Customer-Centric Bank Using Technology’ category and runner up in the ‘Best Payments Initiative’ category amongst small Banks’.

GoI: It refers to the Government of India. GoI will soon release a new one rupee currency note in India. The Union Ministry of Finance notified ‘Printing of One Rupee Currency Notes Rules, 2020’ vide Gazzette Notification G.S.R. 95(E) dated February 7, 2020. “The One Rupee notes shall be printed at the note printing presses for issue under the authority of Government of India for circulation. The notification has several details of one rupee notes to be printed under the authority of the Government of India for circulation. These include details about the colour, design, standard weight, dimensions etc.

History of currency note in India: Currency notes were introduced in India in 1861, and the one-rupee note was introduced by the British on November 30, 1917. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) website, the printing of this note was first stopped in 1926 because its printing was costlier than its value. After that, its printing was resumed in 1940 which continued till 1994. It was ragain eintroduced in 2015 after a gap of 22 years.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. RBI recently, launched a National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (2019-24) to include all, particularly poor and underprivileged class, under formal access to finance - a key goal of the government. It is aimed at providing access to formal financial services in an affordable manner. It also aims to promote financial literacy among customers.

The strategy has been formulated by RBI after consultation with Securities Exchange Board of India(SEBI), Pension fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA) and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). The report has been ratified by Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee (FSDC).

The recommendations made by the committee are:

Universal Access to Financial Services

Access to Livelihood and Skill Development

Providing basic financial services

Financial Literacy and Education

Customer Protection and Grievance Redressal

Effective Co-ordination

Every adult registered under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana should be enrolled in pension scheme and insurance scheme.

Thai Mangur: It is also called the foreign Mangur or African Mangur. The walking catfish is a species of freshwater airbreathing catfish native to Southeast Asia and grows 3 feet to 5 feet. It prays on all kinds of life forms found in inland waterbodies except crocodiles. It is a danger to bio-diversity of water bodies and is also highly carcinogenic.

Recently, the Maharashtra Government has launched a special drive to destroy the cultivation centres of the exotic Thai Mangur fish. This step is being taken by the state government as Thai Mangur is cultivated in highly unhygienic conditions, which could lead to people falling sick after consuming it.

The National Green Tribunal in 2000 had banned the cultivation of the Thai Mangur. So far, the state government has destroyed stocks of some 32 tonnes of Thai Mangur in the state.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI): The RBI, which was established in April 1935, used to follow January-December as its accounting year before it was changed to July-June in March 1940.

Recently, the RBI decided to align its financial accounting year with that of the central government’s fiscal year with effect from 2020-21. The Fiscal Year begins in April and ends in March and the financial year is between July and June'.

The proposal was moved at the 582nd meeting of its Central Board of Directors in New Delhi. The move will help the central bank to do away with nearly eight decades of practice. The alignment was recommended by an expert committee led by Bimal Jalan.

Current Affairs in Economic - January 2020

ADB: It refers to Asian Development Bank. ADB and Government of India signed a 490 million dollars loan for public-private partnership (PPP) project to upgrade about 2600 kilometers of state highways and major district roads from single-lane to two-lane widths in Madhya Pradesh. The loan agreement was signed by the Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB) in Department of Economic Affairs in Finance Ministry Sameer Kumar Khare and Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission Kenichi Yokoyama. An additional $286 million investment will also be mobilized via private sector participation under PPP modality.

The projest aims to improve rural and peri-urban connectivity in state as well as improve access to markets and better services. It will also develop an e-maintenance system, which can record defects or required maintenance, along with a training program to develop capacity on contract implementation and project finance in the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation.

The project continues ADB's engagement with the state's road sector since 2002. This will open a new partnership by introducing PPP through the hybrid-annuity model (HAM), thereby leveraging government financing and improving sustainability of capital investments.

HAM: It refers to hybrid-annuity model. The HAM is a mix of engineering, procurement, construction, and build-operate-transfer. This passes the responsibility of design, implementation, and operation and maintenance obligations to the private sector, while attracting some private sector financing.

Under the HAM, the government will release 6o% of the total project cost during construction, to be paid to the concessionaire in tranches linked to completion milestones. The remaining 40% is arranged by the concessionaire in the form of equity and commercial debt. After the completion of the project, the government will repay concessionaire’s financial investment over a period of 10 years.

MSME: It refers to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Bank of Baroda signed an MoU with the Gujarat government to facilitate the flow of credit in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector. According to the agreement, the credit will be provided to the MSME sector for greenfield projects, startups, women entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs from backward areas under the Gujarat Single Window Clearance Act 2017 & Ordinance Number 1 of 2019 dated October 24, 2019.The MoU with the Gujarat government is a step forward for MSME entrepreneurs. The MoU would not only speed up the process of the credit off take but also speed up industrial development.

HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank Ltd. is an Indian banking and financial services company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is India’s largest private sector lender by assets. It is the largest bank in India by market capitalization as of February 2016. It was founded in August 1994 in India.

HDFC Bank has become only the third Indian company to cross $100 billion in market capitalization. It now a rank 110th in the list of world’s most valued firms and is now in league of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which has a market value of $140.74 billion, and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS) that has a market capitalization of $114.60 billion.

SEBI: It refers to Securities and Exchange Board of India. SEBI is responsible for regulating Securities market in India. It was founded in 1988 as a non-statutory body for regulating securities market. Statutory Powers was given to SEBI on 30 January 1992 through Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

Markets regulator SEBI has signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kazakhstan-based Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) for mutual co-operation and technical assistance.  The MoU was signed by SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi and the acting chief executive officer (CEO) of AFSA Mukhtar Bubeyev.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cross border co-operation in area of securities regulation. This would facilitate mutual assistance, contribute towards efficient performance of the supervisory functions, and enable effective enforcement of laws and regulations governing the securities markets.

eBkray: t is an e-auction platform to enable online auction of attached assets by banks. Finance Minister Sitharaman launched ‘eBkray’ auction platform. The platform provides navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, property search feature. It also presents single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction, comparison of similar properties, and also contains videos and photographs of the uploaded properties. The e-auction platform is now linked on Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal. IBAPI portal is an initiative of Indian Banks Association under the policy of the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance was launched to provide a platform to give details of mortgaged properties to be auctioned online by Banks, starting with PSBs. Buyers can search in the IBAPI portal to get properties details and participate in auction process.

India-China Imports: India is set to finalize stricter quality standards for 371 items by March 2020. The move is primarily aimed at curbing imports of non-essential items such as toys, plastic goods, sports items and furniture, especially from China. The proposed rules to be framed by ministries in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will ensure stricter inspection of imports. According to the commerce ministry estimates, non-essential items imports from China amounts to about ₹4 trillion a year.

The proposed rules are aimed at curbing imports from China and narrowing the trade deficit with India’s northern neighbor, the rules will also apply to Indian producers so as to make the regulations World Trade Organization-compliant.

Darjeeling Tea: It consists of some of the worlds costliest stress-busting brews which are grown in the tea gardens of Darjeeling in West Bengal. Recently, Darjeeling tea and White tea had received a GI tag but has fallen back in global prices due to legal and illegal influx of Nepal Tea into the country which is cheaper than Darjeeling Tea. Darjeeling Tea was already suffering due to the impact of climate change, scarcity of skilled labor and high production cost. Now Nepal is stealing the business and glory of the original Darjeeling brew.

GI Tag: It refers to Geographical Indication Tag. It is a tag used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess the qualities or reputation that are due to that origin. The Tag is provided to fetch an identity for the product international market and increase its exports. India enacted Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 under Article 22 of World Trade Organization.

Mani Mobile App: It is an acronym for Mobile Aided Note Identifier Mobile App. It helps the visually challenged people to identify denomination of currency notes.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das and other officials launched ‘MANI’ mobile app on January 1, 2020. The MANI app will work offline also once it is installed. The app is available both on Android and iOS operating systems. The users can scan the notes using the mobile camera and the audio output will give the result in Hindi as well as English.

However, as per the Central Bank the app does not authenticate a note as either genuine or counterfeit.

RBI: It refers to Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. RBI is the regulator of entire Banking in India. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. It regulates commercial banks and non-banking finance companies working in India. It serves as the leader of the banking system and the money market. It was founded on 1 April 1935 in Kolkata. It is headquartered in Mumbai. The 25th Governor of RBI is Shaktikant Das.

Recently, on 9th january 2020 The RBI amended the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for banks and other lending institutions. RBI, under the new amendments in KYC norms allows these lending institutions to use video-based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP).

The V-CIP is consent based alternate method of establishing the customer’s identity and for customer onboarding from remote areas while leveraging the digital channels for the Customer Identification Process (CIP) by Regulated Entities (REs). It also provides comfortability to banks and other regulated entities while holding to the RBI’s Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. The video files recorded as V-CIP are required to be stored bearing the date and time stamp while ensuring the safety and security of the video files.

RBI has advised banks to capture clear image of PAN card produced by the customer during the Customer Identification Process (CIP) and has also advised the banks and other regulated entities to record the customer’s location (Geotagging) to ensure the customer’s physical presence in India.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI): The Reserve Bank of India on Friday unveiled the five year (2019-24) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI). The NSFI has been formulated by RBI under the aegis of Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee (FIAC). The report has been ratified by the Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC).

According to the official report, the NSFI 2019-2024 sets forth the vision and key objectives of the financial inclusion policies in India to help expand and sustain the financial inclusion process at the national level through a broad convergence of action involving all the stakeholders in the financial sector. The financial inclusion is a key driver of growth and poverty alleviation world over. Access to formal finance can boost job creation, reduce vulnerability to economic shocks and increase investments in human capital.

It also aims to include all, particularly poor and underprivileged class, under formal access to finance which is a key goal of the government of India. As per the reports, the 6 pillars which is a part of strategic objectives to achieve the aim of financial inclusion are:

Universal Access to Financial Services

Providing basic bouquet of financial services

Access to livelihood and Skill Development

Financial Literacy and Education

Customer Protection and Grievance Redressal

Effective Co-ordination

RBBG scheme: It stands for residential builder finance with buyer guarantee’ (RBBG) scheme. Recently, the State Bank of India announced the RBBG scheme with an aim to increasing residential sales and improving homebuyers’ confidence. The SBI will issue a guarantee for completion of select residential projects to customers who have availed home loans from it.

Initially, the scheme will focus on housing projects that are affordable and priced up to 2.50 crore rupees in 10 cities. The bank, under this scheme will give guarantee until the project gets the occupation certificate (OC).

2nd National GST Conference: The 2nd edition of National GST Conference of the Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners of Central Tax held under the chairmanship of Revenue Secretary of Ministry of Finance, Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey. It was held on 7 January 2020.

The conference was held to take necessary action to streamline the GST (Goods and Service Tax) system and also to plug revenue leakages. The meeting included measures to curb fraudulent refund claims, linking foreign exchange remittances with IGST refund, investigation of fraudulent Input Tax Credit (ITC) cases by the IT Department and a single bank account for foreign remittance receipt. The committee for taking measure will come out with detailed Standard Operating Procedure within a week, which may be implemented across the country by January end.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed among the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the GST Network to exchange data through application program interface, from CBDT to GSTN and CBIC and vice-versa to be shared quarterly instead of being shared on a yearly basis.

All the chief commissioners of the Central Tax Zones, State Commissioners of State Taxes, Directors General (DG) of CBIC, members of CBIC, Chairman of CBDT and other officials were present in the conference.

The 1st National GST Conference of Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners/Director Generals of Central Tax was held on 25th November 2019. It was also held under the chairmanship of the Union Revenue Secretary Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, in New Delhi.

SBI: It refers to the State Bank of India. SBI is an Indian multinational, public sector banking and financial services statutory body. It is a government corporation statutory body. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was established in 1 July 1955. SBI is ranked as 236th in the Fortune Global 500 list of the world's biggest corporations of 2019. The current Chairperson is Rajnish Kumar

The South Central Zone (SCR) of Indian Railways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SBI for door step banking. Under the MoU, the bank will enables to collect earnings generated from all 585 stations of the zone. The traffic earnings will be collected by SBI and transferred to the Government account. The direct pick up of cash from all the railway stations on SCR by SBI will save the tiring and complex activity of movement of cash earnings through ‘cash safes’ by trains and it will also speed up the pace of financial transactions and digitize the remittance of cash earnings of the Railways. Furthermore, railway stations will have uniform cash remittance mechanism, unnecessary accumulation of cash at the railway stations can be avoided with the above facility and there will be better supervision and accountability of the cash deposited by different stations.

Gold Hallmarking: The process of certifying the purity of gold is called hallmarking. The BIS system of hallmarking of gold jewellery began in April 2000 and around 40% of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently. BIS is the National Standards Body of India established under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act 2016. It has provisions under Sections 14 and 16 for making hallmarking of mandatory by the Central Government. It certifies that the piece of jewellery conforms to a set of standards laid by the Bureau of Indian Standards, the national standards organization of India. India is the second biggest market for gold and its jewellery.

On January 14, 2020, The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan announced that Indian jewellers will be allowed to sell hallmarked gold artifacts made of 14, 18 and 22-carat gold only. It has now become mandatory for all the Indian Jewellers to get the hallmarking of Gold jewellery and artefacts with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to sell only hallmarked Gold jewellery & artefacts. The mandatory rule is to be implemented from 15 January 2021. Any violation in the new rule will result in one year imprisonment and a fine under the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016.

The purpose of making hallmarking mandatory is not only to curb frauds and fake gold but also to ensure that consumers are not cheated while buying gold ornaments and get the purity as marked on the ornaments.

GEFCO: It is an acronym for Griqualand Exploration and Finance Company Ltd. GEFCO Group is a world wxpert in supply chain solutions and the European leader in automotive logistics. It was founded in 1949 by the French car manufacturer Groupe PSA. It is headquartered in France. Its parent organization is the Russian Railways.

Global software major Infosys has signed a 5-year deal with leading European automotive logistics firm Gefco to digitize its worldwide operations. Infosys has partnered with GEFCO to strengthen its Digital Transformation. Infosys will help GEFCO to transform GEFCO’s next-generation business application management services. It will also help GEFCO to evolve into a ‘Digital Native’ organization. The main aim of the partnership is to support GEFCO to create new sustainable sources of competitive advantage and to constantly improve value for its customers.

Infosys: Infosys Limited is an Indian multinational corporation that provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services. It is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys is Salil Parekh.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee.The RBI carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. It was founded in 1st April 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 in Kolkata, west Bengal. Its headquarters is in Mumbai. The current Governor isShaktikanta Das and the Deputy Governors are N S Vishwanathan, B P Kanungo and M K Jain.

Recently, the Appointments committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of Michael Debabrata Patra as Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He has been appointed for the period of three years. He will be the fourth Deputy Governor of the RBI. The post fell vacant after Viral Acharya resigned on July 23 last year. Dr. Patra was Executive Director of the Reserve Bank before being elevated to the post of Deputy Governor. Mr. Patra is likely to retain the monetary policy department (MPC), which was handled by Mr. Acharya, as the deputy governor.

The RBI, headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, can have a maximum of four deputy governors. N S Vishwanathan, B P Kanungo and M K Jain are the other deputy governors working at the central bank.

MPC: It refers to Monetary Policy Committee. It ia a panel of six members with 3 members from RBI and other 3 members are elected by the Government of India(GoI). MPC was constituted on 27 June 2016. Its aim is to determine interest rates in a more useful and transparent manner.

NPCI: It refers to the National Payments Corporation of India. The NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India. it was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Mumbai. The main objective of NPCI is to consolidate and integrate multiple systems with varying service levels into nation-wide uniform and standard business process for all retail payment system. The current MD & CEO of National Payments Corporation of India is Dilip Asbe.

Recently, NPCI launched a blockchain-technology based payment system ‘Vajra Platform’. The newly launched platform is based on the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). It has been designed for automating payment clearing and settlement processes of NPCI products such as unified payments interface (UPI) and Rupay card.

The platform has three types of nodes, namely, Clearing House node (CHN) for NPCI, UIDAI node for Aadhaar authentication and Participant node (PN) for all banks.

ICICI Bank: ICICI Bank Limited is an Indian multinational banking and financial services company. It was established by the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), an Indian financial institution, as a wholly owned subsidiary in 1994. The bank was established as the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Bank, before it changed its name to the abbreviated ICICI Bank. it is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The current MD & CEO of ICICI Bank is Sandeep Bakhshi.

Recently, ICICI Bank launched a “Cardless Cash Withdrawal” service through ATM. This service can be used for cash withdrawal from its ATMs with a per-day transaction limit of Rs 20,000. The service will enable the ICICI customers to withdraw cash from the ATM by simply putting a request on ICICI Internet Banking App “iMobile”. The advantage of this service is that the customers can withdraw money without using a debit card without any inconvenience and it is also secure .

DPIIT: It refers to Department of Industry and Internal Trade. DPIIT is a central government department under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. it was founded in 1995 and its headquarters is in New Delhi. Its parent organization is the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is responsible for formulation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for growth of the industrial sector, keeping in view the national priorities and socio-economic objectives. While individual administrative ministries look after the production, distribution, development and planning aspects of specific industries allocated to them, DPIIT is responsible for the overall industrial policy. It is also responsible for facilitating and increasing the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the country. Initially known as Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion was renamed as Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) after internal trade was added to its mandate. The current Minister is Piyush Goyal while the top bureaucrat is Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra.

Recently, DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched paperless licensing process through Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) for petroleum service stations. It was launched through Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) under the Petroleum Rules, 2002. This initiative for petroleum pump licensing is directly going to benefit more than 70,000 petroleum pump owners and oil marketing companies and even benefit the petroleum and gas industry.

This initiative is in line with the government vision to promote Ease of Doing Business towards paperless and green India that will provide simpler mechanism, ease of living and business to the petroleum road tanker owners.

PESO: It refers to Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation. PESO is a department formed by Government of India under Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

PESO administers Explosives Act 1884,Explosive Substance Act, Petroleum Act 1934, Inflammable substance Act 1952 and Environment Protection Act 1986. The main function of PESO is to control import, export, transport, storage and usage of explosive materials,flammable materials, pressure vessels, cryogenic vessels, design and installation of all necessary and relevant infrastructure etc. It is a regulatory authority with autonomous status. The Department is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives and is headquartered at Nagpur in the State of Maharashtra in India. The authority has framed various rules like Cinematographic Films Rules, 1948, Calcium Carbide Rules 1987, Petroleum Rules 2002, Gas Cylinder Rules 2002, Explosive Rules 2008, Static & Mobile Pressure Vessels (Unfired) 2016, Ammonium Nitrate Rules, etc. It is headquartered in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Current Affairs in Economic - September 2019

  • EAC-PM : It refers to Economic Advisory Council to PM. It is an independent body constituted to advise the government (especially prime minister) on economic and related issues. It has reconstituted Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) under existing Chairman Bibek Debroy. The reconstitution is for a period of two years, with effect from 26 September 2019. Ratan P Watal will continue as Member Secretary of the EAC-PM. The EAC-PM will have 2 part-time members as against 3 in outgoing panel. Ashima Goel will continue to be one of part-time members and Sajjid Chinoy (Chief India economist at J.P. Morgan) has been added as the new member. Two existing part-time members, Rathin Roy and Shamika Ravi have been dropped in reconstituted EAC-PM.
  • Preventive Vigilance portal :: Punjab National Bank (PNB) launched a Preventive Vigilance (PV) portal during a function held at PNB Corporate Office, chaired by Central Vigilance Commissioner Sharad Kumar. The portal aims to facilitate its staff members to check procedural lapses as well as promote good practices. Besides PV portal e-pledge mission was inaugurated. About Preventive Vigilance portal To promote vigilance awareness in the banking system, PNB introduced the first of its kind technology based solutions through Preventive Vigilance portal. PV portal will facilitate all staff members to contribute towards arresting procedural lapses and unhealthy practices. It will also usher in a coherent climate conducive to banking for modern age. It's the first of its kind portal which includes other activities, such as the inauguration of the e-pledge mission, social outreach through technological platforms. The bank promoted the portal under the central theme Integrity-A way of Life.
  • CBDT: It refers to The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), that frames policy for the Income-tax department. It will set up National e-Assessment centre (NeAC) in New Delhi as part of the government’s ambitious plan to launch faceless and nameless assessment for income tax payers from October 2019.
  • NeAC :It will be an independent office that will look after the work of e-assessment scheme which headed by a Principal Chief Commissioner of Income-tax (PCCIT) as its chief. It is the recently notified scheme for faceless and nameless assessment for income taxpayers. It will have 16 officials. CBDT has appointed K M Prasad, a 1984-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer as chief or PCCIT of NeAC while Ashish Abrol, a 1993-batch IRS officer has been appointed as the Commissioner or second-in-command of new unit. NeAC will also serve notices to assess specifying the issues for selection of their case for assessment and once a response is received from them within a period of 15 days, the centre will allocate case to an assessing officer using an automated system.
  • e-assessment scheme :It is a scheme set up to facilitate faceless assessment of income-tax returns via completely electronic communication between tax officials and taxpayers. The scheme will be rolled out from ‘Vijayadashami’ on 8 October 2019.
  • Multipurpose ID Card :It refers to one single use card for all utilities like Aadhaar, passport, bank account, driving licence & voter card. On 23 September 2019 Union Home Minister Amit Shah proposed the idea of a single multipurpose identity card for citizens. He also said the Census 2021 data will be collected through mobile app. moving away from traditional pen and paper, to promote Digital India. He said that National Population Register was being prepared for the first time in the 2021 census. He laid the foundation stone of a new building of the Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner in New Delhi. He stated that there should also be a system that when a person dies, the information is updated automatically in the population data. The massive nationwide exercise will be carried out in 16 languages at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore.
  • Digital Census 2021 : : It is the 16th in the series which was first conducted in the 1860s. It will have about 60 questions, right from the amenities available in a household, source of drinking water and power, to the religion, occupation, and the languages spoken by the family. The exercise will be carried out during the house-listing phase of Census 2021, during April to September 2020, in all the states and union territories, except Assam, where a National Register of Citizens was recently released. Then the Census data will be collected through a mobile app which will be used for the census exercise. He said the 2021 census will help in future planning of the country, especially for development initiatives and welfare schemes, and it will be a ‘Jan Bhagidari’ (people’s participation) exercise.
  • NPR: It is the National Population Register (NPR). It is a register of the ‘usual’ residents of the country. A usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more, or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more. The database under the NPR is maintained by the Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. The NPR is prepared at the local (Village or sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level, under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
  • Himachal Pradesh : Mukhya Mantri Seva Sankalp Helpline ‘1100’ was launched in Himachal Pradesh by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur. The helpline will function six days in a week from 7 AM to 10 PM. This helpline was started by the State Government so that it would deliver a speedy and time-bound redressal of public grievances by effective use of the latest technologies. Himachal Pradesh becomes the 4th state to launch this helpline after Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Bharati Airtel and Reliance Jio :According to the Business Stadard reports, India’s leading telecom players Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have decided to shun the Chinese technology companies including the beleaguered Huawei from their 5G roll out plans. Both the companies have reportedly tied up with non-Chinese companies. While the Reliance Jio has tied up with South Korean tech giant Samsung, Bharti Airtel has finalised agreements with European tech firms Ericsson and Nokia. The move comes amid the trade tensions between United States and China, and America along with its allies banning purchase of the equipment of the Chinese telecom gear maker. The US is also pressuring other countries to ban Huawei apart from threatening companies of sanctions if they buy or sell the Chinese technology. India has not taken any decision on whether to ban Huawei from participating in the 5G trials in India. However, Chinese officials and conveyed to India’s ambassador to China that if India bans Huawei, there could be reverse sanctions on Indian companies operating in China.
  • BBPS : Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an integrated bill payment system in India initiated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expanding the scope of Bharat Bill Payment System. The objective of BBPS is to implement an integrated bill payment system that offers interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes, and providing instant confirmation of payment to cover all repetitive bill payments, which may include school fees, insurance premiums and municipal taxes. Currently, the facility of payment of recurring bills through BBPS is available only in five segments—direct to home (DTH), electricity, gas, telecom and water. BBPS functions under National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The move will help in greater digitisation of cash-based bill payments. BBPS payments can be made by using cash, cheques as well as through digital methods such as internet banking, debit, credit card, among others. Bill aggregators and banks function as operating units and carry out these payment transactions for customers.
  • NIRVIK Scheme : Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) has introduced ‘NIRVIK’ scheme to ease the lending process and enhance loan availability for exporters. The scheme was announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 14 as a part of measures to boost exports. Under the new ‘NIRVIK’ scheme, which is also called the Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS), the insurance cover guaranteed will cover up to 90 percent of the principal and interest.The increased cover will ensure that foreign and rupee export credit interest rates are below 4% and 8% respectively for the exporters. The insurance cover will include both pre and post-shipment credit. The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) currently provides credit guarantee of up to 60 per cent loss. Under this scheme, the gems, jewellery and diamond(GJD) sector borrowers with limit of over Rs 80 crores will also have a higher premium rate in comparison to the non-GJD sector borrowers of this category due to the higher loss ratio. The benefits of this scheme is that it will enhance accessibility and affordability of credit for exporters, it will help make Indian exports competitive and it will make ECGC procedures exporter friendly. It will also bring down the cost of credit due to capital relief, less provision requirement and liquidity due to quick settlement of claims. It will ensure timely and adequate working capital to the export sector.
  • ECGC: It is the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) is a fully government-owned company that was established in 1957 to promote exports by providing credit insurance services. The ECGC provides Export Credit Insurance to Banks (ECIB) to protect the banks from losses on account of export credit at the Pre and Post-Shipment stage given to exporters due to the risks of insolvency or protracted default of the exporter borrower.
  • New income tax rules come into effect from September 1: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden budget speech announced some income tax-related changes which will come into effect from Sunday (September 1), September 1. Her key announcements were that the tax deducted at source (TDS) will be levied at the rate of 2 per cent on cash payments worth more than Rs 1 crore. Also, the TDS will be levied if life insurance maturity received is taxable. Further, the government amended 194-IA of Income Tax Act to include all charges of the nature of club membership fee, car parking fee, or any other charges of similar nature under immovable property for levy of the TDS. Here is a 5-point explainer of new tax-related changes that have come into effect in India from September 1.
  • TDS on additional payment made when purchasing immovable property:The government had amended 194-IA of Income Tax Act during the budget announcement in July in which FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced that if any person purchases an immovable property of Rs 50 lakh or more than that (excluding agricultural land), is required to deduct TDS at the rate of 1 per cent from September 1, 2019, onward. The amendment included all charges of the nature of club membership fee, car parking fee, electricity and water facility fees, maintenance fee, advance fee or any other charges of similar nature, which are incidental to the transfer of immovable property.
  • TDS on cash withdrawals from bank accounts:The government has included a new section 194N in the Act. With this new inclusion, the TDS can be levied at the rate of 2 per cent on cash payments worth more than Rs 1 crore in aggregate made within the year, by a cooperative bank, a banking company, or post office to any individual from an account, which is maintained by the recipient.
  • TDS on payments made by HUF/Individual to professionals and contractors:Under this provision announced in the Budget, if the payment made to a contractor or a professional or a brokerage exceeds Rs 50 lakh in a year, an individual or HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) is required to deduct 5 per cent TDS at the time of crediting such amount. This will help check evasion but may lead to a higher burden of compliance for the payer.This means that individuals making payments of over Rs 50 lakh, let's say, house renovation, wedding functions or any other purpose to a single professional in a year would be required to deduct tax at the time of making the payment.
  • TDS on life insurance:If life insurance maturity proceeds received are taxable, then the TDS will be deducted at the rate of 5 per cent on the net income portion. The net income portion is defined as the total sum received less of the total amount of insurance premium paid. Earlier, the TDS was 1% of the gross maturity payout under the policy.
  • Interchangeability of Pan and Aadhaar:Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech had announced that taxpayers who don't own a PAN card (Permanent Account Number) can now file Income Tax returns with their Aadhaar Card also. The FM allowed the interchangeability of PAN and Aadhaar card for filing tax returns.

Current Affairs in Economic - July 2019

  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF):It currently manages three funds each with its distinctive investment mandate. The funds are registered as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).The three funds are: Master Fund: The Master Fund is an infrastructure fund with the objective of primarily investing in operating assets in the core infrastructure sectors such as roads, ports, airports, power etc. Fund of Funds: Fund of Funds anchor and/or invest in funds managed by fund managers who have good track records in infrastructure and associated sectors in India. Some of the sectors of focus include Green Infrastructure, Mid-Income & Affordable Housing, Infrastructure services and allied sectors.Strategic Investment Fund: Strategic Investment Fund is registered as an Alternative Investment Fund II under SEBI in India. The objective of “Strategic Fund” is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments. The Strategic Fund will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.
  • 58:It is the Turnover Ratio of India in 2018 according to the World Bank, which was a 43 per cent drop from 101 recorded in 2004. A turnover ratio represents the amount of assets or liabilities that a company replaces in relation to its sales. The concept is useful for determining the efficiency with which a business utilizes its assets. In most cases, a high asset turnover ratio is considered good, since it implies that receivables are collected quickly, fixed assets are heavily utilized, and little excess inventory is kept on hand. This implies a minimal need for invested funds, and therefore a high return on investment. Conversely, a low liability turnover ratio (usually in relation to accounts payable) is considered good, since it implies that a company is taking the longest possible amount of time in which to pay its suppliers, and so has use of its cash for a longer period of time.
  • ECGC: It is a premier export credit agency of the Government of India to provide Export Credit Insurance Services to facilitate exports from the country. The ECGC offers credit insurance schemes to exporters to protect them against losses due to non-payment of export dues by overseas buyers due to political and / or commercial risks. It functions under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and is managed by a Board of Directors comprising representatives of the Government, Reserve Bank of India, banking, and insurance and exporting community.
  • NEVF: It stands for North East Venture Fund is the first dedicated venture capital fund for the North Eastern Region. It has been set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi) in association with Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (M-DoNER). The objective is to contribute to the entrepreneurship development of the NER and achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns through long term capital appreciation by way of investments in privately negotiated equity/ equity related investments. The investment under this schemer ranges from Rs. 25 lakh to Rs.10 crore per venture, which is long term in nature with investment horizon of 4-5 years.
  • Finance Bill:It means a Bill ordinarily introduced every year to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the next following financial year and includes a Bill to give effect to supplementary financial proposals for any period. The Finance Bill is introduced immediately after the presentation of the Budget. The introduction of the Bill cannot be opposed. The Appropriation Bills and Finance Bills may be introduced without prior circulation of copies to members. The Finance Bill usually contains a declaration under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1931, by which the declared provisions of the Bill relating to imposition or increase in duties of customs or excise come into force immediately on the expiry of the day on which the Bill is introduced. In view of such provisions and the provision of Act of 1931, the Finance Bill has to be passed by Parliament and assented to by the President before the expiry of the seventy-fifth day after the day on which it was introduced. As the Finance Bill contains taxation proposals, it is considered and passed by the Lok Sabha only after the Demands for Grants have been voted and the total expenditure is known. The scope of discussion on the Finance Bill is vast and members can discuss any action of the Government of India. The whole administration comes under review. The procedure in respect of Finance Bill is the same as in the case of other Money Bills.
  • Wages Bill: Are the one whose new version of Code was recently cleared by the Union Cabinet. It seeks to define the norms for fixing minimum wages that will be applicable to workers of organised and unorganised sectors, except government employees and MGNREGA workers. The Code on Wages will amalgamate the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. The code on wages is one of the four codes that would subsume 44 labour laws with certain amendments to improve the ease of doing business and attract investment for spurring growth. The four codes will deal with wages, social security, industrial safety and welfare, and industrial relations.
  • MSP: It is the minimum price set by the Government at which farmers can expect to sell their produce for the season. When market prices fall below the announced MSPs, procurement agencies step in to procure the crop and ‘support’ the prices. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs announces MSP for various crops at the beginning of each sowing season based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP takes into account demand and supply, the cost of production and price trends in the market among other things when fixing MSPs. MSPs ensure that farmers get a minimum price for their produce in adverse markets. MSPs have also been used as a tool by the Government to incentivise farmers to grow crops that are in short supply.
  • RBI: It stands for Reserve Bank of India(RBI) will now be given power to takes over as the regulator of Housing Finance Firms(HFFs) instead of NHB(National Housing Bank) as announced on July 5, 2019 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The government will also provide a one-time six-month partial guarantee to state-run banks for the acquisition of up to 1 trillion rupees ($14.6 billion) of highly-rated assets from NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Company). The financial crisis emerged from Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFC) and Reliance Capital Ltd led to this decision for giving fresh fund. The cash crunch at such firms could weaken the financial system and economy given their large lending role and ties with banks, mutual funds, and insurers. The RBI has also proposed plans to tighten NBFCs’ asset-liability management and liquidity coverage ratios and resisted demands from within the industry to provide a separate liquidity window for NBFCs.
  • Financial Statements: The Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement, The Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement,The Macro Economic Framework Statement are the three statements under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 which are laid on the Table of Lok Sabha after the presentation of Union Budget. No discussion on Budget takes place on the day it is presented to the House. Budgets are discussed in two stages—the General Discussion followed by detailed discussion and voting on the demands for grants.
  • 30th November, 2019:It is the period up to which Cabinet recently approved extension of the term of the Fifteenth Finance Commission. The Finance Commission is constituted by the President under article 280 of the Constitution, mainly to give its recommendations on distribution of tax revenues between the Union and the States and amongst the States themselves. Two distinctive features of the Commission’s work involve redressing the vertical imbalances between the taxation powers and expenditure responsibilities of the centre and the States respectively and equalization of all public services across the States.
  • KVIC:It stands for Khadi and Village Industries Commission has distributed over 1.10 lakh bee-boxes across India in last one and half years under its Honey Mission. This has created over 11,000 new jobs for the farmers, unemployed youths and tribal people; 430 metric tonnes of honey worth Rs 4 crore has been extracted through these bee-boxes only. Honey Mission was launched in August 2017. Under this mission KVIC provides beekeepers: Practical training about examination of honeybee colonies. Acquaintance with apicultural equipment’s. Identification and management of bee enemies and diseases. Honey extraction and wax purification. Management of bee colonies in spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter seasons. Loans for setting up processing units, packaging units and labelling units for honey.
  • $5-trillon:It is the level to which Indian economy is expected to be taken by 2024 by the present government. In 2014, India’s GDP was $1.85 trillion. Today it is $2.7 trillion and India is the sixth-largest economy in the world. If India grows at 12% nominal growth (that is 8% real GDP growth and 4% inflation), then from the 2018 level of $2.7 trillion, India would reach the 5.33 trillion mark in 2024. India must keep growing at a rapid pace to attain this target.
  • Zero Budget Natural Farming: It is a method of farming where the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero. This means that farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides in order to ensure the healthy growth of crops. It is, basically, a natural farming technique that uses biological pesticides instead of chemical-based fertilizers. Farmers use earthworms, cow dung, urine, plants, human excreta and such biological fertilizers for crop protection. It reduces farmers’ investment. It also protects the soil from degradation. As both a social and environmental programme, it aims to ensure that farming – particularly smallholder farming – is economically viable by enhancing farm biodiversity and ecosystem services. It reduces farmers’ costs through eliminating external inputs and using in-situ resources to rejuvenate soils, whilst simultaneously increasing incomes, and restoring ecosystem health through diverse, multi-layered cropping systems. Cow dung from local cows has proven to be a miraculous cure to revive the fertility and nutrient value of soil. One gram of cow dung is believed to have anywhere between 300 to 500 crore beneficial micro-organisms. These micro-organisms decompose the dried biomass on the soil and convert it into ready-to-use nutrients for plants.
  • India:This country will be the first recipient of local currency financing by the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB). The objective of local currency financing is to provide more options to borrowers. India is the second-largest shareholder of AIIB with a 7.5% stake. It has received about $2-billion funding for various projects so far. China holds 20.06% and Russia holds 5.92%.
  • Standard Chartered:It will be the first foreign bank to launch operations at International Financial Service Centre (IFSC). The bank has received in-principle regulatory approvals to set up its IFSC Banking Unit (IBU) in Gujarat International Finance Tec-city (GIFT city). Gift city was one of the dream projects of Shri. Narendra Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. It has been set up by the Gujarat government in joint partnership with Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS). The recent budget has laid special emphasis on aircraft financing and leasing which would make GIFT City, help build a hub for aircraft financing and leasing with the help of Standard Chartered and other organizations in the future.
  • Zappfresh:India’s first fully-integrated Fresh Meat brand, was conferred with the ‘Best Farm to Fork Fresh Meat Brand’ accolade at the 6th edition of ‘CMO Asia National Awards for Marketing Excellence’ which were held at Taj Lands End, Mumbai, Maharashtra on July 4, 2019. It was awarded for its innovative solutions in transforming the meat buying experience of consumers through its farm-to-fork model and for disrupting the fresh meat brand market in the country. Zappfresh is currently present across 8 cities- Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Chandigarh, Mohali, and Panchkula.
  • GeM: It is a state-of-the-art national public procurement platform of Ministry of Commerce and Industries, that has used technology to remove entry barriers for bonafide sellers and has created a vibrant e-marketplace with a wide range of goods and services. GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It facilitates online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organisations / PSUs. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value for their money.
  • CCTNS:It stands for Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level. This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”. CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India. The Project will interconnect about 15000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country and digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all Police Stations. It will not only automate Police functions at Police station and higher levels but will also create facilities and mechanism to provide public services like registration of online complaints, ascertaining the status of case registered at the police station, verification of persons etc.
  • DoT and ICRIER MoU:It stands for Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) for Indian states and Union Territories (UT). The index will include indicators such as percentage of households using computers/ laptops with internet connection, percentage of households with fixed broadband connection, internet users as a percentage of the population, smartphones density, percentage of households with at least one digitally literate member, etc.

Current Affairs in Economic - June 2019

  • India and Switzerland:They are the two countries which were recently removed by USA from its currency monitoring list of major trading partners, citing certain developments and steps being taken by them which address some of its major concerns. The US currency monitoring list includes Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. In both Switzerland and India, there was a notable decline in 2018 in the scale and frequency of foreign exchange purchases, the report said. India for the first time was placed by the US in its currency monitoring list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies in May 2018 along with five other countries - China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland.
  • NSIC: It recently signed MOU with Ministry of MSME which envisages provision of enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology and other support services schemes for MSMEs in the country. Under the scheme of National SC-ST Hub being implemented by NSIC on behalf of the Ministry of MSME, it will be a continued endeavour to provide assistance to SC/ST entrepreneurs through different interventions and various outreach activities with the overall objectives to increase their participation in public procurement. The National SC/ST Hub has been set up to provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Entrepreneurs to fulfil the obligations under the Central Government Public Procurement Policy for Micro and Small Enterprises Order 2012, adopt applicable business practices and leverage the Stand-Up India initiative.
  • EQUIP: It is the name of the ambitious ₹1.5 lakh crore project which the Ministry of Human Resource Development plans to launch to improve the quality and accessibility of higher education over the next five years. EQUIP stands for the Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme and was crafted by ten committees led by experts within the government. EQUIP is meant to bridge the gap between policy and implementation. The project is made to bring transformation in the higher education system in the upcoming 5 years.
  • OMO: It stands for Open Market Operations. Open market operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI or the central bank of the country. The objective of OMO is to regulate the money supply in the economy. RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public. It was in the news recently that The Reserve Bank of India is planning to inject Rs. 15,000 crores into the financial system next month through purchase of government bonds via the auction route.
  • Elephant Bonds:They are the one which the high-level government-appointed committee on trade and industry has suggested to issue to people for declaring undisclosed income to mandatorily invest 50%. Elephant Bonds are the 25-year sovereign bonds in which people declaring undisclosed income will be bound to invest 50 per cent. The fund, made from these bonds, will be utilized only for infrastructure projects.
  • Requirement of strong room: Area of the strong room/ vault of at least 1,500 sq ft. Area of the strong room/ vault of at least 600 sq ft in hilly areas are the two major requirement for setting up of currency chests as per the Reserve Bank of India new guidelines. The other requirements are that the new chests should have a processing capacity of 6.6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day. Those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places, a capacity of 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day. The currency chests should have Chest Balance Limit (CBL) of Rs 1,000 crore, subject to ground realities and reasonable restrictions, at the discretion of the Reserve Bank.
  • December 2010:It is the month in which FSDC (The Financial Stability and Development Council) was constituted. An apex-level FSDC is not a statutory body. The FSDC was set up to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development. The Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and its members are Governor, Reserve Bank of India; Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Secretary, Department of Financial Services; Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance; Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India; Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. It also includes the chairman of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board (IBBI). Recently, the government through a gazette notification, had included ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) secretary in the FSDC in view of the increased focus of the government on digital economy.
  • Dispute Resolution Committee: In a major decision to facilitate the solar and wind energy projects, the government has approved a proposal to set up a Dispute Resolution Committee to consider the unforeseen disputes between solar/wind power developers and SECI/NTPC, beyond contractual agreement. The move will give further fillip to the smooth implementation of solar/wind energy projects in India. It fulfils a long pending demand of the industry to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements. Solar and Wind Industry have been demanding setting up of Dispute Resolution Mechanism by MNRE for quite some time, to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements between solar power developers / wind power developers and SECI/ NTPC. A three-member Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) will be set up with the approval of Hon’ble Minister (NRE), consisting of eminent persons of impeccable integrity. The upper age for the DRC members shall be 70 years.
  • Five trillion:Dollar economy by 2024 -It is the goal set for India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 15, 2019 during the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog which was held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Centre, New Delhi. This was the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government. The guiding principle of Union Government is “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwaas”. Focus should be given to fisheries, animal husbandry, horticulture, fruits and vegetables in order to fulfill the commitment to double incomes of farmers by 2022.
  • 58.8%:It is the growth rate of total digital transactions in 2018-19 as per the The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report “Payment and Settlement: The Plumbing in the Architecture of India’s Financial System”. It stated that, the digital transactions till March 2019 witnessed tremendous growth and they will rise by four times from Rs 2,069 crore in December 2018 to Rs 8,707 crore in December 2021. Digital transactions in value terms grew by 19.5% during 2018-19.
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB):It has approved a project submitted by the Urban Development Department (UDD) of Tripura amounting to Rs. 1650 crore for overall infrastructure development of seven districts headquarter towns of Tripura. The fund is meant for development of piped water supply, underground drainage, underground sewage or scientific septage management, roads with pavement. The ADB will give 80 percent of Rs 1650 crore as grant-in-aid and the State Government of Tripura will have to repay back only 20 percent loan in due course of time. The seven-district headquarters include-Khowai (Khowai), Ambassa (Dhalai district), Dharmnagar (North Tripura), Kailashahar (Unakoti), Udaipur (Gomati), Bishramganj (Sepahijala), Belonia (South Tripura), where the plan will be implemented.

Current Affairs in Economic - May 2019

  • India and Switzerland:They are the two countries which were recently removed by USA from its currency monitoring list of major trading partners, citing certain developments and steps being taken by them which address some of its major concerns. The US currency monitoring list includes Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. In both Switzerland and India, there was a notable decline in 2018 in the scale and frequency of foreign exchange purchases, the report said. India for the first time was placed by the US in its currency monitoring list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies in May 2018 along with five other countries - China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland.
  • NSIC: It recently signed MOU with Ministry of MSME which envisages provision of enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology and other support services schemes for MSMEs in the country. Under the scheme of National SC-ST Hub being implemented by NSIC on behalf of the Ministry of MSME, it will be a continued endeavour to provide assistance to SC/ST entrepreneurs through different interventions and various outreach activities with the overall objectives to increase their participation in public procurement. The National SC/ST Hub has been set up to provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Entrepreneurs to fulfil the obligations under the Central Government Public Procurement Policy for Micro and Small Enterprises Order 2012, adopt applicable business practices and leverage the Stand-Up India initiative.
  • EQUIP: It is the name of the ambitious ₹1.5 lakh crore project which the Ministry of Human Resource Development plans to launch to improve the quality and accessibility of higher education over the next five years. EQUIP stands for the Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme and was crafted by ten committees led by experts within the government. EQUIP is meant to bridge the gap between policy and implementation. The project is made to bring transformation in the higher education system in the upcoming 5 years.
  • OMO: It stands for Open Market Operations. Open market operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI or the central bank of the country. The objective of OMO is to regulate the money supply in the economy. RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public. It was in the news recently that The Reserve Bank of India is planning to inject Rs. 15,000 crores into the financial system next month through purchase of government bonds via the auction route.
  • Elephant Bonds:They are the one which the high-level government-appointed committee on trade and industry has suggested to issue to people for declaring undisclosed income to mandatorily invest 50%. Elephant Bonds are the 25-year sovereign bonds in which people declaring undisclosed income will be bound to invest 50 per cent. The fund, made from these bonds, will be utilized only for infrastructure projects.
  • Requirement of strong room: Area of the strong room/ vault of at least 1,500 sq ft. Area of the strong room/ vault of at least 600 sq ft in hilly areas are the two major requirement for setting up of currency chests as per the Reserve Bank of India new guidelines. The other requirements are that the new chests should have a processing capacity of 6.6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day. Those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places, a capacity of 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day. The currency chests should have Chest Balance Limit (CBL) of Rs 1,000 crore, subject to ground realities and reasonable restrictions, at the discretion of the Reserve Bank.