ECONOMY - 2018 OCTOBER

October 1

RBI to inject Rs 36,000 crore into system
The Reserve Bank announced that it will inject Rs 36,000 crore liquidity into the system through purchase of government bonds in October to meet the festival season demand for funds.
The auctions to purchase government bonds as part of the Open Market Operations (OMO) to manage liquidity in the system will be conducted.
Based on an assessment of the durable liquidity needs going forward and the seasonal growth in currency in circulation observed in build-up to the festive season, RBI has decided to conduct purchase of Government securities under OMOs for an aggregate amount of Rs 360 billion in the month of October.
The auction dates and the Government securities to be purchased in respective auctions would be communicated in due course.

IFC invests $100 million in Piramal-Bain joint venture
International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investing arm of the World Bank, has invested $100 million in India Resurgence Fund - a joint venture between Piramal Enterprises Limited and Bain Capital. The total fund size is $300 million to be invested capital in the form of debt and equity in distressed assets and special situations in India.
Piramal and Bain have invested in $100 million each to invest in businesses that require balance sheet restructuring with a focus on debt restructuring in organizations with strong growth prospects linked to infrastructure and consumption needs.
The fund is looking to buy assets in cement, steel and power. It is also looking to invest in hospitals, pharma, chemicals, paper, hotels and auto components.

NSE launches 2 dynamic asset allocation indices
NSE Indices, an NSE group company, has launched two dynamic asset allocation indices - Nifty50 & Short Duration Debt – Dynamic P/E index and Nifty & Short Duration Debt – Dynamic P/B index.
The asset allocation between debt and equity in the indices is dynamically managed based on a model that compares the current Price-Earnings ratio (P/E) or Price-Book ratio (P/B) with historical Price-Earnings ratio (P/E) or Price-Book ratio (P/B) of Nifty in the last seven years.

BSE launches commodity derivatives contract in gold, silver
The Bombay Stock Exchange became the first stock exchange in the country to launch commodity derivatives contract in gold and silver. Till date, commodity derivatives contract are available only on MCX and NCDEX, the two specialised commodity derivatives exchanges in the country.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and India sign $150 Million Loan to Improve Regional Connectivity.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of lndia signed $150 Million Loan to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of lndia. The signatories to the Tranche 2 Loan Agreement for the $500 million South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity lnvestment Program were Shri Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of lndia; and Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's lndia Resident Mission, who signed for ADB. Approved in 2014, the Program aims to expand about 500 kilometers of roads in lndia's North Bengal and North-Eastern Region that will enable efficient and safe transport within lndia and regionally with other SASEC member countries.
The Project Agreement for the State of Manipur was signed by Mr. Sheikh Abdul Hakim, Under Secretary (Works) and for the National Highways and lnfrastructure Development Corporation Limited was signed by Mr. W. Blah, Executive Director (Works).

Bajaj Finance hikes fixed deposit rate of interest across customer categories
Bajaj Finance Ltd., the lending and investment arm of Bajaj Finserv, has increased its Fixed Deposit (FD) rate of interest.
The company has increased FD rates for senior citizens to up to 8.85%, existing loan & FD customers to up to 8.75% and new customers to up to 8.50%. These new rates are offered on an annual basis, applicable under the cumulative and non-cumulative payout schemes on a 36-60 months tenor.
For the same schemes and tenure, the new Fixed Deposit customers would get 8.50% instead of 8.40% earlier. The existing loan and FD customers are offered a rate of 8.75% which previously was 8.65%. The rate of interest has thus recorded a rise of 0.10% on a tenor of 36-60 months across all customer categories.

October 2

BSE introduces commodity segment
BSE became the first equity exchange to unveil its commodity segment with contracts in popular commodities like gold and silver.
BSE, which is trying to create a niche in a segment dominated by Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), started offering delivery-based futures contract in gold (1kg) and silver (30kg) and saw almost 300 trades being executed till 7.30 p.m.
The BSE commodity segment is open for trading until 11.30 p.m.

October 3

Infosys Finacle launches digital engagement solution for banks
Infosys Finacle, a part of Infosys’ product subsidiary EdgeVerve Systems, has introduced Digital Engagement Suite for banks. The omni-channel solution helps banks onboard, sell service and engage customers with tailored experiences.
The suite, which accelerates the speed of internal and external innovation with a broad suite of open APIs and a ecosystem of partner innovations powered by Finacle App Center, offers a broad range of traditional, modern and emerging channel experiences covering all user personas such as end customers, internal users, partners, and API led interactions with trusted parties.
It also offers comprehensive capabilities to engage retail, wealth, small business and corporate customer segments with impactful digital propositions.
The digital suite for banks is on cloud-first architecture, offering high scalability.

$100 Million Loan was signed by Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to expand Sewerage and Drainage Coverage in Kolkata
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $100 Million Loan Agreement in New Delhi to continue to expand sewerage and drainage coverage, provide sewage treatment and strengthen capacity of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) for resilient urban services.
The Third and Final Tranche Loan under the $400 Million Multi Tranche facility, Kolkata Environmental Improvement Investment Program, will target expansion of sewerage and drainage services in selected peripheral areas of KMC to at least 3,000 additional households and provide sewage treatment for at least 100,000 households.

Airtel acquires technology of AuthMe ID Services
In a bid to fortify its new-age portfolio, Bharti Airtel has acquired technology of artificial intelligence (AI) service provider AuthMe ID Services and its employees will join the company.
The telecom company neither disclosed the scale of the deal nor the size of the team acquired.
Airtel has set up Airtel X Labs to drive innovation in the areas of AI, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and is building a world-class team for the facility.
The latest move will augment Airtel's initiatives to serve customers with new digital products.

Cabinet hikes Rabi crops MSP by up to 21% to hand farmers Rs 62,635 crore more income
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved higher minimum support prices (MSP) for six winter-sown or Rabi crops.
The decision will help farmers earn an additional income of Rs 62,635 crore.
The decision comes a day after a huge protest by farmers in Delhi-NCR to seek high support prices and loan waiver.
Few months back, the government had announced higher MSP for Kharif (summer) crops, to fulfil its promise of giving farmers 50 per cent more price than their cost of production. These measures are aimed at addressing farmer’s discontent ahead of upcoming assembly polls in key farm states and general elections.
The CCEA approved a Rs 105 per quintal hike in wheat MSP to Rs 1,840 for Rabi season of 2018-19 crop year (July - June).
The MSP of barley has been increased by Rs 30 per quintal to Rs 1,440 per quintal, while that of gram (Chana) by Rs 220 per quintal to Rs 4,620 per quintal.

October 4

PayPal launches merchant App for business in India
PayPal, a global technology platform and digital payments leader, announced the launch of its first merchant-focused App in India, PayPal for Business.
This App - which is available for download on Android and iOS-will help small/ medium merchants and freelancers conduct their domestic and cross border business on the go backed by PayPal’s robust risk and security platform.
PayPal has 17 million merchant accounts globally.

October 5

India, ADB sign $110 million loan agreement to upgrade rural roads in MP
India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $110 million loan agreement to upgrade all-weather rural roads in Madhya Pradesh under the Prime Minister's Rural Roads Programme (PMGSY).
The $110 million is the second tranche of the $500 million Second Rural Connectivity Investment Programme for India approved by the multilateral lending agency.
The agreement was signed by Ministry of Finance Additional Secretary Sameer Kumar Khare for the Indian government and ADB's India Resident Mission Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama for the bank.
The Tranche 2 of the project will provide continued assistance to the PMGSY by upgrading rural roads in Madhya Pradesh that will support the government's long term goal to achieve inclusive economic growth in rural India.

CRISIL Upgrades AU Bank's Long Term Debt Instruments Rating to AA- With Stable Outlook
AU Small Finance Bank, one the fastest growing new age banks, received another upgrade for its long-term debt instruments from CRISIL. Its rating has moved up from CRISIL A+ to CRISIL AA- with stable outlook. The short term ratings on its deposits programme were reaffirmed at CRISIL A1+.
The rating upgrade is driven by the bank's demonstrated ability to build-up a significant deposit franchise; replace the legacy borrowings and its further strengthened capital position. The rating factors in the recent capital infusion by Temasek Holdings that has supported the bank's scale of operations. The agency has also highlights that the bank has sustained above average asset quality over the past few years.

Reliance Health Insurance gets final Irdai approval to start operations
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Health Insurance, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital, has received final approval from the insurance regulator to start operations.
The company plans to commence operations by the December quarter of 2018.
Reliance Health Insurance has received R3 approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for its new health insurance business.

October 7

Flipkart forays into insurance space, teams up with Bajaj Allianz
E-commerce major Flipkart is foraying into the insurance segment after securing a corporate agent license.
To begin with, Flipkart has partnered Bajaj Allianz General Insurance to offer customised insurance solutions to power its mobile phone protection programme for all leading mobile phone brands that are sold on its platform.
It added that under the programme, it will offer both cash payout option or free pick up, service and drop convenience to customers.
The insurance offering will be available from October 10, the start of Flipkart's The Big Billion Days (TBBD).

October 8

WhatsApp, Jio campaign for responsible app use on JioPhones
Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Reliance Jio started a campaign to train people about using the mobile messaging platform responsibly on their JioPhones.
WhatsApp and Jiowould visit 10 cities in different states including Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan for street plays and engage users to guide them on meaningful and positive ways of WhatsApp use.

Indian Railways enters into Memorandum of Cooperation & Memorandum of Understanding with Government of Russian Federation
The Memorandum of cooperation includes:
Implementation of speed up gradation project of Nagpur-Secunderabad section;
Setting up of single traffic control centre for managing mixed traffic at local level;
Best practices in freight cargo operation;
Development of multi modal terminals; and
Exchange of best technologies being practiced by the two countries.
Training and advanced qualification improvement of Indian railway employees with the involvement of Russian railway-related higher education establishments.
International Finance Corporation, a World Bank group member, Wednesday extended a seven-year long-term loan of Rs 1,000 crore to Aditya Birla Finance (ABFL).
The government plans to increase the country's renewable energy capacity to 175 GW, comprising solar, wind, biomass, and small hydro, by 2022.
With this funding, IFC would help ABFL develop its renewable energy program by providing longer-tenor financing, knowledge sharing, and setting of standards.

October 9

India’s growth Projection is 7.3 per cent in the 2018 - 2019 fiscal and 7.5 per cent in 2019 & 2020: WB
World Bank in its South Asia Economic Focus ‘Budget Crunch’ report released the projection of GDPs of various countries.
It stated that India’s GDP growth is expected to touch 7.3% in 2018-19.Also, India’s GDP projection for 2019 & 2020 has been projected to 7.5%.
Growth reached 6.7 per cent in fiscal year 2017 - 2018. The main reasons for the growth are: GST, Recapitalisation of Banks, Stronger private spending and Export growth.
On the production side, growth was led by Agriculture and manufacturing sector (8.8% in second half vs 2.7% in first half) and services growth held steady at 7.7 per cent.
The nominal exchange rate depreciated by about 12 per cent from January to September 2018 due to major outflows from April 2018 onwards.
A widening trade deficit is likely to lead to a current account deficit of around 2.6 per cent of the GDP in fiscal year 2018/19.

October 10

IMF projects India’s growth rate at 7.3% in 2018, 7.4% in 2019
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasted a growth rate of 7.3 per cent for India in the current year of 2018 and that of 7.4 per cent in 2019. In 2017, India had clocked a 6.7 per cent growth rate.
India’s growth is expected to increase to 7.3 per cent in 2018 and to 7.4 per cent in 2019 (slightly lower than in the April 2018 World Economic Outlook [WEO] for 2019, given the recent increase in oil prices and the tightening of global financial conditions), up from 6.7 per cent in 2017.
This acceleration,reflected a rebound from transitory shocks (the currency exchange initiative and implementation of the national Goods and Services Tax), with strengthening investment and robust private consumption.

October 11

CIL signs pact with NLC India
Coal India Ltd (CIL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NLC India Ltd to set up a joint venture for generating 3,000 MW of solar power and 2,000 MW of thermal power.
According to a filing with the stock exchanges, the MoU was signed in Kolkata.
Coal India Ltd (CIL) and NLCIL have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the formation of a joint venture for solar power generation of 3,000 MW and thermal power projects of 2,000 MW capacity.

IIT-Madras to engage with TN e-Governance Agency
IIT-Madras will collaborate with Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA) to enhance data-driven governance. Through this engagement, the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC DSAI ) at IIT-Madras has agreed to support the State government on various data science and ICT - related challenges.
This will be carried out by working closely with various official branches and entities within the State government. The collaboration is expected to contribute towards various aspects of governance, including (but not limited to) education, healthcare, and agriculture.
TNeGA is the State nodal agency under the IT department to support and drive all e-governance initiatives of the State government while RBC DSAI is an inter-disciplinary centre for research in AI.

October 12

India’s debt lower than best, emerging market economies: IMF
IMF clarified that India’s debt is lower than the global average as percentage of world GDP.
According to IMF, the global debt has reached a new record high of USD 182 trillion in 2017.
In India, private debt in 2017 was 54.5 per cent of the GDP and the general government debt was 70.4 per cent of the GDP totaling upto 125% of the GDP.
Since the end of 2015, 2016 and 2017 , the private debt in India has declined from almost 60 per cent to 54.5 percent which makes India steady.
However, China has a high debt percentage of 247 per cent of the GDP.

NSE signs pact with Uttarakhand govt to fuel MSMEs growth in state
Leading stock exchange NSE has signed a pact with the Uttarakhand government to provide access to capital to MSMEs, which will fuel growth of such entities in the state.
The bourse will play an active role in nurturing the SMEs and start-ups by increasing awareness along with the government on the opportunities to raise capital, SME exchange guidelines, listing processes, compliances with listing agreement among others.

Atal Innovation Mission: IBM India, NITI Aayog co-design programme to skill students in new-age technology
Tech giant IBM has partnered with NITI Aayog to offer internship programme to top performing students selected by the Atal Innovation Mission.
Over 40 high school students will go through a two-week paid internship at the IBM Bengaluru campus where they will be equipped with the skills in areas like artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things, cybersecurity, cloud computing and blockchain.
Students will also be coached in critical workplace skills. Select teachers will also be trained by IBM volunteers and mentors to become innovation coaches.

October 13

India suffered $79.5 billion economic loss due to climate-related disasters in last 20 years: UN Report
Right before International Day for Disaster Reduction, observed on October 13, United Nations compiled a report titled 'Economic Losses, Poverty and Disasters 1998-2017'. The report reveals the top ten countries who have suffered maximum monetary losses.
In 1998-2017 disaster-hit countries also reported direct economic losses valued at US $2,908 billion, of which climate-related disasters caused US $2,245 billion or 77 per cent of the total.
India has suffered economic losses of $79.5 billion due to natural disasters during the last two decades, according to the United Nations (UN).

October 14

Sebi allows foreign entities in commodity derivatives segment, with a rider
Nearly five months after issuing a consultation paper on the subject, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) was allowing eligible foreign entities (EFEs) to trade in commodity futures.
However, there is a minimum net worth requirement for such EFEs, at $500,000. Such an EFE may approach an authorised stock broker with a minimum net worth of Rs 250 million for registration. The regulator has authorised the exchanges to frame any other criteria, too, for entry of EFEs into commodity derivatives.
It has also directed exchanges and authorised stock brokers to monitor the hedge position of any such EFE. And, the broker are not allowed to hedge their positions in 'sensitive' commodities, sugar being one of them.
Sebi defined EFEs as those resident outside India and having actual exposure to Indian physical commodity markets.

Long term capital gains tax sop for IPOs
Initial public offerings, bonus, rights issues and ESoPs will be eligible for concessional rate of 10% long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax even if the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) has not been paid earlier.
In the recent Budget, the government had after a gap of 14 years reintroduced concessional 10% on LTCG tax exceeding ₹1 lakh from sale of shares, subject to payment of STT at the time of acquiring the equities.
The Finance Ministry also decided to exempt certain transactions from payment of STT for availing the concessional 10% LTCG rate.
The Ministry has notified a list of carve outs which will be exempt from the requirement of paying STT. These include IPO, follow-on public offer (FPO), bonus or rights issue by a listed company, acquisition approved by Court/ NCLT/ SEBI/ RBI and acquisition pursuant to exercise of ESOPs.
Anil Kumble's startup launches Microsoft AI-enabled 'Power Bat'
Former India captain Anil Kumble's technology start-up Spektacom Technologies on launched the "Power Bat" - a unique tool powered by Microsoft's Azure Cloud platform and its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) services.
The Power Bat can provide real-time data on a player's performance based on different parameters such as speed of the ball on impact, twist on impact and quality of the shot.
Spektacom and Microsoft roped in Star India as the broadcasting partner to provide fans and viewers with a new way to engage with the sport.

October 15

WPI inflation rises to 5.13% in September
Inflation-based wholesale prices rose to a two-month high of 5.13% in September, mainly due to the hardening of food prices and the rise in the cost of petrol and diesel.
The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation stood at 4.53% in August and 3.14% in September last year.
According to the government data released recently, food articles witnessed hardening of prices with deflation at 0.21% September as against 4.04% in August. Data showed retail inflation rose to 3.77% in September from 3.69% in the previous month.

OYO partners with payments platform PhonePe
OYO announced its partnership with payments platform PhonePe.
OYO tie up will make it easier for OYO users to book a room through the PhonePe app. As a part of this tie-up, users will be able to book over 125,000 exclusive rooms, currently part of OYO’s chain of hotels across India through the PhonePe app.
The partnership will enable OYO to access over 100 million PhonePe users.

October 16

Govt hikes GPF interest rate to 8% for October-December quarter
The government has increased the rate of interest for General Provident Fund (GPF) and other related schemes by 0.4 percentage points to 8 per cent for the October - December quarter.
The rate is in line with that for Public Provident Fund.
The interest rate on GPF was 7.6 per cent for the July - September quarter of 2018-19.

Norwest Venture buys into Veritas
Marking its third deal in the nonbanking finance company space, multi-stage investment firm Norwest Venture Partners has invested $30 million (Rs 200 crore) in Chennai-based Veritas Finance to acquire about 15% stake.
Veritas is already backed by CDC Group Plc, the UK government’s development finance institution, which had invested $10 million (Rs 65 crore) in 2017. Other investors include Lok Capital and Caspian Impact Investment Adviser.
PS Pai, former executive chairman of the Murugappa Group, also owns a minority stake in the company.
Founded in 2015 by D. Arulmany, Veritas Finance lends to micro, small and medium enterprises in India. It has a loan book of Rs 496 crore, through 125 branches.
It provides shortterm loans for working capital, medium-term loans for business expansion and long-term loans for asset creation.
The company has over 17,000 customers on board and aims to grow its loan book to Rs 1,000 crore by FY19. Veritas operates in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, West Bengal and Odisha. Norwest will invest primary capital in it to meet its expansions.

October 17

MoU Signed Between ICFRE & Navoday Vidyalaya Samiti and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to Promote Environmental Awareness Among Students
Two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed, by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun, with Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).
ICFRE is an autonomous Council under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The MoUs have been signed to launch the programme “PRAKRITI” with the objective to promote awareness about forests and environment, to stimulate interest among the students of NVS and KVS in maintaining a balanced environment and for acquiring skills that reflect care and protection towards forests, environment and society.
Another objective is to provide a platform to school children to learn practical skills towards judicious use of our resources and to mobilize a cadre of youth for raising a peoples’ movement committed to conservation of forest and environment.

RailRestro Launches its Very own Food Delivery Fleet Brand – Railivery
RailRestro in partnership with Yescom Global Kart Pvt Ltd is going to launch their very own food delivery fleet brand named Railivery.
Railivery is a brand of Patna-based parent firm, Yescom Global Kart Pvt Ltd.
This will ensure proper food deliveries to people who order food online in trains via e-catering service modes.
Initially, it would launch on a pilot run for 20 cities and has been running in 4 locations namely Mughalsarai, H. Nizamuddin, Raipur and Patna.
Further, investment up to INR 20 million has been planned to be made in it to help deliver meals across 50 stations by March 2019.

October 18

Reliance announces strategic investment with Hathway Cable, Den Networks
Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced its strategic investment in and partnership with Den Networks Limited and Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited.
The RIL announced a primary investment of Rs. 2,045 crore through a preferential issue under Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations and secondary purchase of Rs. 245 crore from the existing promoters for a 66% stake in Den Networks Limited ("DEN"), and Primary investment of Rs. 2,940 crore through a preferential issue under SEBI regulations for a 51.3% stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited ("Hathway").

TCS Displaces Accenture As Largest IT Firm Servicing Banks
TCS has displaced Accenture as the world's largest pure-play IT firm servicing banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector.
TCS got $2.07 billion in business from the sector in the July-September period as compared to Accenture’s $2.01 billion in the June-August period.
TCS ended September quarter with $5.21 billion in revenue while Accenture ended with $10.1 billion in August quarter.

BSNL, Nokia team up for industrial automation solutions
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nokia Solutions and Networks India Pvt Ltd to leverage Industry 4.0 for manufacturing excellence at Nokia’s factory in Oragadam, about 60 km south-west of Chennai.
The project also marks India’s first ‘real world’ application of Industry 4.0 implemented at the Nokia Conscious Factory. Industry 4.0 relies on low-latency, high reliability networks and capabilities in robotics and AI to drive new levels of automation and data exchange in manufacturing industries. This results in improved operational efficiency and reduces costs.
In Industry 4.0, machines become smart, share data and includes Internet of Things, cloud computing and others.

NIIF invests Rs 660 crore in HDFC Capital realty platform
NIIF’s Fund of Funds has invested Rs 660 crore in HDFC’s real estate investment platform HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate – 2 (H-CARE 2).
The investment is done along with a wholly-owned subsidiary of one of NIIF’s shareholders - the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). This is the second investment from National Investment and Infrastructure Fund since its inception.
This investment demonstrates the role that NIIF’s Fund of Funds can play in the infrastructure and associated sectors in India by anchoring and investing with fund managers with a strong track record.

October 19

Bajaj Finance increases its fixed deposit interest rates
Bajaj Finance increased its FD rates for "existing loan and FD customers to up to 9% percent and new customers to up to 8.75 per cent.
For senior citizens the FD rates have been hiked to up to 9.10%. This is a hike of 0.25 per cent and will be applicable for tenors between 36 months and 60 months across all customer categories.
These new rates are offered on an annual basis, applicable under the cumulative and non - cumulative payout schemes on 36 - 60 month tenors. The annual rate of interest is valid for deposits of up to Rs 5 crore and it will effective from October 17, 2018.

October 20

India’s 1st Cryptocurrency ATM Installed in Bengaluru
Virtual currency exchange Unocoin set up a first of its kind kiosk - Bitcoin ATM at Kemp Fort mall in Bengaluru.
This will be followed by 2 more kiosks in Mumbai and Delhi.
According to Unocoin, users can withdraw Indian rupee obtained on selling the cryptocurrencies on its platform.

Air India receives Rs 1,000 crore from NSSF
Air India has raised Rs 3,000 crore so far which includes Rs 1,000 crore to the airline from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) on behalf of the government.
Another Rs 500 crore will be raised by the airline through a loan from the unused sovereign guarantee.
It is a part of the Rs 4,200 crore debt of AI to oil companies.
Out of this, AI had sought Rs 2,121 crore equity infusion from the government of which the government had sought Parliament nod for infusing Rs 980 crore into the airline this financial year.

IRDAI panel to study feasibility of paying claims in instalments
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) formed a panel to examine claims in installments.This panel is headed by Suresh Mathur, ED (Health), IRDAI.
This will look in to the feasibility of the proposal of general and health insurance companies for payment of claims in installments as against lump sum payments.
This will be in respect of personal accident policies and benefit-based health policies.
This process will enable beneficiaries/claimants to receive payments in a series of pre-determined installments.

North Central Railways launches apps for its employees, passengers
The North Central Railways (NCR) launched two mobile apps, NCR RASTA (Railway assets Summerised Tracking Application)and Yatri RASTA (Railway Approach to Station Tracking Application) for its employees and passengers, respectively, for locating assets and stations.
The 'NCR RASTA' app is for the use of railway officers and staff and has exact mapping of all railway assets. It will enable railway staff to reach desired asset using Google Navigation in case of any emergency
Likewise, the 'Yatri RASTA' app will allow general public to locate the railway stations easily.

Kamal Hassan launches Roudram app for women safety
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan inaugurated a mobile app called Roudram created by a student named Sudha to empower women.
Roudram app aims at giving women assistance in times of emergency.

ESA spacecraft to Mercury in a first-of-its-kind mission
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) BepiColombo mission will send two orbiters to explore Mercury.
The orbiters are: Esa’s Mercury Planet Orbiter (MPO) and the Japanese space agency Jaxa’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).
MPO was built by Airbus in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and MMO was constructed in Japan.
The UK-built spacecraft will set off from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
It will take seven years to reach Mercury, arriving in 2025 to complete a 5.2 billion miles journey.

October 21

CBDT releases Direct Tax Statistics
Continuing the practice of placing key statistics relating to direct tax collections and administration in public domain, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has further released time-series data as updated up to FY 2017 - 18 and income-distribution data for AY 2016 - 17 and AY 2017 - 18.
The key highlights of these statistics are as under:
There is a constant growth in direct tax-GDP ratio over last three years and the ratio of 5.98% in FY 2017 - 18 is the best DT-GDP ratio in last 10 years.
There is a growth of more than 80% in the number of returns filed in the last four financial years from 3.79 crore in FY 2013 - 14 (base year) to 6.85 crore in FY 2017 - 18.
The number of persons filing return of income has also increased by about 65% during this period from 3.31 crore in FY 2013 - 14 to 5.44 crore in FY 2017 - 18.

October 22

Dumping duty imposed on select Chinese steel items
The Ministry of Finance has imposed anti-dumping duties ranging from $44.89 to $185.51 per tonne for five years on certain Chinese steel products.
The levies have been introduced to guard domestic players from cheap imports of straight length bars and rods of alloy steel.
The Department of Revenue has imposed these duties on the recommendations of the Directorate-General of Trade Remedies (DGTR).

October 23

TCS only Indian firm among top 10 to get foreign labour certification
Tata Consultancy Services or TCS is the only Indian company among top 10 firms to get foreign labour certification for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018, according to data from the US Department of Labour.
The H-1B visas are the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals. The visa programme allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in the US on a non-immigrant basis in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

October 24

India signs $777 million deal with Israel Aerospace for missile defence
State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won an additional $777 million contract to supply LRSAM air and missile defence systems to seven ships in the Indian navy.
The contract is with the Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), which is the main contractor in the project, IAI said.
The LRSAM, part of the Barak 8 family, is an air and missile defence system used by Israel's navy as well as India's navy, air and land forces.
Nasscom partners with Hiroshima for Japan-India IT corridor
Indian IT industry’s apex body Nasscom has entered into a partnership with the Hiroshima government for co-creating a Japan-India IT Corridor in Hiroshima.
The objective is Promoting business-to-business cooperation and talent transfer from India to Japan.The project will be formally initiated by early 2019.
Through this partnership, Japan would be able to have a cluster of IT and software industry.
India would be getting a gate way to the cutting-edge manufacturing technology of Japan.
Indian companies on the software side can help Japanese manufacturing companies adopt digital transformation and create innovative product and solutions lines.

October 25

India signs $5 billion - worth of pacts to give impetus to iron and steel industry
Thirty-eight pacts worth $5 billion were signed among 20 technology providers, capital goods manufacturers and steel producers, which will give impetus to the manufacturing of capital goods for iron and steel industry. Of the 20 companies who exchanged the MoUs, about 12 are foreign players.
The MoUs were signed at a conclave on Capital Goods for Steel Sector: Manufacture in India, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) jointly with Mecon and Steel Ministry.

Philips launches first start-up programme for AI in healthcare
Global health technology firm Philips selected 19 start-up companies for its first global start-up collaboration programme that is focused on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare.
The 12-week 'AI in Healthcare for Radiology, Ultrasound and Oncology' programme will give 19 AI start-up companies access to Philips' health technology expertise and its ecosystem of knowledge partners.
The programme focuses on the application of AI-based clinical decision support tools, such as image interpretation, analysis and integration and workflow tools, such as intelligent treatment plans for radiology, ultrasound and oncology.

October 26

Israel to supply missile defence systems to India for $777 million
India has awarded an additional USD 777 million deal to a leading Israeli defence firm for supplying Barak 8 LR-SAM Air and Missile Defence Systems to seven ships of the Indian Navy, the company announced.
The Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) system is an operational Air and Missile Defence (AMD) system used by Israel's navy as well as by India's navy, air and land forces.
According to With the latest deal, the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the sale of Barak 8 system - jointly developed by India and Israel a sign of strong bilateral partnership in defence, has crossed USD 6 billion over the past few years.
The system provides broad aerial and point defence against a wide range of threats to the marine arena from the air, sea or land.
India’s underinsurance gap still among the highest in the world: Lloyd’s report
India’s non-life insurance penetration has risen marginally to 0.9 per cent of the GDP on the back of government schemes, but the country continues to have one of the highest underinsurance levels globally, according to a new report by Lloyd’s.
India’s insurance penetration stood at 0.7 per cent of the GDP in 2012. India has one of the world’s biggest insurance gaps at 1 per cent of its GDP, or $ 27 billion, which represents an increase from $19.7 billion in 2012.
India’s insurance gap accounts for 17 per cent of the total global insurance gap.
Globally, India has the seventh-largest insurance gap, with the top spot held by Bangladesh. However, in absolute terms, China has the biggest insurance gap of $ 76.4 billion, followed by India and Indonesia ($ 14.6 billion).

India becomes second largest solar market; installs 4.9 GW in H1
India installed 4.9 GW of solar power, consolidating its position as the second largest solar market in the world, during the first half of calendar year 2018. The country was ranked second, following China during the January-June period.
India was the fifth-largest solar market in the world for total installations, the study, ‘India Solar Market Leaderboard 1H 2018’.
New leaders are emerging in the highly-competitive Indian solar market, while some of the more established companies maintained their leadership position in the first half of 2018.
The top 10 large-scale developers accounted for 55 per cent market share during the reporting period, with others making up the remaining 45 per cent of the market share.
There were about 300 utility-scale project developers in the country with projects of at least 5 MW or more in operation.

India to become world’s 3rd largest aviation market around 2024: International Air Transport Association (IATA)
India will become the world’s third largest aviation market around 2024 surpassing the UK, as it projected total air passenger numbers to touch 8.2 billion in 2037. Releasing the latest update to IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast, the grouping also cautioned that growth prospects for air transport and the economic benefits driven by aviation could be curtailed if protectionist measures are implemented by governments.
The present trends in air transport suggest passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037. The Asia-Pacific region is projected to drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years coming from these markets.

NSE gets SEBI nod to launch copper large futures contract
National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) has got regulatory approval to launch copper large futures contract with a trading unit of 25 tonne.
In the international commodity markets, the 25 tonne copper futures contract is one of the highest traded contracts and is considered as the global benchmark.
With the introduction of a similar large size futures contract, NSE aims to provide an onshore hedging platform to big Indian corporates, refiners and various users in the value chain.
The large size contract offering will be settled by way of physical delivery incorporating world class infrastructure and global best practices.

October 27

IFFCO biggest cooperative in the world: Word Cooperative Monitor report
Fertiliser major IFFCO has been ranked as the biggest cooperative in the world by ‘Word Cooperative Monitor’ report 2018.
The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse) publish the world cooperative monitor report.
The 7th edition of the report titled ‘World Cooperative Monitor 2018’ has named IFFCO as the number one co-operative in the world based on the ratio of turnover over gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
The rankings by turnover based on the ratio to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita relates the turnover of the co-operative to the purchasing power of the country in which it operates.
IFFCO has nearly 36,000 member co-operatives and a turnover of nearly USD 3 billion (FY 2017 - 18). It has retained this position from 2016.

October 28

ABB invests $150 million in robot factory in Shanghai
The move is designed to defend the company’s place as the country's largest maker of industrial robots.
The factory, to be located near ABB's external links China robotics campus, is due to be operating by the end of 2020. It is billed as a “cutting edge centre where robots make robots” and will produce products for China as well as for export elsewhere in Asia
China is ABB's number two market after the United States.
Shanghai has become a vital centre for advanced technology leadership for ABB and the world.

October 29

Microsoft overtakes Amazon as world’s second most valuable company
Software giant Microsoft has reclaimed its spot as the world's second most valuable company after overtaking e-commerce giant Amazon in market value.
Amazon lost $68 billion in market capitalisation on Friday after reporting a disappointing forecast for fourth quarter sales. Microsoft is currently worth $821 billion while Amazon's value fell to $801.3 billion.

October 30

America's IBM has acquired software company Red Hat in a $34 billion cash and debt deal
The open source, enterprise software maker will become a unit of IBM's Hybrid Cloud division, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst joining IBM's senior management team and reporting to CEO GinniRometty.

October 31

The Republic of Seychelles launched the world’s first Sovereign Blue Bond.
It is a financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects.
The bond raised USD 15 million from international investors. The bond demonstrates the potential for countries to harness capital markets for financing the sustainable use of marine resources. 
About Seychelles:
Capital:  Victoria Currency: Seychellois rupee.


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