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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY - January 2020

Jan 2020

Sep 01, 2021

Amul Ranks 18th in Rabobank 2021 Global Dairy Top 20 Report

  • Amul, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) has dropped two places to rank 18th in Rabobank's 2021 Global Top 20 Dairy Companies list. Amul was placed at 16th spot in 2020. Amul has achieved an annual turnover of $5.3 billion.
  • French-based dairy company Lactalis has topped the list as the world's largest dairy company with a turnover of US $23.0 billion. It has unseated Switzerland-based global behemoth Nestle, which dominated the list for decades.
  • Rabobank's Global Dairy Top 20 Report is released annually to rank the dairy industry upon their sales data and financial statements.

Tata Consultancy Services Breaches Rs. 14 Trillion Mark

  • The market valuation of Tata Consultancy Services has breached the Rs. 14 lakh crore mark, becoming the second company after Reliance Industries Limited to achieve this milestone.
  • The market valuation of Tata Consultancy Services had in August 2021 past the Rs. 13 lakh crore mark.
  • The IT major had in January 2021 breached the Rs. 12 lakh crore market valuation mark.
  • Reliance Industries Limited is the country's most valuable firm with a market valuation of Rs. 14,32,270.38 crore.

Axis Bank Ties up with BharatPe to Expand its Merchant Acquiring Business

  • Private sector lender Axis Bank has tied up with BharatPe to expand its merchant acquiring business in the country. As a part of the partnership, Axis Bank will be the acquiring bank for BharatPe's point of sale (PoS) business, BharatSwipe, and will provide acceptance of credit and debit cards for merchants associated with BharatPe.
  • With over 600,000 PoS terminals spread across the entire country, Axis Bank is the third largest PoS acquiring bank in the payments acceptance business and processed around Rs. 19,000 crore worth of volumes in a month. On the other hand, BharatPe's PoS machine BharatSwipe has an installed base of 100,000 across 16 cities, processing around Rs. 1,400 crore per month. BharatPe clocked an annualised transaction value of $2 billion on PoS terminals at the end of FY21. The company has set a target of $6 billion in transaction processed value (TPV) by FY22.
  • This association will help BharatPe enhance merchant experience by leveraging the best-in-class technology platform offered by Axis Bank.

PFRDA Increases the Entry Age in National Pension System

  • The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has revised the guidelines for senior citizens joining the National Pension Scheme (NPS) after the age of 65 years.
  • With the revised guidelines, elderly people can now open an NPS account till the age of 70. PFRDA has also eased the exit norms.
  • Furthermore, the PFRDA has permitted subscribers who join the scheme after the age of 65 years, to allocate up to 50 per cent of the funds in equity.
  • The National Pension Scheme (NPS) is a voluntary retirement savings scheme laid out to allow the subscribers to make a defined contribution towards planned savings, thereby securing the future in the form of a pension. It provides an adequate retirement income for senior citizens.

Exim Bank Extends Loan to Africa Finance Corporation

  • Exim Bank of India has extended a line of credit of USD 100 million (Rs. 730 crore) on behalf of the Indian government to the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to develop infrastructure in the continent and boost economic revival of countries in the region.
  • AFC is an infrastructure solutions provider in the African continent.
  • The tenure of the soft loan is 10 years.
  • India Exim Bank, the sovereign export credit agency of the country, has actively sought opportunities to co-finance projects in Africa through credit lines to support infrastructure development.
  • AFC draws capital from a diverse range of international investors and lenders as part of its strategy to maintain Africa's second highest investment grade credit ratings.

PayU to Acquire BillDesk in One of Largest Indian Fintech Deals

  • Prosus-backed fintech firm PayU is set to acquire India's earliest payment gateway BillDesk in an all-cash transaction of $4.7 billion. This will be the largest acquisition in India's digital payments space. The deal will also give exit to investors General Atlantic, TA Associates, Temasek, Clearstone Ventures, and Visa.
  • The proposed acquisition will help PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus which operates in more than 20 markets, become one of the leading online payment providers globally by total payment volume (TPV). The combined entity will have a total of 4 billion transactions annually.
  • Prosus, the global consumer internet group is one of the largest technology investors in the world.

Aug 31, 2021

PhonePe Receives Broking Licence from Insurance Regulator

  • Walmart-backed payment firm PhonePe has received a broking licence from the insurance regulator, which will enable it to distribute insurance products from all insurance companies in the country.
  • The new broking licence will allow it to start offering personalised product recommendations to its more than 300 million users, and offer a much more diverse portfolio of insurance products for Indian consumers.
  • "PhonePe is India's fastest growing insurtech and this move to broking will give us further momentum and accelerate our growth in this space," said Gunjan Ghai, vice president and head of insurance at PhonePe.

SSWL Inks Pact with Tata Steel Long Products

  • Steel Strips Wheels Limited (SSWL) has signed an agreement with Tata Steel Long Products for rolling of round bars of various grades for a period of 3 years. These products will target automotive customers in India.
  • The supplies from the company's Saraikela Plant, in Jharkhand, will start from October 2021.
  • A subsidiary of Tata Steel, Tata Steel Long Products, is in the business of manufacturing high alloy steel, primarily for the auto sector and wire rope industry.

RBI Enhances Limit under Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility

  • The Reserve Bank of India has increased the limit of fund transfer under the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility Scheme from Rs. 50,000 per transaction to Rs. 2 lakh per transaction. Earlier there was a ceiling limit of 12 transactions in a year. Now, this limit has also been removed. However, for cash-based transfers under the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility, the per transaction limit of Rs. 50,000 will still be present with a maximum number of transfers in a year allowed at 12.
  • Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility is a fund transfer mechanism from India to Nepal (not otherwise) that operates on NEFT. It was started by RBI in the year 2008. It is managed by SBI in India and Nepal SBI Bank Limited (NSBL) in Nepal.

Govt. Extends Tenure of Bank of India Executive Director Rajagopal

  • The government has extended the term of P. R. Rajagopal Executive Director of state-run Bank of India by two years.
  • His current term was to expire on February 28, 2022.
  • The government last week extended the term of executive directors of various public sector banks.
  • It also extended the terms of MD & CEOs of Punjab National Bank and Bank of Maharashtra.

RBI Receives Two more Applications for SFB Licence

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has received applications from two more entities under the 'on-tap' small finance bank licensing guidelines of 2019, taking the total number of applicants to six.
  • Cosmea Financial Holdings Pvt Ltd and Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd have applied for a small finance bank licence.
  • Bengaluru-based Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd is a technology and innovation company, which, according to its website, delivers business software for small and medium businesses (SMBs). Established in 1986, Tally Solutions is headed by Tejas Goenka, with Sheela Goenka as the chairperson.
  • Cosmea Financial Holdings Pvt Ltd is a Mumbai-based entity, which is involved in activities, which are auxiliary to financial intermediation. It has four directors namely, Soumen Ghosh, Lav Ramji Chaturvedi, Mihir Kanak Sundhani, and Amit Agarwal.

Axis Bank Begins Issuing Debt Securities

  • Axis Bank has started issuing debt securities under its Rs. 35,000 crore-debt raise plan announced earlier this year.
  • In April, the private sector lender had said that its board had approved capital raise proposal up to Rs. 35,000 crore by issuing various debt instruments in Indian or foreign currency in domestic/overseas markets in one or more tranches.
  • The bank has initiated the process of issuing of the debt instruments, in the form of the additional tier 1 notes (notes) in foreign currency, subject to market conditions.
  • This will be a sustainable bond under the sustainable financing framework of the bank.

S. L. Jain is MD & CEO of Indian Bank

  • Bank of Baroda said that Shanti Lal Jain would cease to be its executive director from September due to his appointment as the MD & CEO of Indian Bank.
  • Giving reason for his cessation, the public sector lender said Jain has been appointed as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Indian Bank, to be effective on or after September 1, 2021.

HSBC Asia Appoints Ex-SBI Chief Rajnish Kumar as an Independent Director

  • The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) has appointed former State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Rajnish Kumar as an independent director and a member of Audit Committee and Risk Committee of the Asian entity.
  • The Indian operation is a branch of this Asian entity. HSBC is also listed in the UK as a separate entity called HSBC Plc.
  • Rajnish Kumar retired in October 2020 after a 40-year career at the SBI. His international tenure included stints at SBI's UK and Canada operations.
  • Kumar is also currently a director of India's Lighthouse Communities Foundation, an independent director of Larsen & Toubro Infotech, a senior advisor of Baring Private Equity Asia Pte. Ltd in Singapore and an advisor of Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd in Mumbai.

Aug 30, 2021

Nazara Technologies Acquires OpenPlay

  • Nazara Technologies has acquired Hyderabad-based OpenPlay for Rs. 186.41 crore.
  • Nazara's Board has approved the acquisition of OpenPlay Technologies from its existing shareholders - Sreeram Reddy Vanga and Unnati Management Consultants LLP - at a consideration of Rs. 186.41 crore, in one or more tranches.
  • OpenPlay offers a strong tech and product platform for the company to build a network of skill gaming destinations operating on one common platform under the proven leadership of the open play team.

RBI Slaps Fine on Four White Label ATM Operators

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed penalties totalling Rs. 6 crore on four White Label ATM (WLA) operators, including Hitachi Payment Services, and Tata Communications Payment Solutions, for deficiencies in regulatory compliance.
  • According to a release, a penalty of Rs. 3 crore was imposed on Transaction Analysts (India) Pvt Ltd for contravention of certain provisions of directions related to issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments and KYC. A penalty was imposed on four WLA operators for "contravention of /non-compliance" with certain provisions of the directions in the 'White Label ATMs in India – Guidelines' dated June 20, 2012. A penalty of Rs. 2 crore each was imposed on BTI Payments and Hitachi Payment Services, and Rs. 1 crore each on Tata Communications Payment Solutions Ltd and Vakrangee Ltd.

RBI Launches Surveys to Get Inputs for Monetary Policy

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the launch of the next round of households surveys to capture inflation expectations and consumer confidence, which provide useful inputs for its monetary policy.
  • The central bank has been regularly conducting these surveys.
  • Announcing the launch of September 2021 round of Inflation Expectations Survey of Households (IESH), the RBI said that the survey aims at capturing subjective assessments on price movements and inflation, of about 6,000 households, based on their individual consumption baskets, across 18 cities.

IndiGo Board Appoints Director Gregg Saretsky as Special Advisor

  • The Board of Directors of IndiGo appointed of Gregg Saretsky, Member of the Board, to the position of Special Advisor with immediate effect.
  • In this capacity, he will work closely with Rono Dutta, the Executive Leadership Team of IndiGo, and Rahul Bhatia to accelerate operational and commercial improvement opportunities at the airline, InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of IndiGo.
  • Saretsky brings extensive experience in commercial aviation including, most recently, as CEO of WestJet, Canada's most successful low cost carrier.

Cuba to Recognise and Regulate Cryptocurrencies

  • Cuba's government has said that it will recognise and regulate cryptocurrencies for payments on the island.
  • According to a resolution published, the Central Bank will set rules for such currencies and determine how to license providers of related services within Cuba.
  • The popularity of such currencies has grown among a technologically savvy group in Cuba as it has become harder to use dollars, in part because of toughened embargo rules imposed under former President Donald Trump.

Anjali Bansal is President of Bombay Chambers of Commerce

  • The Bombay Chambers of Commerce at its board meeting has appointed Anjali Bansal as president for the 2021-22.
  • Bansal will take over from Sudhir Kapadia. Bansal.
  • Prior to this, Bansal was the chairperson of Dena Bank. Nilesh Shah, managing director of Kotak Mahindra Asset Management, has been appointed as the senior vice-president for 2021-22.

Aug 29, 2021

Freo Ties up with Equitas Small Finance Bank

  • India's first credit-led neobank, Freo, has tied up with Equitas Small Finance Bank to launch zero-balance savings account called 'Freo Save' that will offer a 7% interest rate on a minimum balance of Rs. 1 lakh.
  • The new product, Freo Save, will allow customers to make informed financial decisions and strengthen their credit profile in the process.
  • Apart from facilities such as zero-balance and interest rate of 7%, the savings account will enable seamless integration with UPI to make funds transfer and bill payments easier.

India has Fewer ESG Funds than other Top 10 Economies

  • India has fewer funds focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues than other top 10 economies, data shows, amid investor caution about ESG funds that have yet to build a track record in India's market.
  • The world's sixth largest economy has 23 ESG funds, Refinitiv data shows, compared to the United States and Britain with more than 500 each, while Japan has 182 and China has 119. Other economies in the top 10 also have more ESG funds.

BharatPe Launches P2P Lending App '12% Club'

  • BharatPe has launched a "12% Club" app that will allow consumers to invest and earn up to 12 per cent annual interest or borrow at a similar rate. BharatPe has partnered with LenDenClub (RBI-approved NBFC) for this app and lending arrangement. Consumers can invest their savings anytime by choosing to lend money on the "12% Club" app. Apart from this, consumers can avail of collateral-free loans of up to Rs. 10 lakh on the 12 per cent Club app for a tenure of 3 months.

Govt. Approves Extension of Terms of three MD-CEOs, 10 EDs of PSU Banks

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has accepted the proposal of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to extend the tenure of three managing directors and chief executive officers (MDs and CEOs) and ten executive directors (EDs) of public sector banks.
  • The ACC has approved the extension of tenure of S S Mallikarjuna Rao, MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank, until January 31, 2022, when he is due for superannuation.
  • The appointments panel has also approved a two-year extension for Atul Kumar Goel, MD and CEO of UCO Bank as well as A S Rajeev, MD and CEO of Bank of Maharashtra.
  • The DFS had written to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) suggesting the extension of tenure of MDs and EDs of public sector banks to ensure stability and continuity at state-owned lenders amid the pandemic even as the Banks Board Bureau identifies new candidates for the role of bank chiefs.
  • The ACC has also approved a two-year extension to Bank of Baroda ED Ajay K Khurana, ED of Canara Bank A Manimekhalai and P R Rajagopal, Bank of India ED. Terms of Sanjay Kumar and Vijay Dube (Punjab National Bank), Gopal Singh Gusain and Manas Ranjan Biswal (Union Bank of India), Vikramaditya Singh Khichi (Bank of Baroda), Shenoy Vishwanath Vittal (Indian Bank), and Alok Srivastava (Central Bank of India) as EDs have been approved for an extension until their age of superannuation.

RBI Promotes Ajay Kumar as Executive Director Effective

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has promoted Ajay Kumar as its new Executive Director (ED).
  • Prior to being promoted as ED, Kumar was heading the New Delhi Regional Office of the RBI as Regional Director.
  • RBI has now 12 executive directors, including a chief financial officer.

Aug 28, 2021

Infosys Hits $100 Billion m-cap, Fourth Indian Firm to Reach Milestone

  • Infosys crossed the $100 billion mark in terms of market capitalisation, becoming the fourth Indian company and the second Indian software exporter after Tata Consultancy Services to reach the coveted milestone as investors put their might behind technology service providers powering the digital transformation of businesses worldwide.
  • Reliance Industries (m-cap of $140 billion), Tata Consultancy Services (m-cap $115 billion) and HDFC Bank (m-cap $100.1 billion) are the other Indian firms in the club with Infosys.

RBI Imposes Penalty on 2 Co-op banks, 1 NBFC

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed penalties on two co-operative banks and a non-banking financial company (NBFC), for deficiencies in certain regulatory compliance.
  • A penalty of Rs. 3 lakh has been imposed on Jijamata Mahila Sahakari Bank, Pune, Maharashtra for non-compliance with the directions on exposure norms and statutory/other restrictions-urban co-operative banks (UCBs).
  • A penalty of Rs. 2 lakh has been imposed on The Muslim Co-operative Bank Limited, Pune, for contravention of/non-compliance with the directions issued by the RBI on Know Your Customer (KYC).
  • The RBI has imposed a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh on Seyad Shariat Finance Limited, Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu), an NBFC, for non-compliance with certain provisions of the Know Your Customer Directions, 2016.

Megha Engineering Hands over Oil Rig to ONGC

  • Megha Engineering and Infrastructure (MEIL) handed over an indigenously built oil and gas rig to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). This is part of a Rs. 6,000 crore tender bagged by MEIL in 2019 to supply 47 rigs to ONGC.
  • ONGC's order of 47 rigs to MEIL comprises 20 workover rigs and 27 land drilling rigs.
  • The first such rig was handed over in April while the second rig was delivered. By March 2022, it is going to deliver 23 rigs to ONGC.

Afcons Bags Largest-ever Infrastructure Project in Maldives

  • Afcons, the infrastructure arm of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, has signed a contract for the largest-ever infrastructure project in Maldives. The $530-million project is funded by the Exim Bank of India under the Indian grant and Line of Credit (LOC).
  • It involves constructing the Male to Thilafushi Link project, popularly called Greater Male' Connectivity Project (GMCP) over 32 months.
  • The project includes a 6.7 Km bridge and causeway network connecting Male, Villingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi islands. According to the government of Maldives, the bridge will be a national economic engine and lifeline connecting Hulhumale, Hulhule and Male with the proposed Gulhifalhu Port and the Thilafushi Industrial Zone.
  • Afcons operates in over 20 countries worldwide.
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Infosys Public Services Bags Contract from Manitoba Public Insurance

  • Infosys Public Services Inc (IPS), a subsidiary of Infosys, has been awarded a contract by Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to digitise driver licensing, vehicle registration, and International Registration Plan (IRP) services for over 900,000 Manitobans.
  • Infosys has partnered with Celtic Systems a leading DMV solutions provider to implement the Infosys Celtic Vehicle and Licensing Solution, built on Celtic's portfolio of products for Manitoba.
  • Infosys Celtic Vehicle and Licensing Solution consist of interoperable modules that digitise both the core and ancillary functions including driver licensing, vehicle registration, billing, analytics, and reporting for motor vehicle agencies.
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