ECONOMY - 2014 APRIL

April 1

India's GDP is expected to grow 5.5 per cent in 2014-15 on the back of improved performance in industry and services but it may take some time for the country to reach its potential growth rate, says an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.
* The growth is expected to rise further to 6.0 per cent in 2015-16.
* Prior to this Central Statistical Office (CSO) estimated a growth rate of 4.9 per cent in 2013-14, up from decade's low of 4.5 per cent posted in the previous financial year.
Japan announced Rs. 15,000 crore official development assistance (ODA) loan for five projects in India, including expansion of Delhi Metro and works related to wind and solar energy. Japan and India signed the ODA loan agreement for five projects totalling more than Rs. 15,000 crore.
* It’s the largest amount ever signed on a single occasion in the history of Japanese ODA.
* Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System Project (phase 3) has got approximately Rs. 8,933 crore.
* The statement said that for New and Renewable Energy Development Project- phase 2, Rs. 1,800- crore loan has been granted to power producers through Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited for the development solar and wind power succeeding Phase I of the project.
* The ongoing project includes a loan of Rs. 1,160 crore for wind power projects in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka and Rs. 220 crore for solar power project in Andhra Pradesh.
The Election Commission has given the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the nod to announce new bank licences even ahead of general elections set to conclude next month.
* The RBI had sought the commission's approval to issue new bank licences to ensure the process would not clash with the code of conduct ahead of elections, which prevents decisions that may be deemed as political from being taken by government officials or regulators.

April 2

A new rule proposed by the Tax department and Election Commission will subject to scrutiny candidates with assets of over Rs. 5 crore without a PAN card. The rule is intended to weed out suspected tax-evaders from the poll fray.
* This is part of a joint charter prepared by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Election Commission (EC) for scrutinising the poll affidavits of candidates contesting 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
* Candidates declaring a jump of Rs. 2 crore in value of their immovable assets since last polls would also come under the scanner.
* The two authorities have formulated five core parameters which will be used by the tax department to check affidavits of candidates from a suspected tax evasion angle. These would include checking veracity of the PAN cards of candidates.
* The Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be important when it comes to investigating a candidate's asset and income declarations in the poll affidavit.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has called for more public and private investment to close infrastructure gaps in countries like India.
* IMF chief told "Public investment has taken a hit over the years in many countries; higher, well-prioritised investment would increase potential output and jobs".
* She said "In Brazil, India, South Africa, and across the ASEAN countries, more public and private investment is essential to close infrastructure gaps. Investment to upgrade existing infrastructure networks is also needed in a number of the advanced economies, for instance, in Germany and the US".
* As the world is still recovering from the Great Recession and geopolitical tensions are rising, how we can strengthen the international cooperation that is key to addressing these challenges, she questioned.

April 3

The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) banned imports from Apotex Inc’s manufacturing plant in India because of not meeting the quality standards.
* Apotex Inc. is the largest Canadian owned pharmaceutical company. It was founded in 1974. Apotex Research Private Limited (ARPL), the Indian Research & Development wing of Apotex Inc. was established in the year 2004 in Bangalore.

April 4

Deposits-The rules called Regulations for Acceptance of Deposits by Companies were notified under section 73(2) (d) of the Companies Act 2013.
* All deposit-taking companies would need to maintain a Deposit Repayment Reserve Account with a scheduled bank and this account would need to have at least 15% of the total amount of deposits.
Claim amount:
* For deposit not exceeding 20000 rupees: full amount of the deposit.
* For deposit exceeding 20000 rupees: an amount not less than 20000 rupees for each depositor.

April 5

Indian infrastructure firm GMR and its Filipino partner won deal to build a world class international airport in Cebu, in the Philippines.
* Megawide Construction Corp and GMR Infrastructure bid this project to Peso 17.5 billion ($390 mn).
* GMR is currently operating airports in New Delhi and Hyderabad in India.
GAIL India has slapped a show-cause notice on Rolls-Royce for allegedly not disclosing a commission of Rs. 30 crore paid to agents in contracts worth Rs. 1,639 crore.
* The British company, Rolls-Royce has over the years supplied 63 out of the 72 gas turbines installed on nationwide pipeline network of GAIL.

April 6

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications (RCom) and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm signed a master services agreement for sharing to roll-out of its state-of-the-art 4G services across the country though intra-city optic fiber infrastructure.

April 7

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd announced to acquire 100 percent stake of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.
* This deal is a stock exchange deal with a swap ratio of 1:0.8. That is, Ranbaxy shareholders will receive share of 0.8 share of Sun Pharma for each share of Ranbaxy.
* After the deal, Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd, which holds 63.4 percent in the Ranbaxy, will hold a stake of about 9 percent in Sun Pharmaceutical.
* The transaction has a total equity value of approximately $3.2 billion.
* This deal also makes Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd fifth biggest company in the world.
The Reserve Bank of India will shortly issue 10 denomination Banknotes with Rupee symbol on the obverse and reverse, with inset letter 'A' in both the numbering panels.
* Other than this, the design of these notes to be issued now is similar in all respects to the 10 Banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi Series- 2005 issued earlier.
RBI announced “Underwriting Auctions for Government Securities” on April 11, 2014.
* Underwriting: It is a process by which RBI raise investment capital from investors on behalf of corporations and governments that are issuing securities.

April 8

India's growth is expected to recover from 4.4 per cent in 2013 to 5.4 per cent in 2014, as per the latest edition of the World Economic Outlook released by IMF.
* The outlook also projected India's growth rate to increase to 6.4 per cent in 2015.
* World Economic Outlook (WEO) is basically a survey conducted by the IMF. It is published twice updated 3 times a year.
* WEO forecasts include the macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, inflation, current account and fiscal balance of more than 180 countries around the globe.
State- owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) has signed 160 fuel supply pacts with power units across India.
* The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) had earlier stated that the timelines for signing of fuel supply pacts for power project of 78,000 MW capacities should be met.
* As of now Coal India has signed 160 fuel supply agreements (FSAs). There are still some more to be signed.
* The CIL official added that CIL has to sign 172 FSAs for a capacity of 78,000 MW.
The total asset base of the entire mutual fund industry grew by over Rs. 40,000 crore during the last fiscal to about Rs. 8.6 lakh crore at the end of the financial year 2013-14, shows the latest data compiled by AMFI (Association of Mutual Funds in India).
* ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund has joined the Rs. 1 lakh crore clubs.
* HDFC MF has retained its top slot with a thin margin of about Rs. 6,000 crore.
Nigeria surpasses South Africa as continent's biggest economy.
* GDP for 2013 in Africa's top oil producer was 80.22 trillion naira, or $509.9 billion, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics said, up from the 42.3 trillion estimated before the rebasing.
* Nigeria is a landlocked rich petroleum resource nation in African continent.
* Nigeria is also most populous country in Africa.

April 9

The World Bank projected an economic growth rate of 4.8 in FY 2014 to 5.7 per cent in 2015, in 'South Asia Economic Focus'.
* The WB also forecast economic growth in the region would rise to 5.8 per cent in 2015 from 5.2 per cent this year.
* South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
* This projection WB came a day after IMF projection of 5.4 per cent in FY 2014 to 6.4 per cent in 2015.
Swiss cement firm Holcim is set to acquire it’s french rival Lafarge.
* The new firm called LafargeHolcim will be based in Switzerland and it will the world's largest cement manufacturer.

April 10

HSBC MF India launches new open product “HSBC Managed Solutions”.
* HSBC Mutual Fund, India has launched an open ended fund of funds scheme ‘HSBC Managed Solutions’, which will invest into various asset classes including domestic and foreign equity, long and short-term debt and gold.
* As per the fund house, the new scheme is based on the principle of active asset allocation in which investments are managed dynamically across asset classes and re-balanced regularly to ensure optimal allocation for risk profiles.

April 11

State Bank of India has risen up $1.25 billion in overseas debt sale through a dual tranche bond program, making it the largest ever offering from a domestic issuer at interest rate plus 205 basis points.
* SBI has broken the record set by Oil India earlier this week, which raised $1 billion from a dual tranche issue.
* The bank raised $750 million in 5-year money at US treasury interest rate plus 205 basis points, while it priced the 10-year $500 million issue at 225 bps over the treasury.
* Tranche: it is a number of related securities offered as part of the same transaction. (Dual=2). Tranche is the French word.

April 12

Industrial Output dips by 1.9 per cent in February, According to the Industrial Output, by GOI.
* The Industrial Output in the country declined by 1.9 per cent in February, an all time low since the 2.5 per cent fall in May last year. Exports also dipped by 3.5 per cent during last month.
* The slow growth in Industrial production and exports has prompted the industry to demand an immediate rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India to boost economy.
Ajay Piramal announced selling of his stake in Vodafone India to its parent and British telecom giant Vodafone.
* Piramal had picked up 11- per cent stake in Vodafone in two tranches, in August 2011 and February 2012, paying a total of Rs. 5,864 crore and now got a total consideration of Rs. 8,900 crore.

April 13

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) partially reversed curbs on dollar-rupee forward contracts that were imposed last year after the rupee hit record lows.
* SEBI had doubled the margin requirement on the domestic dollar-rupee forward trades last year in a bid to arrest the steep decline of the rupee.
* The Sebi asked exchanges to restore the initial margins and extreme loss margin for dollar-rupee trades to pre July 8, 2013, levels from April 15.
* CURBS ON BUYING G-SECS
* SEBI also restricted foreign investors from buying government securities with maturity of less than a year, a move that aims to encourage inflows of long-term overseas fund.
* FIIs/QFIs shall, henceforth, be permitted to invest only in dated government securities having residual maturity of one year or above
Broadcasters Star India and Zee Entertainment have decided to call off the 50:50 distribution joint venture, named Media Pro that they had inked in 2010.
Spanish banking outfit Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, as part of its research project on Emerging and Growth-Leading Economies issued the ’World Market Power’ Index. As per this Index, India is the second most powerful nation, when it comes to competing on the world market. The Index tracks nations’ abilities on the economic front.
* China topped the ‘World Market Power’ Index list followed by India, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Mexico.

April 14

World Trade Organisation (WTO) projected that the growth in 2015 will slightly be faster at 5.3 percent.
* It also projected that the world trade will grow by 4.7 percent in 2014.
* In 2013, Asia recorded the fastest GDP growth at 4.2 percent, which was almost equal to growth in the previous two years.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest accorded environmental clearance (with some conditions) to the expansion of Bhubaneshwari opencast project in Odisha.
* This project belongs to Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd, a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd. The clearance is given for the expansion from 20 MTPA (Million Tonnes Per Annum) to 25 MTPA of Mahanadi Coalfields subject to compliance of terms and conditions.
* No mining operations will be undertaken in the forest land until clearance from forest and Environment has been obtained under the provisions of Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
Wholesale price inflation hit a three-month high in March to 5.7 from 4.68 that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
* Base year. Current base year is 2010-2011.

April 15

Retail inflation in March inched up to 8.31 per cent from 8.03 in February, mainly on account of a rise in fruit and vegetable prices.
* It measures the change in the cost of a basket of retail goods and services calculated on certain base year. Current base year for CPI is 2012.
* A CPI can be used to index the real value of wages, salaries, pensions, regulating prices and for deflating monetary magnitudes to show changes in real values.
India became net steel exporter in 2013-14 after a gap of six years and is likely to maintain the momentum in 2014-15.
* India is now the world's fourth largest steel maker after China, Japan and USA.
* Top steel makers in India are SAIL, Jindal Steel, Tata Steel, Bhushan Steel and Visa Steel.

April 16

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision issued Final standards for measuring and controlling large exposures of banks to customers.
* The committee framed a new rule limiting how much business a bank can undertake with a single customer.
* These standards will take effect from 1 January 2019.
Highlights of the guidelines:
* Guidelines were aimed to minimise the risk of fallout from a counterparty going default without imposing excessive burdens on financial firms.
* The framework was designed so that the maximum possible loss a bank could incur if such a default were to occur would not endanger the bank's survival as a going concern.
* In cases where the bank's counterparty is another bank, large exposure limits will directly contribute towards the reduction of system-wide contagion risk.
* The framework will also contribute to strengthening the oversight and regulation of the shadow banking system by extending the scope of coverage to exposures to funds, securitisation structures and collective investment undertakings.
* The existing rule leaves it to supervisors to impose a 25 percent cap on exposures, meaning each exposure cannot be more than a quarter of the bank's total regulatory capital holdings.
The Basel Committee:
* The Basel Committee is the primary global standard-setter for the prudential regulation of banks and provides a forum for cooperation on banking supervisory matters.
Bank for International Settlements (BIS):
* Location: Basel, Switzerland.
* Membership: 60 central banks.
* General Manager: Jaime Caruana.

April 17

Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace.
* Google confirmed its acquisition of drone maker Titan Aerospace, a move poised to advance delivery of the company's data services and mapping applications.
* Titan's solar-powered aircraft can fly at 65,000 feet and act as "atmospheric satellites". They are designed to stay in the air for years and can provide voice and data services, according to Titan.

April 19

The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Ltd (IFFCO) gets approval to set up 1.6 bn USD urea plant in Canada
* The proposed facility will have a production capacity of up to 1.6 million tonns of urea and 7,60,000 tonns of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).
* In January 2013, IFFCO’s Canadian subsidiary acquired the land for the plant. The site is at Bncour Port and Industrial Park, which provides access via land, rail and water to markets across North America.

April 20

Indians were at the top spot for international investment, both in terms of the number of investors (2,414) and the amount of expenditure ($1.6 billion) in real estate in Dubai during the first quarter of 2014, according to Dubai Land Department (DLD).

April 21

Rating agency Crisil has said a stable Government post-election is likely to help the country grow at an average of 6.5 per cent for the next five years.
* The CRISIL a rating agency majority-owned by Standard & Poor’s.
* However, Crisil said it is not the election results which impact the economy, except in improving sentiment, but policies formulated by the new Government that will boost growth.
* Economic growth eased to 4.6 per cent in the first three quarters of FY14.

April 22

Cadbury India changed its name to Mondelez India Foods Limited.
* The change in name of Cadbury is in line with the gradual changeover of the name of all subsidiaries of Mondelez International globally.
* Cadbury India Limited is a subsidiary of Mondelez International Inc. Mondelez means monde for world and delez for delicious.
* Mondelez International Inc. is a global snacking powerhouse with revenue of 35 billion US dollar.
* Mondelez is a member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, NASDAQ 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Rs. 6,700 crore World Bank loan for freight corridor link
* The World Bank has approved $1.1 billion (about Rs. 6,700 crore) as the second tranche of its loan for construction of the 393-km-long electrified double line between Mughalsarai and Bhaupur sections of the eastern dedicated rail freight corridor.
* The value of the contract is expected to be Rs. 3,500 - 4,000 crore.

April 23

GMR Infrastructure signed agreement with Mactan Cebu International Airport of Philippines.
* GMR along with Megawide - a Philippines based construction - firm won the international bid to develop and operate the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
* The project is estimated to cost about 700 million dollars. As a part of agreement GMR made an upfront premium of 320 million dollars (14.4 billion Philippines Pesos).
About GMR
* GMR Infrastructure Limited is a Bangalore based infrastructure holding company which looks up the capital requirements of various infrastructure projects.
* GMR currently operates two airports at Delhi and Hyderabad. Recently the company exited from the Istanbul airport selling stake of 40 percent for 225 million Euros to Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad.
Vodafone India announced its future plan to enable making NREGA payments through its newly launched M-Pesa. M-pesa is the mobile money transfer and payment service, it has created jointly with ICICI
* The service that is currently used mainly for money transfer, mobile re charges and DTH service subscriptions and utility bills is also designed to make payments to workers under NREGA schemes.
* The service is designed to help people in rural areas who don't have a bank account but have access to mobile phone.
* M-Pesa (or) Mobile- Money is a mobile-phone based Phone-to-phone (p2p) money transfer.
How does it Work?
* To send or receive money to a friend: (1) Register with a money transfer service by setting up an account and making a deposit. (2) Use the provided short text commands to text cash to your friend's phone number or account id. (3) Receive funds by requesting and accepting payments via text message.

April 24

Novartis (Switzerland) will acquire GlaxoSmithKline Plc's (GSK) cancer drugs portfolio for $16 billion and sell its vaccines business in return for $7.1 billion
* UK-headquartered GSK will have majority control with an equity interest of 63.5 per cent in the venture.

April 25

The World Bank has sanctioned its second phase of loan of $1,100 million for construction of 393 km long double line between Mughalsarai-Bhaupur sections of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor project.
* This loan agreement for the second phase is expected to be signed in June 2014.
* The total loan commitment is $2.725 billion in three phases, out of which the loan for the first phase was to the tune of $975 million. It was sanctioned in May, 2011.
* Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), is engaged in planning, construction, operation and maintenance of the dedicated freight corridors and in the first phase, the two corridors, namely, Eastern Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1839 kms) and the Western Corridor from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) (1499 kms) are being constructed.
* The entire Western Corridor is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), while the Eastern Corridor from Mughalsarai to Ludhiana is being funded by the World Bank.
New mobile app 'spot your train' to track train schedules is launched by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the information and technology arm of Indian railways.
* National Train Enquiry System (NTES) is railways' back-end system which provides information to the public about train schedules on a near real time basis through various interfaces like nationwide unique rail enquiry number 139, website (www.trainenquiry.com), mobile interfaces, touch screens, enquiry counters and display boards at stations.
* Spot your train, Train Schedule, Trains between Stations; Cancelled Trains are key features of this app.
Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo Inc said it will exit its loss making mobile phone joint venture with the Tata Group by selling its entire stake in the company, probably at a deep discount.
* NTT DoCoMo had acquired a 26.5 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices for a total payment of $ 2.61 billion.
* Under the March 2009 agreement between DoCoMo and the Tata Group, the Japanese firm holds the right to hand over its TTSL shares for 50 per cent of the acquisition price, which amounts to Rs. 7,250 crore, or a fair market price, whichever is higher, in the event that TTSL fails to achieve certain specified performance targets.
Nokia completed the sale of its handset business to software giant Microsoft, while keeping the Chennai manufacturing plant out of the deal due to the problems with the Income Tax Department.
* Nokia said the Chennai plant will manufacture devices for Microsoft under a service agreement. In India, our manufacturing facility is subject to an asset freeze by the Indian tax authorities as a result of ongoing tax proceedings.

April 26

Conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has secured a $740 million (Rs. 4,510 crore) order from Qatar Railways for designing and building the rail line for the Doha Metro project.
* The total value of the order for the joint venture is $3.3 billion (approximately Rs. 20,000 crore)," the company said here in a statement.
* L&T won the order along with its joint venture partners Aktor SA of Greece, Yapi Merkezi Insaat of Turkey, STFA Group of Turkey and Al Jaber Engineering of Qatar.
GMR to claim $1.4-bn for Male contract termination
* In 2012, the over $500-million airport development project was unilaterally scrapped by the then Maldivian government headed by President Mohamed Waheed. The case had then gone for arbitration at the Singapore Court of Appeal.
* Under the contract signed in 2010, GMR was to modernise and operate the airport for 25 years.
Maldives
* Capital: Male
* Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa
* President: Abdulla Yameen
* Government type: Unitary presidential
India's first underground crude-oil storage is set to be commissioned in September in the southern port city of Visakhapatnam, said India Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL).
* Visakhapatnam project has a capacity of 1.33 million tonnes, or 9.75 million barrels, of crude oil
* ISPRL is building strategic storage capacities that can hold reserves equivalent to 90 days of crude oil imports by 2020. ISPRL is working on two other storage tanks -one in Mangalore and the other at Pudur near Udipi, both in Karnataka.
* By the end of 2015, India will have a total capacity of 5.3 million tonnes, or 39 million barrels, in these three storage units.
* India imported roughly 3.7 million barrels of crude oil a day in 2012/13.

April 27

The recent decision by the grouping's Standing Committee on Plant Health came after 207 consignments of fruits and vegetables from India imported into the EU in 2013 were found to be contaminated by pests such as fruit flies and other quarantine pests.
* The UK imports nearly 16 million mangoes from India and the market for the fruit is worth nearly 6 million pounds a year.
* A revision of the ban will take place before December 31, 2015. Businesses claimed they will lose hundreds of thousands of pounds due to the ban.

April 29

Telecom Tribunal clears 3G intra-circle roaming pacts signed by Airtel, Idea and Vodafone.
* The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) ruled in favor of private telecom operators by saying that 3G intra-circle-roaming (ICR) does not violate condition of license agreement.
* Prior to this, Dept of Telecommunication had issued notice to telecom operators asking them to stop 3G ICR service and imposed penalty, cumulatively amounting to about 1,200 crore Rupees.
* Note: Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone for providing the 3G facilities through ICR agreements under which they had agreed to acquire customers in area where they did not win spectrum (in auction).
New India Assurance Company Tie up with Akshaya centers resulted in huge benefits.
About Akshaya centers:
* It is Kerala based state-owned e-governance system.
* The Akshaya project first started in the rural Malappuram district of Kerala, India. Malappuram is now what is said to be India's First E-literate District.
* Offered services: E-Pay (electronic payment of utility bills like electricity, land phone, drinking water, university fees etc.); E-Krishi (for farmers to provide online agriculture trading and information portal, A to Z Solution) E-Vidya (advanced IT learning for e-literates and others); E-Ticketing; PMRY; online passport registration e.t.c.

April 30

MCX CEO Manoj Vaish quits.
* Manoj Vaish, Managing Director & CEO of Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX), has quit citing health reasons.He had taken up the position on February 1.
About MCX
* Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) is an independent commodity exchange based in India. It was established in 2003 and is based in Mumbai.
* MCX is India's No.1 commodity exchange
* Globally, MCX ranks No.1 in silver, No.2 in natural gas, No.3 in crude oil and gold in futures trading
* The highest traded item is gold.
* MCX COMDEX is India's first and only composite commodity futures price index.


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