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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY - July 2019

Jul 2019

Jul 10, 2019

Sanjay Kaul Launches Start-up Named Sofyx

  • Former Country Manager Apple India, Sanjay Kaul launched his own start-up named 'Sofyx', a social commerce platform for general traders dealing in smartphones and accessories in India.
  • Sofyx would bring together the mobile reseller community along with other stakeholders like telecom operators, device manufacturers, distributors and other vendors on a single platform.
  • As per Sanjay Kaul, the first and foremost objective is to strengthen and improve the General Trade (GT) business in India. At the basic level, the platform would enable information exchange, engagement, real-time feedback and community building amongst the stakeholder group.
  • At a functional level, Sofex would help drive business transactions between various stakeholders. Our platform would streamline and digitize in-store operations, buying, as well as customer interactions.

Wealth of High Net Worth Individuals falls

  • According to the World Wealth Report 2019, the overall wealth of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) declined by 3 per cent in 2018, resulting in a worldwide loss of $2 trillion.
  • This is the first drop in the last seven years.
  • Largely due to a drop in wealth in the Asia-Pacific region (specifically China), this decline has resulted in a loss of $2 trillion worldwide.
  • The global HNWI population and wealth declined by 0.3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, with Asia-Pacific hit the hardest.
  • The region (Asia Pacific) represented $1 trillion of the global decline in wealth, as the HNWI population decreased by 2 per cent and HNWI wealth by 5 per cent. China alone was responsible for more than half (53 per cent) of Asia-Pacific and more than 25 per cent of global HNWI wealth loss.

France to Impose Green Tax

  • The French government is to impose a tax of up to 18 euros on plane tickets for all flights from airports in France to fund less-polluting transportation projects.
  • The move, which would take effect from 2020, would see a tax of 1.5 euros imposed on economy-class tickets on internal flights and those within Europe, with the highest tariff applied to business-class travellers flying outside the bloc.
  • The new measure is expected to bring in some 182 million euros a year which would be invested in greener transport infrastructures, notably rail, This would only be applied on outgoing flights and not those flying into the country.
  • A similar tax was introduced in Sweden in April 2018, which imposed an added charge of up to €40 on every ticket in a bid to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate.

Jul 09, 2019

IOC, GAIL Pact in LNG Project Expires

  • State-owned refiner Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and gas utility GAIL India Ltd's initial agreement to buy a 50 percent stake in Adani Group's Rs. 5,000-crore Dhamra LNG project in Odisha expired.
  • IOC and GAIL had in September 2016, signed a "non-binding MoU" with Adani Petroleum Terminal Pvt Ltd to take 39 per cent and 11 per cent stake, respectively in the planned 5 million tonnes a year liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Dhamra.
  • The MoU was subject to management approvals of IOC and GAIL and successful negotiation of the respective regasification agreements.

Spectrum Auction

  • In a setback to the operators, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stuck to its earlier recommendation on the forthcoming spectrum auction, including on base price and valuation of spectrum to be put on sale.
  • Last month, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the highest decision making body in the DoT, asked the sectoral regulator to reconsider its recommendations to ensure competition and greater participation in auctions.

RBI Finalises Utkarsh 2022

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board, which met in New Delhi, finalised a three- year roadmap to improve regulation and supervision, among other functions of the central bank.
  • This medium term strategy named 'Utkarsh 2022' was in line with the global central banks' plan to strengthen the regulatory and supervisory mechanism.
  • It is a three-year roadmap for medium term objective to be achieved for improving regulation, supervision of the central bank.
  • Worldwide, all central banks strengthen the regulatory and supervisory mechanism, everybody is formulating a long-term plan and a medium-term plan. So, the RBI also decided it would formulate a pragramme to outline what is to be achieved in the next three years.

SEBI Gets Powers to Probe New-age Cases

  • The Finance Bill, 2019 gave the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) new powers to act against entities that tamper or destroy electronic databases or fail to furnish information when sought by the capital markets regulator, SEBI, can now also impose penalties of up to Rs. 1 crore on brokers for certain violations.
  • These new powers assume significance as the regulator is in the midst of probing the leak of sensitive data through WhatsApp and also recently passed fresh orders on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) co-location matter, which were challenged at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT).
  • As per the Finance Bill, a new section — 15HAA — which was inserted in the SEBI Act that said if a person tampers with information to obstruct or influence an investigation, destroys regulatory data or tries to access data in an unauthorised manner then the entity could be penalised up to Rs. 10 crore or three times the unlawful gains, whichever is higher.

Jul 08, 2019

Maruti Slashes Production

  • According to a regulatory filing, the country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) has cut vehicle production for the fifth consecutive month in June.
  • The auto company slashed total vehicle production, including Super Carry light commercial vehicle (LCV), by 15.6% last month to 111,917 units as compared to 132,616 units in the year-ago month.
  • Total passenger vehicle (PV) production stood at 109,641 units last month, down 16.34% from 131,068 units in June 2018.
  • The auto company cut production of mini segment vehicles, including models like Alto, by 48.2% to 15,087 units last month as against 29,131 units in the year-ago period.
  • Similarly, it slashed production of compact segment cars like WagonR, Swift and Dzire by 1.46% to 66,436 units in June from 67,426 units earlier.
  • Production of utility vehicles witnessed a decline of 5.26% to 17,074 units, as against 18,023 units in June last year.
  • The company said production of vans declined by 27.87% to 8,501 units last month compared to 11,787 units in June 2018.
  • Slowdown in vehicle sales have also impacted Maruti's financial performance in the last fiscal year with the company reporting a 2.9% drop in net profit to, while revenue grew 6.3%.

Jul 07, 2019

Fraud by Bhushan Power & Steel

  • Public sector lender Punjab National Bank detected a fraud worth more than Rs. 3,800 crore by Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd. (BPSL), and reported it to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • As per PNB, Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd. misappropriated bank funds and manipulated its books of accounts to raise funds from consortium lender banks.
  • At present, the case is at NCLT, which is in an advanced stage and the bank expects good recovery in the account.

Jul 06, 2019

Highlights of Union Budget 2019

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the maiden budget of Narendra Modi 2.0 government in the Lok Sabha. "Gaon, Garib and Kisan'' [village, poor, and farmer] is at the centre of all policies of this government. Between 2014 and 2019, the government provided rejuvenated dynamic Centre-State cooperative federalism, and the GST Council.
  • Here are the highlights of the Union Budget:
1. PAN and Aadhaar will become interchangeable. You can use your Aadhaar number to file your I-T Returns soon.
2. Rs. 5 lakh minimum limit announced for taxpayers. In view of rising income levels, those in the Rs. 2-5 crore and Rs.5 crore-and-above brackets will see increase in effective tax rate by 3% and 7%, respectively.
3. GST rate on electric vehicles proposed to be lowered to 5%. Additional income tax deduction of Rs. 1.5 lakh on interest on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles.
4. Additional deduction of Rs. 1.5 lakh on loans up to March 31, 2020 for buying affordable houses, giving Rs. 7 lakh benefit to home buyers.
5. Proposal to provide Aadhaar cards for NRIs with Indian passports, after their arrival in India, with no waiting period.
6. Rs. 20 coin coming up.
7. Excise duty on fuel hiked by Rs. 1.
8. To resolve the angel tax issue, startups will not be subject to any scrutiny in respect to valuation. Funds raised by startups will not require any scrutiny by the I-T department.
9. TDS of 2% on cash withdrawals exceeding Rs. 1 crore in a year from bank accounts, to discourage business payments in cash.
10. Period of exemption for capital gains arising from sale of house for investment in startups to be extended to March 31, 2021.
11. Rs. 70,000 crore in recapitalisation for public sector banks.
12. Rs. 1.05 lakh crore disinvestment target for the year.
13. TV channel to be launched for promoting startups and to help matchmaking for funds.
14. New national educational policy hopes to transform Indian education into one of the best in the world, with focus on bringing in foreign students.
15. Rs. 50 lakh crores proposed for Railway infrastructure.
16. By 2022, the 75th year of Independence, every single rural family, except those who are unwilling to take the connection, will have electricity and clean cooking facility.
17. Stress on zero-budget farming, which is a form of gardening as a self-sustainable practice, with minimum external intervention.
18. The pension benefit will be extended to 3 crore retail traders under PM Karam Yogi Maan Dhan Scheme. It requires only Aadhaar numbers and bank accounts.
19. Rs. 1 crore worth of loans proposed to MSMEs.
20. Investment by FIIs and FDIs in debt securities in infrastructure debt funds to be allowed. Minimum public shareholding in listed companies can be increased from 25% to 35%.
21. Global Investors Meet to happen in India.

Top Brass of Mindtree Quit

  • Home-grown tech and digital transformation firm Mindtree has announced a few significant top leadership changes after the manufacturing major Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) gained a controlling stake in the company.
  • The company said that its co-founders Krishnakumar Natarajan, Executive Chairman; N S Parthasarathy, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer; and Rostow Ravanan, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company, submitted their resignations as members of the Board of Directors of Mindtree Ltd.
  • Mindtree would announce a new leadership team in due course.
  • The trio would stay as Board members till July 17 and as employees in line with their employment contracts to ensure smooth transition. Further, along with the other founders of the company, they have asked the company to de-classify them as promoters under applicable laws.
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