ECONOMY - 2017 November

November 1

Core sector growth hits 6-month high of 5.2% in September
Eight core sectors, which comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), grew to a six-month high of 5.2 per cent in September, driven by a strong performance in coal, natural gas and refinery segments.
The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stands stood at 122.5 in September 2017. The eight core industries, which include coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity - had witnessed a growth of 5.3 per cent in September last year.
The expansion in September is highest since April, when the core sectors' growth stood at 2.6 per cent. Coal production increased by 10.6 per cent in September, 2017 over September, 2016. Its cumulative index increased by 1.5 per cent during April to September, 2017-18 over corresponding period of the previous year.

Centre clears mega project to acquire 111 helicopters for Navy
The Defence Ministry approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of ₹21,738 crore.
The long-pending proposal was cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 16 helicopters will be procured at a fly away condition while 95 will be manufactured in India.
The acquisition of the helicopters will be made under the strategic partnership model. The cost of the project will be ₹21,738 crore.
The government will now start the process to identify a foreign helicopter maker and an Indian defence firm for a joint venture for the project.

November 2

Walmart India launches its first Fulfillment Center (FC) in Mumbai
Walmart India launched its Fulfillment Centre in Mumbai. This one-of-its-kind FC will enable kiranas, resellers & other businesses in Mumbai and neighbouring areas through B2B eCommerce platform to get access to a wide & exciting assortment of merchandise relevant to them without stepping out of their stores.
The FC will contribute to the State and local economy by creating over 1500 direct & indirect local jobs, developing SME suppliers, enhancing women’s economic empowerment and empowering local communities.
This FC is convenience of small resellers, kiranas & other businesses – choice, value and service that they expect – great quality and competitively priced merchandise, doorstep delivery and easy payment solutions.

Asia Index launches S&P BSE 100 ESG Index
Asia Index Pvt Ltd, a joint venture of S&P Dow Jones Indices and BSE, has launched an environmental, social and governance (ESG) index to measure the exposure to securities meeting sustainability investing criteria.
The S&P BSE 100 ESG Index, which uses the S&P BSE 100 as its universe, excludes all tobacco producing companies, as well as companies with tobacco sales greater than 10 per cent.
It also excludes all companies producing controversial weapons and all companies at or below the bottom 5 per cent of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) score.

EESL receives $454 mn funding from Global Environment Facility for energy efficiency programs
In a move aimed at providing a boost to India’s clean energy push, state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has partnered with Global Environment Facility (GEF) for $454 million ‘Creating and Sustaining Markets for Energy Efficiency’ project.
The project will receive a composite funding of $454 million comprised of the GEF grant of $20 million and co-financing of $434 million in the form of loans and equity, including a $200 million loan from the Asian Development Bank.
GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.

November 3

Haryana government signs Rs 20,000 crore worth MoU for logistics parks
Haryana government has signed a MoU with Verbind, an integrated trade facilitation services organisation, to set up logistics and trading hub in the state that would attract investment to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore.
The logistics and trading hub will be spread over an area of 600 acres near Gurugram and the public-private project is expected to generate employment for 6 lakh.
Under the MoU signed, the government will facilitate Verbind’s efforts to obtain necessary permissions, registrations, approvals, clearances among others, with reference to the projects from the relevant departments, in line with the existing rules, policies an regulations. The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) will be the nodal agency to execute the project.

CBDT signs 7 more unilateral APAs with taxpayers
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed seven more advance pricing agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers as it looks to reduce litigation by providing certainty in transfer pricing.
The seven APAs signed over the last month pertain to sectors like FMCG, semi-conductor, information technology, travel and leisure, office furniture and engineering.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into seven more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) during October 2017. All these agreements are unilateral.
With the signing of these agreements, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has gone up to 184, which includes 171 unilateral and 13 bilateral APAs.

ONGC gets government nod for acquiring HPCL
ONGC has received the Information Memorandum from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management for acquiring majority stake in fellow public sector undertaking HPCL.
The Cabinet approval for the merger came around July, and then we went to our board and took the in-principle approval in the third week of August.
ONGC’s acquisition of 51.11 per cent stake in HPCL is in line with the government’s plan to create an integrated energy major with businesses spread across the hydrocarbon value chain.

US approves $1 billion Qatar arms deal despite Gulf crisis
The United States government approved a $1.1 billion deal to service Qatar's F-15 fighter jets despite the diplomatic stand-off between the Gulf emirate and its neighbors.
Qatar, home to one of the largest US military bases in the Middle East, is locked in a bitter dispute with Washington's other Arab allies in the region, led by Saudi Arabia.
US President Donald Trump took Riyadh's side in June when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has taken a more cautious line, attempting to broker an agreement to cool ties and build a regional front against Iranian influence and extremism.

November 4

India’s current account deficit to be 1.5% of GDP this fiscal
According to Nomura report, India’s current account deficit (CAD) for this financial year is expected to be around USD 40 billion, or 1.5 per cent of GDP.
India’s current account deficit (CAD) rose sharply to USD 14.3 billion -- 2.4 per cent of GDP -- at the end of first quarter of 2017-18.
In general terms, CAD refers to the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign exchange that has a bearing on the exchange rate.
According to the Japanese financial services major, July-September CAD is expected at about 1.6 per cent of GDP and accordingly, CAD for the first half of this fiscal (April- September) is likely to be around 2 per cent of GDP.

Bajaj Allianz Launches First Ever Cyber Crime Insurance
With the increasing cyber attacks, millions of individuals and corporations are vulnerable to cyber crime. For the first time in India, insurance company Bajaj Allianz will start to provide cover for the individual victims of cyber attacks.
The cyber crimes includes list of online fraud, identity theft, cyber stalking and extortion, phishing and malware attack. As per the insurance, the individuals will be able to shop over-the-counter insurance as their new Cyber Safe policy, specially designed by Bajaj Allianz.
This will bring customer security for the transactions they are making on any ecommerce website or digital payments app or payments gateway. This will also cover all the sharing of confidential financial information.

India's forex reserves fall to $398.8 billion
According to Reserve Bank of India data, India's foreign exchange reserves fell for the second straight week to $398.761 billion.
The reserves, which act as a cushion against dollar outflows, fell $1.560 billion in the last two weeks amid concerns over tightening of global monetary easing.
Bank of England has just raised its base rate by 0.25 percentage points to 0.5% while the US federal Reserve is expected to raise it in December.
The week ending October 27 saw reserves shrinking by $1.160 billion.

November 5

Rs 10,000 Crore MoU signed between Govt of India & Patanjali
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) of Rs 10, 000 Crore was signed between the Government of India (GoI) and Patanjali at the World Food India 2017.
The MoU was signed by Managing Director of Patanjali, Acharya Balkrishna and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing in the Government of India.
This event that has brought together stakeholders from all food value chains to collaborate the increase in food processing in India.

Pan card not needed for cash sale of agriculture produce up to 2 lakh per day
According to the revenue department farmers do not need to quote PAN for cash sale of their produce up to Rs 2 lakh a day.
The newly inserted section 269ST in the Income Tax Act bans such cash dealings on a single day, in respect of a single transaction or transactions relating to one event or occasion from an individual.
The provision implies that any cash sale of an amount of Rs 2 lakh or more by a cultivator of agricultural produce is prohibited under section 269ST of the Act.

November 6

Israeli ambassador Daniel Carmon inaugurates Israel Centre at IIM-Bangalore
Ambassador of Israel to India Daniel Carmon, who inaugurated the Israel Centre at IIM-B in Karnataka to extend and expand various on-going activities as part of a wonderful growing partnership between India and Israel.
They are building 3 centers of excellence some of which are already working and fully operational, and these are places for training and for demonstration in areas such as agriculture.
The focused activities of the Israel Centre at IIM-B will be aimed at stimulating, strengthening and sustaining Indo-Israeli academic-business interactions.

November 7

India to contribute USD 100 mn to UN partnership fund
India has pledged an additional USD 100 million towards the UN partnership fund, significantly scaling up it support to sustainable development projects across the developing world.
The India–UN Development Partnership Fund was set up earlier this year as a partnership between India and the United Nations Office for South–South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
Anjani Kumar, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, announced the multi-year contribution at the 2017 UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities.
This contribution would be in saddition to USD 10.582 million India is contributing to various other UN programmes.

Ola ties up with Microsoft to build connected vehicle platform
App-based transport aggregator Ola announced its strategic partnership with Microsoft, thereby choosing the latter as its preferred cloud provider.
With Microsoft Azure powering Ola Play, the company's connected car platform aims to transform driver and passenger experiences with vehicle diagnostics, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, predictive maintenance of vehicles and more.
Both companies will collaborate to take this platform to car manufacturers globally, to integrate with vehicle systems.
Under this deal, Ola Play will leverage Microsoft AI and IoT to enhance driver experiences with telematics and navigation guidance; passenger experiences with cloud-based infotainment and productivity; and provide auto manufacturers with custom digital experiences for their customers.

Kerala government inks MOU with Intel, UST Global
The Kerala government inked an MOU with Intel and UST Global for exploring the possibility of transforming the state into an electronic hardware manufacturing hub.
The MOU was signed by the state IT department, Intel and UST Global in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Kerala government was committed to make the state an electronic hardware manufacturing hub. To achieve this goal, government had taken the initial steps by setting up the Kerala Electronics and Hardware Mission.

November 8

ICEX completes first diamond futures contract of Rs 173.32 cr
Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX), the world’s first diamond derivatives exchange, it has successfully completed first-ever diamond futures contracts settlement with the total traded quantity in November expiry for 5,382.08 carats valued at Rs 173.32 crore.
ICEX had commenced operations on August 28 with the launch of three monthly diamond futures contracts - of November 2017, December 2017 and January 2018 expiry, respectively.
The total traded quantity in November expiry since the launch of the contracts stood at 5,382.08 carats, valuing at Rs 173.32 crore. Percentage of delivery against the total traded quantity has been 0.53 per cent.

Government notifies tax avoidance protocol between India-New Zealand
Power Finance Corp has got the government approval for issuing bonds, redeemable after three year and eligible for exemption from capital gains tax.
This will enable PFC to raise funds for long terms through issuance of tax free bonds under Section 54EC of the Income Tax Act.
Any bond redeemable after three years and issued on or after June 15, 2017 by PFC as long term specified asset would be covered under the 54EC of Income Tax Act. The finance ministry has notified the order.
The section allows a deduction in respect of long term capital gains arising from sell/transfer of any long term capital asset (like any immovable property, jewellery or shares) which was held for a period exceeding three years.

November 9

Adani Power inks power purchase agreement with Bangladesh Power Development Board
Adani Power’s arm Adani Power (Jharkhand) has inked long-term pact with Bangladesh Power Development Board to supply electricity from its upcoming 1,600 MW plant at Godda in Jharkhand.
The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Adani Power (Jharkhand) Limited has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for net capacity of 1,496 MW with Bangladesh Power Development Board for 25 years.
the power supply under the PPA will be made from a new 1,600 MW (2X800 MW) ultra - supercritical, coal based power plant to be set up by Adani Power (Jharkhand) at Godda, Jharkhand.

Government doubles import duty on wheat to 20 pc
The government doubled the import duty on wheat to 20 per cent to curb cheap shipments and give positive price signal to farmers in the ongoing Rabi season.
It also imposed import duty of 50 per cent on peas to check cheaper shipments from countries like Canada.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) seek to increase rate of basic customs duty on Peas, (Pisum sativum) from present Nil rate to 50%. Increase rate of basic customs duty on wheat from 10% to 20%.
In March, the government had imposed 10 per cent import duty on wheat to contain sharp fall in local prices in view of bumper crop of 98.38 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).

China to shut down steel plants for 5 months to curb Beijing winter pollution
China will either shut down or curtail operations at dozens of steel plants over the next five months under an aggressive action plan to reduce winter pollution in Beijing and its surrounding areas.
A number of steel plants in northern China, which usually faces heavy to severe winter pollution every year, will be shut down before Christmas as part of the green strategy.
The measures are part of an aggressive action plan that aims to cut wintertime particulate pollution by 15% year-on-year over the next five months. These cuts are badly needed as Beijing and the surrounding industrial provinces have suffered the winter’s first serious episode this week (last week of October), with PM 2.5 levels across several provinces reaching ‘very unhealthy’ levels.

US grants $500k to promote religious freedom in India, Sri Lanka
The US has announced a grant of nearly USD 500,000 for organisations which can come up with ideas and projects to promote religious freedom in India and Sri Lanka.
The Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in its notice, it seeks to reduce religiously-motivated violence and discrimination in India through its USD 493,827 programme.
And for Sri Lanka, it seeks to ensure that authorities at all levels of government in Sri Lanka effectively implement national laws and policies protecting religious freedom. Recipient of both the India Programme and Sri Lanka – with similar objectives of religious freedom and protection – would be announced after screening of applications in this regard.

IRDA makes linking insurance policy mandatory with Aadhaar
Regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) makes linkage of Aadhaar number with insurance policies is mandatory and asked insurers to comply with the statutory norms.
The Authority clarifies that, linkage of Aadhaar number to insurance policies is mandatory under the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017.
The government had in June had notified the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017, making Aaadhar and PAN/Form 60 mandatory for availing financial services including insurance and also for linking the existing policies with the same.

Sodexo Partners With Goodbox to Enable Seamless Food Ordering
Sodexo, the employee motivation and benefits services privider, has tied up with the Bengaluru-based startup, Goodbox.
Employees who use Sodexo Meal Cards can now enjoy ease of ordering food at their workplaces with the Goodbox App. Sodexo has over 11,000 clients and three million plus daily consumers who use the 100 per cent tax-compliant meal benefit solution across 1,500 cities in India.
In their daily rush, people often forget to have a proper meal before leaving for work. At the start of the day, when employees are under pressure to prepare the job list of the day, managing hunger pangs may lead to a drop in productivity.
Employees can now link their Sodexo Meal Card with the Goodbox app and order or pre-book meals at a time of their choice within their office cafeterias. Through this partnership, Sodexo ensures that employees have a smooth food ordering experience.
This will save them a lot of time as well and ensure that they eat their meals of choice regularly, while saving taxes.

November 10

India first to join hands with Facebook on disaster response: Kiren Rijiju
India will be among the first countries to partner with Facebook on disaster response, Union minister Kiren Rijiju announced while inviting other technology companies to create tailored solutions for such challenges.
The programme in collaboration with Facebook, according to the Home Ministry, will be piloted in two disaster-prone states Assam and Uttarakhand.
Facebook will share its disaster maps, developed using aggregated, de-identified data, with the National Disaster Management Authority. The maps can aid swift disaster response by providing real-time, actionable information.

Sebi Imposes Rs 15 Lakh Fine on Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani's Family for Manipulative Trading
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) charged 22 entities, including Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), for “manipulative trades” in Sarang Chemicals, a company not known to many. Rupani’s HUF has been fined Rs 15 lakh.
The alleged manipulative transactions were carried out between January 2011 and June 2011. Rupani took charge as the CM of Gujarat in August 2016.
A Hindu Undivided Family is a firm wherein a family can come together to run a business. In simpler words, it is similar to a partnership firm and gets various tax benefits as per rules.
In May 2016, Sebi had issued a common show cause notice to the 22 entities alleging violations under Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices (PFUTP) relating to the securities market.

PayPal launches domestic payments in India
American digital payments company PayPal launched domestic operations in India. At launch, Indian consumers will be able to make transactions at select online merchants.
Merchants offering PayPal will be able to process both local and global payments through the platform, getting access to PayPal’s more than 200 million customers around the world and in India through a single integration.
PayPal has been offering cross-border payments in India for close to a decade and claims to control a third of the country’s B2C export payments. Now, with the launch of domestic operations, both merchants and customers will also be able to transact using PayPal in India.

IFAD approves USD 30 million for North East project
The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has approved a USD 30 million soft loans for phase four of the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas (NERCORMP).
NERCORMP is a livelihood and rural development project under the North Eastern Council, covering several districts in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
The project will be extended to new districts previously not covered previously under NERCORMP.
The NERCORMP project had successfully transformed the lives of 1.2 lakh rural women and has also emerged as an instrument of women empowerment and game-changer for women in the North East.

Government Triples Home Loan Limit for Central Government Employees to Rs 25 Lakh
In a move that can give a fillip to the housing sector, the government more than tripled the maximum amount that a central government employee can borrow from the government to Rs 25 lakh, from Rs 7.50 lakh earlier.
Revising the house building advance (HBA) rules incorporating the accepted recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, the government also increased the amount that a central government employee can borrow for expansion of their homes to 34 months of basic pay to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh, from Rs 1.80 lakh earlier.
Cost ceiling limit of the house which an employee can construct or purchase has been increased to Rs 1 crore, with a provision of upward revision of 25% in deserving cases, from Rs 30 lakh earlier.

November 11

HAU, Netherlands to jointly work on crop residue management
Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar, and the Netherlands government have decided to jointly work on a project to tackle issues like crop residue management and work on bio-defence strategy, protected cultivation, peri-urban and urban horticulture, floriculture and hydroponic vegetables.
Besides, the project will go into setting up of an Indo-Dutch Horticulture Centre at Jhajhar, an agri-business incubation centre and explore the scope for teacher-student training, exchange programme, special short-term training programme and knowledge gap analysis.
It would help overcome the water crisis faced by farmers in growing crops. The Joint Working Group felt that there is need to minimize post-harvest losses, integrated pest management and provide logistic support.

HCL gets nod for joint venture company with MECL, NALCO
Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) has obtained approval from its board of directors to form a joint venture company with Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) and NALCO Ltd.
The Joint Venture would help in the formation of a joint working group, which would be empowered to deal with government-to-government (G2G) deals relating to sourcing of rare minerals.
The JV would take shape of a new company, namely Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL), which will have an authorised and paid-up capital of Rs 100 crore and Rs 30 crore, respectively.

GST Council slashes tax rates on 177 items from 28% to 18%
In the biggest GST rejig yet, tax rates on over 200 items, ranging from chewing gum to chocolates, to beauty products, wigs and wrist watches were cut to provide relief to consumers and businesses amid economic slowdown.
As many as 177 items of daily use were shifted from the top tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent, while a uniform 5 per cent tax was prescribed for all restaurants, both AC and non-AC.
Currently, 12 per cent GST on food bill is levied in non-AC restaurants and 18 per cent in air-conditioned ones. All these got input tax credit, a facility to set off tax paid on inputs with final tax.

November 12

Karnataka inks pacts with Chinese firms
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the sixth China-India Forum meet being jointly hosted by the Government of China, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), China-India Friendship Association (CIFA), and Podar Enterprise.
Karnataka expected trade and investments between India and China to increase as India sees big opportunities to attract Chinese companies to Make in India, besides attracting investments.
The following MoUs were signed at the Forum: Semiconductor Alliance of China and Beijing Construction & Highway Development Group presented EoI letters to the Karnataka government.
Podar Enterprise signed strategic cooperation MoU with Hebei Provincial Government. Fortune Plus, China, signed MoU for setting up electric vehicle hub with Imperator Autocorp Pvt Ltd.

November 13

India to be 3rd largest aviation market by departure by 2019: Report
According to a report by global consultancy and research firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), Financial year 2018-19 is likely to see more than 150 million passengers taking flights from Indian airports, making the country the world's third largest aviation market for departures.
Earlier, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has predicted that India is on its path to become the third largest aviation market—both departing and arriving passengers - after the US and China by 2025.
But CAPA estimates that India will get there by the end of 2022-23. Indian airports are estimated to serve over 460 million fliers that financial year, up from 265 million in 2017-18.

Amazon shuts down online product discovery platform Junglee
Amazon has shut down its online product discovery platform, Junglee, which was launched in India in 2012. It has been integrated into 'Local Finds', a platform for customers to find and sell used and new goods on Amazon India.
Founded in 1996 by Anand Rajaraman, Venky Harinarayan, Rakesh Mathur and Ashish Gupta, Junglee was sold to Amazon in 1998.
Junglee will also promote sale of first-hand goods from small sellers who may not have the scale to list on larger marketplaces and may want to limit their business to one city.

November 14

Retail inflation rises to seven-month high of 3.58% in October
Retail inflation accelerated to 3.58% in October on the back of rising food and fuel prices, according to official data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 3.28% in September and as low as 1.46% in June. The food and beverages component of CPI saw a growth of 2.26% in October, the fastest pace since March, and up from 1.76% in September. This was mainly driven by a sharp uptick in vegetable prices.
Inflation in the fuel and light segment came in at 6.36%, up from 5.56% in September.
The food influence is seasonal, but global crude prices are firming up and that will have a longer term adverse impact on Indian inflation.

India to overtake Japan to become third largest economy by 2028: Report
According to a foreign brokerage report India is likely to achieve strong growth over the next decade and will overtake Japan in nominal GDP by 2028, to emerge as the world's third largest economy.
The country has already overtaken Brazil and Russia to emerge as the second largest BRIC economy after China and is well on track to cross France and Britain to emerge as the world's fifth largest economy after Germany by 2019.
India crossing Germany and Japan in nominal GDP in dollar term by 2028. This assumes that the Indian economy grows at 10 per cent (in nominal US GDP) in the next decade, well ahead of Japan's 1.6 per cent.
Last year the economy closed at $2.26 trillion. But the report did not quantify the size of the economy by 2028 when it would be the third largest after China and the US.

November 15

BSE arm, Thomson Reuters launch new trading solution
Marketplace Tech Infra Services, an arm of the premier exchange BSE, launched BEST (BSE Electronic Smart Trader), a state-of-the-art hosted trading solution built on Thomson Reuters Omnesys NEST platform.
The new platform will facilitate seamless trading for BSE customers across multiple exchanges, including the BSE, NSE, MCX and NCDEX for a wide range of investment categories like equity, equity derivatives, bonds, currency and commodities on a single terminal.
The platform aims to help traders make informed investing decisions and manage risks, along with the benefit of speed and accuracy, this increasing the effectiveness of the transaction.
BEST provides market participants a state-of-the-art and low-cost trading platform. It shall be our endeavour to provide members world class technology to access domestic and international exchange.

Solar Alliance to set up 1000 GW of solar energy by 2030
The International Solar Alliance announces a target to support setting up 1000GW of solar energy capacity by 2030 across its member countries.
This initiative by India to harness the untapped resource of sunshine-rich countries between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn was backed by the France, and was launched at the Paris climate talks in 2015.
Sixteen countries have ratified the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and it will come into force on December 6, when it will recognized as a UN treaty body.
The ambitious target that will help move countries, especially developing countries, on a low carbon energy path was announced on the day that the United States touted the value of coal as a energy source at an official programme organized by the US government at the UN-sponsored climate talks.

Maharashtra government, Patanjali to partner in Rs 25,000 crore cow project.
Union minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had requested Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis to consider providing 1,000 acres of land to Yoga guru Ramdev for a cow-based project in Vidarbha.
Gadkari announced that the state government would raise a Rs 25,000-crore project on 800 acres at Heti (Kundi) village in Vidarbha, to be carried forward with the help of Ramdev’s Patanjali group.
According to Gadkari, Patanjali will purchase 10,000 cows to develop a breeding centre and to carry out dairy and allied activities at the site.
There is already a cow breeding centre of the state animal husbandry department at Heti (Kundi). There is a proposal to develop it but it has to come through the animal husbandry department.

November 16

BSE Institute signs MoU with DLT Labs to set up in-house Blockchain Lab
Bombay Stock Exchange Institute has signed an MoU with DLT Labs to set up an online Blockchhain Lab. The collaborative efforts of BSE Institute and DLT Labs aim at providing knowledge driven and best in class education and training in the field of financial technology, especially Blockchain.
It will provide excellent opportunities for students to develop sound understanding of finance, accounting, business information systems and analytic methods.
BIL’s Blockchain Lab will be accessible to all BIL students, including online learning students, whose curriculum covers financial technology.
The collaboration with DLT Labs will enhance BIL’s module diversification and help the institute become the premier institute for learning financial technology in India.

Uber launches new engineering facility in Hyderabad
Ridesharing company Uber inaugurated its engineering facility in Hyderabad where a team of over 40 engineers have been hired.
Their mandate is to build business intelligence platforms and real time streaming for Uber globally. Spread over 18000 sq. ft., this facility is located in the tech hub of Hyderabad.
The Engineering facility in Hyderabad will hire software engineers across all levels who will focus on developing scalable platforms that focus on a seamless core global business economic experience.

Government Removes Restrictions On Export Of All Types Of Pulses
The government did away with restrictions on the export of all kinds of pulses to help farmers get better prices for their produce. Opening of exports of all types of pulses will help the farmers dispose of their products at remunerative prices and encourage them to expand the area of sowing.
The Cabinet approved the removal of the prohibition on the export of all types of pulses to ensure farmers have greater choice in marketing their produce.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also empowered the committee headed by food and public distribution secretary to review the export and import policy on pulses and consider measures such as quantitative restrictions, prior registration and changes in import duties depending on domestic production and demand, local and international prices and global trade volumes.

November 17

Moody’s upgrade Sovereign Credit Rating of India to Baa2 from Baa3
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has upgraded the Government of India's local and foreign currency issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed the outlook on the rating to stable from positive.
India’s rating has been upgraded after a period of 13 years. India’s sovereign credit rating was last upgraded in January 2004 to Baa3 (from Ba1).
Government of India welcomes the upgrade and believes, as rightly noted by the Moody’s that this is in recognition of major economic and institutional reforms undertaken by Government of India.
These reforms include introduction of path breaking Goods and Services Tax (GST); putting in place a sound monetary policy framework; measures taken to address recapitalisation of public sector banks and a number of measures taken to bring formalisation and digitalisation (The JAM agenda) in the economy - demonetization, the Aadhaar system of biometric accounts and targeted delivery of benefits through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system.

Mumbai Metro launches mobile ticketing 'Skiiip Q'
Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One launched India's first mobile ticketing product "Skiiip Q" in partnership with PayTm.
Skiiip Q" will help them book tickets at their own convenience from anywhere and instead of using token or smart cards, they can travel using QR code generated by the mobile app on automated fare collection gates of Mumbai Metro One.
The pioneering new digital technology will make a paradigm shift in the way commuters travel and they would be no longer be required to stand in queues for any kind of tickets, top up or store value passes at ticketing counters and customer care centres.
The facility is available on the PayTm app and the app of the technology partner Ridlr and will soon be introduced even in the Mumbai Metro app. AmazonPay will be the payment wallet for Ridlr.

Karnataka partners with NASSCOM to launch a Centre of Excellence for data science and artificial intelligence
The Karnataka government has announced launch of a Rs 40 crore Centre of Excellence for data science and artificial intelligence with Nasscom as its programme and implementation partner.
The centre is based on a public-private partnership model and will accelerate the ecosystem in Karnataka by providing impetus for development of data science and artificial intelligence across the country.
Centre of Excellence (CoE) will provide high-end technology capabilities, data, expertise, thought leadership, and curated programmes to augment capabilities across academia, enterprises, government, innovators and advanced startups.
CoE aims to position Karnataka as one among the top five global innovation centres of Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the next five years.

Indian Navy Signs Deal With Tata Power SED For Portable Diver Detection Sonar
Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division will supply the Indian Navy with Portable Diver Detection Sonar or the PDDS, which will enhance its underwater surveillance capability.
Fitted on ships, the PDDS detect and track underwater threats, and allow the Navy take preventive measure against possible damage to lives or property. The move is seen as a boost for the government's 'Make in India' initiative.
The Indian Navy entered the contract with Tata Power SED under the 'Buy and Make' category. This deal is in line with the government's 'Make in India' initiative for the defence sector, which aims to boost indigenous procurement of defence supplies.

India’s first mega Coastal Economic Zone to come up at JNPT in Maharashtra
The Union Government has given go-ahead for setting up India’s first mega coastal economic zone (CEZ) at Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Maharashtra.
The first of its kind mega CEZ will stretch along north Konkan region spread across Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik and Raigarh.
CEZs are spatial economic regions comprising group of coastal districts or districts with strong linkage to ports in region to tap into synergies with planned industrial corridor projects.
The Union Cabinet in 2016 had approved setting up of 14 mega CEZs under National Perspective Plan of Sagarmala Programme.

November 18

Moody’s Investors Service upgrades ratings of nine PSUs from Baa3 to Baa2, from positive to stable
Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded ratings of nine state-owned firms. These are Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL), Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), NHPC, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and GAIL India.
The foreign currency issuer ratings of BPCL, HPCL, IOC and PLL were upgraded to Baa2 from Baa3. The outlook on these ratings has been revised to stable from positive. ONGC’s rating has been upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2.
The ‘Baa3’ rating was the lowest investment grades just a notch above ‘junk’ status. The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will enhance India’s high growth potential.

Karnataka, Intel’s Mobileye tie up for “Automotive Safety Innovation” project
The Karnataka government has partnered with Intel company Mobileye to launch a project for automotive safety Called “Automotive Safety Innovation”.
This project will create a repository of road and traffic information. As part of this project, multiple vehicles fitted with cameras and other sensors would be covering several areas around the State to build the repository over the next nine months.
Further, this repository can be used to develop and validate artificial intelligence technologies that can learn and analyse data of road conditions and assist drivers to make informed decisions for higher safety.
This initiative can be leveraged by academia and start-ups to build their capabilities and showcase their innovations which can enhance commuter, pedestrian and vehicle safety.

NEA, CTGC sign JV pact for construction of West Seti Hydropower Project
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has signed a joint venture agreement with a Chinese company to construct 750-MW West Seti Hydro power Project.
The agreement was signed in Kathmandu by NEA Executive Director Kulman Ghising and representatives of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC).
It will be one of the largest reservoir type hydro projects in Nepal. The estimated cost of project will be 1.8 billion US dollars. CTGC will have 75% stake in the joint venture and NEA will hold remaining 25%.

November 19

Centre hikes import duty on edible oils to protect farmers
The Centre has raised import duty on crude palm oil to 30 per cent from 15 per cent and on refined oil to 40 per cent from 25 (rpt) 25 per cent in a bid to curb cheaper shipments and boost local prices for supporting farmers and refiners.
Import duty on soyabean oil, sunflower oils, canola/mustard oils -- both crude and refined format has been raised, the notification released by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). Import duty on soyabean has also been increased.
An inter-ministerial group headed by Union minister Nitin Gadkari and the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) had examined the local price situation and suggested raising the import duties on edible oils and some oilseeds.
Import duty of crude palm oil has been doubled to 30 per cent, while the refined crude palm oil been increased to 40 per cent from 25 per cent.

India moves up one notch to 126 in GDP per capita terms: IMF
According to IMF, India has moved up one position to 126th in terms of GDP per capita of countries, still ranked lower than all its BRICS peers, while Qatar remains the world's richest on this parameter.
The data, which forms part of the latest World Economic Outlook report of the International Monetary Fund, ranks over 200 countries in terms of per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP).
PPP between two countries is the rate at which the currency of one country needs to be converted into that of a second country to ensure that a given amount of the first country's currency will purchase the same volume of goods and services in the second country as it does in the first.
India has seen its per capita GDP rise to $7,170 in 2017, from $6,690 last year, helping improve its rank by a position to 126th.

November 20

NSE arm launches SME Index to track firms on Emerge platform
India Index Services & Products (IISL), a National Stock Exchange (NSE) Group entity, launched Nifty SME Emerge Index, a new Nifty Index to measure the performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) listed on NSE’s EMERGE platform.
This index represents about 62 per cent of the full market capitalization of all SMEs listed on EMERGE. December 1, 2016 is the base date for this new index and its base value has been set at 1000.
Launch of this index coincides with the listing of ANI Integrated Services, which has become 100th company to list on NSE EMERGE.

Logistics sector gets infrastructure status
The government has given infrastructure status to logistics sector, covering cold chain and warehousing facilities, in a move to attract more funding at competitive rates for these segments.
Amending the existing framework, a notification issued by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) has widened the category of infrastructure sub-sectors to “transport and logistics” from the earlier sub-head of “transport”.
The infrastructure status would help the logistics sector get credit at competitive rates and on a long-term basis as rising logistics cost impacts global competitiveness of exporters.
According to the notification, logistics infrastructure includes “Multimodal Logistics Park comprising Inland Container Depot (ICD) with minimum investment of Rs 50 crore and minimum area of 10 acre“.

November 21

Government increases issue size of Bharat 22 ETF to Rs 14,500 crore
Central Government announced that issue size of New Fund Offer (NFO) of Bharat 22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) has been raised to Rs 14500 crore from Rs. 8000 crore earlier.
Bharat 22 ETF was oversubscribed by four times. It received highest subscription for any new fund offer (NFO) in the history of Indian mutual fund industry. The decision to raise the issue size has been taken in order to accommodate this positive response.
Major chunk of this NFO has been subscribed by foreign institutional investors, which reflects confidence on the Indian public sector space. NFO of Bharat 22 ETF was managed by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund.

Mahindra opens Detroit’s 1st car making plant in 25 years
Mahindra opened its new manufacturing plant in the world’s car capital Detroit, which got its first automotive production facility in 25 years.
Mahindra has opened its new manufacturing plant with an investment of $230 million. The new plant will create 250 new jobs in the US.
In a few weeks, the new facility will produce an off-highway vehicle, designed and engineered by Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA).
By 2020, additional planned projects will result in 400 more jobs and another USD 600 million in local investment over that same period.

World Bank debars Madhucon Projects Ltd for two years
The World Bank had temporarily debarred Madhucon Projects from participating in World Bank aided projects for a period of three years due to allegednegligence of its project staff in Lucknow-Muzzafarpur Highway projects.
Mudhucon challenged the same before the sanctions Board of World Bank at Washington. Madhucon was exonerated of all allegations except the one pertaining to negligence while claiming two material advances. World Bank has reduced the period of debarment to two years.

November 22

India becomes second largest fish producing country in the world
On the occasion of ‘World Fisheries Day’, Union Agriculture Minister, Radhan Mohan Singh stated that India has become the second largest fish producing country in the world.
Total fish production in India (including capture and culture) reached 11.41 million tonnes in 2016-17.
Mr. Singh mentioned that ‘Blue Revolution’ scheme which was launched with the outlay of Rs. 300 crore for the integrated development of the Fisheries sector in India has resulted in overall increase in fish production by 18.86% as compared to last three years.

Andhra Bank launches loan scheme for rural women
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu launched Pattabhi Sitaramayya-Self Business Group (PS-SBG) scheme, a loan scheme for rural women in the state, who want to start their own businesses.
Under this scheme, Andhra Bank would extend working capital and term loan up to Rs. 25 lakh to the group or in individual capacity within group.
This scheme has been launched to commemorate 138th birth anniversary of Dr. Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the founder of Andhra Bank.
Currently, rural women in only seven districts of Andhra Pradesh and two districts of Telangana can avail the scheme.

November 23

Samsung partners with UP govt to set up 20 healthcare centres
Samsung India announced a partnership with Uttar Pradesh State Government for ‘Smart Healthcare Programme’.
Under this programme, Samsung India will set-up 20 new smart healthcare centres across Uttar Pradesh to offer affordable and quality healthcare to patients from the economically and socially weaker sections of society.
Since 2015, Samsung India has collaborated with 18 government hospitals across India under its ‘Smart Healthcare Programme’, which has so far benefitted over three lakh patients from the economically and socially deprived sections of society.
Now with the latest partnership with Uttar Pradesh State Govt., additional 20 healthcare centres will be setup, taking the total number to 38 across India.

Facebook to help small businesses in India, train 5 lakh Indians by 2020
Facebook expects to train about 5 lakh people in India on digital skills by 2020 and unveiled two programmes designed for individuals and start-ups.
Two programmes: Facebook Digital Training and Facebook Startup Training Hubs were rolled out in India before any other country.
These tools will help people learn digital skills and enable entrepreneurs and SMB (small and medium businesses) in digitising their business.
Facebook is working with organisations like Digital Vidya, EDII, DharmaLife and StartupIndia to develop the curriculum that is designed to work in low network strength regions.

November 24

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance launched ‘Pro-fit’ platform
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has launched ‘Pro-fit’, a platform that will act as a one-stop solution to all the health-record tracking needs of customers.
Pro-Fit is available on Bajaj Allianz General Insurance’s self-service app ‘Insurance Wallet’ and can also be accessed on the company website.
Customers can store their health records, track their fitness levels, and get reminders for vaccinations or medications.
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance is one of the leading private general insurance company in India. Bajaj Allianz is a joint venture (JV) between Bajaj Finserv and Allianz SE, the world’s leading insurer and largest asset manager.

Uber to partner with Mahindra and Mahindra to pilot electric vehicles in India
Uber Technologies partners with Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) to add electric vehicles on its platform in India. Uber will deploy hundreds of electric vehicles in Delhi and Hyderabad, and will consider adding the cars in other cities across India.
Mahindra’s electric vehicles on the Uber platform will include the e2oPlus hatchback and the eVerito sedan.
As part of the arrangement, driver partners on the Uber app can avail of a package that will include Mahindra electric vehicles at competitive prices, attractive financing and insurance premiums as well as comprehensive maintenance packages from M&M and its associates.

November 25

S&P retains India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-‘; maintains stable outlook
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) kept its sovereign rating for India unchanged at ‘BBB-‘, with outlook for the nation as ‘stable’.
BBB- rating is the lowest investment grade and just one notch above junk status. S&P stated that India’s sizable fiscal deficit, low per capita income and high government debt do not warrant a sovereign rating upgrade as of now.
However, it praised the recent reforms undertaken by Indian Government and expects Indian economy to grow strongly during 2018-2020. S&P’s ’Stable’ outlook for India indicates sound external account position.

NPPA caps prices of 51 essential medicines
India’s drug pricing regulator, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) capped prices of 51 essential formulations, including those used for the treatment of cancer and heart conditions.
Reduction in prices for these essential formulations is in the range of 6-53%.
Oxaliplatin (injection 100mg), used for colon or rectal cancer treatment, Japanese encephalitis vaccine and measles rubella vaccine are some of the drugs for which the ceiling prices have been capped.
Besides, NPPA has notified ceiling prices of 13 formulations and has revised prices for 15 formulations. NPPA is authorised to fix ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013.

November 26

Uber's Merger With Yandex, Russia's Largest Tech Company, Has Been Approved
The Russian government has approved the merger of Uber and Yandex, the country’s largest technology company and most popular search engine.
As a part of the deal, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company will invest $225 million into the “Google of Russia,” while Yandex will take 59.3 % ownership of a jointly-held company through a $100 million investment.
The merger marks Uber’s expansion into Russia and was approved by the country’s Federal Antimonopoly Service‬‬ (FAS), so long as the company didn’t bar its drivers from working for competing services.

Meredith Corporation to Acquire Time Inc. To Create Premier Media And Marketing Company Serving Nearly 200 Million American Consumers
Meredith Corporation announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Time Inc. for $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion.
It creating a premier media company serving nearly 200 million American consumers across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile, and social platforms positioned for growth
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of Meredith and Time Inc., and is expected to close during the first quarter of calendar 2018.

November 27

IndiaFirst Life introduces first-ever micro-insurance plan ‘insurance khata’
IndiaFirst Life Insurance (IndiaFirst Life) has launched an unique micro-insurance plan ‘insurance khata’ targeted at those in the informal sector and agricultural labourers with seasonal incomes.
This micro-insurance plan will be distributed exclusively through the 2.4 lakh common service centres (CSC) across the country.
The novelty of this new micro-insurance plan, which has been primarily designed for distribution across CSC, is that it provides individuals with the flexibility to pay premium in parts, as and when possible.
At an individual platform with an entry level minimum premium of Rs. 500, this is the first of its kind product in the industry and not just with us.

Trump Tower launched in Kolkata, developers aim Rs 700 crore sales
The iconic Trump Tower comprising 140 ultra-luxury apartments has been been launched in Kolkata and its Indian developers are expecting to garner around Rs 700 crore in sales from this project. This is the third Trump Tower to be launched in India.
Realty firms Unimark Group, RDB Group and Tribeca Developers have already sold about 50 per cent units since the project was soft-launched in mid-October. The starting price is Rs 3.75 crore for a 2,500 sq ft size flat.
The Trump Organization -- founded by US President Donald Trump -- already has Trump-branded project in Pune partnering Panchshil Realty. It tied up with Lodha group in 2014 for housing project in Mumbai.

November 28

ICICI Prudential Life implements e-NACH
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company (ICICI Pru Life) announced that it has implemented the Electronic-National Automated Clearing House (e-NACH) service of the National Payment Corporation of India. This is the first life insurance company in India to offer this service to its customers.
The e-NACH mandate service is a digital registration process wherein a customer issues a mandate to the bank for his/her account to be debited at pre-determined frequencies. e-NACH service is the most modern and paperless form for making regular payments.
At the time of purchasing a life insurance policy, customers can register for this mandate by sharing their bank details and Aadhaar number. The mandate is authenticated using the One Time Password (OTP) received on the mobile number registered with Aadhaar. The e-NACH facility is activated in 48 hours.

Amazon partners with HAX and Kickstarter to launch Startup C-Cube challenge for startups
Amazon India has announced its partnership with HAX and Kickstarter and has declared a multi-level challenge for Indian start-ups called the Startup C-Cube.
The challenge will be flagged off by Amazon Launchpad, HAX and Kickstarter jointly at an event in Bangalore on December 5th, on the occasion of Amazon Launchpad’s first anniversary in India.
The startup winning the event will be supported by the three companies through the entire “concept-to-customer” journey and the startup will be provided with resources for launch both in India and in Europe/US, depending on the scalability of the idea.

Air India Express gets CAT-III-B certification to operate in dense foggy conditions
Air India Express (AIE), the overseas budget arm of Air India, has secured the Category III-B certification from regulator DGCA, which allows it to operate in dense foggy conditions.
Air India Express flights can now land and takeoff in low visibility conditions even up to an RVR (runway visual range) as low as up to 50 meters.
The airline is now 100 per cent CAT III B certified and all its pilots have also completed the low visibility training, required for carrying out operations in foggy conditions. Domestic airlines are required to deploy only CAT-III compliant planes and crew trained to fly under low visibility conditions while operating in and out of a CAT-III.

November 29

Air India opens simulator training centre for ATR pilots
National carrier Air India commissioned its first ATR simulator at its Central Training Establishment (CTE) in Hyderabad.
Set up at an investment of Rs 63 crore, including the acquisition cost, the new ATR 72-600 full-flight simulator (FFS) will meet the training requirements of the ATR pilots of Alliance Air, its regional arm.
Till now these pilots were going to Singapore, Bangkok or France for training on regional jets, which was costly. Alliance Air, the regional arm of Air India, has 15 ATR 72-600s and it plans to add five more by March.

Amazon India launches ‘The Saheli Store’ for women entrepreneurs to sell on its platform
Amazon India has announced the launch of The Saheli Store on its platform which is a dedicated store for women entrepreneurs of the country to sell their locally produce products online.
In collaboration with organisations that work to encourage women entrepreneurship, the program is in line with Amazon India’s vision.
Currently, the partner organisations include Self-Employed Women Association (SEWA) and Impulse Social Enterprise. The Saheli Store will offer women entrepreneurs’ to access Amazon India’s nationwide customers to sell their products on Amazon.in.
With this initiative thousands of women entrepreneurs who are associated with these partner organisations will be able to offer their products on its platform through a dedicated storefront.

Muthoot Finance launches loan scheme targeting SMEs
Gold finance company Muthoot Finance launched a new loan scheme targeted at Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) for their working capital requirements. gold loans above Rs 10 lakh would be provided at an interest rate of 12 per cent per annum.
The new gold loan scheme is a unique offer, which will benefit all sections of clientele. The company expects togrow its customer base in this high ticket loan category fromthe current 4 per cent to 10 per cent by June 2018.
The loan would be available through all 4,200 branches, including 487 in Karnataka, Alexander.

November 30

Bitcoin crosses $10,000 threshold for first time
Bitcoin rose above the symbolic $10,000 threshold for the first time, bringing its rise for the year to date to more than 900 per cent.
The price of the cryptocurrency edged above $10,000 on Coinbase, the largest dollar denominated bitcoin exchange, which gave the latest price as $10,052 on in Asia. Bloomberg data gave the intraday high as $10,058 before easing to $9,999.
Bitcoin was trading at around $1,000 dollars at the beginning of 2017. It hit $9,000.

India's Jet, Air France-KLM expand ties in potential challenge to Etihad
India’s Jet Airways (JET.NS) and Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) announced a partnership to route more traffic through Europe and on to North America, in a potential challenge to Gulf carrier Etihad Airways that is a shareholder in Jet.
Indian international air traffic is booming, but much of the growth has been captured by the three big Gulf carriers including Etihad, which owns 24 percent of Jet.
The “enhanced cooperation agreement” with Air France-KLM, signed in India’s financial capital Mumbai, is designed to expand the number of flights to Europe and make Paris and Amsterdam hubs for connecting flights to the United States.



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