Banking Awareness Study Material – Financial and Banking Current Affairs
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Finance Ministry Contributed Rail Safety Fund
The Finance Ministry agreed to contribute partially to a new dedicated railway safety fund in the upcoming Budget to be presented on February 1, 2017. Train derailments have increased to a six-year high of 74 till January 23 this year compared to 65 in 2015-16 and this may prompt the Railways to brint ack a cess on railway tickets to fund safety efforts. The dedicated rail safety fund is proposed to beutilised for track improvement, bridge rehabilitation work, rolling stock replacement, human resource development, improved inspection system and safety work at level-crossings, among other things.
Income Tax Department Launched Operation Clean Money
Income Tax Department (ITD) initiated Operation Clean Money, on January 31, 2017. Initial phase of the operation involves e-verification of large cash deposits made during November 9 to December 30, 2016. ITD has enabled online verification of these transactions to reduce compliance cost for the taxpayers while optimising its resources. The information in respect of these cases is being made available in the e-filing window of the PAN holder.
BSNL Launched Mobile TV Service ‘Ditto TV’
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) launched mobile TV service ‘Ditto TV’ and limited fixed mobile telephony, an app that virtually turns mobiles into cordless phone working in sync with landlines within home premises on January 16, 2017. This service will turn mobile handset into a cordless device within the home premises, which means that customers can still avail the attractive landline tariffs of BSNL like free calls on Sundays and night time calling.
NITI Aayog Announced Launch of Two Schemes
NITI Aayog announced the launch of the schemes Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Vyapar Yojana on December 15, 2016 to give cash awards to consumers and merchants who utilise digital payment instruments for personal consumption expenditures. The scheme specially focuses on bringing the poor, lower middle class and small businesses into the digital payment fold.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board Set-up Two Advisory Panels
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) set-up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code that seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner, on November 27, 2016. The nine-member advisory committee on service providers is headed by educationist Mohandas Pai while the panel on corporate insolvency and liquidation is chaired by noted banker Uday Kotak. The members of the panel on service providers include National Institute of Public Finance and Policy’s Professor Ajay N. Shah, National Stock Exchange Vice-Chairman Ravi Narain, SEBI’s Executive Director J. Ranganayakulu and senior lawyer Amarjit Singh Chandiok.
SEBI Relaxed Investment Rules for Angel Funds Giving Boost to Startups
Markets regulator SEBI relaxed some of the investment rules for angel investors in Indian startups in a bid to channelise more investments into these companies on November 24, 2016. Angel investors are financiers who put money in new companies at their formative stages, in expectation of superior returns.
The SEBI raised the total number of angel investors who can now invest in a startup company to 200 from 49. It also reduced the minimum investment amount to ₹ 25 lakh from ₹ 50 lakh earlier.
Union Government Set-up HEFA to Provide Funds for Creating Infrastructure
The Union government set-up Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to provide funds for creating infrastructure and promoting research facilities in the Centrally-aided institutions of higher learning on November 22, 2016. The agency will leverage funds from the market. The agency will mobilise funds under Corporate Social Responsibility and function as a non-banking financing company.
Finance Ministry Set-up PDMC
The Finance Ministry set-up a Public Debt Management Cell (PDMC) with a view to streamline government borrowings and better cash management with the overall objective of deepening bond markets on October 4, 2016. The PDMC will have only advisory functions to avoid any conflict with the statutory functions of the RBI. The Joint Secretary (Budget), Department of Economic Affairs would be the overall in-charge of the PDMC. The PDMC has been tasked to plan government borrowings, including market borrowings and other borrowings, like Sovereign Gold Bond issuance.
Union Government Constituted Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board
The Union government constituted a four-member Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) under the Chairmanship of MS Sahoo on October 2, 2016. Sahoo, who was till recently Competition Commission of India (CCI) Member, assumed charge as Chairman of IBBI. The members of the IBBI are Ajay Tyagi, Additional Secretary, Finance Ministry; Amardeep Singh Bhatia, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs; GS Yadav, Joint Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs; and Unnikrishnan, Legal Advisor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Union Government Approved Merger of Union and Railway Budgets
The Union governments approved three crucial proposals to merge the Railway and General Budgets, scrap the distinction between the Plan and Non-Plan Expenditure and advance the date for the presentation of the General Budget on September 20, 2016. The changes will come into effect from 2017-18. There will be a single General Budget. Till now, budget was presented on the last day of February and it is not until’mid-May that the Parliament approves it in two parts.
CBDT Launched ‘e-Nivaran’ Facility
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) launched the ‘e-Nivaran’ facility for online redressal of taxpayers’ grievances related to refunds, ITRs and PAN among others as part of its initiative to reduce instances of harassment of the public on September 11, 2016. The ‘e-Nivaran’ module, will work on the lines of the internet-based Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filing system and taxpayers can register all complaints related to delay in refunds, filing of e-returns, Tax Deducted at Source (TDS), PAN issues, and those pertaining to their Assessing Officer (AO).
NPCI Launched Bharat Bill Payment System Pilot Project
National Payments Corporation of India launched the pilot project for Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) with 26 Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units on August 31, 2016. Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is the Reserve Bank mandated system which will provide interoperable bill payment services to customers. In the first phase, BBPS will cover repetitive payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and Direct-To-Home (DTH).
CBDT Signed 7 Advance Pricing Agreements to cut Tax Litigation
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signed seven more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers on July 18, 2016. The APAs provide for signing an agreement between a taxpayer and the income tax department on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology for determining the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions. The scheme attempts to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.
NSE Started Online Bidding Platform for Gold Bond Issuance
To facilitate orderly trading in sovereign gold bonds, top stock exchange NSE introduced online bid collection facility for such issuances on July 11, 2016. An online bid collection facility shall be available to trading members on existing web based e-IPO platform, Bid entry for gold bonds shall be available through single bid entry and bulk upload facility. The bourse has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to act as a receiving office for Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) issuances.
So far, three tranches of the bonds have been issued amounting to about ₹ 1322 crore.
Opposed Proposal to Set-up Separate Payments Regulator
The RBI has opposed a move on December 16, 2016 to establish a separate entity to regulate payments and settlements, which is currently under the Central bank’s purview. In September, 2016, a panel was formed to study and recommend changes in the regulatory mechanism under various acts such as the Payments and Settlement Act, the RBI Act, and the Information Technology Act among others. In September, 2016, the Centre had set-up this 11-member Committee on Digital Payments headed by Finance Secretary Ratan Watal, and including the RBI’s former Deputy Governor HR Khan and Executive Director Chandan Sinha as its members.
Announced Its First Policy Review Post-demonetisation
The RBI announced its monetary policy review on December 7, 2016, the first after demonetisation of old ₹ 500 and ₹ 1000 notes. This is the 2nd meeting of MPC headed by the RBI Governor Urjit Patel after the first in October, when it hatj cut repo, or the short-term lending rate, by 0.25% to 6.25%.
What are in the policy revie-w?
- Repo rate remained unchanged at 6.25%.
- Reverse Repo stayed at 5.75%.
- Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) unchanged at 4%.
- The RBI has lowered the GDP growth forecast from 7.6% to 7.1% for the current fiscal. Inflation target remains 5% for March, 2017 with risks tilted to the upside.
- Demonetisation to lower prices of perishables and could reduce inflation by 10-15 basis points by December, 2016.
Revised Priority Sector Lending Norms for RRBs
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on December 1, 2016 revised the priority sector lending target for Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) to 75% of total outstanding loans from 60% earlier, effective from January, 2016. The priority sector loans sanctioned under the guidelines issued prior to this date will continue to be classified under priority sector till repayment/maturity/renewal. Categories of the priority sector include, medium enterprises, social infrastructure and renewable energy, With a cap of 15% of total outstanding. Agriculture should constitute 18% of total outstanding; target of 8% of total outstanding for small and marginal farmers within agriculture. Within agriculture, three categories are eligible for priority sector lending.
Utkarsh Micro Finance got RBI Approval for Small Finance Bank
Utkarsh Micro Finance Private Limited received the final licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on November 28, 2016 to set-up small finance bank. All small finance bank licence holders need to start operations by March, 2017 before the in-principle approval lapses. It is one of the 10 entities that got in-principle approval to set-up Small Finance Bank in September, 2015. Among 10 in-principle licence holders, six entities have received the final nod so far. Capital Small Finance Bank and Equitas Small Finance Bank have started operations so far. Utkarsh intends to start operations by January 14, 2017.
Opened Second Banking Ombudsman Office
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opened a second office of the Banking Ombudsman on November 1, 2016 in New Delhi, taking into account the significant increase of the banking network. The first office of the Banking Ombudsman at RBI, New Delhi, will have the jurisdiction over Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir. The second office will have jurisdiction over Haryana (except Panchkula, Yamuna Nagar and Ambala Districts) and Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The office of the Banking Ombudsman handles cases related to operation in deposit accounts, complaints relating to interest rates, non-honouring of bank guarantee, remittances from abroad and related complaints, and loan related complaints.
Union Government Notified Constitution of Monetary Policy Committee under RBI Act
The Union government notified the constitution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 on September 30, 2016. The notification comes a week after it appointed nominees in the panel that will set interest rates and keep inflation within the stipulated range. The members of the committee from RBI are governor Patel, Deputy Governor R. Gandhi, who is also in charge of monetary policy, and executive director Michael Patra. The RBI governor will have a casting vote in case of a tie. MPC would be entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy rate (repo rate) required to contain inflation within the specified target level.
RBI Allowed 100% Foreign Investment in CG Consumer Electricals
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed foreign investors to buy up to 100% in Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited on September 10, 2016. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs)/Registered Foreign Portfolios Investors (RFPIs) can now invest up to 100% of the paid up capital of Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS).
India Post got Payments Bank Licence to Start Services
India Post became the third entity to receive a final licence last week from the Central Bank to start its payment bank operations on January 30, 2017. Country’s largest telcom service provider Bharti Airtel and digital payments firm Paytm are the other two to have received the license while only Airtel has started operations so far. The government has also appointed AP Singh has interim MD and CEO of the India Post Payment Bank.
Government Barred Cooperative Banks from Accepting Deposits under PMGKY
The government barred cooperative banks from accepting deposits Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme on January 21, 2017. The deposit scheme is a part of the new income disclosure scheme under which a declarant has to deposit 25% of the declared undisclosed income in an authorised bank as notified by the government. Initially, cooperative banks were allowed to take deposits of old currency notes and as per estimates, about ? 16000 crore was deposited. But, six days into demonetisation, the RBI barred these banks from exchanging old currency notes or accepting deposits.
HDFC Bank Launched First ‘Humanoid’ Robot
The private lender HDFC Bank launched what it claimed to be the first ‘humanoid’ in the domestic banking space, e Tanuary 7, 2017. The bank showcased human-sized robot Ira, developed in association with Kochi-based Asimov Robotics. The robot will perform a limited role and act largely as a receptionist, though the humanoid can also move around in the branch.
‘Au Financiers’ got Approval to Start Small Finance Bank
Non-banking finance company Au Financiers (India) received final approval of the RBI to start operations as small finance bank on December 28, 2016. The company has operations in 10 States with 300 branche s and finances commercial and personal vehicle loans, as well as caters to micro, small and medium enterprises. It will focus on world-class technology and create unique and digitally differentiated experience for the customers.
Allahabad Bank Merged AllBank Finance with Itself
Public sector Allahabad Bank on December 23, 2016 merged its wholly-owned subsidiary AllBank Finance Limited (ABFL) with itself. The ABFL offers basket of fee-based financial services such as IPO management, debt/loan syndication, trusteeship services (debenture trustee/security trusty) structured finance, placement of equity shares to Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs), investment advisory and portfolio management services.
Paytm Launched ‘Each One, Teach One’ to Increase Digital Inclusion
Paytm announced a programme to increase the digital inclusion in the country wherein it is calling upon consumers and merchants across India to teach others on how to use Paytm to pay and accept money, on December 15, 2016. The campaign is aimed at transforming user behavior and further accelerating the country’s ongoing shift from cash to digital payments. As a part of the drive, Paytm has also announced an incentive including ? 1 crore grand prize along with additional prizes like motorcycles, smartphones, laptops and other exciting gifts. All users transacting between December 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 are eligible to win these prizes.
100 Banks Joined National Financial Switch Network as Direct Members
The NPCI said on December 7, 2016 that 100 banks have joined the NFS network as direct members. Direct members are those banks that directly participate in clearing and settlement with NPCI. Direct member bank can also act as a sponsor bank. The NFS is the largest interoperable ATM network in the country and it manages more than 95% of the domestic interbank ATM transactions. Till date, NFS network comprise of 745 members which include 100 direct members, 645 sub-members including Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and White Label ATM operators (WLAOs). The network now has 230000 ATMs.
Bharti Airtel Started First Payments Bank Service
Airtel Payments Bank Limited (Airtel Bank), a subsidiary of the country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel, started its first pilot banking services in Rajasthan from November 23,2016.
Airtel started India’s first payments bank service in Rajasthan. The banking service is aimed at testing systems and processes before a full scale pan Indian is launched. Airtel Bank got payments bank license from the RBI on April 11, 2016. It became the first entity in India to receive a payments bank license from the RBI.
ICICI Bank UK Launched ‘Money2India Europe’
The British subsidiary of ICICI Bank, ICICI Bank UK Pic, announced the launch of online money transfer services on October 27, 2016 to facilitate transaction from any bank accounts in Sweden, Norway and Denmark to any recipient account based in India. The service called ‘Money2India Europe’ verifies the credentials of the customers over video call from Money2India Europe website. The website is owned by ICICI Bank UK Pic and it eliminates the need to courier the Know Your Customer (KYC) documents. Money2India Europe service is now available in 20 countries in Europe and the service is completely online and can be completed within 15 minutes.
NABARD Sanctioned for 50 Loan Irrigation Projects
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned ₹ 19702 crore loan to National Water Development Agency (NWDA) for 50 irrigation projects on October 23, 2016. The loan is sanctioned under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF), announced by Finance Minister Arun jaitley during the Budget 2016-17. This would help create additional irrigation potential of 39.14 lakh hectares under these projects in 11 States. NABARD gave the 1st instalment of ₹ 1500 crore to NWDA, which is an agency of Ministry of Water Resources.
SBP got Special Award for Excellence in MSME Lending
State Bank of Patiala (SBP) conferred “Special Award for Excellence in MSME lending” for its performance in lending to the MSME sector during the year 2013-14 and 2014-15 with a growth of? 2597 crore (annualised 23%) and ? 994 crore (annualised 7.10%) respectively, covering the entire range of services on October 19, 2016. The bank is maintaining momentum in lending to this sector during the current financial year also. With a view to extend the coverage of MSME sector, the Bank has 30 MSME specialised branches.
Union Government Approved Pact between EXIM Bank, New Development Bank
The Union Cabinet approved a pact between Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) and BRICS-promoted NDB, along with other development financial institutions of member nations, with an aim to strengthen trade and economic ties on October 13, 2016. It signed a MoU on general cooperation with NDB through the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism by the government at the level of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs/Export Import Bank of India.
SBI Board Cleared Merger of 5 Associate Banks and BMB
SBI approved scheme of merger of five associate lenders State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with itself on August 18, 2016. As per the merger proposal, SBBj shareholders will get 28 shares of SBI (₹ 1 each) for every 10 shares (₹ 10 each). Similarly, SBM and SBT shareholders will get 22 shares of SBI for every 10 shares. The consolidated entity will add ₹ 8 lakh crore (about $ 120 billion) to SBI’s assets and consolidated entity will get catapulted into the top 50 banks globally.
HDFC became First Company to Offer Masala Bond
The success of the first Masala Bond issued by a domestic finance company, by home loan major HDFC on July 17, 2016. It will open the market for other potential issuers, particularly Non-Bank Finance Companies and Government-Related Issuers. Private mortgage lender HDFC had a few days ago raised ₹ 3000 crore through masala bonds. Masala bonds although denominated in Indian rupees are
listed on the international market and offered and settled in US dollars, providing easier access for foreign investors.
SIDBI and Yes Bank became Partner for Loan Guarantee Under World Bank Scheme
The SIDBI entered into a partnership with private sector lender Yes Bank to guarantee 75% of loans of up to ₹ 15 crore extended to energy efficiency projects under a World Bank initiative on July 8, 2016.
A MoU was signed between SIDBI and Yes Bank under the Partial Risk Sharing Facility (PRSF) for financing energy efficiency projects programme sponsored by the World Bank.
SBI Launched 3 New Digital Offerings
The SBI, on the occasion of 61st State Bank Day, launched a social media banking platform for Facebook and Twitter users, called ‘SBI Mingle’ which will help the customers with a host of banking services on their social media accounts, at their own convenience on July 6, 2016. The SBI partnered with Flipkart to offer its consumers the facility of pre-approved EMI Facility on purchases. Under this partnership the SBI will provide overdraft facility to pre-qualified set of customers for transacting on Flipkart for a minimum purchase of ₹ 5000. The SBI also launched its new initiative SBI Digital Villages aimed at transforming villages into cashless eco-system by adopting them.
Amazon Launched its Startup Programme ‘Launchpad’ in India
Amazon announced the launch of its global programme called Amazon Launchpad in India, which will help startups in the country on December 4, 2016. According to the company, the programme will help startups launch, market, and distribute their products to Amazon customers across India and around the world via a dedicated store. Amazon Launchpad store will be an exclusive corner with products from Indian startups. Amazon India has tied-up with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)’s Startup India and Nasscom for its initiative. It will offer startups access to custom product pages, marketing support, and access to Amazons global customer base and their fulfillment network.
Government Granted Licence to Set-up BP Petrol Pumps in India
The government has formally granted a licence on October 16, 2016 to BP, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, to set-up 3500 petrol pumps in India. It is a UK-based firm. BP granted licence to market Motor Spirit (petrol) and High Speed Diesel (diesel)—another milestone for BP in India. India currently has about 56190 petrol pumps, with public sector firms operating a majority of them. Private sector operators are limited to Essar Oil and Reliance Industries, who between them have some 3500 petrol pumps. Royal Dutch Shell operates 82 petrol stations. State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) owns 25363 petrol pumps, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Limited (HPCL) 13802 stations and Bharat Petroleum Corp Limited (BPCL) 13439 outlets.
Paytm Launched Payment Method for People without Internet
Paytm has announced the launch of a new toll-free number 180018001234 on December 7, 2016 to help customers use Paytm without an internet connection. This is particularly important for the times when internet connectivity is patchy, and continued disconnections would stop people from using the Paytm app. Both users, as well as merchants, can now use the feature just by calling the toll-free number to pay and receive money.
NITI Aayog Index 2016
Maharashtra has been adjudged the most farmer friendly State in the country followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan, according to NITI Aayog’s index on reforms in the farm sector on October 31, 2016. In a first of its kind of exercise, NITI Aayog has prepared ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ based on initiatives taken by the States in implementing farm sector reforms. Termed the Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index, it ranks states on three major parameters, reforms in agricultural marketing, land lease and forestry on private land. The minimum score of zero implies no reforms at all; a score of 100 would mean the opposite and the friendliest to farmers. Maharashtra got 81.7 and Gujarat was second at 71.5, Puducherry, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir got the lowest three grades, of 4.8, 7.3 and 7.4, respectively.
Business Index for World Bank’s Ease
After pinning its hopes on a significant improvement in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, India has managed to move up by only a single rank in the latest Doing Business Report 2017 by the bank on October 25, 2016. The country remains at the 130th position globally. This is the same as last year, but qualifies for a single upward movement in rank as India’s position in 2016 has been revised to 131 by the World Bank. The World Bank ranks countries on 10 parameters starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority shareholders, paying taxes, enforcing contracts, trading across borders and resolving insolvency. New Zealand bagged the top spot in the rankings followed by Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong and Korea.
Index to Track Performance of CBLO Rate
Asia Index, a joint venture between )5&P Dow Jones Indices and BSE, launched a new index to measure the performance of Collateralised Borrowing and Lending Obligation rate on August 15, 2016. The new index S&P BSE Liquid Rate Index can be used to create Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) for both retail and institutional investors. The index is designed to measure the returns from a daily rolling deposit at the CBLO rate. The S&P BSE CBLO Index is calculated only on those days when both BSE and CCIL are open.
|Agreement Between||Related Facts|
|Yes Bank tied-up -with Grofers
(December 12, 2016)
|MMTC to tied-up with SBI (December 4, 2016)||
Canara Bank and Bajaj Allianz
|‘Sun Pharma ’ and ‘ICGEB ’ (September 24, 2016)||
|‘Indian Oil Corp’ and ‘GAR’ (September 22, 2016)||
|‘Gionee’ and ‘Haryana Government’ (September 13, 2016)||
|‘LG Electronics Inc’ and ‘Amazon.com’ (September 2, 2016)||
|Accenture and Redcore (August 24, 2016)||
|BSNL and Microsoft India (August 22, 2016)||
|Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and SBI (August 22, 2016)||
|Federal Bank and MMTC (August 17, 2016)||
|Reliance Brands and Scotch (August 17, 2016)||
|Kotak Mahindra Bank and (August 11, 2016)||
|Alibaba & Ant Financial Services and AXA Insurance (August 3, 2016)||
|Bank of Baroda and Fisdom (Agust 2,2016)||
|‘NDMC’ and ‘NEERI’ (July 21, 2016)||
|‘SBF and ‘IIT-Bombay’ (July 12, 2016)||
|‘Bihar’ and ‘Bangkok Firm’ (July 11, 2016)||
|Company Involved||Related Facts|
|Allahabad Bank and AllBank Finance (December 23, 2016)||
|Strides Shasun to acquire Perrigo API India (December 7, 2016)||
|‘Adani Ports’ to acquire ‘Australia’s APB ’ (September 19, 2016)||
|Reliance Communications’ and ‘Aircel’ (September 14,2016)||
|‘HP to acquire ‘Samsung Printer Business’ (September 11, 2016)||
|‘Sony Pictures’acquired ‘Sony Pictures’acquired (August 31, 2016)||
|Tata Auto Comp and TitanX
(August 16, 2016)
|Aditya Birla Nuvo and Grasim
(August 12, 2016)
|Intel and Nervana Systems (August 11, 2016)||
|ICICI and Apollo India (August 2, 2016)||
|‘Myntra’acquired ‘Cubeit’ (July 12, 2016)||
Personalities in News
|Viral V. Acharya
(December 28, 2016
(December 25, 2016)
(December 14, 2016)
|Cyrus Mistry (December 11, 2016)||
|Pankaj Patel (November 23, 2016)||
|Sushil Chandra (November 1, 2016)||
|Ashok Chawla (October 31, 2016)||
|Ajay Kumar Bhalla (October 14, 2016)||
|Sushil Muhnot (September 26, 2016)||
|Mukund Chaudhari (September 3, 2016)||
|Anand Krishnamurthy (August 22, 2016)||
|Urjit Patel (August 20, 2016)||
|Sunil Bharti Mittal (August 20, 2016)||
|Umang Vohra (August 11, 2016)||
|Dinesh Kumar Khara (August 9, 2016)||
Rajesh Mokashi (August 6, 2016)
VinodRai (August 1, 2016)
|Anant MaheshMiari (August 1, 2016)
Dilip Rath (August 1, 2016)
|Rani Singh Nair (August 1, 2016)
|Aditya Puri (July 10, 2016||
|Sudarshan Sen (July 4, 2016)
NS Vishwanathan (June 28, 2016)
|SKRoy (June 23, 2016)
Gunit Chadha (June 14, 2016)
|RatanP. Watal (May 20, 2016||
Union Budget 2017-18
The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1, 2017 presented the Union Budget 2017-18 in the Parliament. First time Union Budget presented on first day of February. The Union Budget 2017-18 is also unique in the sense that it is the first budget after introduction of 3 key changes to the budget process viz., merging of the Railway Budget with the General Budget, Doing away with the classification of plan and non-plan expenditure and most importantly advancing the budget presentation date by one month.
Highlights of the Budget Fiscal Roadmap
- Budget proposal divided into 10 distinct themes— Farmers; rural population; energising youth; poor and underprivileged; infrastructure; financial sector; digital economy; public service; prudent fiscal management; and tax administration.
- Total expenditure—₹ 2147000 crore and abolition of plan, non-plan expenditure, focus on capital expenditure.
- Fiscal deficit for the financial year 2017-18 pegged at 3.2% of GDP and Revenue deficit for 2017-18 at 1.9%.
- Defence expenditure, excluding pension—₹ 274114 crore
- Expenditure in science and technology—₹ 37435 crore
Banking and Taxation
- No cash transactions above ₹ 3 lakh and Political funding— Maximum amount of cash donation that can be received is ₹ 2000.
- MAT not to be abolished at present; to allow carry-forward for 15 years.
- Income Tax rate cut to 5% for individuals having income between ₹ 2.5 lakh to ₹ 5 lakh.
- Two new schemes to introduced to promote BHIM App—referal bonus for users and cash back for traders.
- Payment regulatory board to be set-up in the RBI to regulate electronic payments, replacing Board for Regulation and Supervision in Payments and Settlements System.
- Actual revenue loss on tax proposals ₹ 22700 crore; gain from additional resource mobilisation is ₹ 2700 crore.
- Farmer credit fixed at record level of ₹ 10 trillion; will ensure adequate flow to underserved areas.
- Soil Health Cards Government to set-up mini-labs in Krishi Vigyan Kendras.
- Long-term irrigation fund in NABARD— corpus at ₹ 40000 crore. Dedicated micro- irrigation fund with ₹ 5000 crore corpus.
- MGNREGA : ₹ 48000 crore has been allocated; participation of women now at 55%; using space technology in a big way.
- Coverage of Fasal Bima Yojana to go up from 30% of cropped area to 40% in 2017-18 and 50% next year.
Health and Women
- Two new AIIMS to be set-up each in Jharkhand and Gujarat. Elimination of Tuberculosis (TB) by 2025 targeted.
- ₹ 500 crore allocated to set-up Mahila Shakti Kendras; Allocation raised from ₹ 1.56 lakh crore to ₹ 1.84 lakh crore for women & child welfare.
- Capital and development expenditure pegged at ₹ 1.31 lakh crore for railways in financial year 2017-18 from the budget.
- No Service charge while booking tickets with IRCTC.
- ₹ 1 lakh crore (₹ 1 trillion) corpus for railway safety fund over five years.
- Five hundred stations will be differently abled by providing lifts and escalators.
- Passenger safety—Safety fund corpus set-up; unmanned level crossings to be eliminated by the year 2020.
- Railway lines of 3500 km to be commissioned.
- To introduce Coach Mitra facility; by 2019, biotoilets for all coaches.
- Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana : ₹ 19000 crore allocated; along with States, ? 27000 crore will be spent in financial year 2017-18.
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana has allocated ₹ 23000 crore.
- National testing agency to be established for all entrance exams, freeing up CBSE, AICTE and other bodies.
- Propose to leverage information technology with launch of SWAYAM platform for virtual learning.
- Model Shops and Establishment Bill to open up additional opportunities for employment of women.
- For senior citizens, aadhaar-based health cards will be issued.
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras will be extended to 600 districts; 100 International skill centres to be opened to help people get jobs abroad.
- Digi Gaon will be launched to promote tele-medicine and education.
- Trade Infrastructure Export Scheme to be launched in 2017-18; total allocation for infrastructure at record ₹ 3.96 lakh crore.
- Aadhaar Pay to be launched 20 lakh Aadhaar-based PoS by September, 2017.
Economic Survey 2016-17
The Economic Survey 2016-17, tabled in the Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on January 31, 2017, underlined the need for more reforms.
Highlights of Econmic Survey Growth
- GDP growth rate at constant market prices for the current year 2016-17 is placed at 7.1%.
- The federal statistics office’s estimate of 7.1% growth for 2016-17 likely to be revised downwards.
- The CAD narrowed in the first half (H1) of 2016-17 to 0.3% of GDP from 1.5% in H1 of 2015-16 and 1.1% in 2015-16 full year.
- Trade deficit declined to $ 76.5 billion in 2016-17 as compared to $ 100.1 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.
- Sharp rise in prices in 2017-18 may cap monetary easing headroom.
- Market interest rates seen lower in 2017-18 due to demonetisation.
- The government debt to GDP ratio in 2016 seen at 68.5% down from 69.1% in 2015.
- Demonetisation to affect growth rate by 0.25-0.5%, but to have long-term benefits.
- Remonetisation will ensure that the cash squeeze is eliminated by April, 2017.
- Suggests setting-up of public sector asset rehabilitation agency to take charge of large bad loans in banks.
- The central agency with government backing could overcome coordination and political issues on bad loans.
- Income tax rates and real estate stamp duties could be reduced.
- Time table for reducing corporate tax rate could be accelerated.
Universal Basic Income
- The UBI proposal a powerful idea, but not ready for implementation.
- The UBI an alternative to plethora of State subsidies for poverty alleviation.