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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 - 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.