Newsletter: 25th – 31st December, 2016

INDIAN ECONOMY

90 per cent of scrapped notes back in system, big dividend unlikely 

Of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore worth of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were scrapped, as much as Rs 14 lakh crore has been deposited in banks. This exceeded the government’s expectation that as much as Rs 3 lakh crore will not be returned. This also means that expectation that RBI will be able to give a substantial dividend to the government will be belied.

Government names Viral V Acharya as RBI Deputy Governor 

Government appointed Viral V Acharya, a New York University economics professor who once called himself ‘poor man’s Raghuram Rajan’, as new Deputy Governor at the Reserve Bank of India. The 42-year-old Acharya’s appointment for a three-year tenure was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

PM Modi lays foundation for Rs 12,000-crore Char Dham highway project 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for Char Dham highway project in Uttarakhand, dedicating it to the victims of the 2013 flash floods in the state.  Modi said the Rs 12,000-crore project will not just ease travel to the four pilgrimage sites of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, but will also give a big boost to the state’s economy.

Bank of Maharashtra adopts a village in Sangli for digital transactions 

Pune based public sector lender Bank of Maharashtra, has helped to make the village of Malangaon, in Sangli district, Maharashtra, a completely cashless village. Post the announcement of withdrawal of 500 and 1000 currency notes and the push towards a cashless society financial inclusion became the need of the hour, and the bank officials with the help of the District collector and several government officials adopted the village, said the bank.

Modi government okays ordinance, makes it illegal to hold old notes post March 31 

The Cabinet approved the promulgation of an ordinance extinguishing the Reserve Bank of India’s liability for cancelled Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as the logical conclusion to the government’s demonetisation initiative. It will also give the finance ministry enough time to factor into the budget the amount of cash that hasn’t been returned to the system.

Dial ‘14444’ for all queries on digital payments soon 

Nasscom, telecom operators, and NITI Aayog have come together in creating a dedicated helpline – 14444 – for addressing all queries on digitial payments, as government takes strides to push for more digital transactions post demonetisation.

RBI relaxes ATM withdrawal limit to Rs 4500 from Rs 2500 per day

The Reserve Bank of India on Friday relaxed the daily ATM withdrawal limit to Rs 4500 from the earlier cap of Rs 2500. However, the weekly withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 remains unchanged even as the 50-day demonetisation exercise comes to a close.

PM Narendra Modi launches UPI based mobile payment app called BHIM

Urging people to make digital payments a “habit” to make the country a cashless economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched a mobile app for the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). The application, which will be common across all banks and financial institutions, is called BHIM (Bharat Interface for Mobile).

BUSINESS

MobiKwik users can soon pay utility bills through wallet 

Mobile wallet company MobiKwik  announced that it has received an in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to setup a Bharat Bill Payments Operating Unit (BBPOU) which will allow users across India, including those from rural and semi-rural areas to pay their utility and convenience bills using the wallet.

CCI clears Micromax-Madison India deal, 3 others get go-ahead 

Competition Commission has cleared the proposed purchase of 2 per cent stake in handset maker Micromax by Madison India Opportunities Trust Fund (MIOTF) besides three other deals involving different companies.

CDSL files prospectus for IPO of up to 3.5 crore shares 

BSE-promoted Central Depository Services (CDSL) has filed a draft red herring prospectus with SEBI for an initial public offering of up to 3.52 crore shares.  BSE, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Calcutta Stock Exchange would be selling a portion of their stakes in CDSL through the IPO.

NSE files DRHP for Rs 10,000 crore mega IPO; to sell 25% stake 

Stock exchange NSE filed draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with market regulator Sebi for what could be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in six years. The issue size was pegged at Rs 10,000 crore, which will eclipse ICICI Prudential’s Rs 6,000 crore IPO concluded recently, but will fall short of Coal India’s Rs 14,475 crore IPO launched in October 2010.

Microsoft can be the first co to hit $1 trillion in market valuation 

he $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn can propel technology giant Microsoft to be the first tech company to attain a market value of $1 trillion, an analyst has said. Microsoft may reach that threshold before other big companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.

JSW Energy board approves raising up to Rs 750 crore 

JSW Energy said its board has given nod to raise funds up to Rs 750 crore through issuance of redeemable non-convertible debentures by way of private placement. The issue proceeds would be used for the general corporate purposes, business operations, working capital and repayment of existing debt.

BP buys Woolworths fuel business in Australia for $1.3 bn 

Oil company BP says it has agreed to buy the fuel business of Australian supermarket chain Woolworths Ltd for $1.3 billion as part of its efforts to rebuild itself.  The deal includes 527 fuel convenience sites and 16 other development sites across Australia.

South Korea fines Qualcomm $854 million for violating competition laws 

South Korea’s antitrust regulator fined Qualcomm Inc 1.03 trillion for what it called unfair business practices in patent licensing and modem chip sales. The fine, the largest ever levied in South Korea, marks the latest antitrust setback for Qualcomm’s most profitable business of licensing wireless patents to the mobile industry.

Panasonic to invest over $256 mn in Tesla’s US plant for solar cells

Panasonic Corp will invest more than 30 billion yen ($256 million) in a New York production facility of Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors to make photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, deepening a partnership of the two companies.

Twitter partners with ICICI Bank for advanced customer care 

Twitter and ICICI Bank announced a partnership that is aimed at integrating additional digital customer care support features to benefit customers with direct online response to their queries and feedback in real-time. ICICI Bank is the first bank in India to implement the new features to its Twitter account for social customer care.

Xiaomi-backed online bank to launch services soon – bank investor 

A Chinese online bank backed by smartphones and home appliances maker Xiaomi Inc is set to launch services soon, after being officially established and rebranded recently, according to one of the venture’s investors.

Hindustan Unilever launching a raft of Ayurvedic products to counter Patanjali 

Hindustan Unilever, India’s largest consumer goods company, is launching a raft of Ayurvedic personal care products aimed at the product portfolio of Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali, the surprise successful challenger of the multinational company’s market dominance.

An interoperable QR code to make payments more easy

Visa, Mastercard and Rupay are all set to launch a quick response (QR) codebased application that would enable merchants accept payments from customer’s mobile phone without the bulky, expensive point of sales (PoS) machines.

RBI lets Watsa’s Fairfax to buy 51 per cent in Catholic Syrian Bank

In a first-of-its-kind deal to help turnaround a lender, the Reserve Bank has given its nod to Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings to pick up a majority 51 per cent in the Kerala-based Catholic Syrian Bank.

State Bank of India ties up with Magicbricks.com

State Bank of IndiaBSE 0.89 %, the country’s largest bank has tied up with online classifieds portal magicbricks.com, to conduct joint marketing activites and help rejuvenate the real estate sector. To kick start the MOU, SBI and Magicbricks are launching the “Seal the Deal” campaign.

WORLD

China to levy environment tax to fight pollution 

Battling recurring pollution enveloping its cities, China has passed a new law to levy environment tax on polluters, specially on heavy industries. The Environment Tax Law was adopted by the legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee which concluded its meeting last week.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif inaugurates Chinese-assisted nuclear power plant 

Power-starved Pakistan received a major boost as a China-backed 340 MW nuclear power plant in its Punjab province was inaugrated by PM Nawaz Sharif who termed it as a milestone in the government’s efforts to end the mence of load shedding. The Chashma-3 plant is located at Chashma in Mianwali district where another plant Chashma-IV is also being built.

China’s yuan set to have biggest annual loss since 1994

China’s yuan firmed against the dollar on Friday after the central bank fixed a much stronger midpoint, but the currency is on course to be the worst performing major Asian currency this year and have its biggest annual loss since 1994. The yuan, which has reached an 8-1/2 year low, was on track to lose nearly 7 per cent against the dollar in 2016.

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