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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY - January 2020

Jan 2020

Sep 11, 2021

Google-backed Cuemath Appoints Vivek Sunder as CEO

  • Cuemath, a global online math learning platform backed by Google parent Alphabet's fund CapitalG has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Vivek Sunder as its new Chief Executive Officer.
  • Sunder joins from Swiggy, India's largest online food ordering and delivery platform, where he was chief operating officer.
  • The appointment follows a planned succession strategy, where Cuemath's founder, Manan Khurma, who has grown Cuemath by 10x since its inception, will now become Chairman.

UCO Bank Out of PCA Framework

  • Reserve Bank of India has taken public sector lender UCO Bank out of Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework on improvement in financial and credit profile. This decision gives the bank more freedom for lending, especially to corporations and grow the network, subject to presribed norms.
  • The Kolkata-based lender was placed under PCA in May 2017 on account of high Net Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) and negative Return on Assets (RoAs).
  • The decision on taking out UCO Bank from PCA restrictions is subject to certain conditions and continuous monitoring.
  • The bank has provided a written commitment to comply with the norms of Minimum Regulatory Capital, Net NPA and Leverage Tatio on an ongoing basis.

TCS Secures Contract from Transport for London

  • IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been selected by Transport for London (TfL) to design, implement and operate a new smart mobility system that will reimagine the administration of taxi and private hire vehicles in London.
  • Through the contract, valid for 10 years, and with the possibility of a five-year extension, TCS will digitally transform taxi and private hire licensing and administration, as well as implement continuous improvements and innovation, responding to evolving industry trends and customer demands. This deal will impact 115,000 taxis and private hire vehicles.
  • TfL is the foremost transportation authority in the world with its innovative approach to managing urban transportation with the use of technology and data. The new TCS-designed technology system will meet TfL's key objectives, enhance customer experience and enable future requirements including connected, shared, electric, autonomous vehicle registrations.

Centre Approves Rs. 10,683 crore PLI scheme for Textile Sector

  • Central government has approved the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme of worth Rs. 10,683 crore for the textiles sector.
  • This PLI scheme was approved in order to boost domestic manufacturing and exports.
  • As a part of incentives approved for textiles sector, the payout will be spread over a period of five years.
  • PLI scheme was approved for textiles, MMF (man-made fibre) fabrics, MMF apparel and 10 segments or products of technical textiles.
  • This PLI scheme will impact and benefit special states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha.
  • This production-linked incentive scheme for textiles is a part of overall scheme that was announced for 13 sectors during Budget 2021-22, with an outlay of Rs. 1.97 lakh crore. With the PLI schemes for 13 sectors, minimum production in India is expected to be around Rs. 37.5 lakh crore in a period of five years.

Sep 10, 2021

Union Cabinet Approves Signing Pact between ICAI and CAAR

  • The Union Cabinet approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding between chartered accountants' apex body ICAI and Chamber of Auditors of the Republic of Azerbaijan (CAAR).
  • The signing of the MoU would help in establishing mutual cooperation in the areas of member management, professional ethics, technical research, professional accountancy training, audit quality monitoring and advancement of accounting knowledge, among other areas.
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body. The CAAR was set up to regulate the audit profession in Azerbaijan.
  • Both ICAI and CAAR intend to strengthen cooperation in the areas of training of audit, finance and accounting professionals.

Karnataka Bank Launches POS Device 'WisePOSGo'

  • The Karnataka Bank has launched an all-in-one Point-of-Sales (POS) swiping machine dubbed as 'WisePOSGo', for its merchant customers to process business payments. The private sector lender has rolled out this POS device in collaboration with Mswipe Technologies Pvt Ltd. The introduction of 'WisePOSGo' is yet another step in the direction of expanding the digital payment infrastructure in the country and promote a cashless economy.
  • WisePOSGo is a compact, lightweight and user-friendly device, designed to keep in view the specific cost-centric requirements of the bank's MSME customers.
  • Apart from processing payments, merchants can also make calls using the WisePOSGo swiping machine.
  • This device is an all-in-one swiping machine loaded with advanced features such as contactless payment, mobile phone, QR code, pay by link, magstripe and barcode scanner.
  • The ease of processing transactions through 'WisePOSGo' will help the bank's retail and MSME customers augment their businesses by providing their consumers with a convenient and flexible way of shopping.

Bank of Baroda Launches One-stop Digital Platform 'bob World'

  • State-owned Bank of Baroda announced the launch of its digital banking platform 'bob World', aimed at providing all banking services under one roof.
  • The lender aims to provide an all-inclusive and seamless virtual banking experience, encompassing all digital banking services under one roof for the convenience of customers.
  • bob World' will offer a wide gamut of banking products and services, to be rolled out in phases, under four key pillars -- Save, Invest, Borrow and Shop.
  • The pilot of bob World began on August 23, and the application (app) is already being used by more than 50 lakh users.

Ujjivan Financial Services Appoints Sanjeev Barnwal as New CEO

  • Ujjivan Financial Services has appointed Sanjeev Barnwal as its new chief executive officer.
  • The company's board of directors at its meeting considered and unanimously approved the appointment of Sanjeev Barnwal as chief executive officer.
  • Ujjivan Financial said Barnwal will continue to be the company secretary (CS) and key managerial personnel (KMP) of the company.
  • His elevation comes as former head Carol Furtado assumed charge as the CEO of subsidiary Ujjivan Small Finance Bank last month.

Adobe Appoints Prativa Mohapatra as India MD and VP

  • US tech giant Adobe has announced the appointment of Prativa Mohapatra as vice president and managing director for Adobe India. In this role, Mohapatra will lead Adobe's India business across Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Document Cloud, reporting to Simon Tate, Adobe's president for Asia Pacific (APAC).
  • Mohapatra's career spans over 25 years in the technology industry. She joins Adobe from tech firm IBM, where she served as vice president of digital sales for APAC.

Sep 09, 2021

Cognizant Inks $95 mn Deal with US Shareholders over India Bribery Charges

  • Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp has reached a $95 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit accusing the information technology services company of defrauding shareholders by concealing bribes to officials in India.
  • A preliminary settlement of the proposed class action was filed with the federal court in Newark, New Jersey, and requires a judge's approval.
  • Shareholders accused Cognizant of failing to disclose payments made to obtain permits for facilities in special economic zones, including its Indian headquarters in Chennai, where it could enjoy tax and other benefits.

HDFC Bank Signs pact with NSIC

  • HDFC Bank has signed a pact with the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) for providing credit support to the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector.
  • Under this, the country's largest private sector bank will also provide MSMEs with a set of specially-tailored schemes to enhance their competitiveness.
  • The bank branches will extend support to the MSME projects in the areas they are located and to other important industrial sectors across the country.

Arun Kumar Singh Takes Charge as Chairman and MD of Bharat Petroleum

  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a 'Maharatna' and a Fortune Global 500 Company announced the appointment of Arun Kumar Singh as the Chairman and Managing Director of the company and consequently he has taken charge.
  • A Mechanical Engineer by qualification, Arun Kumar Singh was earlier Director (Marketing) on the Board of the company, holding additional charge of Director (Refineries) and Director (Finance).
  • In his more than 36 years of experience in Oil & Gas industry, he has headed Business Units and Entities in BPCL such as Retail, LPG, Pipelines, Supply Chain Optimization, etc. He also held the position of President (Africa & Australasia) in Bharat PetroResources Ltd., a wholly owned Subsidiary of BPCL, engaged in exploration of Oil & Gas, largely overseas.

Harsha Bhupendra Bangari is New EXIM Bank MD

  • The government has appointed Harsha Bhupendra Bangari as the Managing Director (MD) of Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank).
  • Bangari would be at the helm for a period of three years or until further orders of the government.
  • Banks Board Bureau (BBB), the headhunter for state-owned banks and financial institutions, had interviewed 10 candidates for the top post at EXIM Bank. In May, it had recommended Bangari as the EXIM Bank MD. The BBB had also suggested Samuel Joseph Jebaraj as the candidate on the reserve list for the position.
  • Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) was set up in 1982 by an Act of Parliament for the purpose of financing, facilitating and promoting India's foreign trade. It is the principal financial institution in the country for coordinating the working of institutions engaged in financing exports and imports. Exim Bank is fully owned by the Government of India.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai.

Sep 08, 2021

S.L. Tripathy is New CMD of United India Insurance

  • The central government has selected S. L. Tripathy as the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of United India Insurance Company Limited. He is currently General Manager and Director at The New India Assurance Company Limited. He is appointed as CMD of United India from the date of assumption of charge of the office and up to the date of attaining the age of superannuation.
  • United India Insurance Company is a leading Indian nationalised general insurance company. It is under the ownership of Ministry of Finance, Government of India. It is headquartered in Chennai, India. It was incorporated on 18 February 1938, and nationalised in 1972.

El Salvador Accepts Bitcoin as Legal Tender

  • El Salvador has become the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender in a move that has got the nation and the world debating the opportunities and dangers of cryptocurrency.
  • Now onwards businesses will be obliged where possible to accept the controversial digital coins as payment.
  • Millions of people are expected to download the government's new digital wallet app which gives away $30 (£22) in Bitcoin to every citizen.
  • Bitcoin fans around the world have been buying $30 worth of the digital coins as a show of support and to help boost the value of the volatile currency.

Cairn Accepts $1 bn Refund Offer

  • UK-based Cairn Energy PLC said that it will drop litigations to seize Indian properties in countries ranging from France to the US, within a couple of days of getting a USD 1 billion refund resulting from the scrapping of a retrospective tax law.
  • The firm, which gave India its biggest onland oil discovery, termed "bold" the legislation passed last month to cancel a 2012 policy that gave the tax department power to go back 50 years and slap capital gains levies wherever ownership had changed hands overseas but business assets were in India.

Amazon Signs Pact with Gujarat to Boost State MSMEs' E-commerce Exports

  • Amazon India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Industries and Mines Department, Government of Gujarat, to help drive e-commerce exports from the state. As part of the MoU, Amazon will train and onboard MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) from the state on Amazon Global Selling, enabling them to sell their unique Made in India products to millions of Amazon customers across over 200 countries and territories.

TVS Motor Ties up with ETG Logistics for South Africa Distribution

  • TVS Motor Company, India's third largest two-wheeler manufacturer, announced their new distribution partnership with ETG Logistics (ETGL) in South Africa.
  • ETGL comes with rich experience, deep understanding and vast knowledge of the market.
  • TVS Motor Company will launch products such as TVS Apache series, TVS HLX series, TVS NTORQ 125 and TVS Duramax Cargo in South Africa. TVS Motor Company ranks amongst the top five two-wheeler companies in the world with a presence in over 70 countries across Africa, South East Asia, the Indian Sub-Continent, Latin America and the Middle East.

Sep 07, 2021

Bank of India Inks Co-lending Deal with MAS Financial Services

  • State-owned Bank of India has entered into a co-lending arrangement for micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) loans with an Ahmedabad-based non-bank financier MAS Financial Services Ltd.
  • Atanu Kumar Das, chief executive of the bank, said that co-lending was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to increase credit flow to unserved and the underserved sector by utilising nimble-footed NBFC coverage of informal sector.
  • The bank will leverage reach of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to build the MSME portfolio.

IREDA Enters into Pact with TANGEDCO for Renewable Energy Projects

  • Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA) has entered into a pact with TANGEDCO for providing technical expertise in developing of renewable energy projects and raising of funds.
  • The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by IREDA Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Pradip Kumar Das and TANGEDCO CMD Rajesh Lakhoni in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin.
  • Under the MoU, IREDA will extend its technical expertise to TANGEDCO for renewable energy project development, bid process management, and implementation support.
  • IREDA will also assist TANGEDCO in debt raising through developing financial models, underwriting services for the proposed debt requirement, and conducting pre-market surveys and roadshows to generate interest amongst prospective investors.

SBM Bank Partners with OneCard to Launch Mobile-based Credit Card

  • SBM Bank has partnered with fintech player OneCard to launch a mobile-based credit card.
  • With this partnership, the bank aims to cater to the tech-savvy populace who have embraced digital as a natural way of life.
  • OneCard will leverage Visa's technology and global acceptance in this co-branded credit card offering through an app.

ADB Approves $150 mn Loan to Improve Urban Housing in Tamil Nadu

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 150 million dollar (about Rs. 1,095 crore) loan to provide access to inclusive, resilient and sustainable housing for the urban poor in Tamil Nadu.
  • Through the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, the project will construct housing units in nine different locations and relocate about 6,000 households vulnerable to natural hazards to safer locations.
  • A portion of ADB's assistance will be invested by the state government as equity into the Tamil Nadu Shelter Fund to catalyse private sector financing and support investments mainly in industrial housing and working women's hostels for low-income and migrant workers.

Ola Electric Ties Up with Banks, Financial Institutions

  • Ola Electric has tied up with leading banks and financial institutions, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Prime and TATA Capital, for providing loans to customers for its S1 electric scooter.
  • The company, which had last month launched the Ola S1 electric scooter in two variants -- S1 and S1 Pro -- at prices Rs. 99,999 and Rs. 1,29,999, respectively (ex-showroom including FAME II subsidy and excluding state subsidies).
  • The banks and financial institutions that Ola Electric has tied up include Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDFC First Bank, IndusInd Bank, AU Small Finance Bank, Jana Small Finance Bank, Kotak Mahindra Prime, TATA Capital and YES Bank.
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