Economy & Banking Current Affairs
IFC Launched Innovative Masala Bond for India
- International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has launched its first Uridashi Masala Bond (Japanese bond), on March 1, 2016. It mobilized 7 300 million ($ 4.3 million) directly from Japanese household investors to promote private sector development in India.
- This opens up a new source of local-currency finance for businesses in India while enabling Japanese household investors to participate in the development of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
- Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors, while Uridashi bonds are sold to Japanese household investors. JP Morgan is the sole arranger of the bonds. Daisen Hinomaru Securities Co. Limited is the distributor of the bonds.
Recommendations of Ajay Shankar Committee on Replacing Multiple Prior Permissions
- The government-constituted expert panel chaired by Ajay Shankar on February 27, 2016 had suggested introduction of credible third-party certification in most areas of*regulation and adopting global best practices for emission norms, among other steps to cut down on multiple permissions needed by investors.
- If the regulatory framework is implemented, it can bring down the transaction cost and time for Indian manufacturers significantly. It had also recommended that there is a need for a standing institutional mechanism within the government for an independent regulatory impact assessment.
- The expert committee was constituted by DIPP to examine the possibility of replacing multiple prior permissions with a pre-existing regulatory mechanism with adequate safeguards.
- India has been termed a bright spot in the global economy and both Indian and global investors are now expecting government to reduce the regulatory burden of starting and operating business in India significantly.
Government Hiked Raw Jute MSP by 18.5% to Rs 3200/Quintal to Boost Production
- The government on February 24, 2016 raised the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of raw jute by 18.5% to Rs 3200 per quintal for 2016-17 in order to boost production. A decision in this regard j. was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The Cabinet approved the Agriculture Ministry’s proposal on increasing the MSP of raw jute to 13200 per quintal for 2016-17 from 7 2700 per quintal in the previous year. The decision is in line with the recommendations made by the Commission for I Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
- The support price has been raised keeping in view the decline in ‘ raw jute cultivation in recent years. For instance, area under raw jute has reduced to 7.5 lakh hectare in 2015-16, from little over 8 lakh hectare last year.
CII Signed Moll with Dubai Exports to Boost Trade
- The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a non-government organization, has signed an MoU with Dubai Exports, which works with other Dubai Government Departments to simplify the export process, on February 22, 2016 to boost trade and explore business opportunities.
- The MoU pledged to maintain frequent and regular contact with j each other for mutual exchange of non-confidential, economic and trade information and to suggest and recommend partners for economic and trade cooperation and explore opportunities for business between members of both parties, It will also organise exchange of visits for business cooperation and provide each other with necessary support in temis of organizing conferences, mounting business delegations and other activities.
TRAI said No to Differential Pricing
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its notification on differential pricing out on February 8, 2016 has made its stand clear that “no company to offer/ charge discriminatory tariffs for data ori basis of content”. This move is a big win for net neutrality.
- As per TRAI, anything on the Internet cannot be differentially priced and no operator shall charge discriminatory pricing on content, source and application. The existing plans in operation will not be valid in 6 months.
- Along with the ban on differential pricing, TRAI will determine if attempts are being made to violate regulations. Only exception is regarding emergency services. Reduced tariff for accessing or providing emergency services, or at times of public emergency has been permitted.
WHO Accorded PQP Certification to GreenSignal Bio Pharma
- World Health Organisation (WHO) has accorded PQP (Pre-qualification of Medicines Programme) certification to GreenSignal Bio Pharmaceutical company based at Chennai on February 4, 2016 for manufacturing a BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccine.
- With this certificate GreenSignal Bio pharmaceutical can participate in the global immunisation programme which is facilitated through international procurement agencies such as UNICEF and others.
- GreenSignal Bio Pharmaceuticals has a full-fledged BCG vaccine production facility at -Thiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu having production capacity of 60 lakh vials. Presently, it is supplying BCG vaccine to the government of India and Indonesia.
RBI Rates Unchanged in 6th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Review
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintained status quo on key interest rates in its sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review on February 2, 2016. On the GDP, RBI maintained its growth forecast at 7.1% with a downside bias. The central bank has not factored in 7th pay panel recommendation in inflation target.
- Highlights of monetary policy review
- Keeps repo rate unchanged at 6.75%.
Keeps CRR unchanged at 4%.
Expects inflation to be around 5% by March, 2017.
Expects GDP growth of 7.6% for FY17,7.4% with downward bias for FY16.
Indian economy lost momentum in Q3.
Have not factored in 7tn pay panel recommendation in inflation target.
Continue to remain accommodative even if rates remain unchange.
Working with banks and government to ensure identification of stressed assets.
Bearish commodity price dynamics are also likely to impact investor sentiment, Marginal standing facility rate and Bank Rate at 7.75 pc.
RBI to create a special ecosystem for startup funding.
Prospects for the rabi harvest are improving slowly
First bi-monthly monetary policy for 2016-17 on April 5.
Banking Current Affairs
RBI Extended Currency Swap arrangement with SAARC Nations
- In order to enhance economic cooperation and strengthen financial stability, RBI said in a notification on February 23, 2016 that it has decided to extend the $ 2 billion currency swap arrangement to SAARC nations till mid-November, 2017.
- Under the arrangement, RBI is to offer swap arrangement up to an overall amount of $ 2 billion, both in foreign currency and Indian rupee. The SAARC Swap Arrangement was offered by the | RBI to SAARC nations on November 15, 2012.
- The facility will be available to all SAARC member countries; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The swap amount available to-various member central banks has been arrived at broadly based on two months import cover subject to a floor of $ 100 million and a maximum of $ 400 million per country.
Yes Bank Won Green Bond Award in the UK
- India’s leading private lender Yes Bank has received the inaugural Green Bond Pioneer Award on February 23, 2016 for its pioneering efforts in the Greerr Bonds market; including the highly successful issuance of India’s first ever Green Infrastructure Bonds.
- The Green Bond Pioneer Awards for Pioneers in Emerging Markets-India were organised in the month of February by Climate Bonds Initiative, an international investor-focused not-for-profit which focuses on mobilising the $ 100 trillion bond market for climate change solutions.
- Yes Bank aims to be at the forefront of mainstreaming climate finance within the global financial sector and is striving continuously to set industry benchmarks towards creating a sustainable ecosystem.
SBI Launched SBI e-Smart SME e-Commerce Loan
- SBI has launched SBI e-Smart SME, a working capital loan that offers to sellers on e-commerce platforms on February 22. 2016 Now, the sellers can apply for loan online and get immediate sanction – thereby enabling ‘loans at the click of a button.
- This innovative product moves away from traditional lending based on financial statements like balance sheet and income tilt returns; and instead uses proprietary platform data and surrogate information from public domain to assess the seller’s credit worthiness for loan sam tinning.
- The product was launched In partnership with the well-known e-commerce platform Snapdcal In the presence of Bank’s Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya 6 Snapdcal CEO Sri KunaJ Bah I, on January 15, 2016 at SBI Corporate Centre. Mumbai.
- Some of the important features of the product are as Mow
- Exclusive & easy finance
- Quick online sanction with KYC documents
- Lowest Interest Rates
- C ollateral free loan upto Rs 10 lakh under MUDRA
- 0.399% Processing Fee
- Concession of 0.25% to Women Entrepreneurs
Corporate Sector Current Affairs
Twitter Launched Women Empowerment Initiative
- ‘Twitter’ launched its women empowerment initiative Position of Strength in India on February 26, 2016 to help bridge the gender gap online in the country. It seeks to engage and empower more women in India to find their voices online, communicate safely with confidence, and network with other like-minded women and the global community at large.
- In this regard, Twitter has partnered with the FICCI Ladies Organisation, and Observer Research Foundation for the initiative and is also getting on board Delhi-based NGO Breakthrough and the Centre for Social Research.
- Twitter and its partners will be hosting a series of closed-door roundtables and workshops , with women leaders to discuss how to increase empowerment and safety for women, both online and in the physical world.
Wipro Acquired HealthPlan Services for $ 460 Million
- Wipro, India’s third-largest software exporter has acquired Florida-based HealthPlan Services, on February 10, 2016 that run by private equity firm Water Street Healthcare Partners, for $ 460 million.
- HealthPlan provides technology and Business-Process- as-a-Service (BPaaS) on a subscription basis to the health insurance sector. The technology is proprietary and HealthPlan connects to clients across 40 public exchanges. The USA firm has 2000 employees.
- Wipro acquired three companies last year ranging from design companies to small tech providers in the financial sector as it seeks to ge,t back on the growth path. Healthcare exchanges were introduced by US President Barack Obama with the aim of helping individuals buy health insurance.
Google’s Alphabet Overtaken Apple as World’s Most Valuable Company
- As on February 3, 2016, Alphabet Inc. has overtaken Apple as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. Making a profit of $ 4.9 billion in the fourth quarter and valuing at $ 548 billion. Alphabet was followed by Apple, which was valued at $ 534 billion.
- Earlier in 2012, Apple had overtaken Exxon Mobil to become the most valuable company in the world and in 2015, Apple became the first company to reach a market value of $ 700 billion.
- Alphabet Inc., the American multinational conglomerate created in 2015 as the parent Company of Google. It is based at California. It is headed by Croogle’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, with Page serving as CEO and Brin as President.
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