ECONOMY - 2019 JANUARY

January 1

CII Forecasts India’s Economy to Grow 7.5% in 2019
In its ‘Growth Outlook for 2019’, according to Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the GDP growth will be in the range of 7.5% in 2019.
A settled Goods and Services Tax (GST), improving credit availability and capacity expansion from increasing investment in infrastructure are among seven key drivers that will help Indian economy grow 7.5% 2019.
CII President (2018-19) - Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Headquarters - New Delhi.

January 2

France introduced GAFA tax on global internet, technology firms
The Finance minister of France Bruno Le Maire announced that France will introduce its own tax on large internet and technology companies from January 1.
France has been pushing hard for a new so-called ''GAFA tax'' named after Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to ensure the global giants pay a fair share of taxes on their massive business operations in Europe.
Emmanuel Macron is the President of France.
He becomes the youngest President of France.
Paris is the capital city of France.

India cuts tax on palm oil imports from ASEAN nations.
India has cut import taxes on crude and refined palm oil from Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries after a request from suppliers.
The reduction will lead to higher imports of palm oil by the world's biggest edible oil buyer in coming months as it would narrow the difference between the tropical vegetable oil and competitors such as soyaoil and sunflower oil.
The duty on crude palm oil was lowered to 40% from 44%, while a tax on the refined variety was cut to 50% from 54%.

January 3

Govt may impose anti-dumping duty on Chinese synthetic rubber
The government may impose anti-dumping duty for 18 months on a Chinese synthetic rubber used in automobile and other industries.
The recommended duty ranges between USD 0.078 - 7.31 per kg.
According to Commerce ministry's investigation arm Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), imposition of the duty on imports of 'fluoroelastomers' from China would help minimise impact of dumped imports.
About China: Capital - Beijing, Currency - Renminbi, President - Xi Jinping

January 4

HDFC MF Surpasses ICICI Prudential MF to Become Largest AMC in India
HDFC Mutual Fund has pippedICICI Prudential MF to become the country's largest asset management company after a gap of over two years.
As of December-end, HDFC MF manages assets to the tune of Rs. 3.35 lakh crore, while those of ICICI Prudential MF stood at Rs. 3.08 lakh crore, as per the latest data available with Association of Mutual funds in India (Amfi).
Mr. MilindBarve is the Managing Director of HDFC MF.
It headquarters in Mumbai.

Sebi allows custodial services in commodity market
Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed custodial services in the commodity derivatives market. The move is aimed at enabling the participation of institutional investors such as mutual funds and portfolio managers in the commodity derivatives market.
Under the new framework, existing custodians will be permitted to add commodities as an asset class and provide physical delivery of both the securities and commodities.
SEBI- Securities and Exchange Board of India.
SEBI Chairman- Ajay Tyagi, Headquarters- Mumbai.

Bancassurance pact was signed between Syndicate Bank and SBI Life Insurance
Syndicate Bank and SBI Life Insurance signed a bancassurance pact aiming to offer a comprehensive financial planning solution to its customers.
This was signed between Syndicate Bank MD &CEO MrutyunjayMahapatra and MD andCEO of SBI Life SanjeevNautiyal.
Through the pact, Syndicate Bank will provide penetration in the market with its 3,000 branches and SBI Life’s diverse range of protection, wealth creation and savings insurance products will be brought to the table to the customers.
About Syndicate Bank:
Headquarters: Manipal, Karnataka.
Tagline: Faithful and Friendly.

January 5

India exempts rupee payments for Iran oil from hefty taxes
The Finance ministry in its notification exempted rupee payments to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) that it gets from Indian refiners, from a withholding tax.
The exemption, put in place December 28 but backdated to November 5, will allow Indian refiners to settle about $1.5 billion of outstanding payments to NIOC.
India and Iran on November 2, 2018, signed a bilateral agreement to settle oil trades through an Indian government-owned bank, UCO Bank, in the Indian currency.

SEBI Allows Custodial Services In Commodity Market.
Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed custodial services in the commodity derivatives market.
The move is aimed at enabling the participation of institutional investors such as mutual funds and portfolio managers in the commodity derivatives market.
Under the new framework, existing custodians will be permitted to add commodities as an asset class and provide physical delivery of both the securities and commodities.

January 6

UBI, Srei Equipment Finance enter pact for MSME sector finance
The United Bank of India (UBI) and Srei Equipment Finance have entered into an agreement for financing the Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSME) and agriculture sector.
Under the agreement UBI plans to leverage the co-lending model to offer credit at blended interest rate of 11-12%.
The Bank will leverage low its low cost loans with Srei Equipment finance to enable purchase of equipment and vehicle in the seamless manner.
The Bank is eyeing around 200 crore business over the period of three months by this agreement.
United Bank of India (UBI)
Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal
MD & CEO: Ashok Kumar Pradhan

Government Revises Interest Rate on Time Deposit Small Savings Scheme
The government has revised the interest rates applicable to select small savings schemes.
Investment in time deposits of one-year, two-year and three-year maturity periods will fetch interest at the rate of 7% in the quarter ending March 31, 2019.
In the October-December period, the government paid interest rates of 6.9%, 7 per cent and 7.2% on one-year, two-year and three-year time deposits respectively.
Interest rates applicable to all other small savings schemes, such as Public Provident Fund (PPF), Savings Deposit, KisanVikasPatra (KVP) and SukanyaSamriddhi, were kept unchanged.

Govt exempts rupee payments for Iran oil from taxes: FinMin
The finance ministry exempted rupee payments to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) that it gets from Indian refiners, from a withholding tax.
The exemption, put in place December 28 but backdated to November 5, will allow Indian refiners to settle about $1.5 billion of outstanding payments to NIOC.
India and Iran on November 2, 2018, signed a bilateral agreement to settle oil trades through an Indian government-owned bank, UCO Bank, in the Indian currency.

January 7

Yarn Bank Scheme
To avoid fluctuation in yarn price, government has launched a Yarn Bank Scheme as one of the component of PowerTexIndia with effect from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020.
The Scheme provides interest free corpus fund up to Rs. 2.00 crore to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)/ Consortium formed by powerloom weavers to enable them to purchase yarn at wholesale rate and give the yarn at reasonable price to the small weavers to avoid middleman and local supplier's brokerage charge on sales of yarn.
There is a 1% increase in powerloom fabric production. The estimated production of powerloom fabric during 2018 - 19 (April - October) is 22781 Million Square Meters (MSM) which was 22539 MSM during the corresponding period of 2017-18.

AAI Signs MoU With SAMEER For Boosting Communication
Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed MoU with Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) for joint research programs in the field of Communication Navigation and Surveillance (CNS).
The MOU, on the one hand, will provide for the transfer of skill by SAMEER experts in the areas of Radio Frequency, Millimetre Wave and Antenna-related solutions to AAI domain experts, while on the other hand, it will pave way for exposure for the SAMEER researchers to the challenging Aviation field.

January 8

FinMins’ Group recommends allowing Kerala to levy cess at 1% for two years
The Group of States Finance Ministers (GoFM) will recommend to the GST Council to consider allowing flood-hit Kerala to levy a cess at the rate of 1% to fund rehabilitation and resettlement processes.
It also suggested the GST council to allow additional borrowing over the permitted limit by states hit by natural calamity.
The FMs’ Group was constituted in September, 2018 after flood-hit Kerala sought permission to levy the cess.

January 9

MoU Signed Between Indian Army And PNB
AnMoU was signed between the Indian Army and Punjab National Bank on the Defence Salary Package.
The signing ceremony was chaired by the Adjutant General, Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar.
Salient features of the improved and updated MoU are free 'RAKSHAK PLUS' Scheme for serving pets and veterans, overdraft facility range from Rs. 0.75 to 3.0 lakhs, multicity ‘At Par’ cheques, instant credit of outstation cheques, preferential allotment of lockers at concessional AMC and free SMS alerts.

January 10

India’s GDP set to eclipse US’ by 2030: StanChart
According to the Standard Chartered’s long-term forecasts, seven of the world’s top 10 economies by 2030 will likely be current emerging markets, with China emerging as the largest by next year itself.
India will likely be larger than the US in the same time period while Indonesia will break into the top 5 economies.
They project trend growth for India to accelerate to 7.8% by the 2020s while China’s will moderate to 5% by 2030 reflecting a natural slowdown given the economy’s size.

January 11

SEBI constitutes panel to link research to policy making
Market regulator Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has constituted a "Research Advisory" committee which will assist in formulating policy to undertake research relevant for development and regulation of capital markets.
According to SEBI, the committee would comprise prominent financial economists and market practitioners. It will be headed by Sankar De.
Among the other functions of the committee will be defining objectives, scope and direction of research relevant for development and regulation of capital markets in the country with focus on "linkage of research to policy making".

Bureau of Energy Efficiency and CPWD signed MoU for 5 years on promoting energy efficiency in buildings
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in building energy efficiency for five years.
They will be promoting designs and construction of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) compliant new buildings,
And also star rating of CPWD managed buildings across the country with no registration or renewal fee,awareness on energy efficiency in building sector and support for capacity building of CPWD officials in ECBC.

January 12

GST registration threshold limit increased to Rs. 40 lakh
The 32nd Goods and Services Tax Council meeting concluded in New Delhi.
32nd Meeting of GST Council in New Delhi concludes; Limit of annual turnover for composition scheme increased to 1.5 crore rupees from April 1, 2019.
Council decides to increase GST registration threshold limit to 40 lakh rupees from 20 lakh.

January 14

Govt eyes about $1 billion from Air India sale.
The government is eyeing around $1 billion (about Rs. 7,000 crore) from the sale of national carrier Air India in the next financial year, a government official said.
The government will initiate the process of strategic disinvestment of Air India in the second half of 2019-20 and in between it would work towards selling some of its subsidiaries and monetise assets.
Air India has a debt burden of Rs. 55,000 crore.

January 15

''Womaniya on GeM'' launched by Government e Marketplace [GeM] under Commerce Ministry to empower women entrepreneurs
This is to sell handicrafts and handloom, accessories, etc. directly to various Government ministries, departments and institutions.
A 3-minute video highlighting benefits of the Womaniya initiative was launched byCEO GeM, S. Radha Chauhan.
Nearly 80% women-owned establishments are self-financed more than 60% of 8 million units are owned and/or led by women entrepreneurs from socially-challenged sections of the society,empowering the women entrepreneurs is a step in the direction of poverty alleviation.

January 16

Group of Ministers (GoM) were constituted for boosting the Real Estate Sector under the GST regime.
The government has constituted a 7-member Group of Ministers (GoM) to boost the real estate sector under the GST regime.
Convener of the 7 member GoM is Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel.
The panel examines various aspects of levy of GST on Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), legality of inclusion or exclusion of land in composition, suggest valuation Mechanism and suggest aspects relevant to boost Real Estate Sector.

January 17

India to buy $5 billion oil and gas from US
India is committed to buy nearly $5 billion of oil and natural gas from the United States every year and $18 billion worth of defence equipment that is under implementation.
In the last two years, the bilateral trade has increased from $119 billion to $140 billion.

Sudhir Mungantiwar, Finance Minister of Maharashtra is the Convener of the GoM to look at issues related to Lottery.
Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar will examine uniformity of taxation on lottery under GST and other issues arising out of it.
To examine the conductivity of the Lottery system at the state level and check any other issue related to enforcement including the legal frame work.
 Under GST, state-organized lottery falls under the 12% tax slab while state-authorized lottery attracts 28% tax. The GoM for the lottery will submit its report to GST Council in the next meeting for approval.

January 18

Sebi issues draft norms for allowing futures in commodity indices
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued a consultation paper to allow trading in commodity-index-based futures.
So far, only individual commodity futures and options on it were allowed.
However, Sebi has proposed allowing investors, small and medium-sized enterprises, mutual funds and institutional investors to trade in commodity index futures, to begin with.
The regulator has also fixed the criteria, from a liquidity and volume point of view, for the constituents of the index.
A commodity index is an investment vehicle that tracks a basket of commodities to measure their price and investment return performance.
These indexes are allowing investors to gain easier investment access to commodities without having to enter the futures market and are often traded on exchanges.
SEBIChairman: Ajay Tyagi

Markets regulator SEBI allowed mutual fund schemes to write call options only under a covered call strategy for constituent stocks of Nifty 50 and Sensex indices.
The total notional value of call options written by a scheme shall not exceed 15per cent of the total market value of equity shares held in that scheme.
The total number of shares underlying the call options written should not exceed 30 percent of the shares of a particular company held in the scheme.
No scheme shall write a call option without holding the underlying equity shares.
The call option written should be marked to market daily and the respective gains or losses should be factored into the daily net asset value of the respective scheme until the position closes or expires.

January 19

1st Lithium Ion Giga Factory is going to build by BHEL and LIBCOIN
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Libcoin are in dialogue to form a world class consortium to initially build 1GWh lithium ion battery plant in India and Its capacity will be scaled up to 30GWh in due course.
This project will bring energy independence by replacing oil imports with abundant renewable.
This project also includes ''Made by India, for India'', with focus on core-cost components manufactured domestically.
About BHEL:
Bhel Head Quarters: New Delhi
Chairman & MD: AtulSobti
The Government of India and JICA sign Loan Agreements on Japan’s Official Development Assistance Loan to India
Dr. C.S. Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA signed the loan agreement.
Loan agreement includes:
(I) Project for the Construction of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road (Phase 1) for JPY 40.074 billion (Rs. 2470 crore approx.)
(II) Program for Japan-India Cooperative Actions towards Sustainable Development Goals in India for JPY 15.000 billion (Rs. 950 crore approx.)

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) banned entertainment on flights to Jeddah and Madina
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has banned in-flight entertainment for pilgrims travelling to Jeddah and Medina.
Instead, it will only play Koranic verses and naats (recitation of poetry praising the Prophet) for them.
The decision was taken after considering the peoples’ sentiments.
The PIA has also decided to welcome passengers on board with the QaseedaBurda Sharif (Islamic hymn) playing in the background instead of soft music.

January 20

Group insolvency: UK Sinha-headed working group to suggest suitable framework
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has set up a 11-member working group under the chairmanship of former SEBI chief UK Sinha to go into the concept of ‘Group Insolvency’ and suggest a suitable framework.
This Working Group has to submit a report within two months on recommending a complete regulatory framework to facilitate insolvency resolution and liquidation of corporate debtors in a Group.
About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India:
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was established on in 2016 under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code).

CCI approved Amazon and Witzig Advisory services to acquire Aditya Birla’s Retail store.
CCI approved 49% acquisition of the shares by Amazon and 51% of the shares by Witzig in Aditya Birla’s Retail store.
This is Amazon’s 2nd investment in the Indian market after it had picked up stake in the K. Raheja group’s retail arm Shoppers stop.
About (CCI) Competition Commission of India:
Head Quarters: New delhi
Chairman: Ashok Kumar Gupta

January 24

Cabinet approves creation of the National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT).
The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal shall be situated at New Delhi. GSTAT shall be presided over by its President and shall consist of one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).
Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and States.
The creation of the National Bench of the GSTAT would amount to one time expenditure of Rs. 92.50 lakh while the recurring expenditure would be Rs. 6.86 croreper annum.
The GSTAT has been created by utilizing the Section 109 of Chapter XVIII of the CGST Act which empowers the Central Government to constitute, on the recommendation of Council, an Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority or the Revisional Authority.
About Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN):
Chairman: Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey
CEO: Prakash Kumar

January 25

NHIDCL signs MoU with IL&FS for construction of Zojila tunnel
National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IL & FS Transportation Networks Ltd for construction of the 14.150 km long Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir.
NHIDCL signs MoU with IL&FS for construction of Zojila tunnel.
The main objective of the project is to provide all whether connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh region in Jammu & Kashmir.
The total capital cost of the project is Rs 6808.69 crore, which includes the cost towards land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation.
This 2-lane, bi-directional Zojila Tunnel will have all modern technical safety arrangements such as CCTV monitoring, cut and cross ventilation system, and uninterrupted power supply.
On completion, it will become India’s longest road tunnel and the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia.

January 26

I&B Ministry to increase advertisement rates by 11% to private TV channels
Information and Broadcasting Ministry is going to revise the advertisement rates offered by the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) to private TV channels.
The revision would lead to an increase in rates of around 11 per cent over the rates of 2017 in respect of most of the private TV channels.
It could be of higher percentage for some others, as per their reach and TV ratings, differential rate structures for news and non-news channels will be offered, depending upon their overall reach in the country.
About I & B:
Minister of Information and Broadcasting: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
Constituency: Jaipur rural Rajasthan

January 27

NCDEX, IRMA sign MoU to handhold farmer producer organizations
The National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX) and Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), the premier training Institute in agri-business and rural management has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with special emphasis mentoring Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and allied institutions.
IRMA is expected to support the training and development needs of market ecosystem stakeholders in order to spread awareness about commodity markets with an emphasis on derivative markets.
IRDAI sets panel headed by Praveen Kutumbe to identify systematically important insurers
Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has set up a panel headed by Praveen Kutumbe, to identify domestically systematically important insurers (SIIs) and an augmented regulatory framework is logically established in this regard.
Praveen Kutumbe, Member- Finance and Investment, IRDAI, has been asked to submit the report in six months. IRDAI stated that the failure of SIIs has the potential to cause significant disruption to the essential services they provide to policyholders.
About IRDAI:
Headquarters: Hyderabad
Chairperson: S.C. Khuntia.

January 28

India to grow at 7-7.5% over next few years: PM’s Economic Advisory Council
Economic Advisory Council of Prime Minister (EAC-PM) headed by NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy said Despite global and structural challenges, India will continue to grow in the 7-7.5% range in the next few years, one of the highest growth rates in the world.
It could further go up by at least 1% through reforms designed to address structural problems.
In the stock-taking meeting on the state of the economy noted that the macro-economic fundamentals of the economy were sound, despite challenges "several of which are structural in nature".

January 29

GST on Haj reduced from 18% to 5%: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi stated that GST on Haj has been reduced from 18 per cent to 5 per cent and this will significantly lower the air fare thus saving Haj pilgrims 113 crore rupees this year.
Since the independence for the first time that 2,340 women from India will go on 2019 Haj without Mehram.
India, China signs protocol for exports of Indian tobacco leaves to China
India and China have signed the protocol for exports of Indian tobacco leaves to China.
Quality tobacco on par with international standards is available in India at competitive prices and there is a good potential for export of Indian tobacco to China.
The revival of the phytosanitory protocol with China will pave the way for revival of Indian tobacco exports to China and prove economically beneficial to Indian farmers

January 30

RBI to inject Rs 37,500 crore through OMO in February
The Reserve Bank of India said that it will inject Rs. 37,500 crore into the system through purchase of government securities in February to increase liquidity.
The RBI has been monitoring the evolving liquidity conditions and durable liquidity requirements of the system.
RBI has decided to conduct purchase of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMOs) for an aggregate amount of Rs. 375 billion in the month of February 2019 through three auctions of Rs. 125 billion each during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th week.
FDI grew 18% in FY18 to Rs. 28.25 lakh crore: RBI data
Foreign direct investment (FDI) during the previous fiscal grew 18% to Rs 28.25 lakh crore.
FDI increased by Rs. 4,33,300 crore, including revaluation of past investments, during 2017-18 to reach Rs. 28,24,600 crore in March 2018 at market value, according to RBI data on 'Census on Foreign Liabilities and Assets of Indian Direct Investment Companies, 2017-18'
Overseas direct investment (ODI) by Indian companies increased by 5% to Rs. 5.28 lakh crore.

January 31

SEBI proposed relaxed norms for REITs, InvITs to increase access to investors
The Securities and Exchange Board of india (SEBI) proposed a new set of framework for REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and InvITs (Infrastructure Investments Trusts) in order to provide flexibility to issuers in terms of fund raising and increasing the access of these investment vehicles to investors because despite of various relaxations given by SEBI, these investment vehicles have failed to attract investors.
The minimum allotment and trading lot for publicly issued REITs and InvITs is planned to be reduced under the new set of Framework.
Leverage limit for InvITs is proposed to increase from existing 49% to 70%. The minimum application and allotment lot should be of 100 units and value of one lot should in range of Rs. 15000 to Rs. 20000 at the time of initial listing.
The prescribed lot for the purpose of trading of units on the stock exchange for REITs is Rs. 1 lakh whereas for InvIT is Rs 5 lakh.
Separate Framework has been proposed by SEBI to enable Unlisted Privately Placed InvITs, the minimum investment by an investor should not be less than Rs. 1 crore


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