ECONOMY - 2017 June

June 1

Orient Cement to acquire 2 units from Jaypee for Rs. 1,946 crore.
CK Birla Group firm Orient Cement Ltd will acquire debt ridden Jaypee Group's two firms for a total consideration of Rs. 1,946 crore in an all cash deal.
Orient Cement Ltd (OCL) has signed definitive agreements with Bhilai Jaypee Cement and Nigrie Cement Grinding Unit for the transactions that is expected to be completed before March 31, 2018.
As part of the agreement, OCL will acquire 74 per cent stake in Bhilai Jaypee Cement Ltd (BJCL) from Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL) and its nominee for Rs. 1,450 crore.
It will also acquire Nigrie Cement Grinding Unit as a going concern from Jaiprakash Power Ventures (JPVL) for Rs. 496 crore.

BEL plans Rs. 2,500 crore spend on defence R&D.
Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) plans to spend Rs. 2,500 crore on R&D to develop and enhance indigenous products and technologies for the military by 2020.
The state-owned defence electronics manufacturer plans to develop solutions in military communications, radars, electronic warfare suites, weapon systems and electro-optic devices.
With orders worth Rs. 40,000 crore in the pipeline, the company expects to touch a turnover of Rs. 10,000 crore this fiscal.
BEL plans to spend Rs. 700 crore during the year, mainly on new facilities in Ananthapur and Machilipatnam and the Product Development & Innovation Centre in Bengaluru.

India is no longer the fastest-growing economy.
India lost its fastest-growing major economy tag in the fourth quarter of 2016-17, with GDP growth coming in at 6.1 per cent compared with China's 6.9 per cent in the same period.
Data from the Ministry of Statistics showed GDP grew 7.1 per cent in the financial year 2016-17, slower than the 8 per cent registered in 2015-16.
The GDP numbers were based on the new 2011-12 base year recently adopted for data including the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
Gross value added (GVA) growth was 6.6 per cent for 2016-17 and 5.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, compared with 7.9 per cent in 2015-16 and 8.7 per cent in Q4 of that year.

CBDT extends due date for furnishing Statement of Financial Transaction to June 30.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the due date for furnishing Statement of Financial Transaction (SFT) to 30th June 2017.
It may be noted that Section 285BA of the Income-Tax Act, 1961 requires furnishing of a statement of financial transaction (SFT) for transactions prescribed under Rule 114E of the Income-Tax Rules, 1962.
The due date for filing such SFT in Form 61A in respect of specified financial transactions registered or recorded during the Financial Year 2016-17 is 31st May 2017.

June 2

Airtel-Telenor merger gets nod from SEBI, stock exchanges.
Bharti Airtel had received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), BSE and National Stock Exchange for the proposed scheme of merger between Airtel and Telenor (India) Communications Private Ltd.
Telenor India and the company filed the joint company application before the New Delhi Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal for approval of the proposed scheme of merger.
The merger is inter alia subject to other statutory approvals including from the Competition Commission of India.
Airtel will acquire Telenor India's running operations in seven circles - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam.

Niti Aayog sees economy growing 7.5 per cent in 2017-18.
India's economic growth is expected to pick up to 7.5 per cent in the fiscal year that ends in March 2018.
Asia's third-largest economy grew 7.1 per cent year-on-year in 2016-17, slower than 8 per cent growth a year ago, data this week showed.
Panagariya, vice-chairman of the government's main economic advisory body, told a news conference that economic growth would accelerate further to above 8 per cent by 2019.

Chola MS General Insurance raises Rs. 100 crore of Tier 2 Capital.
Cholamandalam MS General Insurance raised Rs. 100 crore through non-convertible debentures to fuel growth.
The coupon rate is 8.75 per cent per annum and a maturity period of 10 years with a call option after 5 years.
The funds raised through this issue would be used to fuel and facilitate business growth by further strengthening the Company's solvency.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had allowed alternative forms of capital. Chola MS is looking to grow its gross written premium by 40 per cent to Rs. 4,500 crore.

June 3

Samsung inks MoU with Ministry of MSME to open 2 more technical schools.
Samsung India signed an MoU with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to open two more technical training schools and to renew the partnership for 10 existing schools being run across the country.
As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the technology giant will open two new MSME-Samsung Technical Schools in Bengaluru and Jamshedpur.
Reinforcing its commitment to the government's "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" campaign, Samsung also announced the MSME-Samsung Technical School Scholarship programme for girls and differently-abled trainees. A Meritorious Reward Programme for toppers at these institutes has also been launched.
Under the MSME-Samsung Technical School Scholarship programme, 1,000 girls and differently-abled trainees, who have successfully completed the basic course, will be given a scholarship of up to Rs. 20,000.

Mumbai Metro One ties up with Google Maps.
Reliance Infrastructure promoted Mumbai Metro has partnered with Google to display its services in Google Maps application.
To bring convenience for the commuters, MMOPL has collaborated with Google Maps to publish authentic timetable information and associated geographic information of the Metro One stations in the app.
The trip timings of each service operated by it are available in the Google Maps app and commuters can get information of the train services which operate at a frequency of 4 minutes in peak hours and 8 minutes in non-peak.

KKR & Co raises $9.3 billion, the biggest ever mobilisation with investment focus in the Asia Pacific.
KKR & Co, the global private equity firm, has raised $9.3 billion under KKR Asian Fund III, the biggest ever mobilisation with investment focus in the Asia Pacific region.
After this round of funding, KKR will have $68 billion assets worldwide. In the previous two rounds, it had raised $10 billion in Asia. In the first ever fund in 2007 it had raised $4 billion that was followed by $6 billion mobilisation in 2013.
This flagship fund is a testament to KKR's ability to drive meaningful growth and value creation in our investee companies as a partner of choice to leading Asian businesses, families and management teams.

June 4

RCom-Aircel merged wireless company to be called Aircom.
Reliance Communications executive Punit Garg announced that the merged wireless company with Aircel will be called Aircom.
RCom can monetize 49 per cent tower co stake in future though sale or a listing process, while further debt reduction options will include sale of direct-to-home business.
The company can also look at strategic transaction in global or Indian enterprise business.
Reliance Communications has received time till December 2017 to close its transactions with Aircel and Brookfield and reduce debt from Rs. 45000 crore to Rs. 20000 crore, aiming at a reduction of 60 per cent or Rs. 25000 crore.

Gold costlier under GST; apparel, biscuits, footwear cheaper.
Apparel up to Rs. 1,000, biscuits and footwear will get cheaper, while gold will get slightly costlier from next month as the Centre and states, excepting West Bengal, resolve to roll out GST from July 1.
The GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state counterparts, decided to tax packaged and branded food items at 5 per cent, tendu leaves at 18 per cent and bidi at the highest rate of 28 per cent. Unlike cigarettes, there will be no cess on bidi.
While biscuits will be taxed at a flat rate of 18 per cent, footwear costing up to Rs. 500 will be levied a 5 per cent GST and for those above this would be taxed at 18 per cent.
In the textiles category, silk and jute fibre have been exempted, while cotton and natural fibre and all kinds of yarns will be levied a 5 per cent GST. Man-made fibre and yarn will, however, attract a 18 per cent tax rate.

June 5

World Bank projects 7.2 per cent growth rate for India in 2017.
The World Bank has projected a strong 7.2 per cent growth rate for India this year against 6.8 per cent growth in 2016.
Even as the World Bank has revised India's growth figures by 0.4 percentage points as compared to its January forecast, India remains the fastest growing major economy in the world.
The growth projection for China remains unchanged at 6.5 per cent for 2017 and then 6.3 per cent for the next two years 2018 and 2019. The World Bank in its latest Global Economic Prospects, projects India's growth to 7.5 per cent in 2018 and 7.7 per cent in 2019.
The forecast has been downgraded by 0.3 per cent and 0.1 percentage points as compared to the January 2017 forecast.

NSE to launch international exchange at GIFT city.
Leading bourse NSE will launch its international exchange in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).
NSE IFSC Ltd, the global exchange promoted by National Stock Exchange, will remain operational for a longer period than NSE during a trading day. All the trades will be cleared and settled through NSE IFSC Clearing Corporations Ltd.
Several products from the currency, commodity and equity segments are expected to get listed on the new exchange which may also introduce other innovative products in line with Sebi regulations.
NSEs rival BSE has already operationalised its global exchange India International Exchange (INX) at international financial services centre (IFSC).

June 6

Aadhar Housing, DHFL Vysya merger likely by August.
Aadhar Housing Finance is likely to complete its proposed merger with DHFL Vysya by August this year. The merged entity is proposed to be named Aadhar Housing Finance.
Part of the Mumbai-based Wadhawan Global Capital, both Aadhar - with operations in 13 States - and DHFL Vysya, present only in the five southern States, are into housing finance. Aadhar focuses on the LIG (low-income group), EWS (economically weaker sections) and mid-income segments.
Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) has stakes in both Aadhar Housing Finance (14.7 per cent) and DHFL Vysya (9.47 per cent).
Kapil Wadhawan is the Chairman of both Wadhawan Global Capital and DHFL. the merger process is awaiting clearances from creditors and the National Company Law Tribunal.

Coca-Cola, partners to invest $900 million in fruit ecosystem.
Beverages major Coca-Cola India its bottling arm-Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, along with its partners, which include independent franchise bottlers and fruit processing companies, would invest about $900 million on manufacturing lines, juice bottling infrastructure and fruit processing plants over the next five years.
This is part of its strategy to support the demand and the growing range of the company's non-carbonated drinks portfolio.
The company recently announced its plans to ramp up fruit procurement in the country under its initiative called the Fruit Circular Economy.
The Coca-Cola Company, its bottling partners and its fruit suppliers and processors in India, will contribute over $1.7 billion in the agri ecosystem of the country over the next five years, spanning the entire supply chain.

June 7

Ministries to decide on FDI proposals within 60 days: Finance Ministry.
The government posts the abolition of the FIPB, ministries will have to decide on FDI proposals within 60 days of the application and any rejection will need concurrence of the DIPP.
India had last month scrapped the 25-year old foreign investment advisory body FIPB as it looks to attract more FDI by providing quick approvals under a single-window clearance system.
The Finance Ministry subsequent to the abolition of FIPB, concerned administrative ministries have been allotted the work of granting approval for foreign investment in the specific sector.
The Standard Operating Procedure will involve the process of inter-ministerial consultation for the examination of FDI proposals, wherever necessary. All pending applications with the FIPB would be transferred to the administrative ministry and oversight of the FIPB portal shall be transferred to the DIPP.

Power Finance Corp to borrow Rs. 70,000 crore this fiscal.
State-run Power Finance Corp will raise Rs. 70,000 crore debt this financial year through a mix of financial instruments.
The company will raise fund through external commercial bonds, rupee denominated masala bonds and other instruments.

CAG will audit Goods and Services Tax Network: Jaitley.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it clear that Comptroller and Auditor General of India will audit the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN). GSTN is a company that provides technology backbone for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Reasoned that GSTN has to match various vouchers, literally in hundreds of crores every month and therefore it needs an extremely efficient IT network.
In the GSTN, the central and the state governments will together own 49 per cent of the equity and the rest would be with some very responsible bodies like LIC Housing, National Stock Exchange and HDFC Bank.

June 8

GMR Infra arm bags €850 mn Crete airport project in Greece.
GMR Infrastructure subsidiary GMR Airports Ltd., in partnership with Greek infrastructure firm Terna S.A., has bagged the project to develop, operate and manage the new international airport of Heraklion at Crete Island, Greece.
It will be the designated airport operator in the consortium for the greenfield project. The concession period will be 35 years, including Phase 1 construction of five years.
The scope of the project involves design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance and exploitation of the New Heraklion Crete International Airport.
The construction cost has been estimated to be about €850 million.

iVOOMi Plans to Invest Rs. 250 crore in India for R&D Centre and Product Development.
After launching its first series of Smartphones, a Chinese electronics OEM/ ODM major, iVOOMi announces its investment of Rs. 250 crore in order to further strengthen its niche in the Entry level Smartphones segment in the Indian market.
The investment will be planned in two phases. In its foremost phase, the company will be investing in futuristic technologies to bring advanced products at an affordable price & will also focus on setting up its manufacturing capacity in India.
The company also plans to invest in order to propel its online retail penetration across Tier – 2,3,4 towns in India through a series of strategic association with retail partners.
In its second phase of investment which will be in 2018-2019, the brand will focus on setting up R&D capacities, and will also expand the manufacturing capacity within India thereby supporting the Make in India initiative.

India will remain among top 3 investment destinations till '19'.
India will remain among the top three investment destinations globally till 2019, according to a survey by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2017 India ranked 10th in terms of FDI inflows in 2016, with $44 billion coming in, as in 2015.
Over the next two years, India will be behind only the U.S. and China in terms of investment attractiveness.
In terms of projections for the future, the United States of America, China and India are the top prospective destinations for FDI. Global foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to rise by 5 per cent , to almost $1.8 trillion in 2017.

India among top five consumer markets in Asia: BMI Research.
India is among the top five consumer markets in Asia offering retailers consumer spending growth of an average of 6.1 per cent over the next five years.
According to BMI Research, a Fitch group company, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India and Indonesia represent five favorite consumer markets in Asia, offering retailers the strongest consumer spending growth over its forecast period to 2021.
Consumer spending in India will maintain strong levels of growth through to 2021, as the country's positive economic outlook continues.
According to BMI Research adding real consumer spending growth is expected to see an average of 6.1 per cent over this five-year period, with 2017 coming in at 6.2 per cent.

SEBI gets nod for MoU with Iran, EU counterparts.
The Union Cabinet gave its nod for SEBI to enter into two separate memoranda of understanding (MoU) with securities market regulators of the European Union and Iran.
These MoUs are expected to strengthen cooperation between India and the respective countries on matters pertaining to securities market.
The MoU with the Securities and Exchange Organisation (SEO), Iran, is likely to promote further development of economic links and cooperation between the two regulators, and aims at creating conditions for an effective development of securities markets in the two countries.
It would also contribute to strengthening the information sharing framework between the securities market regulators of the two countries.

June 9

From June 16, Petrol, Diesel Prices Will Be Revised Daily.
State-run fuel retailers will revise petrol and diesel prices daily from June 16. Daily revision of petrol and diesel prices has already been implemented on a pilot basis in five cities - Udaipur, Jamshedpur, Visakhapatnam, Chandigarh, and Puducherry - from May 1.
After its successful implementation, public sector oil companies have now decided to start daily revision in retail selling prices of petrol and diesel in the entire country with effect from 16th June, 2017.
Currently, the state-run oil marketing companies - Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) - revise retail fuel prices after every fortnight on the basis of global crude oil prices.
Daily revision in oil prices will make retail prices more reflective of the current market conditions, besides leading to increased transparency in the system. This will enable smoother flow of products from refinery/depots to the retailers.

Microsoft acquires Israeli security firm Hexadite for $100 million.
Microsoft confirmed that it has acquired Hexadite, an Israeli startup that uses AI to identify and protect against attacks. This deal was for a price of $100 million.
The idea is to expand Microsoft's existing security portfolio with an infusion of new technology based around new innovations in areas like AI and machine learning.
The company vision is to deliver a new generation of security capabilities that helps customers protect, detect and respond to the constantly evolving and ever-changing cyber threat landscape.
Hexadite will be folded into work it does to develop security solutions for commercial Windows 10 customers, specifically with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP).
With Hexadite, WDATP will include endpoint security automated remediation, while continuing the incredible growth in activations of WDATP, which now protects almost 2 million devices.

India signs OECD pact to check tax evasion by MNCs.
India signed the OECD multilateral convention that aims to check cross-border tax evasion by multinational companies.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley signed the multilateral convention in Paris to implement tax treaty - related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting.
More than 65 countries, including India, signed the convention. More countries are expected to sign the convention
As per the Finance Ministry, the Convention will modify India's treaties in order to curb revenue loss through treaty abuse and base erosion and profit shifting strategies by ensuring that profits are taxed where substantive economic activities generating the profits are carried out and where the value is created.
The Multilateral Convention is an outcome of the OECD/ G20 Project to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) which is resorted to by MNCs through tax planning strategies by exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules.

June 10

Tesla overtakes BMW by value to become fourth-biggest automaker.
Tesla Inc. stock is the new ultimate driving machine. Shares of Elon Musk's electric-car maker climbed 1.4 per cent as of 11.10am (8:40pm in India), boosting its market capitalization to $61.6 billion, about $280 million more than BMW AG.
Tesla now ranks as the fourth-most valuable automaker, behind Toyota Motor Corp., Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG.
Musk engendered more enthusiasm for the shares this week by reaffirming that the Model 3 sedan, Tesla's most affordable car yet, will start production on time in July and be followed by a cheaper crossover he sees eventually drawing more demand.
That vehicle, called the Model Y, is scheduled to arrive as soon as late 2019 and will necessitate its own assembly plant.

Govt sets up 18 sectoral groups for smooth GST rollout.
The government has set up 18 sectoral groups, comprising senior members from the Centre and the States, to ensure the smooth rollout of the Goods and Services Tax.
As decided in the 14th Meeting of the GST Council held on May 18-19, 2017 in Srinagar, J&K, 18 sectoral groups have been constituted representing various sectors of the economy in order to ensure smooth roll-out of GST.
These sectoral groups are to ensure a timely response to the problems of their respective sector by interacting and examining representations received from trade and industry associations, highlighting specific issues for the smooth transition of the respective sector to the GST regime, and preparing sector specific draft guidance.
The 18 sectors that will be represented by these groups include banking, telecom, exports, IT & ITeS, transport and logistics, textiles, MSMEs, oil and gas, gems and jewellery, government services, food processing, e-commerce, big infrastructure, transport and tourism, handicraft, media and entertainment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and mining.

Forex reserves at life-time high of $381.167 billion.
India's Forex reserves surged by $2.404 billion to reach life-time high of $381.167 billion in the week to June 2 on account of rise in foreign currency assets.
In the previous week, the reserves had declined by $547 million to $378.763 billion.
Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of overall reserves, increased by $2.748 billion to $357.290 billion in the reporting week.
Expressed in US dollar terms, FCAs include the effects of appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and the yen, held in the reserves.
Gold reserves however declined by $343.2 million to $20.095 billion.

June 11

GST Council lowers tax rate for 66 items, small biz gets relief.
The GST Council, which met for the 16th time, took up demands for revision in tax rates of 133 items but reduced it only for 66, including agarbatti, computer printers, cashews, children drawing books and school bags.
In a relief to SMEs, the Council also increased the threshold of turnover for businesses which can opt for composition scheme to Rs. 75 lakh, from Rs. 50 lakh proposed earlier.
As per the revised tax rates decided by the Council, movie tickets costing up to Rs. 100 will attract 18 per cent tax, as against 28 per cent proposed earlier. Those above Rs. 100 will continue to attract 28 per cent GST.
Packaged food items like fruits and vegetable products, pickles, murabba, ketchup, mustard sauce, topping spread, instant food mixes and chutney, will attract 12 per cent GST, as against 18 per cent proposed earlier. Also, tax rates on cashew nuts have been cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent.
Besides, the tax rate on job workers in textile, diamond processing, leather, jewellery and printing, has been decided at 5 per cent, as against the normal 18 per cent GST rate for services.

Alibaba Cloud to open data centre in India.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, announced that it plans to establish two new data centres in Mumbai in India and Jakarta in Indonesia during the current financial year.
Together with the recently announced data centre in Malaysia, Alibaba Cloud will significantly increase its computing resources in Asia, allowing greater support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) throughout the region with powerful, scalable, cost-effective and secure cloud capabilities.
With the three new data centers planned, Alibaba Cloud will increase its total number of data centre locations to 17, covering mainland China, Australia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

June 12

India emerges as 7th largest exporter of agri products globally - commerce secretary.
According to Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia India has emerged as 7th largest exporter of agri-products globally. Addressing the 22nd APEDA Export award function in New Delhi, there is a significant increase in the exports of food products from the country and it represents more than 12 per cent of total exports.
The total merchandise exports during 2016-2017 are more than 276 billion dollars out of which agricultural exports comprised nearly 33 billion dollars. Vietnam, UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran, Iraq and Nepal are the major destinations for export of Indian food products.
Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority popularly known as APEDA is an apex body of the Ministry of Commerce, to promote the export of agricultural commodities and processed food products.

Retail inflation falls to a record 5-year low of 2.18 per cent in May; vegetables, pulses decline sharply.
Due to a drop in food prices, India's annual consumer price inflation had eased further to 2.18 per cent in the month of May, from 2.99 per cent in April.
This number is the lowest inflation rate that the country has witnessed ever since it started publishing an economy-wide consumer price index in the year 2012. Retail food prices fell 1.05 per cent in May from last year. Comparatively, it was 0.61 percent gain in April.
Meanwhile, prices of vegetables and pulses have declined sharply but there has been only a marginal rise in fruit rates. Additionally, clothing, housing, fuel and light also saw lower inflation last month.
As retail inflation dropped to an all-time low of 2.18 per cent in May. It undershot the upper limit of inflation since the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) had set a mid-term target of 4 per cent for the last seven months.

June 13

IRDAI takes over management of Sahara Life Insurance.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has taken over the administration of Sahara India Life Insurance, a first of its kind move in the insurance sector.
It has named R.K. Sharma, General Manager, IRDAI, as administrator to manage the affairs of the insurer.
The administrator will act as per the powers and duties and applicable provisions under the Insurance Act, 1938 and manage the business with the greatest economy, compatible with efficiency and regular reporting to the regulator.
The administrator will also file a report to the authority as regards the insurer, stating the most advantageous course of action in the general interest of the holders of life insurance policies as per Section 52B of the Insurance Act, 1938 as soon as possible.

Govt imposes anti-dumping duty on Chinese ceramic items.
India has imposed anti-dumping duty on import of ceramic table and kitchenware items from China to protect domestic industry against goods being sold at below normal value.
The Department of Revenue in the finance ministry issued a notification imposing the anti-dumping duty of USD 1.04 per kg on import of ceramic tableware and kitchenware, excluding knives and toilet items from China.
The anti-dumping duty imposed shall be levied for a period not exceeding six months.
It cited investigation by the DGAD which concluded that ceramic tableware and kitchenware, excluding knives and toilet items, are being exported from China to India "below its normal value, resulting in dumping".

GST Council cuts tax rate on gold jewellery making charges to 5 per cent.
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council reduced the applicable rate on making charges from 18 per cent to just 5 per cent.
The GST Council has received 133 representations. It has reduced the tax levels in 66 out these 133 cases. The diamond processing and others would attract a levy of five per cent now.
Earlier, All India Gem and Jewellery Federation, the India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), and other trade representatives had pressed for lower taxes on jewellery making charges.
Currently, tax is exempted on jewellery making charges. Early this month, the GST Council meeting had fixed GST on precious metals and diamonds, including jewellery, at 3 per cent. However, tax on making charges of jewellery was kept at 18 per cent.

June 14

SEBI permits options trading in commodity futures.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) laid out rules for the introduction of commodity options. The regulator would allow only one commodity option per exchange on a pilot basis.
Exchanges would have to submit proposals to it for the product they wish to launch. Agricultural commodity options would need to be based on a commodity which has an average daily turnover of at least Rs. 200 crore.
For non-agri commodities, the bar has been set higher at Rs. 1,000 crore. Moreover, these commodities would have to be in the top five in these exchanges in daily turnover.
The markets regulator cleared the issues around settlement in a board meeting on 26 April by finalizing amendments to the Stock Exchange and Clearing Corporation (SECC) regulations and Securities Contract Regulation Act.

India to be co-partner in global food trade fair ANUGA.
Minister of Food Processing Industries Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal addressed a Joint Press Conference with the organizers of ANUGA - an international business platform for Food Industry to be held in Cologne, Germany.
She also signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Participation in the ANUGA Exhibition with Ms. Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer, Koelnmesse GmBH (Organizers of ANUGA).
Indian exhibitors at ANUGA have been on rise since 2005 and around 135 companies and individual traders had participated in the event last year.

June 15

India tops in remittances, gets over $62.7 billion in 2016: Report.
Indians working across the globe sent home $62.7 billion last year, making India the top remittance - receiving country surpassing China.
According to The 'One Family at a Time' study by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) about 200 million migrants globally sent more than $445 million in 2016 as remittances to their families, helping to lift millions out of poverty.
Remittance flows have grown over the last decade at a rate averaging 4.2 per cent annually, from $296 billion in 2007 to $445 billion in 2016.
The top 10 sending countries account for almost half of annual flows, led by the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

IOC, BPCL, HPCL sign agreement to set up $30 billion refinery in Maharashtra.
State-owned oil firms IOC, BPCL and HPCL signed an agreement to jointly set up India's biggest refinery at Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra at a cost of $30 billion or Rs. 2 lakh crore.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will be the lead partner with 50 per cent stake while Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will take 25 per cent stake each.
The 60 million tonnes capacity refinery at Babulwadi, Taluka Rajapur in Ratnagiri district is being set up keeping in mind the future fuel demand and the export potential of the country.
The refinery and the accompanying mega petrochemical complex will be set up in two phases. Phase-1 will be 40 million tonnes together with an aromatic complex, naphtha cracker and polymer complex.

Anti - dumping duty on chemical import from Pak, 4 others.
India has imposed anti-dumping duty of up to USD 118 per tonne on import of a chemical used for corrosion control and paper bleaching from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and three other countries.
The duty has been levied to protect domestic manufacturers of the chemical from "material injury" due to the cheap imports.
The revenue department has issued a notification specifying the levy on import of hydrogen peroxide - other than of food and electronic grade with concentration of 90 per cent and above - from Bangladesh, Taiwan, Korea, Pakistan and Thailand.
The duty - in the range of USD 27.81-117.94 per tonne of the chemical - will remain in place for five years.

June 16

GST: ClearTax unveils billbook software to assist small, medium biz.
ClearTax, India's largest income tax returns e-filing and enterprise compliance service provider has launched bill book software to assist small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the country get GST-ready.
The GST Billbook is a free of cost software platform that works both online and offline and can be used to prepare GST-compliant invoices. It will be available on the company's Web site, mobile site and a soon to be launched app.
The GST billbook supports key features needed for SMEs such as, creating a sales invoice, recording of discount, freight, insurance and package handling charges.
In addition to creating sales bills, it can be used to record purchases and expenses under GST regime. It will also support other documents mandated by GST such as delivery challan, e-way bill, advance payment receipts etc.

June 17

Government increases MSP of pulses, oil-seeds and cotton to support farmers amid price fall.
The Center has increased the minimum support price (MSP) of pulses, oil-seeds and cotton for the 2017 - 2018 crop year and asked states to procure it by all means so that the farmers are not forced to sell it at low prices.
Idea of this move is to provide remunerative prices to farmers when the prices are under pressure due to supply glut.
The maximum hike in the MSP is fixed for pulses whose output is estimated to be a record 22.40 million tonnes (MT) in the 2016 - 2017 crop year ending June, as against 16.35 MT in 2015 - 2016. The record production was attributed to good monsoon, higher MSP and better procurement arrangement.
The MSP of tur (arhar) is increased from Rs. 5,050 per quintal (including bonus) in 2016 - 2017 to Rs. 5,450 per quintal (including Rs. 200 bonus) in 2017 - 2018 - a hike of 400 per quintal.

Switzerland ratifies automatic exchange of information with India, 40 others.
Switzerland ratified automatic exchange of financial account information (AEOI) with India and 40 other jurisdictions to facilitate immediate sharing of details about suspected black money, even as it sought strict adherence to confidentiality and data security.
Adopting the dispatch on introduction of the AEOI, a global convention for automatic information exchange on tax matters, the Swiss Federal Council implementation is planned for 2018 and the first set of data should be exchanged in 2019.
The council, which is the top governing body of the European nation, will soon notify the Indian government about the exact date from which the automatic exchange would begin.
The issue of black money has been a matter of great debate in India and Switzerland has been long perceived as one of the safest havens for the illicit wealth allegedly stashed abroad by Indians.

Amazon to buy Whole Foods for USD 13.7 billion, wielding online might in brick-and-mortar world.
Amazon.com buys Whole Foods Market Incorporated for USD 13.7 billion, in an embrace of brick-and-mortar stores that could turn the high-end grocer into a mass-market merchant and upend the already struggling U.S. retail industry.
Amazon used aggressive pricing to become an e-commerce retail juggernaut and has recently been experimenting with brick-and-mortar outlets.
It will take over a natural and organic grocer pioneer with 456 stores, a mecca for young, high-end shoppers, that has been struggling to rein in prices and integrate technology.
The deal represents a dramatic turn in strategy for Amazon, which has offered food delivery through its Fresh service for a decade but has not made a major dent in the USD 700 billion grocery market.

Hyundai Motor India fined Rs. 87 crores for anti-competitive conduct.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) with Rs. 87 crores penalty for unfair competitive measures.
The CCI imposed a cease and desist order alongside the penalty, ordering Hyundai to stop its anti-competitive activities.
The CCI found Hyundai Motors guilty of imposing arrangements upon its dealers, which are in violation of provisions under the Competition Act, 2002.
This resulted into Resale Price Maintenance in sale of passenger cars manufactured by it through monitoring maximum permissible discount limits.

June 18

Export of spices & spice products achieves growth of 12 per cent in 2016 - 2017.
The export of spices and spice products achieved a growth of 12 per cent during 2016 - 2017. According to Spices Board in Kochi, 9.48 lakhs tons of spices were exported earning over 17 thousand crore rupee.
In 2015 - 2016, the country had exported 8.43 lakhs tons worth around 16 thousand crores. Chilli continued to be the most sought after spice, registering an increase of 27 per cent in value in the last fiscal year.
Cumin was the second most exported spice recording a rise of 22 per cent in quantity and 28 per cent in value.

Adani Group set up Rs. 315 crore solar PV plant in UP.
The Adani Group, a global integrated infrastructure conglomerate, announced commissioning of a 50 megawatt solar PV plant in Mahoba district, Uttar Pradesh, under the National Solar Mission Scheme.
The plant has been set up with an investment of Rs. 315 crore.
The technology used for setting up this plant includes String Inverter Technology with crystalline silicon modules that allow miniature level control of solar power generation. The transmission line runs up to 21.5 km.
The power generated by this plant will be evacuated by 132 kV transmission line to UPTCL, Mahoba Substation, under agreement signed with NTPC. Indirect and direct employment opportunities were created for around 250 personnel.

June 19

BankBazaar.com opens office in Malaysia.
Online financial services marketplace BankBazaar is beginning operations in Malaysia, strengthening its presence in South East Asia.
Further, to scale and steer its international operations, BankBazaar has appointed former Visa employee Vipin Kalra to lead the business growth internationally.
In line with this vision to expand its foothold across south East Asia BankBazaar announced an investment of Rs. 5 crore in the Malaysian market and an additional Rs. 10 crore in its Singapore business.
As part of its international expansion strategy, the company also plans to begin its operations across Australia, Hong Kong, UAE and the Philippines over the next couple of years.

Vedanta to set up steel plant in Jharkhand in JV with JSMDC.
The Vedanta group and Jharkhand Mineral Development Corporation (JSMDC) would jointly set up the plant at Manoharpur in West Singhbhum district.
Rs. 700 crore of the total MoU signed with prospective investors have already been implemented on the ground and project proposals worth Rs. 15 to Rs. 16,000 crore will be effective in July.
The state government had signed Rs. 3 lakh crore worth of long-term and mid-term MoUs with the investors during the Momentum Jharkhand investors meet in February.
Priority would be given to mid-term MoUs that could start production within three years of implementation and generate employment.

SpiceJet signs pact with Boeing for 40 737 Max 10 planes.
Low fare carrier SpiceJet has signed a pact with Boeing for 40 737 Max 10 planes.
The agreement, valued at approximately $4.74 billion at current list prices, is split evenly between 20 new orders for the 737 MAX 10 and conversions of 20 of the low-cost carrier's 737 MAX 8 airplanes of its current order to 737 MAX 10s.
With the introduction of our 737 MAXs next year, company will be able to further expand network, while keeping costs low for customers.

June 20

Government of India and the ADB Sign $275 Million Loan for Upgrading Urban Services in 64 Small Towns in Madhya Pradesh.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $275 million loan for improving urban services in 64 small towns in the State of Madhya Pradesh.
A key element of the project is the use of design-build-operate contracts including 10-years operation and maintenance to ensure better sustainability of the water service operation and financial viability.
ADB's continued support to the State's urban development, through this project, will improve further the quality, coverage, efficiency, and sustainability of urban service delivery, stabilize and deepen institutional capacity, and improve long term water service management.
The project will develop sustainable, inclusive, and climate-resilient water supply in 64 small and medium-sized towns, and integrated storm water and sewerage infrastructure in two heritage towns of Khajuraho and Rajnagar.

SpiceJet plans to buy 50 turboprop planes for $1.7 billion from Bombardier.
Airline SpiceJet announced plans to purchase 50 Q400 turboprop aircraft worth $1.7 billion (over Rs. 10,900 crore) from Bombardier, a day after signing a pact for buying 40 Boeing 737 MAX planes.
SpiceJet, which has drawn up ambitious expansion plans, has signed a letter of intent with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft to buy up to 50 Q400 turboprop aircraft.
The letter of intent is for 25 Q400 turboprops and purchase rights for an additional 25 aircraft. These are 86- seater planes.
Based on the Q400 turboprop list price, the order could be valued at up to $1.7 billion. This would be the single biggest order for the Q400. sAt the current exchange rate, the order will be worth over Rs. 10,900 crore.

CBDT notifies secondary adjustment transfer pricing rules.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified the rules for operationalising the provisions of secondary adjustment in the arena of transfer pricing.
The Finance Act, 2017, had introduced the concept of secondary adjustment. In simple words, if there is an upward transfer pricing adjustment made to the income of an Indian company that has earned such revenue through transactions with its parent or group companies (known as related parties), then the quantum of such addition needs to be brought back to India within a stipulated time.
Else, it will be treated as a loan given by the Indian company, which will attract a notional interest charge and a tax on such interest income.
Now, CBDT has notified Rule 10CB, which prescribes the time limit for repatriation of the excess money from the overseas group company and the rate of interest which would apply for failure to repatriate within the prescribed time.


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