ECONOMY - 2017 October

October 1

L&T Infotech bags $100-mn govt contract to nab tax evaders
The infotech arm of engineering conglomerate, Larsen & Toubro Ltd-owned L&T Infotech Ltd, will track social media accounts of taxpayers to see if their spending patterns are in accordance with their tax declarations in order to nab the tax evaders.
The contract is a $100-million worth project. the project involves creating a ‘semantic web’ where web pages are structured and tagged in such a way that can be directly read by the computers.
It can be noted that in its efforts to shore up tax collections in a country with among the lowest tax to GDP ratios among its peers, the government has decided to use the best that data analytics offers.

Qatar Airways acquires 49% stake in Italy’s Meridiana
Qatar Airways has completed the acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in Italy’s AQA Holding, the new parent company of Italy’s second largest carrier Meridiana.
Meridiana was set up in the early 1960s by the Aga Khan, a business mogul and the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims.
Qatar Airways already has a strong presence in Italy, with more than 40 flights a week from its base in Doha. The airline has a fleet of 200 aircraft, while Meridiana has 16.
Italy’s largest carrier remains Alitalia, which is partly owned by Qatar Airways’ regional competitor Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi.

October 2

ClearTax upgrades GST software to help businesses avoid working capital lock-in
ClearTax, an Income Tax returns e-filing and enterprise compliance service provider upgraded its GST-compliant software to intelligent features to help businesses ensure a seamless flow of credit without making a dent in their working capital reserve.
Registered dealers using the GSTR-2A feature on the ClearTax GST Software can verify whether their vendors have filed their GSTR-1 accurately, and, if not, urge them to do so before the October 10 deadline.
GSTR-1 is a return of outputs of a business, whereas GSTR-2 is a return of inputs of a business. To help with issues concerning reconciliation, the government has introduced GSTR-2A, a form that gets auto-populated by information from GSTR-1 of all vendors associated with a particular trading concern.

India gets first crude oil cargo from US in 42 years at paradip port
India got its first shipment of crude oil from America in 42 years, at Paradip port in Odisha.
This follows the recent commitment on US oil purchases by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum (BPC). Together, they’d placed orders for over two million barrels from the US, “with the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to $2 billion”.
MT New Prosperity, a very large crude carrier, of capacity two million barrels of crude, that left Gulf Coast on August 19, arrived at Paradip port. IOC will process the crude at its east-coast base refineries located at Paradip, Haldia, Barauni and Bongaigaon.
IOC, which became the first Indian public sector refiner from India to source US crude, has placed a cumulative order 3.9 million barrels from the US.

RCom calls off merger with Aircel due to legal, regulatory uncertainties
Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications called off merger with Aircel. Legal and regulatory uncertainties, and various interventions by vested interests, have caused inordinate delays in receipt of relevant approvals for the proposed transaction.
It will evaluate an alternate plan for its mobile business through adoption of a 4G LTE focused mobile strategy.
The combination of the mobile business of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (MTS India) into RCom is expected to be completed this month.
Merger of mobile business of RCom and Aircel lapses with mutual consent. RCom and Aircel had signed binding agreements in September 2016 for the merger of mobile business.

October 3

Hyundai India Join Hands With FIFA U17 World Cup Tournament As Official Partner
South Korean car-makers, Hyundai India, announced as an exclusive right to provide transportation of FIFA officials through Hyundai cars during the FIFA U17 World Cup Tournament which starts from October 6, 2017 in India.
Hyundai India handed over the fleet of Hyundai cars to Martin Nussbaumer, Marketing Operations Group Leader, FIFA and Javier Cappi, Tournament Director, Local Organizing Committee at a ceremony at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
Hyundai pledges to provide 83 vehicles, out of which 63 are premium cars. These include the new Hyundai Verna, Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Elite i20. The company will also provide with few coaches across the 6 cities (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kochi and Goa). These vehicles will be used for transport and movement of the players and FIFA management during the course of the event.

Fitch lowers growth forecast for Indian economy to 6.9% this fiscal
Fitch Ratings has lowered India’s economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 6.9% from 7.4% after the gross domestic product (GDP) growth “unexpectedly faltered” in the April-June quarter.
The credit rating agency expects the economic activity to accelerate in the second half of the fiscal year with the waning impact of one-off events including the demonetisation shock in late 2016 and the goods and services tax (GST) rollout in July, which had dampened growth in the short term.
The large stock of non-performing loans on bank balance sheets could, however, dampen the outlook for credit growth and business investment,” Fitch Ratings in its latest global economic outlook (GEO).

FPIs pull out Rs. 11,392 cr from equities in September
Foreign investors pulled out over Rs. 11,000 crore from domestic equity market in September due to geo-political concerns, slowdown in corporate earnings and higher valuations.
The net outflow by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) follows withdrawal of Rs. 12,770 crore from equities in August. Prior to that, they had pumped in over Rs. 62,000 crore in the past six months (February to July).
According to the latest depository data, FPIs withdrew Rs. 11,392 crore ($1.75 billion) in September. However, they pumped in Rs. 4,430 crore in debt markets during this period.
After taking into account the latest outflow, the total investment by FPIs in equity markets stood at Rs. 34,350 crore (about $5.2 billion) so far this year.

October 4

MobiKwik, IRCTC Rail connect partner for ticket bookings
Digital payments firm MobiKwik announced its partnership with IRCTC Rail connect app, which will allow customers book railway tickets using the former’s payment gateway.
The tie-up is aimed at simplifying payment systems by introducing MobiKwik’s easy-to-use interface for all, which supports payment solution through channels like debit card, credit card, net Banking, ATM Cards and Wallets.
Mobikwik’s Payment Gateway currently powers payments for more than 3,000 ecommerce websites and apps.
This association will help the passengers to pay for their tickets seamlessly and securely, within seconds.

Airtel-Tigo merger gets NCA approval in Ghana
Bharti Ghana (Airtel), the Ghana's National Communications Authority has given approval for its merger with Millicom Ghana (Tigo) to proceed, subject to some conditions.
According to the company, the merger will result in an entity which will be the second largest mobile network operations in the West African country.
The merger which was first announced in March this year required the regulator to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the application and the regulatory ecosystem.
To ensure efficient and equitable distribution and access to the spectrum, the merged entities will have to submit a network integration plan to the Authority which will indicate how they intend to relinquish portions of their total spectrum allocation.

Power Finance Corp board approves PFC Green Energy merger with parent
State-run Power Finance Corp (PFC), its board has approved the proposal for merger of its wholly-owned subsidiary PFC Green Energy with the company.
PFC is a leading power sector public financial institution and a non-banking financial company which provides fund and non-fund based support for the development of Indian power sector.
PFC Green Energy Ltd is also engaged in similar nature of business focusing on renewable and green energy.
The amalgamation will help to consolidate similar nature of business at one place and effectively manage both firms as single entity.

GDP to hit $6 trillion by 2027 on digital leap: Morgan Stanley
India is likely to be the world’s fastest-growing large economy in the next 10 years, driven by digitisation, favourable demographics, globalisation and reforms, predicts a Morgan Stanley report.
According to the global financial services major, the trend line in India’s annual GDP growth has been accelerating to 6.9 per cent in 2000s, from 5.8 per cent in the 1990s, and this momentum is likely to continue in the next decade as well.
Morgan Stanley expects digitisation will provide a boost of 50-75 bps to GDP growth and forecast that India will grow to a $ 6-trillion economy and achieve upper-middle income status by 2026-27.
India’s GDP growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in April-June as disruptions caused by demonetisation spilled over to the third straight quarter amid slowdown in manufacturing activities.

Core sector growth climbs to five-month high at 4.9% in August
Core sector registered a year-on-year growth of 4.9% in August – the highest since the 5.2% reading in March this year — thanks to a low base and good performance by coal and electricity.
The performance of eight core industries – which comprise 40.27 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) – in August 2017, was higher than 3.1% in August 2016 and 2.6% in July 2017. Its cumulative growth during April to August, 2017-18 was 3%.
Coal production recorded 15.3% in August 2017, up from a low base of (-) 9.7% contraction in growth in August 2016. Electricity output grew by 10.3% in August from a low base of 2.2% growth in August 2016.

Yatra Online partners OYO to expand hotel inventory
Yatra Online Inc has tied up with OYO to bring the hospitality firm’s inventory on its platform. The partnership brings OYO’s inventory onto an online travel agent platform and with this Yatra’s total hotel inventory will expand to over 70,000 hotels in India.
The company’s partnership with OYO is a firm step in that direction and enables it to deliver a unique proposition to the customers allowing them to choose from a variety of travel and accommodation options in India.
Through this partnership, OYO’s quality-assured hassle-free offerings will be accessible to millions of discerning travellers who book on

October 5

MobiKwik renames its payment gateway
Mobile wallet provider MobiKwik renamed its payment gateway as 'MobiKwik Payment Gateway' and aims to have over USD 5 billion worth of transactions on the platform by the end of this fiscal. MobiKwik Payment Gateway has already done transactions worth USD 1.8 billion this year.
The new age payment gateway has been introduced with proprietary features that deliver best in industry transaction success rates and ensures that every transaction is secure.
With a strong focus on system security, MobiKwik Payment Gateway has 24/7 physically monitored data centre with restricted and logged access, system level firewalls and hardware level encryption.
MobiKwik Payment Gateway has been launched with a vision to simplify payment systems in India and support new businesses with customised digital payment requirements.

Mastercard, Andhra Govt. sign MoU to digitally transform the state
The Andhra Pradesh Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mastercard to setup a centre of excellence in Visakhapatnam.
The MoU was exchanged in the national capital in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and CEO of Mastercard, Ajay Banga.
Mastercard, an American multinational financial services corporation, have come forward to work in the areas of cyber security and financial technology in the state.
The agreement is believed to digitally transform the technology sector in Andhra Pradesh. As part of agreement, MasterCard will also organise business summits in Visakhapatnam every year.

ONGC Videsh completes stake buy in Namibian oil block
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has completed acquisition of 30 per cent interest in an oil block off Namibia from UK's Tullow Oil.
OVL has completed the acquisition of 30 per cent interest in the Namibian Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 37, covering three blocks of 2112A, 2012B and 2113B.

Tullow Oil held 65 per cent interest in the oil block. Pancontinental Namibia (Pty) Ltd holds 30 per cent interest and the remaining 5 per cent is with Paragon Oil and Gas.
Tullow, with remaining 35 per cent participating interest, shall continue to remain the operator of the licence.

Itelligence India acquires SAP solution provider vCentric Technologies
Itelligence India Software Solutions Private Limited has acquired the Hyderabad-based vCentric Technologies, a reseller of SAP software and SAP services provider, for an undisclosed amount.
The acquisition of vCentric is the first step for our strategic expansion into the growing local Indian IT market. With more than 1,300 employees, we are now one of the leading SAP partners in the subcontinent.
itelligence employs about 6,600 people in 24 countries. In 2016, it registered sales of € 778 million.
the acquisition of vCentric has allowed the company to offer services across different geographies in India and different segments.

ESMA recognises NSE and BSE's clearing arms as qualified CCP
European Securities & Markets Authority (ESMA) has certified the clearing arms of stock exchange NSE and BSE as qualified central counterparty (CCP), a move which will lower the capital requirements for European participants in the domestic markets.
A qualified CCP member is subjected to lower capital requirements/charges under the Basel III framework introduced by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
ESMA has granted recognitions to NSE's arm The National Securities Clearing Corporation Ltd (NSCCL) and BSE's subsidiary Indian Clearing Corporation Limited (ICCL).

October 6

Magicbricks launches India's first online property bidding platform
Magicbricks, India's property site, announced the launch of India's first online bidding platform for residential and commercial properties and tied-up with leading developer M3M for the inaugural 'My Bid, My Home' under which consumers can bid for ready-to-move-in residential properties ranging from 1355sqft-7875sqft in Gurugram.
With My Bid, My Home, Magicbricks brings yet another industry first value proposition for home buyers. Consumers will get a wide choice of properties to be owned through online bidding.
Online bidding platform is an innovative proposition that will certainly disrupt the category by putting the price decision in the hands of the buyer.

Tata AIA Life launches ‘Eazy Connect’
Private insurer Tata AIA Life announced the launch of ‘Eazy Connect’, that will extend online customer service to social media platforms.
The chatbot will be available through social media platforms and is developed to respond to the most frequently asked queries.
Eazy Connect Chabot is an innovative offering and has been created to match customers’ fast paced lives where they need quick and simple ways to stay connected to us.
Social media integration is the need of the hour and Eazy Connect will help customers resolve queries on platforms that they frequent.

Flipkart Unveils MarQ Private Label Brand for TVs, ACs, Washing Machines, and Other Large Appliances
Flipkart was launching an in-house brand in the large appliances category called MarQ, as the e-commerce giant expands its self-branded offerings on its marketplace.
For now, the company has launched microwave ovens under the MarQ private label brand, but it says more products including televisions, washing machines, air conditioners, and sound bars are in the pipeline.

Selling self-branded items, Flipkart says is in line with its 'Better. Possible Today.' vision. The items sold under the MarQ umbrella have been "reimagined" and "crafted" to suit the needs of the Indian consumer.

HDFC Life, Apollo Munich team up for dual cover
HDFC Life Insurance and Apollo Munich Health have come together to launch ‘Click2Protect Health plan’, which provides both life and health cover under a single plan.
This plan combines the benefits of HDFC Life’s ‘Click2Protect 3D Plus (term) protection plan’ and Apollo Munich’s ‘Optima Restore health indemnity plan’.
Through a single proposal form, single medical, single premium, customers can get both the products together, making it convenient for them. It is also cheaper because there is an overall 5 per cent discount if the customer buys the two products together.

Adobe Invests in Aadhaar-Based Authentication for Its E-Signature Solution
In a bid to facilitate better adoption of e-signatures in the country, Adobe on announced investment on integration of Aadhaar-based authentication in its e-signature solution "Adobe Sign".
The market for e-signatures in India was growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 57 percent and was expected to cross over 90 million transactions by 2020.
Aadhaar-based e-signature in "Adobe Sign" is aimed at helping organisations to eliminate their dependency on wet signatures and allow digital validation of users' legal identity.
With around 30 per cent market penetration and about 70 per cent of companies yet to start their e-signature journey, the Aadhaar-based authentication built in 'Adobe Sign' is the industry's first solution to make e-signatures legally binding in India.

FDI proposals of Wockhardt, Coastal Local Area Bank, KPB Holdings approved
The commerce and industry ministry has approved three foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals, including that of Wockhardt Ltd and Coastal Local Area Bank.

The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), under the commerce ministry, has also approved KPB Holdings’ proposal to issue shares to NRIs (non-resident Indians).
All the three applications have got the post facto approval of the department, according to the DIPP’s foreign investment facilitation portal.
While Coastal Local Area Bank got nod for issuance of shares to NRIs, Wockhardt Ltd got approval for issuance of ESOPs (employee stock option plan) to NRIs.

October 7

Zee Entertainment acquires 9X Media, INX Music for Rs 160 cr
The Punit Goenka-led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) has entered a definitive agreement to acquire 9X Media and its subsidiaries from Rivendell PE LLC and the other shareholders through an all-cash transaction amounting to Rs 160 crore.
With this, ZEEL strengthens its music portfolio significantly. Currently, the network has Zing, which is a music channel targeted to cater to the requirements of a young audience. Originally launched as Music Asia in 1997, the channel was subsequently re-launched as Zee Music in 2000.
Currently, the 9X Media operates five music channels- 9XM (Hindi), 9X Jalwa (Hindi), 9X Jhakkas (Marathi), 9XO (English) and 9X Bajao (Hindi).
The acquisition also includes INX Music- a subsidiary of 9XM engaged in the business of broadcasting a Punjabi music channel 9X Tashan. 9XM owned a majority stake of 70.85 per cent in INX Media.

China approves HP’s $1.1 bn buy of Samsung’s printer business
China has approved HP Inc’s $1.1 billion purchase of Samsung Electronics’ printer business with certain restrictions, citing concerns about the US firm’s dominance of the domestic laser printer market.
HP announced the deal in September 2016, hoping to disrupt the $55 billion copier market by focusing on multifunction printers and more deeply embedding mobile and cloud printing technologies to its product solutions. It hoped at the time to close the transaction within 12 months, pending regulatory review.
The Ministry of Commerce the sale of A4 format laser printers by HP in China should be done on “fair and reasonable” terms and the firm must report every six months on their prices and related data to the ministry.
Under the deal, HP would add an intellectual property portfolio of more than 6,500 printing patents and nearly 1,300 researchers and engineers with expertise in laser printer technology, imaging electronics and printer supplies.

JSA become the first law firm in GIFT city
J Sagar Associates (JSA) is the first law firm to have opened an office at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), which is being promoted like Singapore of India.
Setting up this office would help JSA consolidate their Financial Services Practice. The office was inaugurated by Sudhir Mankad - Chairman of GIFT IFSC, along with CEO Ajay Pandey.
Several banks, brokers and stock exchanges including the BSE and the National Stock Exchange have set-up their operations in GIFT, which will operate like a tax haven. In fact, both the stock exchanges have already started their operations in GIFT.

October 8

NBCC partners Finland company for EV charging infrastructure
State-owned construction firm NBCC has signed an MoU with Finland’s Fortum Oyj for developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in upcoming development projects in India.
The MoU is general in nature to establish the basis for co-operative institutional relationships.
NBCC has signed a cooperation institutional relationship MoU with ‘Fortum Oyj’ — Finland’ for developing charging infrastructure in upcoming development projects in India.

CBDT signs 2 more APAs with taxpayers
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed two more advance pricing agreements (APAs) in September with Indian taxpayers as it looks to reduce litigation by providing certainty in transfer pricing.
The two APAs signed during September, 2017 pertain to automobile and healthcare consulting sectors.
With the signing of these two agreements, the total number of APAs entered into by CBDT till date has reached 177. This includes 164 unilateral APAs.

October 9

Reliance Commercial Finance inks agreement with IREDA for Rs 300 cr loan
Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd has signed an agreement with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA) for Rs 300 crore loan. The loan will be used to lend to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The Reliance Commercial Finance is a subsidiary of Reliance Capital while IREDA is a central public sector undertaking under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Reliance Commercial Finance has funded wind and solar energy sectors of more than 1,800 MW. The company also provides financial assistance for developing infrastructure and other projects targeted towards the government initiatives on renewable energy.

October 10

Visa, Andhra Pradesh Government Digital Payment Project to Benefit Over 90% of Vizag Citizens
Visa, tied up with the Andhra Pradesh government for Digital Dhan Sankalp project, is an initiative to develop Visakhapatnam into India’s first ‘less cash’ city.
The initiative aims at making the coastal city country’s first ‘less cash’ city. The range of digital payment services under the project to include property and water tax of GVMC, RTC services, Vuda tourist services.
The e-transformation of large state-owned service providers of the state into digital payments mode under the Vizag Digital Dhan Sankalp (VDDS) project is now accessible to over 90 per cent of the city’s two million strong population.
Aimed at better service delivery and creating an inclusive society, the digital payment-enabled services include property and water tax at Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, bus services run by APSRTC, iconic tourist locations under VUDA and utility services of EPDCL.

October 11

IMF lowers India’s growth forecast to 6.7% in 2017
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed India’s growth forecast by 0.5 percentage points to 6.7 per cent in 2017.
The growth projection for 2017 has been revised down, reflecting still lingering disruptions associated with the currency exchange initiative introduced in November 2016, as well as transition costs related to the launch of the national Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July 2017.
Earlier, in April, the IMF had pegged India’s GDP growth at 7.2 per cent for 2017.
It has also lowered the growth projection for 2018 to 7.4 per cent from its earlier estimate in April and June of 7.7 per cent, which could once again turn India into the fastest growing economy in the world.

World Bank reduces India GDP growth forecast to 7% for 2017-18
India's GDP may slow from 8.6 per cent in 2015 to 7.0 per cent in 2017 because of disruptions by demonetisation and the GST, the World Bank has forecast and warned that subdued private investment due to internal bottlenecks could put downside pressures on the country's potential growth.
India's economic momentum has been affected by disruptions from the withdrawal of banknotes and uncertainties around the Goods and Services Tax (GST),.
As a result, growth is expected to slow from 8.6 per cent in 2015 to 7.0 per cent in 2017. Sound policies around balancing public spending with private investment could accelerate growth to 7.3 per cent by 2018.

India Reduces GST On Bunker Fuels; Sets Tax For Offshore Exploration, Gas Sales
India has reduced the goods and service tax (GST) on marine fuel oil, known as bunker fuel, to 5 percent for all vessels, which should help the country's fuel sellers compete with other lower-tax ports in Asia.
India's nationwide GST taxed bunker fuel sales at 18 per cent when it was implemented on July 1. The GST replaced state value-added taxes that were typically between zero and 5 percent.
India's GST Council decided to reduce the tax on the bunker fuel sales after 6 October meeting where it recommended assessing GST rates for the bunker fuel sales, natural gas transportation and for offshore oil and gas field services.

Anti-dumping duty imposed on certain Chinese steel products
The Centre imposed anti-dumping duty on imports of certain steel wire rods from China for five years, with a view to guard the interest of domestic players from cheap in-bound shipments.
The duty was imposed after the commerce ministry's directorate general of anti-dumping and allied duties (DGAD) recommended duty on such imports.
In its findings, the DGAD had concluded that 'wire rod of alloy or non-alloy steel' has been exported to India at below the normal value due to which domestic industry has suffered material injury.

October 12

SEBI fixes penalty for non-compliance of shareholding norms
SEBI has tightened the noose on listed companies not adhering to norms with regard to minimum public shareholding (MPS). Those that are non-compliant will have to pay a fine of ₹5,000 a day.
In addition, the entire promoter holding, except for compliance to MPS, will be frozen by depositories, and the promoter group and directors of the particular company will not be allowed to hold any position in other companies.
According to MPS norms, any listed company must have at least 25 per cent as public share holders while the remaining 75 per cent can be held by promoters. Government-promoted companies were given time till August 2018 to comply with these norms. Newly listed companies are given a three-year window to comply.

General Insurance Corporation launches India’s 3rd biggest IPO
Reinsurer General Insurance Corporation of India Limited or GIC Re will open its IPO to raise Rs 11,370 crore public money. This is India's third biggest IPO ever after Coal India's Rs 15,200 crore and Reliance Power's Rs 11,700 crore issues.
Reinsurance is insurance purchased by an insurance company from other insurance firms to manage their risk.
GIC writes reinsurance for every non-life and over half of the life insurance companies in India. GIC Re receives statutory cession of 5 per cent on each and every policy subject to certain limits.

Tata Teleservices to merge consumer mobile business with Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel will merge its mobile business operations with that of Tata Teleservices. Bharti Airtel will absorb Tata's consumer mobile business in 19 circles (17 under TTSL and two under Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Limited) and the merger is being done on debt-free, cash-free basis.
The deal will bolster Airtel’s spectrum pool with additional spectrum in the 1,800, 2,100 and 850 MHz bands, all widely used for 4G.
The acquisition of additional spectrum made an attractive business proposition. It will further strengthen our already solid portfolio and create substantial long term value for our shareholders given the significant.

Government forms 'think-tank' for guidance to achieve oil and gas targets
In a bid to accelerate its policy reforms in the key focus areas of the oil and gas sector, the government has formed an International Oil and Gas think-tank which will advice the government on issues related to pricing, gas infrastructure, better financial models for exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons and reducing import dependency.
Think tank consisting of experts to advise on technology and build a successful gas network in the country. This is being formed to reduce the target set by the Prime Minister to reduce oil import dependence by 10 per cent.
The think tank will be in an advisory role and will look after gas infrastructure, financing model for projects, price competitiveness among others.

India fiscal first half direct tax collections rise about 16% to Rs 3.86 lakh crore
India’s fiscal first half direct tax collections surged 15.8% on-year to Rs 3.86 lakh crore, rekindling hope that the economy might be headed for a rebound after the twin effects of demonetisation and GST.
The gross direct tax collection for the April-September period at Rs 4.66 lakh crore was up 10.3% on-year. Advance tax receipts also swelled, with the total advance tax mop-up in April-September rising 11.5% on-year to Rs 1.77 lakh crore.
While corporate advance tax collections rose 8.1% on-year during the period, the advance income tax collections saw a 30.1% on-year spike. The government estimates to collect Rs 9.80 lakh crore from direct taxes in the current fiscal.

October 13

Amazon, Microsoft Collaborate on 'Gluon' Open-Source Deep Learning Platform
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft have teamed up to launch an open-source and deep learning interface 'Gluon' that will help developers to deploy machine learning models across several platforms.
The interface would give developers a place where they can prototype, build, train and deploy machine learning models.
Today's reality is that building and training machine learning models requires a great deal of heavy lifting and specialised expertise. The Gluon interface so building neural networks and training models can be as easy as building an app.
The companies claim that 'Gluon' is a concise, easy-to-understand programming interface compared to other offerings, and it gives developers a chance to quickly prototype and experiment with neural network models without sacrificing performance.

Cabinet approves SANKALP & STRIVE Schemes to boost Skill India Mission
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved two new World Bank supported schemes of Rs. 6,655 crore - Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE).
SANKALP is Rs 4,455 crore Centrally sponsored scheme including Rs. 3,300 crore loan support from World Bank whereas STRIVE is a Rs. 2,200 crore - central sector scheme, with half of the scheme outlay as World bank loan assistance.
SANKALP and STRIVE are outcome focused schemes marking shift in government's implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results.
Both the schemes are aimed at institutional reforms and improving quality & market relevance of skill development training programs in long and short term VET. In past many government schemes such as Vocational Training Improvement Project (VTIP) have focussed on strengthening ITIs and over 1600 ITIs have already been modernized under the schemes.

HPCL becomes first Indian OMC to launch lubricants in Myanmar
HPCL has become the first Oil Marketing Company (OMC) from India to mark its presence in the lubricant market in Myanmar, and to lend more visibility and awareness to the brand, a well-designed product launch was scheduled in two major cities.
Having achieved the number one position in the domestic market, HP Lubricants sought to prove itself in foreign shore by venturing into Myanmar.
The first event on Oct 1, 2017 in the commercial hub of Yangon was graced by the Ambassador of India to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
The second launch on Oct 3, 2017 in Mandalay, with a very different market saw the unveiling of HP Lubricants brand and products by Executive Director-Direct Sales, Shri Rajnish Mehta.

October 14

HPCL becomes first Indian Oil marketing company to launch lubricants in Myanmar
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has started selling lubricants in Myanmar as part of broader plans of Indian retailers to play a bigger role in the south-east Asian nation's oil and gas sector.
Having achieved the number one position in the domestic market, HP Lubricants sought to prove itself in foreign shore by venturing into Myanmar.
HPCL is the first Indian oil company to have started marketing lubes in Myanmar and has chosen commercial hubs of Yangon and Mandalay.
India is pushing for supplying fuel to Myanmar to meet rising demand. Following the lifting of sanctions, Myanmar is looking at foreign companies to cater to fuel and infrastructure requirements arising out of a dramatic surge in consumption.

India's Inland Waterways Authority raises Rs. 660 crore through Bonds
An amount of Rs.660 crore has been raised by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) through GOI Fully Serviced Bonds in addition to the budgetary support from the Government of India. The decision was taken by the government to raise the amount through GOI Fully Serviced Bonds in 2017-18.
Before raising the bonds, the IWAI had arranged credit rating agencies, registrars, and trustees. Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited (CRISIL) and Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE) has rated AAA: STABLE to the proposed instrument. AAA refers to the highest safety.
On the BSE Portal with the issue size of Rs.300 crore, Green Shoe option of Rs.360 crore, the e-bidding for raising the bonds was organized. At a coupon rate of 7.47 percent, the amount of Rs.660 crore was oversubscribed in a single tranche.

Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 brought into force
A new Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified earlier has been brought into force with effect. The Act establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India.
The Act has enabling provisions for the Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security.

Richard Branson's Virgin Group invests in Hyperloop One
Sir Richard Branson joins board of Hyperloop One Virgin Group founder Richard Branson joins board of Hyperloop One.
Richard Branson's Virgin Group is investing in Hyperloop One, a company developing the super-fast transport system originally dreamed up by Elon Musk.
Hypleroop One is rebranding itself as Virgin Hyperloop One, and Branson is joining the board, the billionaire British investor and entrepreneur announced.
Virgin Hyperloop One will focus on a passenger and mixed-use cargo service.

October 15

IIP growth rises to 9-month high of 4.3 pc in August
Industrial production grew at a nine-month high of 4.3 per cent in August, mainly on account of robust performance of mining and power sectors coupled with higher capital goods output.
As per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), Factory output growth measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) stood at 4 per cent in August 2016.
The previous high in IIP growth was recorded at 5.7 per cent in November 2016.
IIP growth during April-August period of this fiscal stood at 2.2 per cent, down from 5.9 per cent in same period in 2016-17.

Airports need up to $45 bn investment to improve capacity by 2030: CAPA
According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India needs up to $45 billion investment in 55 airports to boost capacity by 2030.
India will need to construct an additional 500 to 600 million of capacity by 2030. This will require $36-45 billion of investment, including $12 to 15 billion of equity capital.
Indian airlines would induct close to 350 to 400 aircraft over the next five years and that they had already been facing challenges securing overnight parking bays.

IMF Favors Three Structural Reforms In India
The IMF has suggested a three pronged approach for structural reform in India that includes addressing the Corporate and banking sector weaknesses, continued fiscal consolidation through revenue measure, and improving the efficiency of labour and product markets.
The favorable outlook for Asia was an important opportunity for India to push forward with difficult reforms. As such, there should be three policy priorities in the area of structural reforms.
First priority is to address the corporate and banking sector weaknesses, by accelerating the resolution of non-performing loans, rebuilding the capital buffers for the public sector banks, and enhancing banks’ debt recovery mechanisms.

October 16

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund inks pact worth $1 b with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India has signed an investment agreement worth $1 billion with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
The government has set up NIIF with the aim to attract investments from both domestic and international sources for infrastructure development in commercially viable projects.
As part of the comprehensive partnership agreement, ADIA will become the first institutional investor in NIIF’s Master Fund and a shareholder in National Investment and Infrastructure Limited, the NIIF’s investment management company.

SEBI revamps expert panel on market infrastructure institutions
Regulator SEBI reorganised its committee on market infrastructure institutions that advises it on reviewing norms pertaining to stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depository participants.
The five member committee is chaired by R Gandhi, former Deputy Governor at Reserve Bank of India (RBI), according to latest update with Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
The committee is mandated to review regulations pertaining to Market Infrastructure Institutions (MIIs) and identify areas for continuous improvement of systems, procedures and practices and make recommendations thereof.
One of the major terms of reference of this committee is overall assessment of the existing MIIs framework and identify areas for review in the SECC (Stock Exchanges and Clearing Corporations) norms and depository participants regulations.

Myntra partners Textiles Ministry to promote handloom industry
Flipkart-owned fashion e-tailer Myntra has partnered Textile Ministry to work directly with weavers and promote the handloom industry.
Myntra, along with some of its partner brands, will work on bringing artisans and their products online to provide them with access to new customers and opportunities.
These products will retail on Myntra via a dedicated online store, creating a one-stop shop for handloom products.
Myntra will also launch a new handloom brand during its upcoming annual Brand Summit, The Tech Threads, on November 2 in Bengaluru.

Mahindra launches Prerna project for women farmers
Mahindra & Mahindra has launched a programme, Prerna, to empower women working in the agriculture sector by promoting efficient and ergonomic farm tools and equipment.
The project will be initially launched in the state of Odisha, with the intention to positively impact the lives of over 1,500 families across 30-plus villages.
The first project under Prerna aims to address these issues with the promotion of women friendly, efficient and ergonomic farm tools and equipment.
The first project under Prerna is a collaboration between Mahindra & Mahindra, the Central Institution for Women in Agriculture (CIWA), a department of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and the NGO Pradan (Professional Assistance for Development Action).

TCS teams with BNP Paribas to deliver Corporate Event Connect
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has teamed up with BNP Paribas Securities Services to deliver Corporate Event Connect, an innovative block-chain-based platform, which will provide fast, accurate and secure corporate event announcements to clients around the world.
By leveraging TCS' Quartz block-chain technology, BNP Paribas will be able to capture and store corporate action information in a structured format to ensure data accuracy and rapid dissemination to clients.
The platform's built-in security will ensure the information is tamper-proof, resistant to node failure and recoverable.

GDP may grow at 7% in FY’18: NITI Aayog
According to NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, the economic slowdown that began in 2013-14 has bottomed out and the GDP is likely to grow at 6.9-7% this fiscal and 7.5% in 2018-19.
The economic growth slowed to 7.1% in 2016-17, the year in which 87% of the currency was demonetised, despite a very good show by the agricultural sector.
In the next fiscal year, the growth would be about 7.5%.

October 17

Bharti Airtel, Millicom combine operations in Ghana
Bharti Airtel Limited and Millicom International Cellular S.A., have closed the deal to combine their operations in Ghana.
Under the joint agreement, Airtel and Millicom will have equal ownership (50:50) and governance rights in the combined entity, which will have revenues of approx. $300 million.
Both Airtel and Millicom will have board representations and management positions in the merged entity. The Ghana National Communications Authority granted approval for the merger proposal early this month.
The merged entity will become Ghana’s second largest mobile operator with close to 10 million subscribers.

MCX launches India’s first commodity options in gold
The Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) launched India’s first commodity options in gold, giving stakeholders a new set of financial instruments to hedge their price risks.
The total traded notional value for gold options stood at ₹1,259 crore, while the total traded volume totalled 4,220 lots (1 kg each).
MCX has currently launched a Gold Option contract, keeping Gold (1 Kg) futures as the underlying asset, with expiry on November 28, 2017 and January 29, 2018.
Launched by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. The gold options received an encouraging response on Day 1.

October 18

Income-Tax department launches 'online chat' to answer taxpayers' queries
The income tax department has launched an 'online chat' service for taxpayers so that they can seek answers to their basic queries and doubts relating to direct tax issues.
A window has been hosted on the main page of the department's website with a prominent icon stating 'Live Chat Online- ask your query'.
A team of experts from the department and independent tax practitioners has been deputed to answer the general queries of a taxpayer. This first-time initiative is aimed to enhance taxpayer services in the country.
More features would be added to the online chat system based on the feedback received by the department.

October 19

DIPP approves 3 FDI proposals for single brand retail
Three foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals, including that of Mountain Trail Foods and Kohler India Corporation, were approved by the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) in the single brand retail sector.
Mountain Trail Foods would undertake retail trading of food products including tea and beverages, according to the DIPP's Foreign Investment Facilitation portal.
The company had proposed to invest USD 10 million. Kohler India Corporation will carry out single brand retailing of 'Kohler' branded products in India.
Similarly, Merlin Entertainments India got approval to undertake retailing under the brand 'Madame Tussauds'. It plans to invest Rs 1 crore.

October 20

Nasscom to set up centres of excellence on Artificial Intelligence, data science
The software industry lobby Nasscom is setting up centres of excellence on artificial intelligence (AI) and data sciences for a better understanding on the emerging technologies.
A centre of excellence on AI and data sciences in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. They will look at mapping the resources available in the country, promoting start-ups in that area and also best practices globally, including regulatory aspects
With the tech world getting divided between whether or not to regulate AI, the body feels that technologies should be freely allowed to mature first before any regulation comes in.

U.S. starts anti-dumping probe into PTFE resin from India
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, The U.S. has initiated anti-dumping duty investigations against import of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin from India and China.
The probe is being started to determine whether imports of PTFE resin from China and India are being dumped in the U.S., and a countervailing duty investigation to determine whether producers of PTFE resin in India are receiving alleged unfair subsidies.
The PTFE is mostly used as a non-stick coating for utensils. The department has stated that the estimated dumping margins alleged by the petitioner range from 23.4% - 408.9% for China and 15.8% to 128.1% for India.

October 21

APEDA to promote North East products in Bangladesh and Myanmar
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has taken up a programme for promotion of north eastern products in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The APEDA, an apex organisation under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, proposes to organise the promotion programme in Bangladesh and Myanmar in association with the High Commission of India in Dhaka and its Embassy in Yangon.
The promotional event in Myanmar is proposed to be held in November and that in Dhaka and Sylhet in Bangladesh in the first week of December.
The export of APEDA scheduled products to Bangladesh during 2016-17 was of 396.44 million USD.

GSTN starts offline utility for GSTR-3B filing
GST Network has launched an excel-based offline tool for businesses to file initial GSTR-3B returns.
Taxpayers can download the offline utility from the GSTN portal under the download section and after fill in the data. Following this, the file can be uploaded on GST portal.
After uploading of the return to the GST Portal, the taxpayer has to preview the form, complete formalities like submit, offset the liability and file their GSTR-3B Return using digital signature or electronic verification code.
This facility will provide an opportunity to the taxpayer to verify details of GSTR 3B before filing and minimise chances of error.

Mumbai civic body opens online portal for business approvals
Taking one step closer to making its ease of doing business policy a reality, the civic body has now introduced an online single window system to issue permissions for new businesses and factories.
Henceforth, all new business permissions will be available through the online portal and the BMC will stop accepting physical applications.
The system has been started on a trial basis between October 17 and 30. It will be fully operational from October 31. The system will make it simpler to get up to nine permissions online, and will also display real-time status of the application.
From all the departments handling the request. If this works, the civic body won’t be accepting any physical forms to set up businesses and factories in Mumbai.

Indian Companies Top Global List On Reporting CSR
India has witnessed a marginal dip in corporate responsibility-related reporting by the top 100 companies, but continues to be among the best in the world in this aspect.
It also tops the list of countries with the highest rate of corporate social responsibility (CSR)-related information in annual reports, 98% of the top 100 companies have the details. As against a 100% compliance observed in 2015, the reporting rate dipped marginally to 99% for 2017.
It can be noted that under the amended Companies Act 2013, CSR reporting has been made mandatory for companies. Regulation is driving reporting on human rights as well.

Australian car manufacturing ends as GM Holden closes plant
Australia’s near 100-year automotive industry ended as GM Holden Ltd, a unit of U.S. carmaker General Motors Co (GM.N), closed its plant in South Australia to move manufacturing to cheaper locations.
The closure comes a year after Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) similarly moved out, eliminating thousands of manufacturing jobs. It adds pressure on the government to help those made redundant find work in a battleground state ahead of a federal election in 18 months.

October 22

Maruti becomes No. 1 exporter of personal vehicles from India, Hyundai 4th
Maruti Suzuki India has become the largest passenger vehicles exporter from India in the first half of the ongoing fiscal, dethroning Hyundai Motor India Ltd which has now been pushed to fourth spot behind Volkswagen and General Motors.
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), In the April-September period this fiscal, Maruti Suzuki India exported 57,300 units of passenger vehicles (PVs) as against 54,008 units in the year-ago period, up 6 per cent.
The long-running number one exporter, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) on the other hand shipped 44,585 units as against 63,014 units in the year-ago period, a decline of 29.25 per cent. The company is now behind Volkswagen and General Motors India in terms of export of PVs from India.

Centre de-affiliates 400 ITIs for failing quality norms
The government has de-affiliated close to 400 ITIs after quality inspections administered by it found the institutes lacking the requisite infrastructure and trainers for imparting vocational training to students.
The Skill Development Ministry has begun monitoring the ITIs with a view to maintaining their quality standards and also introduced voluntary self grading by the institutes.
Around 400 out of the 13,000-odd industrial training institutes (ITIs) being de-affiliated. The quality of infrastructure, the trainers that should be there as per the guidelines.
When it is not there the ITIs are de-affiliated because ultimately if you have to be an ITI at the NCVT (National Council for Vocational Training) level, there are certain minimum conditions that you have to meet.

October 23

Honda overtakes Bajaj to seal No 2 spot in domestic bike sales
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has raced past Bajaj Auto to become the second biggest bike seller in India during the first half of the ongoing fiscal.
During the April-September period this fiscal, HMSI sold a total of 10, 48,143 motorcycles in the domestic market registering a growth of 19.8 per cent.
On the other hand, Bajaj Auto sold 10, 10,559 units witnessing a decline of 10.45 per cent. In the comparable period last fiscal, HMSI sold 8, 74,852 units as against Bajaj Autos 11, 28,425 units.

October 24

Reliance Communications gets final nod from DoT for merger with Sistema
The Department of Telecom (DoT) gave the green signal to the merger of Sistema Shyam Teleservices with Reliance Communications. With this merger deal, the number of mobile operators in the country will come down to ten.
With this, Rcom will acquire approximately 2 million customers and additional annual revenues of around Rs 700 crore. In addition, RCom will acquire 30 MHz of the most valuable and superior 800/850 MHz band spectrum, ideally suited for 4G LTE services, to complement its own unique nationwide footprint.
Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM) has received the Department of Telecommunication's (DoT) approval for the demerger of the wireless business of Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited (SSTL) into RCom.

ONGC plans to raise oil output by 4 mt by 2020
ONGC has drawn a blueprint to raise crude oil production by 4 million tonnes (mt) and almost double its natural gas output by 2020 to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of cutting India’s import dependence by 10 per.
The state-owned firm will raise crude oil production from 22.6 mt in 2017-18 to 26.42 mt in 2021-22.
Prime Minister had given a call to cut country’s oil imports by 10 per cent by 2022.
The nation’s biggest oil and gas producer has prepared the ‘Road map for Import Reduction’ two years after Modi set the target for reducing oil import dependence by 10 per cent, from 77 per cent in 2013-14.

TRAI wants telecom networks to 40 per cent carbon emissions cut by 2023
Telecom regulator TRAI recommended 40 per cent carbon emission reduction in telecom network by 2022-23 with base year being 2011-12.
The regulator has also suggested that the government should pass all the benefits granted under various schemes for using renewable energy technologies to telecom operators.
The target for reduction in carbon emission is set as 30 per cent by year 2019-20 taking base year as 2011-12 and 40 per cent by the year 2022-23. The targets should be reviewed in the year 2022-23.

October 25

GST: Govt collects ₹ 92,150 crore revenue in September
Revenue collection under the goods and services tax (GST) remained robust with ₹ 92,150 crore collected for the month of September. This is marginally higher than the mop-up in August which was estimated at ₹ 90,669 crore.
The total Central GST revenue is ₹ 14,042 crore in September while the mop up from State GST is ₹ 21,172 crore.
The government also collected ₹ 48,948 crore from Integrated GST last month of which the tax from imports is ₹ 23,951 crore. Receipts from compensation cess in September amounted to ₹ 7,988 crore of which ₹ 722 crore is from imports.

TCS, National University ink pact to train nearly 5,000 in Philippines
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has signed a pact with the National University in the Philippines to launch a comprehensive, long-term plan to enhance the skills-readiness of varsity graduates for the job market.
Through new digital courses, updated curriculum, faculty training, workshops and internships, nearly 5,000 students enrolled at National University will now have access to new skills and training relevant to the IT and ITeS (IT Enabled Services) industry.
The new alliance is part of the TCS Academic Interface Programme (AIP) to foster collaboration, learning and training in institutes of higher education.

China to get first Tesla factory outside US
China made an exception to its local manufacturing norms, a sufficient-enough incentive to spur Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. to decide on building its first automobile factory outside of the US in Shanghai.
The electric carmaker had reached an agreement to set up its own manufacturing facility in Shanghai. The deal with Shanghai’s government will allow the Silicon Valley-based automaker to build a wholly owned factory in the city’s free-trade zone.
This deal will allow Tesla to avoid 25% duty China imposes on imported cars and have a larger customer base than India.

Cisco to acquires US software company BroadSoft for $1.9 billion
Networking giant Cisco Systems has reached a deal to acquire US software company BroadSoft for $1.9 billion paying $55 per share in cash.
Shares of BroadSoft rose 1.41 per cent to $54.675 in early trading after the announcement, while Cisco's stock gained 0.96 per cent to trade at $34.575 per share.
The acquisition was expected to close during the first quarter of 2018. Upon completion of the transaction, BroadSoft employees will join Cisco's Unified Communications Technology Group.

October 26

India grants USD 585,000 aid to Sri Lanka university
India provided equipment and vehicles worth USD 585,000 to a university in Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated Jaffna city as part of its development partnership with the country in the field of higher education.
The assistance package was given to develop agriculture as well as engineering faculty on the Killinochchi campus of University of Jaffna.
The material worth USD 585,000 (SLR 90 million) is part of the USD 3.9 million (SLR 600 million) development project to develop the agriculture and engineering departments of the university.
The project will benefit students pursuing professional courses in Agriculture and Engineering by providing them better facilities and improved learning environment.

India slaps anti-dumping duty on some stainless steel imports from China, EU, US
In a bid to protect local steel manufacturers from cheap imports, the Indian government has imposed anti-dumping duty on certain stainless steel products from China, the United States, South Korea and European Union.
The duty will be in effect until December 10, 2020 while exempting certain grades of stainless steel from the levy.
The decision to impose anti-dumping duty has been taken by the revenue department following recommendation by the Directorate General of Anti- Dumping and Allied Duties.

Govt retains GPF interest rate at 7.8% for Oct-Dec
The government has retained the rate of interest for General Provident Fund (GPF) and other related schemes at 7.8 per cent for the October-December quarter.
The rate is in line with that for Public Provident Fund. In July-September quarter too, the interest rate was 7.8 per cent.
The Government of India has announced that during the Financial Year 2017-18, accumulations at the credit of subscribers to the General Provident Fund (GPF) and other similar funds shall carry interest at the rate of 7.8 per cent with effect from October 1 to December 31, 2017.

GMR Hyderabad Airport, Malaysia Tourism, MAHB sign pact to promote tourism
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board have come together to promote the growth of tourism traffic.
A memorandum of agreement was inked to promote tourism from the catchment area of Hyderabad to Malaysia and also explore new locations for connectivity..
Over 100,000 passengers travel between Hyderabad and Malaysia every year and the traffic has grown by 28% CAGR in the last five years.
This is a strategic initiative, which taken up to enhance outbound tourism from our catchment region to key international destinations to enhance RGIA’s International connectivity and traffic growth.
Petroleum ministry launches Rs 320 crore startup fund for entrepreneurs
In a novel initiative by the petroleum ministry, 10 oil and gas companies under it launched a startup programme for entrepreneurs with a fund corpus of Rs 320 crore to be disbursed over a 3-year period to support innovations in the energy sector.
The scheme was launched with memoranda of understanding (MoU) being signed by 36 startups for partnering with various state-run firms like Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and GAIL India, which is India’s largest gas transmission utility.

October 27

Asia-Pacific-Japan's first SAP Leonardo centre launched in Bengaluru
Enterprise solutions provider SAP announced the launch of SAP Leonardo Centre, a first in the Asia-Pacific-Japan region -- to enable customers and partners to accelerate their digital innovation journey.
The new state-of-the-art facility, the fourth in the world, will showcase key elements of digital transformation like IoT, Blockchain, Analytics, Machine Learning, Big Data, Data Intelligence and SAP Cloud Platform.
To accelerating the digital transformation of customers using Design Thinking methodology and unleashing the potential of SAP Leonardo, our digital innovation portfolio.
It will also enable businesses to experience innovation through customized visits, design-thinking and co-innovation workshops and sessions.

India has 3rd highest number of family-owned businesses
India has 108 publicly-listed family-owned businesses, third highest in the world, while China tops the tally with 167 such companies followed by the US which has 121, says a Credit Suisse report.
As per the Credit Suisse Research Institutes (CSRI) latest "CS Family 1000" report, with an average market capitalisation of USD 6.5 billion, India ranks 5th in Asia Pacific excluding Japan, and 22nd globally, in terms of average m-cap.
Besides China, the US and India, the top 10 countries in terms of number of family-owned companies include France (4th place), Hong Kong (5th), Korea (6th), Malaysia (7th), Thailand (8th), Indonesia (9th), Mexico (10th).

October 28

Karnataka government signs MoU with Microsoft for technology oriented
The Karnataka Government announced signing of a MoU with Microsoft Corporation India Private Limited with an intention to empower small holder farmers with technology-oriented solutions that will help them increase income.
The solutions would use "ground-breaking", cloud based technologies, machine learning and advanced analytics. The Memorandum o Understanding will experiment with Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission and Department of Agriculture to help improve price forecasting practices to benefit farmers.
Microsoft, with guidance from KAPC, is attempting to develop a multi-variant agricultural commodity price forecasting model considering the following datasets - historical sowing area, production, yield, weather datasets and other related datasets, as relevant.

RIL becomes first Indian company to cross Rs6 trillion market cap
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) became the first Indian company to cross Rs 6 trillion market capitalisation after its shares surged over 75% so far this year and hit a fresh lifetime high.
The stock closed 0.78% up at Rs 947.25 on BSE. It rose as much as 1.94% to hit an all-time high of Rs958.20. Currently; its market cap is at Rs 6.02 trillion.
The recent rally in the stock was due to tariff hike by its telecom arm Reliance Jio which, analysts expect, will improve the company’s profitability.

Star Health launches insurance plans for cancer patients
Star Health and Allied Insurance (SHAI) has introduced an industry-first health insurance cover for people already diagnosed with cancer.
The new health insurance scheme, Star Cancer Care Gold, comes in two sum-insured options ₹3 lakh and ₹5 lakh. Persons in the age group five months to 65 years, who have already been diagnosed with cancer (stage 1 and 2), can take this insurance.
This is the first-ever insurance cover for cancer-affected people. At present, health cover is not available for people who are diagnosed with cancer. The unique feature of our policy is that it can be bought without a prior medical check-up.
Customers can submit previous medical records, including details of latest treatment. Star Cancer Care Gold (SCCG) covers the risk of recurrence, the spread of cancer (metastasis) and second cancer (second malignancy).

SEBI revises block deal norms; min order size hiked to Rs. 10 crore.
Markets regulator SEBI revised the framework for block deals by providing two separate trading windows of 15 minutes each and increasing the minimum order size to Rs 10 crore.
The move is aimed at ensuring confidentiality of the large trades and stable prices for such transactions.
The block deal window is provided for buyers and sellers to execute trades for a large number of shares. Such deals are usually negotiated before their execution.
Under the new rules, SEBI would provide two block deal windows -- morning and afternoon -- of 15 minutes duration each.

October 29

Government makes use of Public Finance Management System mandatory for 613 central schemes
The Centre has made the use of Public Finance Management System (PFMS) mandatory for all central schemes. That making use of the PFMS mandatorily will go a long way in ensuring that benefits of government schemes reach the last mile.
Launching the mandatory use of the tracking and monitoring system, FM Jaitley expressed hope that that PFMS would progress towards a Government-wide Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) - as a comprehensive payment, receipt and accounting system.
The move would help in tracking and monitoring the flow of funds to the implementing agencies, it would help the government ascertain the actual status of utilization of funds by the multiple implementing agencies of the central and the state governments.

L&T Launches First OPV ICG Vikram Made For Indian Coast Guard
An offshore patrol vessel (OPV), entirely developed in-house by Larsen and Toubro and the country's first-ever such defence craft to be built in a private shipyard, was handed over to the Coast Guard.
The vessel named "Vikram", built at Larsen and Toubro's Kattupalli shipyard, about 45 km from here, was handed over to the Coast Guard ahead of the March 2018 delivery schedule.
This is the first of the seven vessels for which the Rs 1,432-crore contract had been awarded by the Ministry of Defence in March 2015. As per the contract, the first vessel was slated to be delivered in March next year.
The vessel, equipped with modern weapon and state-of- the-art radar systems, would be deployed for day and night surveillance patrol, search and rescue and in pollution response operations in exclusive economic zones of the country.

October 30

India sends first wheat shipment to Afghanistan via Chabahar port
India sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port in Iran, seen as a “landmark” move to operationalise the new strategic transit route, bypassing Pakistan.
The shipment was flagged off from the Kandla port in Gujarat with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani joining the ceremony through video conferencing.
The shipment of wheat is a landmark moment as it will pave the way for operationalisation of the Chabahar port as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan.

Dassault to invest $116 mn in venture with Reliance Aerospace
French major Dassault Aviation will invest over 100 million euros in a joint venture with Reliance Aerospace to manufacture aircraft components as part of the 'offset obligation' connected to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The Dassault-Reliance joint venture represents the largest ever foreign direct investment in the defence sector in India.
The foundation laying ceremony of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) manufacturing facility was held at the Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park in Mihan SEZ near the Nagpur airport.

October 31

Thomas Cook India acquires Tata Capital's travel firm
Thomas Cook India has completed the acquisition of Tata Capital's wholly owned subsidiary TC Travel and Services Ltd.
The company has completed the 100 per cent stake acquisition of TC Travel and Services Ltd from Tata Capital Ltd.
Thomas Cook India board had approved signing of an agreement with Tata group firm Tata Capital to acquire the latter's wholly owned subsidiaries, Tata Capital Forex and TC Travel and Services.

Government launches online portal - MSME SAMADHAAN to resolve problem of delayed payments
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Giriraj Singh recently launched the MSME Delayed Payment Portal MSME SAMADHAAN which will enable MSMEs to register cases related to the delayed payments by Central Ministries, Departments, CPSEs and State Governments.
The portal is expected to facilitate the monitoring of the delayed payment in a more effective manner. The information on the portal will be available in public domain, thus exerting moral pressure on the defaulting organizations.
In an attempt to tackle this concern, the government has come up with the samadhaan portal to empower the MSMEs which will ensure the payment within 45 days of filing the complaint.

Fiscal deficit rises to 91.3% of full-year target in April-September
The Centre’s financial situation improved marginally, but remained precarious in the first six months of the fiscal as its spending outpaced its receipts by a wide margin.
The Centre’s fiscal deficit rose to ₹4,98,938 crore or 91.3 per cent of the Budget target between April and September 2017.
This is a marginal improvement from the August data when fiscal deficit touched 96.1 per cent of the full-year target, but it remains high compared to April-September 2016 when it was at 83.9 per cent of the Budget Estimate.
The revenue deficit was also contained, but remained in higher than the Budget target at 118 per cent or ₹3,79,591 crore between April and September this fiscal.