ECONOMY - 2017 February

February 1

Industrial growth seen slowing to 5.2 per cent in FY17.
The Economic Survey 2017 projected a decline in the industrial sector's growth to 5.2 per cent in the current fiscal year from 7.4 per cent in the last.
The sector comprises job-creating industries such as mining, manufacturing, electricity and construction. Last year’s railway budget had projected a rise of 50 million tonnes in the national carrier’s freight traffic.
For 2017-18, it is expected that the growth would return to normal as the new currency notes in required quantities come back into circulation and as follow-up actions to demonetization are taken.

Arnab Goswami's Channel Changes Name to 'Republic TV'.
The news channel to be launched by Arnab Goswami will now be known as 'Republic TV' and not 'Republic' as earlier proposed, according to a fresh application filed with the Union Ministry for Information & Broadcasting.
A few weeks ago, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had written to the ministry objecting to the new channel’s name, requesting it to look into the use of the word 'Republic'.
He had claimed it would be violative of the Emblems Act, 1950.

UNICEF launches 3.3 billion USD to aid millions of children affected by conflict, disasters.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched an appeal of 3.3 billion U.S. dollars to provide emergency assistance in 48 countries around the globe, against the backdrop of ever increasing number of children driven from their homes due to conflict, disasters and climate change.
A total of 48 million children living through some of the world's worst conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies will benefit from UNICEF's 2017 appeal.
From Syria to Yemen and Iraq, from South Sudan to Nigeria, children are under direct attack, their homes, schools and communities in ruins, their hopes and futures hanging in the balance.
In total, almost one in four of the world's children lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster.

Fiscal deficit reaches 94 per cent of 2016-17 target in December.
India’s fiscal deficit in the first nine months to December was Rs. 5.01 trillion ($73.87 billion) or 93.9 per cent of the budgeted target for the fiscal year ending in March 2017.
In value terms, the April-December fiscal deficit stood at Rs. 5.01 lakh crore, or 93.9 per cent, of 2016-17 Budget estimates (BE). The fiscal deficit stood at 87.9 per cent in the corresponding nine months a year ago, as per 2015-16 BE.
Fiscal deficit, the gap between expenditure and revenue for the entire fiscal, has been pegged at Rs. 5.33 lakh crore, or 3.5 per cent of the GDP, for the fiscal 2016-17.

February 2

GDP growth likely at 7.1 per cent in 2017-18: HSBC.
India is expected to clock GDP growth of 7.1 per cent in 2017-18 as the country gets sufficiently remonetised and the schemes in the Budget play a supportive role.
The uptick in the growth numbers would be largely driven by the remonetisation process, which is expected by April-end, as this in turn would boost the consumption levels in the country.
HSBC expect GDP to grow at 7.1 per cent year-on-year in 2017-18, up from 6.3 per cent in 2016-17, as the country gets sufficiently remonetised (by April-end), and consumption moves back to pre-demonetization levels.

NABARD sanctions Rs. 157 crore loan to Haryana for water project.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned Rs. 157 crore loan to the Haryana government for implementation of a project for augmentation of drinking water supply scheme in 84 villages of districts Palwal and Faridabad.
The project is aimed at providing potable drinking water in selected villages in blocks Prithla, Palwal and Ballabhgarh from Yamuna flood plain by constructing ranney wells and deep tubewells.
Water supply to the affected villages would be augmented by constructing ranney wells. The project is likely to benefit 3,06,814 persons.
The loan had been sanctioned under the 22nd tranche of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).

AT&T To Launch 5G In Two U.S. Cities By End Of Year 2017.
AT&T's 5G wireless network just got much more tangible. The carrier has announced that its ultra-fast wireless will launch in two cities, Austin and Indianapolis, sometime later in 2017.
The company is confident enough to set some performance expectations. Initially, these 5G areas will deliver peak speeds of 400 Mbps or better.
The rollout is part of a larger network platform upgrade, nicknamed Indigo that promises to be more adaptable and responsive.
It'll put more of an emphasis on software-shaped networking (covering 75 per cent of the network by 2020) and lean on technologies like machine learning. AT&T is even open-sourcing the code for its network's orchestration platform, ECOMP.

Gargantuan offshore wind turbine crushes record for most energy produced in 24 hours.
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind - a joint venture between Vestas Wind Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - showed off its 9 MW turbine prototype in December 2016, an upgrade to its V164-8.0 MW version.
The Goliath of wind turbines generated nearly 216,000 kWh over 24 hours during its December test, breaking the previous record for energy generation record for a commercially available offshore wind turbine.
To put the numbers in perspective, that’s enough energy to power the average American household for roughly 20 years.

Google Dethrones Apple To Become Most Valuable Brand In The World.
After five years of Apple reigning at the top, Google has now dethroned it, becoming the world's most valuable brand.
For the first time since 2011, Google now ranks top with a $109.5 billion monetary value, a 24 per cent increase compared to last year. Apple, meanwhile, declined to $107.1 billion compared to $145.9 billion last year.
The data comes from a study conducted by Brand Finance, a valuation and strategy consultancy.
The latest version of the Brand Finance Global 500, which identifies and ranks the world's most valuable brands, has seen Google take the number one spot, with Apple dropping to second place after a five-year stint at the top.

February 3

Apple to start making iPhones in India.
Apple will start making iPhones in India this year, the company seeks to tap into a booming Indian middle class while sales in China slow.
Apple had agreed to assemble its hugely popular phones in the southern State, whose capital Bangalore is India's technology hub.
Currently, Apple holds a meager 2 per cent share in the Indian smartphone market and one of the prime reasons for this figure is the iPhone's expensive price due to a high import tax. Currently, around 12.5 per cent of import tax is levied on each iPhone sold in India.

Microsoft seeks 'exceptions' to Donald Trump immigration ban.
Microsoft, one of the tech companies that has expressed opposition to President Trump’s executive order on immigration, is asking the administration to grant exceptions on a case by case basis that will permit 'Responsible Known Travelers with Pressing Needs' to re-enter the country while protecting the nation’s security.
Microsoft filed the formal request in a letter sent by company president and chief legal officer Brad Smith to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.
Trump’s order barred people from entering the U.S. from Syria indefinitely and temporarily restricts entry from six other primarily-Muslim countries: Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Tata Motors Unveils New Sub-Brand TAMO; To Launch Sports Car at Geneva.
Tata Motors is creating a new sub-brand, TAMO, to house performance cars that are on the Nano maker's ambitions list of future products.
The first product that is likely to spot the tag is a two-seater sports car, a prototype of which is getting ready at the company's design centre in Italy and is expected to be launched after 2018-19.
The owner of the marquee British brands Jaguar and Land Rover is hoping to create a "halo effect" around new products by displaying its automotive prowess to design and make vehicles, so as to entice customers in the highly competitive Indian market.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Loses $3 Billion In An Hour After Amazon Misses On Earnings.
E-commerce major Amazon's Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos net worth dropped by $2.8 billion (around Rs. 19,000 crore) as his company’s stock fell more than 4 per cent.
The fall in the stock came after Amazon's fourth-quarter revenue didn't meet analysts' expectations. Bezos has now become the world's fourth richest person with a fortune of $69.4 billion (nearly Rs. 4.6 lakh crore).
Amazon's fourth quarter earnings beat analysts expectations for profits but missed on revenue. The company reported net income of $1.54 per share, above analysts’ expectation of $1.35 per share.
Amazon's report of $43.74 billion in net sales for the quarter fell short of analysts’ expectation of $44.68 billion for the holiday season. After closing at $840.18, Amazon stock had dropped to $805.26 as of 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

LIQVD ASIA launches India's first ever online exhibition portal,
In a first of its kind initiative, LIQVD ASIA, a leading digital marketing agency, recognised by Google as a Premier Partner, has launched India's First Ever Online Exhibition gateway - in collaboration with
It will be an open platform where an exhibition from any industry can be conducted by any organisation.
To kickstart the initiative, the first exhibition will feature select designers and brands from the Fashion, Lifestyle and Luxury industry. It will be an upscale, online fashion exhibition providing a concise mix of carefully curated collections ranging from bridal wear to casual wear.

February 4

TRAI imposed Rs. 11 crore penalty on telecoms for poor service: Govt.
Telecom regulator TRAI has imposed over Rs. 11 crore penalty on service providers, highest on Aircel, for poor service quality including call drops.
TRAI imposes financial disincentives for non-compliance with the benchmarks for Quality of Service parameters including call drops.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has imposed over Rs. 3 crore penalty on Aircel for not meeting set quality parameters for 2G service and Rs. 1.56 crore for poor 3G service quality.
Penalty of Rs. 2.27 crore has been imposed on BSNL, Rs. 1.64 crore on Reliance Communications (including Reliance Telecom), Rs. 89 lakh on Tata Teleservices, Rs. 84 lakh Vodafone, Rs. 40 lakh on Bharti Airtel, Rs. 13.5 lakh on Telenor, Rs. 3 lakh on Sistema and Rs. 1.5 lakh on MTNL for failing to meet 2G service quality parameters.

Vanguard marks down Ola’s valuation by 40 per cent.
US-based investment firm Vanguard Group has slashed the valuation of its stake in India’s largest cab-hailing service Ola-the latest indicator of imminent down rounds at many of India’s unicorn start-ups.
A down round is a funding round where a company raises money at a lower valuation than it did in the previous one.
Vanguard valued Ola shares at $182.7 apiece during the November quarter, down from $311.27 a share in the previous quarter.
Vanguard currently holds 166,185 shares in Ola valued at about $30.37 million.

Demonetisation: Govt spent Rs. 94 crore on advertisements to popularise e-payments.
Nearly Rs. 94 crore has been spent by the government for spreading awareness about digital payments and popularizing less-cash economy post demonetization.
According to the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore the DAVP has paid over Rs. 14.95 crore for advertisements released between November 9, 2016 and January 25.
DAVP has the practice of making cashless payments to newspapers, generally through NEFT. Bill submission period is 60 days from the date of publication of print advertisement. Till date, DAVP has paid Rs. 14,95,84,691 for the advertisements released between November 9, 2016 and January 25.

Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley presented his fourth Union budget 2017-2018.
Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley presented his fourth Union budget 2017-2018 in Lok Sabha on February 1, 2017. This is the 87th budget from 1947. The Union Budget of India is also referred to as the Annual financial statement in the Article 112 of the Constitution of India. It is the first budget after major changes in Indian economy like Goods and Services Tax and Demonetization in 2016.
The Budget for 2017-18 contains three major reforms:
Presented on Februray 1, 2017 instead of usual practice of being presented on last day of February.
The merger of Railways Budget with General Budget to bring Railways to the centre stage of Government’s Fiscal Policy.
The removal of plan and nonplan classification of expenditure to facilitate a holistic view of allocations for sectors and ministries.
Key highlights:
The Individuals tax rates Slashed on income from 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh reduced to 5 per cent instead of 10 per cent.
0 per cent tax liability on income up to 3 lakhs.
10 per cent Surcharge on individuals with income between 50 lakh to 1 crore.
15 per cent surcharge on individuals with income of 1 crore and more.
Fiscal deficit for 2017-18 pegged at 3.2 per cent of GDP.
Revenue deficit for 2017-18 pegged at 1.9 per cent of GDP.
Revenue deficit reduced to 2.1 per cent from 2.3 per cent for 2016-17.
In the year 2017-18 budget agriculture sector is expected to grow at 4.1 per cent.
Fiscal Management:
The total expenditure in Budget for 2017-18 has been allocated Rs. 21.47 lakh crores.
Total resources being transferred to the States and the Union Territories with Legislatures is Rs. 4.11 lakh crores.
FRBM Committee has recommended 3 per cent fiscal deficit for the next three years.
Net market borrowing of Government to be limited to Rs. 3.48 lakh crores in 2017-18.
Rs. 3,000 crore under Dept of Economic Affairs for implementing Budget announcements.
Defence expenditure, excluding pension, at Rs. 2,74,114 crore.
Expenditure in science and technology Rs. 37,435 crore.
The total capital and development expenditure of Railways has been allotted Rs. 1,31,000 crores out of which Rs. 55,000 crores would be funded by the Government.
Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh to be created with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years for safety of Passengers.
Unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge lines to be eliminated by 2020.
It is proposed to feed about 7,000 stations with solar power in the medium term.
Railway lines of 3,500 kms to be built in 2017-18, as against 2,800 kms in 2016-17.
500 stations will be made differently-abled friendly with lifts and escalators.
Coach Mitra facility to be launched to register all coach related complaints and requirements. Indian Railways coaches to be fitted with bio-toilets by 2019.
Railways to offer competitive ticket booking facility. Service charge on booking e-tickets through IRCTC has been withdrawn.
SMS-based ''clean my coach service'' is started.
New Metro rail policy will be announced with new modes of financing.
Agriculture sector:
Rs. 10 lakh crore is allocated as credit to farmers, with 60 days interest waiver.
NABARD fund will be increased to Rs. 40,000 crore.
A dedicated micro irrigation fund will be set up for NABARD with Rs. 5,000 crore initial corpus.
Irrigation corpus increased from Rs. 20,000 crore to Rs. 40,000 crore.
The budget aims to increase the coverage under Fasal Bima Yojana from 30 per cent of cropped area in 2016-17 to 40 per cent in 2017-18 and 50 per cent in 2018-19.
Micro Irrigation Fund will be set up in NABARD to achieve the goal of 'per drop more crop'.
The Diary Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund in NABARD with total corpus of Rs. 8000 over 3 years would start with initial corpus of Rs. 2000 crore.
Government to set up new mini labs in Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) to test soil quality under Soil Health Cards and ensure 100 per cent coverage of all 648 KVKs in the country. Additionally, 1000 mini labs to be set up by qualified local entrepreneurs for which Government will provide credit linked subsidy.
Coverage of National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) increased from the current 250 Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) to 585 APMCs. Each APMCs would get maximum assistance of Rs. 75 lakh for establishment of cleaning, grading and packaging facilities.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) has been extended to more than 600 districts across the country. It is already promoted in more than 60 districts.
Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion programme (SANKALP) to be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs. 4,000 crore to provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.
Next phase of Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) to be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs. 2,200 crore.
Skill India mission was launched to maximise potential. Will set up 100 India International centres across the country.
SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active – Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) platform would be launched with at least 350 online courses and further link it to DTH channels, dedicated to education to enable students to virtually attend the courses taught by the best faculty ,access high quality reading resources, participate in discussion forums, take tests and earn academic grades.
Rs. 500 crore allocated for Mahila Shakthi Kendras.
Under a nationwide scheme for pregnant women, Rs. 6000 will be transferred to each person.
A sum of Rs. 1,84,632 crore allocated for women and children.
Health sub centres, numbering 1.5 lakh, willl be transformed into health wellness centres.
Two AIIMS will be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.
Allocation for Scheduled Castes is Rs. 52,393 crore.
Total allocation for rural, agriculture and allied sectors for 2017-18 is Rs. 1,87,223 crore which is 24 per cent more than previous year's allocation.
Allocation under MNREGA increased to Rs. 48,000 crore in 2017-18 from Rs. 38,500 crore in 2016-17. This is highest ever allocation.
Women participation in MGNREGA has increased to 55 per cent compared to less than 48 per cent in the past.
Allocation under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) for 2017-18 is Rs. 19,000 crore by central government. Besides, with the contribution of the state government under PMGSY, a total amount of Rs. 27000 crore will be spent on PMGSY in 2017-18.
The pace of construction of PMGSY roads has accelerated to reach 133 km roads per day in 2016-17, as against an average of 73 km during the period 2011-2014.
Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin), the allocation increased to Rs. 23,000 crore for 2017-18.
Government proposes to construct 1 crore houses by 2019 for houseless and kucha house residing people.
Rs. 4,814 crore has been proposed under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in 2017-18. Government aims to achieve 100 per cent village electrification by May 1, 2018
Allocations for Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (National Rural Livelihood Mission) for promotion of skill development and livelihood opportunities for rural area people is Rs. 4,500 crore in 2017-18.
Government will undertake Mission Antyodaya to make 1 crore households and 50000 gram panchayats poverty free by 2019, i.e. the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji.
Allocation for Women and Children welfare under various schemes across all Ministries Rs. 1,84,632 crores in 2017-18.
National Housing Bank to refinance individual housing loans of about Rs. 20,000 crore in 2017-18.
Action plan made to eliminate Kala-Azar and Filariasis by 2017, Leprosy by 2018, Measles by 2020 and tuberculosis by 2025.
Government to create additional 5,000 Post Graduate seats per annum in Medical colleges.
Allocation for Scheduled Tribes is Rs. 31,920 crores and for Minority Affairs to Rs. 4,195 crores.
Aadhar based Smart Cards to be issued for senior citizens containing their health details with pilot service in 15 districts during 2017-18.
LIC to implement scheme providing assured pension with a guaranteed return of 8 per cent per annum for 10 years to senior citizen.
Financial Sector:
Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to be abolished in 2017-18.
Computer Emergency Response Team for Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) will be established.
The shares of Railway PSEs like IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON will be listed in stock exchanges.
Rs. 10,000 crore allocated for recapitalization of Banks in 2017-18 in line with the ‘Indradhanush’ roadmap.
Allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has been doubled in 2017-18 at Rs. 2.44 lakh crore.
FDI policy reforms - more than 90 per cent of FDI inflows are now automated.
Digital India - Bhim app will unleash mobile phone revolution - two new schemes to promote the app.
Head post office as the central office for rendering passport services.
Banks to introduce additional 10 lakh new PoS terminals by March 2017 and 20 lakh Aadhar based PoS by September 2017.
Mission would be set up to undertake Rs. 2,500 crore digital transactions in 2017-18 through UPI, USSD, Aadhar Pay, IMPS and debit cards.
Other highlights:
The total allocation for highways increased from Rs. 57,976 crores in 2016-17 to Rs. 64,900 crores in 2017-18.
Total length of roads, including those under PMGSY, built from 2014-15 till the current year is about 1,40,000 kms which is significantly higher than previous three years.
BharatNet Project allocated Rs. 10,000 crores in 2017-18.
High speed broadband connectivity on optical fibre to be made available in more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats at low tariff by the end of 2017-18.
Nearly 250 investment proposals for electronics manufacturing have been received in the last 2 years with total investment of Rs. 1.26 lakh crores.
Allocation for incentive schemes like M-SIPS and EDF increased to all time high Rs. 745 crores in 2017-18.
Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) to be launched in 2017-18 to promote export infrastructure.
A High Level Committee under the Chairmanship of Honourable Prime Minister to be set up to improve the standards of public service and transparent governance.
Centenary year of Champaran Satyagrah to be commemorated in 2017-18.
Government of India will support Government of Gujarat to commemorate 100 years of Sabarmati Ashram in 2017.
Maximum amount of cash donation for political parties will be Rs. 2,000 from any one source from Rs. 20,000.
Political parties will be entitled to receive donations by cheque or digital mode from donors.
Tax proposals:
The holding period for considering the Capital Gain Tax of immovable property has been increased from 2 years to 3 years.
Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) has been proposed to be carry forwarded for 15 years instead of 10 years.
In MSME sector for companies with turnover upto Rs. 50 crore the income tax will be reduced to 25 per cent.
Basic customs duty on LNG reduced from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
No cash transaction above Rs. 3 lakh will be permitted.
Business entity that will opt for presumptive income scheme the threshold of audit has been increased from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2 crore.
1.95 crore individuals showed income between Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh.
Out of 76 lakh individual assessees declaring income more than Rs. 5 lakh, 56 lakh are salaried.
Only 1.72 lakh people showed income of more than Rs. 50 lakh a year.
Between November 8 to December 30: Deposits between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 80 lakh was made in 1.09 crore accounts.
Personal income tax:
For individuals with income between Rs. 2.5 Lakh and Rs. 5 lakh rate of taxation has been reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent.
All other categories of tax payers in subsequent brackets will get benefit of Rs. 12,500.
People filing I-T returns for the first time will not come under govt. scrutiny 5.
10 per cent surcharge on individual income above Rs. 50 lakh and up to Rs. 1 crore to make up for Rs. 15,000 crore loss due to cut in personal I-T rate.
15 surcharge on individual income above Rs. 1 crore to remain.
Tax -Slabs New Tax Rate:
Up to Rs. 3 lakhs: No Tax
Between Rs. 3 and 5 Lakhs: 5 per cent
Between Rs. 5 and 10 lakhs: 20 per cent
Above Rs. 10 lakhs: 30 per cent
Income above Rs. 50 Lacs: 30 per cent + 10 per cent Surcharge
Income above Rs 1 crore: 30 per cent + 15 per cent Surcharge

Development Schemes:
Mgnrega: Rs. 48000 crores
PM Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY): Rs. 9,000 crores
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY): Rs. 15,000 crores
Price Stability: Rs. 3,500 crores
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY): Rs. 2.44 lakh crores
Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana: Rs. 2,700 crores
National Rural Drinking Water Mission: Rs. 6050 crores
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY): Rs. 7377 crores
Bharat Net: Rs. 10000 crores
Recapitalization of Public Sector Banks according to the Indradhanush scheme: Rs. 10000 crores.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna: Rs. 85000 crores
Namami Gange-National Ganga Plan: Rs. 2250 crores
LPG connection to poor households: Rs. 2500 crores
Sagarmala: Rs. 600 crores
National Livelihood Mission–Ajeevika: Rs. 4849 crores
Swachh Bharat Mission: Rs. 9000 crores
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna: Rs. 19000 crores

February 5

India Opens Coal-Mining Market for First Time in Four Decades.
India plans to allow non-state mining companies to mine and sell coal for the first time in more than four decades.
The nation’s coal ministry will auction four mines to both state-run and private companies during the year starting April 1, Kumar told reporters in New Delhi. The winning bidders will have the freedom to sell the coal, a privilege currently limited to a handful of state-run companies.
The step may allow miners an opportunity to benefit from one of the world’s biggest coal markets, yet the offer has to be good enough to compensate for regulatory challenges, according to analysts.
A broader implementation of the plan could threaten the monopoly of Coal India Ltd., which controls more than 80 percent of the nation’s production.

Personal I-T base must be before corporate tax cut, says Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia.
Two years after it announced plans to reduce corporate tax rate to 25 per cent, any such reduction can come after the spread of personal income tax is increased and more people pay taxes.
A 1 per cent cut in corporate income tax rate from the current 30 per cent will cost Rs. 18,000 - 19,000 crore in revenues.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his second Budget in February 2015, had announced reduction of the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent from 30 per cent in a phased manner over the next four years starting 2015-16, accompanied by fewer exemptions.

Google sells satellite imaging business Terra Bella to Planet Labs.
Alphabet Inc's Google would sell its satellite imaging business, Terra Bella, to Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator founded by former Nasa scientists.
As part of the deal, Planet Labs will acquire the Terra Bella business including the SkySat constellation of satellites.
Google will enter into a multi-year contract to purchase Earth-imaging data from Planet Labs after the deal closes.
Google had acquired Terra Bella, originally known as Skybox Imaging, for $500 million in 2014.

February 6

IndiGo's security training centre licence suspended.
The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has suspended the security training license of low-cost airline IndiGo after lapses were found in its examination procedures.
BCAS suspended aviation security training centre license of IndiGo for fudging or leakage of question paper for cabin crew.
According to BCAS Director General Kumar Rajesh Chandra IndiGo employees were illegally found circulating question paper to cabin crew in advance as a result of which the applicants scored more than 90 per cent marks in training.
The security training tests should ideally be computerised but IndiGo was found conducting manual tests since last eight training batches.
100 per cent penalty for cash transactions over Rs. 3 lakh.
In a bid to check generation of black money, a steep penalty awaits those accepting cash in excess of Rs. 3 lakh, beginning April 1, to settle any transaction.
A ban on cash transaction of more than Rs. 3 lakh has been proposed in the Budget for 2017-18.
According to Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia the penalty for doing cash transaction will be steep and the receiver will have to pay an amount equivalent to the cash received.
''Supposing you do a transaction of Rs. 4 lakh in cash, then the penalty would be Rs. 4 lakh. If you do a transaction of Rs. 50 lakh, penalty would be Rs. 50 lakh'', sthat the penalty will be levied on the receiver.

Uber launches taxi hiring service UberHIRE.
Global taxi-hailing platform Uber announced it has launched a new category UberHIRE that allows customers to hire a taxi for the day, to cover several destinations, and is targetting senior citizens, business travelers and tourists.
Currently, UberHIRE works only on cash payments.
After a pilot run in Kochi, UberHIRE will go live in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vizag and Nagpur, with more cities slated for launch in the weeks to come.

February 7

IBM Grants Rometty Record Bonus for 2016 After Shares Recover.
IBM Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty got her biggest bonus as head of the company last year after the shares rose about 21 per cent, the first annual gain in four years.
Rometty received a $4.95 million payout under her annual incentive plan, the largest since she was named CEO of International Business Machines Corp. in 2012, according to a regulatory filing from the Armonk, New York-based Company.
The bonus was tied to goals for operating net income, operating cash flow and revenue from the company’s ''strategic imperatives'', according to a March proxy statement. She received a $4.5 million payout in 2015.

Google is helping H&M construct a custom dress based on your personal data.
Google is teaming up with digital fashion house Ivyrevel, which is supported by H&M Group, in an attempt to make data fashionable.
The two companies are working together on an Android app that'll track wherever users go, the weather where they live, and whether they’re having casual or formal hangs.
The app relies on Google’s Awareness API, which basically makes use of all the sensors on a phone. It can detect whether a person is walking or driving, it picks up on nearby Bluetooth beacons, knows whether headphones are plugged in, detects exact location, and remembers weather conditions.
It's slightly creepy, sure, but you’re going to have to give up some privacy expectations if you want a customized data dress.

Optiemus to make BlackBerry phones for India.
Canadian Smartphone firm BlackBerry has inked a pact with Optiemus Infracom for manufacturing BlackBerry Android handsets in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The exclusive, long-term licensing agreement with the Indian telecom enterprise follows BlackBerry's recent global licensing agreement with TCL Communication and PT BlackBerry Merah Putih in Indonesia.
BlackBerry has an existing partnership with Optiemus since November last year for distribution and sale of its DTEK50 and DTEK60 handsets. These devices continue to be available through the company’s distribution network.
With this latest regional deal, BlackBerry has now achieved full global coverage for licensees in all markets to manufacture BlackBerry-branded devices, proving the company is delivering on its licensing strategy and accelerating its transition to be a leading security software and services company.

CBDT signs four more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed four more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs).
The four APAs signed pertain to the manufacturing, financial and information technology sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in these agreements include contract manufacturing; IT enabled services and software development services.
With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 130. This includes eight bilateral APAs and 122 unilateral APAs.

February 8

Plugging LPG subsidy leaks leads to Rs. 21,000 crore savings.
As many as 3.3 crore fake, ghost and duplicate LPG connections have been blocked, leading to saving of Rs. 21,000 crore in subsidies.
The Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG was launched in 2014 wherein subsidy was directly paid into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
This made the process transparent and plugged the subsidy leakage which was otherwise being misused through ghost accounts.
The scheme is benefiting over 176 million consumers and over Rs. 40,000 crore or USD 6.5 billion of subsidy has been transferred directly to the beneficiaries bank accounts in the last two years.

February 9

Intellectual Property index: India remains near bottom.
India remains near the bottom in an international Intellectual Property (IP) index by being ranked 43rd out of 45 countries, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).
It includes 90 per cent of global gross domestic product, and grades countries on patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, enforcement, and international treaties. Only two countries were ranked below India – Pakistan (44th) and Venezuela (45th).
The U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea and Italy completed the top 10 ranks. Among the BRICS countries China was ranked 27th, South Africa (33rd), Brazil (32nd) and Russia (23rd).

Govt sells 2 per cent stake in ITC, raises Rs. 6.690 crore.
The government sold two per cent stake in ITC to Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and earned Rs. 6,690 crore (around $1 billion) as part of its divestment plan for 2016-17.
The stake, held under the so-called Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI), was sold at Rs. 275.85 per share through block deals.
According to stock exchange data, the stake was picked up by LIC, LIC (Scheme 5) and LIC Allocation Contra Fund. Shares of ITC closed at Rs. 277.1, up 0.25 per cent after hitting a high of Rs. 292 on the BSE.
This is the second SUUTI divestment this financial year. In November, the Centre had divested 1.63 per cent stake in engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to raise Rs. 2,100 crore. State Bank of India (SBI) had picked up shares worth Rs. 800 crore in the share sale.