CSO revises GDP growth rate to 7.2% for 2017-18 from 6.7% estimated earlier

  • The CSO issued first revised estimates for the year 2017-18, revising GDP growth to 7.2% instead of the earlier 6.7% figure.
  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 8.2% in 2016-17, 110 basis points more than the earlier figure of 7.1%, according to the second revised estimates released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO).
  • Real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for 2017-18 and 2016-17 stand at Rs 131.80 lakh crore and Rs 122.98 lakh crore, respectively, showing growth of 7.2% during 2017-18 and 8.2% during 2016-17.

New e-Commerce Policy Comes Into Effect

  • India’s new e-commerce policy came into effect on February 1, 2019.

  • According to an official notification released on December 28, 2018 by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, a new set of policy rules were formed for the e-commerce companies.

  • It gave them a 60-day window period for aligning themselves to the government’s modified foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.

Important Points:
  • Bar online retailers from selling products through vendors in which they have an equity interest.

  • Also bars them from entering into exclusive deals with brands for selling products only on their platforms.

  • Disallows e-commerce players to control the inventory of the vendors.

  • Any such ownership over the inventory will convert it into inventory based model from marketplace based model, which is not entitled to FDI.

  • Under the new rules, the e-commerce retailer shall be deemed to own the inventory of a vendor if over 25% of the purchases of such a vendor are through it.

  • Restricts marketplaces from influencing prices in a bid to curb deep discounting.

  • With this, special offers like cash back, extended warranties, faster deliveries to some brands will be prohibited, with the view to provide a level playing field.

NBHC releases kharif crop estimates for the year 2018-19

  • National Bulk Handling Corporation (NBHC) has come out with kharif crop estimates for the year 2018-19 which shows that basmati rice production is expected to decline by 9.24% to 5.18 million metric tonne.

  • Pulses production is projected to drop marginally to 9.10 million tonne from 9.35 million tonnne last year.

  • The total oilseeds production is estimated to be 19.87 million metric tonne which is 5.36% lower than last year's figure of 21 million metric tonne.

Centre to launch campaign to saturate farmers for financial inclusion under Kisan Credit Cards

  • The Government of India has decided to launch a campaign with immediate effect and accorded the highest priorityto saturate farmers for financial inclusion under Kisan Credit Cards (KCC)
  • The campaign will be launched through the Financial Institutions in collaboration with the State Governments.
  • There are around seven crore active KCCs and issuing of KCCs in large numbers have helped increasing the agriculture credit.
  • It has contributed significantly in not only fulfilling the objective of food security but also increasing the farmer’s income.

FDI declines 11% during April-September

  • According to Ministry of Commerce and Industry data, foreign direct investment (FDI) into India declined 11% to $22.66 billion during April-September period of the current fiscal.

  • The foreign fund inflows during April-September 2017-18 stood at $25.35 billion.

  • Singapore was the largest source of FDI during April-September 2018 with $8.62 billion inflow, followed by Mauritius $3.88 billion.

Fiscal deficit for April-December at 112% of FY19 budget estimate

  • India's budgetary fiscal deficit for the April-December period stood at Rs. 7.01 lakh crore or 112.4% of the budgeted target of Rs. 6.24 lakh crore.
  • According to Controller General of Accounts (CGA) the fiscal deficit during the corresponding nine months of the previous fiscal was 13.6%.
  • The total expenditure of the government at December end was Rs. 18.32 lakh crore or 75% of budget estimates.
  • The total expenditure for current fiscal has been raised to Rs 24.57 lakh crore in the Revised Estimates, from the budgeted Rs. 24.42 lakh crore.

6th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2018-19 Resolution of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Reserve Bank of India

  • The Reserve Bank of India has cut the repo rate by 25 basis points in its sixth bi-monthly monetary policy statement for 2018-19.

  • The Monetary policy committee is headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.

  • The MPC also decided to change the monetary policy stance from calibrated tightening to neutral

Repo Rate 6.25%
Reverse repo Rate 6%
MSF (Marginal Standing Facility) 6.50%
Bank Rate 6.50%
CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) 4%
SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) 19.25%

Dalmia-OCL buys GSB Group of Germany

  • Dalmia-OCL, a unit of Dalmia Bharat Group, has acquired German speciality refractory GSB Group GmbH for about Rs. 122 crore.

  • Dalmia-OCL will now get access to customers in the steel and refractory making belt in Europe and technology to make cleaner steel.

  • It will gives newer resources and talents in Europe to help strengthen their capability in Indiaments.

IRDAI imposes Rs. 9 lakh fine on United India Insurance

  • Insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has imposed penalties totaling Rs. 9 lakh on United India Insurance Co. Ltd. (UIIC) after it found the general insurer had violated certain provisions.
  • A sum of Rs. 5 lakh is for violation of regulations that stipulate certain timelines such as those relating to assigning of surveyors.
  • The balance Rs. 4 lakh – Rs. 1 lakh each is for violations pertaining to four sample policies – was imposed on UIIC for violation of circular and guidelines on rates/ discounts an insurer can offer and disclosure of material information.

Himachal’s growth rate projected at 7.3% in current financial year

  • The economic survey report for 2018-19 tabled in the assembly by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur projected the Himachal’s growth rate at around 7.3% for the current financial year while per capita income is estimated at Rs 1,76,968.
  • The economic growth was 6.5 % in the last fiscal, highest in the three years.
  • The gross state domestic product (GSDP) of state at current prices in 2017-2018 increased to Rs. 1,36,542 crore from Rs. 1,25,122 crore in 2016-2017 and as per advance estimates, it is likely to be about Rs. 1,51,835 crore in 2018-19.

Facebook acquired GrokStyle virtual search start-up to boost AI capabilities.

  • In an attempt to enable users shop better using Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, Facebook has acquired USbased virtual search start-up, GrokStyle, at an undisclosed amount.
  • We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook.
  • Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities
  • The basic idea is to allow users to match a piece of furniture or a light fixture in an image to visually find similar ones in stock at stores.
  • Based in San Francisco, the start-up was founded in 2015.

Centre has revised disclosure limit of Stock investment and Mutual funds

  • The center has increased the over 26 year old monetary limit on disclosure of investment in shares and mutual funds by employees to six months of their basic pay.
  • Under the 1992 rule of Group A and Group B officers were to disclose such details if the total transaction in shares, securities, debentures, or mutual fund schemes etc.
  • Exceeded Rs. 50,000 during the calendar year. The Upper limit was Rs 25,000 for those working in Group C and D.

Forex reserves rises USD 2.06 billion

  • The country's foreign exchange reserves increased by USD 2.063 billion to USD 400.24 billion in the week to February 1, on account of rising foreign currency assets.
  • Foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves, rose by USD 1.280 billion to USD 373.430 billion.
  • Gold reserves increased by USD 764.9 million to USD 22.686 billion.
  • The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by USD 6.2 million to USD 1.470 billion.

Expert committee led by Anoop Satpathy recommends Rs. 9,750 as monthly national minimum wage

  • The Expert Committee led by Anoop Satpathy, submitted its report on “Determining the Methodology for Fixation of the National Minimum Wage” to the Government.
  • The expert committee has proposed doubling the national-level minimum wage for a worker in the country to Rs. 9,750 a month, from Rs. 4,576 at present.
  • On the basis of this approach, the committee is considered that the single value of the NMW (National Minimum Wage) for India should be set at Rs. 375 per day as of July 2018.
  • Considering a worker works for 26 days a month, the minimum monthly wage came to Rs 9,750.
  • The committee has alternatively proposed a national minimum wage at various regional levels in the range of Rs. 8,892-11,622 a month (depending on local factors) and suggested an additional house rent allowance for urban workers.

Government Increases Sugar MSP By Rs. 2 to Rs. 31 Per Kg

  • For the year 2019-20, with the aim of benefiting Sugar farmers and in order to clear their arrears/cane dues, the Union Government has decided to increase the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) of Sugar from Rs. 29 to Rs. 31.
  • The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan said that the hike in MSP will lead to increased income and savings for the Sugar Mills which will then be passed on to the Sugarcane farmers.
  • The Department of Food and the State governments will also be able to monitor the sale of Sugar at the new, revised MSP rate so as to ensure that the Sugar Mills are utilising their increased liquidity to pay farmers' dues.
  • As on 13th February, 2019, the Farmers' dues amount to Rs. 20167 crore while the same computed at FRP amounts to Rs. 18157 crore.

95% of registered realty firms have no PAN

  • In an audit of assessments made by the Income Tax Department on the real estate sector, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that a whopping 95% of the companies registered with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) did not have a permanent account number (PAN).
  • In an analysis of the data of the RoCs in 12 States, the CAG also noted that there were several companies that the tax net had failed to capture and that the department had no mechanism to ensure that all the registered companies had
    PAN or that they filed their income tax returns (ITR) regularly.
  • RoCs did not have information about PAN in respect of 51,670 (95%) of a total of 54,578 companies for which data was made available to audit.
  • It was difficult for Audit to ascertain from the information obtained from RoCs whether these companies were in the tax net of the ITD or not.

US and Canada move to WTO against India for MSP on five pulses

  • The United States and Canada have submitted a counter-notification to the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Agriculture on India’s minimum support prices for agricultural commodities chickpeas, lentils, pigeon peas, black matpe and mung beans.
  • When calculated according to WTO Agreement on Agriculture methodology, India’s market price support for each of these pulses far exceeded its WTO allowable levels of trade-distorting domestic support.
  • The United States expects a robust discussion on how India implements and notifies its policies at the next Committee on Agriculture (COA) meeting.
  • This is the third U.S. counter-notification with regard to India.
  • Last November the U.S. submitted a counternotification on India’s market support price for cotton, and one on Indian rice and wheat earlier.

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