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Sep 2020

Sep 30, 2020

Mukesh Ambani tops Hurun India Rich List 2020

  • Mukesh Ambani gained Rs. 90 crore per hour since the coronavirus lockdown in March, thus retaining his position as the richest Indian for the ninth consecutive year on the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2020.
  • Ambani, who is the only Indian in the world's top 5 richest persons, amassed Rs. 2,77,700 crore through a series of fund-raising and strategic investment from Facebook, Google, Silver Lake among others into Jio and Reliance Retail, taking his personal wealth to Rs. 6,58,400 crore.
  • Ambani's total wealth, which is now bigger than the combined wealth of the next five in the list, making him Aisa's richest individual and fourth richest man across the world, according to the report.
  • The IIFL Hurun India list names the richest individuals in the country having a wealth of Rs. 1,000 crore or more. This year, the list names 828 Indians, where 627 increased their wealth and 162 are new entrants. Top 100 individuals in the list account for nearly 64 per cent wealth of the list.
  • London-based Hinduja brothers, with a joint wealth of Rs. 1,43,700 crore, bagged the second spot. HCL founder Shiv Nadar with Rs. 1,41,700 crore is ranked third, followed by Adani's Group's Gautam Adani at fourth and Wipro's Azim Premji at fifth spot.
  • Avenue Supermarts founder Radhakishan Damani made his debut to the top 10, positioned at the seventh place.

SEBI Eases Rules for Delisting of Listed Subsidiaries

  • The capital markets regulator SEBI has eased rules for delisting of listed subsidiaries and asked companies to disclose details of forensic audit initiated by them. These decisions along with a few others were taken in the Securities and Exchange Board of India's board meeting.
  • Companies have been exempted from doing a reverse book building—a process followed to decide on a price that has to be paid to public shareholders to buy back shares before delisting- for listed units. The regulator said that to avail of this delisting route, the listed holding company and the listed subsidiary should be in the same line of business.
  • The exemption from reverse book building would provide an opportunity for eligible companies to streamline their corporate structure and consolidate the relevant businesses into one listed entity.

IDBI First Bank to Enable Document Embedding Feature on SFMS

  • IDBI Bank has implemented the new feature of document embedding facility with Letter of Credit (LC) / Bank Guarantee (BG) messages over SFMS (Structured Financial Messaging System) platform of Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services (IFTAS).
  • This new feature of "document embedding" provides banks with the functionality of transmitting a "pdf" document up to 1MB along with the LC / BG messages.
  • Transmission of digitally signed documents ensures reliability of the transaction. The bank added that it is the first bank to implement this feature.
  • The new feature will ease the current process of manual verification, reconciliation, reduce frauds, and enable documentary evidence for all the parties involved in the transaction.

Nokia Wins First UK Deal Since PM Johnson's Huawei 5G Ban

  • Finland's Nokia will replace Huawei as BT's largest equipment provider after winning a deal to supply 5G networks across the UK, the companies announced.
  • The move is the first UK contract for the Finnish telecoms maker since Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned mobile providers in July from using equipment made by the Chinese giant in their new 5G networks.
  • The restriction, on national security grounds, forces mobile providers to begin switching out "high-risk vendors" from 2021, and marks a golden opportunity for Huawei's two main rivals in the 5G market, Finland's Nokia and Swedish Ericsson.
  • Companies in the UK have until 2027 to remove Huawei equipment from their 5G networks, a change which BT has said will cost it £500 million ($643m).
  • Under the BT deal, Nokia will supply base stations and other network equipment to allow its customers to access super-fast 5G internet.
  • Although the ban on Huawei offers a signifcant boost to Nokia and Ericsson, industry watchers have warned that fulfilling the increasing demand left by the market leader may not be straightforward.

Sep 29, 2020

RBI ropes in Amitabh Bachchan for Customer Awareness Campaign

  • After sport stars, the Reserve Bank has roped in Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan for the customer awareness campaign to prevent gullible account holders from being duped by fraudsters. As part of the public awareness initiative of RBI, the regulator keeps informing about dos and don'ts that have to be followed by customers to transact safely and securely.
  • Besides its main twitter handle, RBI has another twitter account called 'RBI Says'. Here, Big B shared a message saying "the cost of awareness is hardly a penny, but ignorance can cost you hard earned money."
  • The regulator has been running the campaign for more than a year not only in English and Hindi but in various regional languages for maximum reach. It keeps on repeating the message so that people don't forget their rights and responsibilities.
  • Bachchan promoted digital banking during the lockdown period urging people to adopt digital payment and be safe.
  • RBI has emerged as the most popular central bank on twitter, beating US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank in terms of number of followers.

HDFC Bank Launches India's First Warehouse Commodity Finance App

  • In a first of its kind in the country, HDFC Bank launched a Warehouse Commodity Finance App which will enable customers in drawing down and managing the loan against pledge of commodities online without physical intervention or multiple visits to a Bank branch. This in turn will bring in enhanced efficiencies and time savings for the agri value chain. The new app will greatly benefit agri processors, traders and farmers who are primary beneficiaries of WHR loans (Warehouse Receipt Loans).
  • The App has been launched at a time when large parts of India are still unlocking, and travel restrictions are still in place. At a time like this the agri industry which is crucial to economic revival has to function uninterrupted. Warehouses which store goods help maintain price stability in an uncertain economic environment by ensuring a steady supply of goods to the market. Especially essentials like rice, wheat, soyabean, cotton, pulses and oilseeds. Warehouse financing is the lifeblood of this business as banks are able to sanction loans against these commodities which are stored safely. Similarly, on repayment of the loan, the Pledged commodities will be released digitally. This helps in timely delivery of goods and timely consumption of the same for agri processing.
  • The App will be offered to both existing as well as new customers of the Bank who avail warehouse receipt/commodity pledge loan from HDFC Bank. While existing customers who have already been sanctioned loans can avail these by just logging on to the App in just 3 simple steps, new customers can get the pledge loan sanctioned from HDFC Bank and register for the Warehouse Commodity Finance app.

Anukool Bhatnagar Takes Over as CGM, SBI, Chandigarh Circle

  • Anukool Bhatnagar has taken over as Chief General Manager, SBI, Chandigarh Circle. The circle comprises bank's operations in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UTs of Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Earlier, he was heading Nepal SBI Bank Ltd., Kathmandu, as its Managing Director.

RBI Okays Three-member Panel to Run LVB Operations

  • After shareholders ousted seven directors of the Board, the RBI has approved appointment of three-member Committee of Directors (CoD) to run the daily affairs of debt-ridden Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB). This CoD will exercise the discretionary powers of MD & CEO in the ad-interim. The RBI appointed the CoD composed of three independent directors Meeta Makhan, Shakti Sinha and Satish Kumar Kalra, adding that the committee will be headed by Meeta Makhan. On Friday, shareholders of LVB ousted seven directors, including its MD & CEO and auditors at the AGM.

Sep 28, 2020

Facebook Ties Up with Matrix Partners India to Scale Early-stage SMBs

  • Facebook tied up with early-stage venture capital fund Matrix Partners to scale small businesses in India by providing them with digital skills.
  • The tie-up is a part of Facebook's VC Brand Incubator Program that collaborates with venture capital funds to help early-stage small and medium businesses (SMBs) to maximise their digital potential.
  • With the tie-up with Matrix Partners India, the programme also completes one year during which it has collaborated with six VC Funds - Sauce.VC, Fireside Ventures, SAIF Partners, Sequoia Capital, DSG Ventures, and Matrix Partners India - and skilled, trained, and mentored more than 150 brands at various stages of their growth journey.
  • The 'Boost with Facebook' program went virtual in May reaching out to 4X more people than in an in-person event. The 'FB Advertiser Vintage' program that focussed on skilling young businesses, pivoted to webinars offering custom solutioning, customer acquisition, and test and learn assistance. This program will skill more than 3,000 businesses this year.
  • Facebook India Director (SMBs) Archana Vohra said that the company is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses in India.

Vakrangee Gets RBI Nod to Set up BBPS Unit

  • The Reserve Bank granted in-principle approval to Vakrangee Ltd to set up Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU) to handle payment services related to bills.
  • Vakrangee (VL) has received in-principle authorisation to set up and operate BBPOU under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI.
  • The company offers banking, insurance, money transfer services, e-commerce, e-governance and other digital services on behalf of its partner banks, insurers, government agencies, e-commerce players among others through its branches mostly located in rural and semi-urban areas.
  • With 70 per cent of its Nextgen outlets in tier-5 and 6 towns, Vakrangee will have direct access to operate as a unit under BBPOU and provide the bill payment service to its customers in the most remote and hitherto unserved/ underserved parts of the country.

Hundreds of Chinese Investment Proposals in Limbo

  • Over a hundred of investment applications, primarily from Chinese origin investors looking to pump capital into the Indian startup ecosystem, are stuck in regulatory quagmire. These proposals, ranging from early to growthstage investments, are on hold or are being moved between various departments and ministries as the government continues to maintain strict curbs on capital inflow from Beijing and Hong Kong.
  • Lawyers representing investors and startups, as well as government officials said that they did not expect clearances anytime soon, till the geopolitical situation between the two countries improved.
  • In April, India brought into effect a regulation requiring investments emanating from countries with which the country shares a land border, to be cleared directly by the government rather than the earlier automatic approval route. The people cited above said that there has been a steep increase in the number of follow-up questions and demand for additional information by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Sep 27, 2020

U.S. Tightens Exports to China's Chipmaker SMIC

  • The United States has imposed restrictions on exports to China's biggest chip maker SMIC after concluding there is an unacceptable risk equipment supplied to it could be used for military purposes.
  • Suppliers of certain equipment to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation will now have to apply for individual export licenses.
  • The latest move marks a shift in U.S. policy from earlier this year, when applicants seeking "military end user" licenses to sell to SMIC were told by the Commerce Department that the licenses weren't necessary, according to three people familiar with the matter.
  • SMIC said it had not received any official notice of the restrictions and said it has no ties with the Chinese military.
  • SMIC is the latest leading Chinese technology company to face U.S. trade restrictions related to national security issues or U.S. foreign policy efforts.

India and Denmark Ink Pact to Increase Cooperation on IPRs

  • India and Denmark inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation in the area of intellectual property rights (IPRs) by exchanging best practices and collaborating in training programmes.
  • The two sides will draw up a biennial work plan to implement the MoU which will include detailed planning for carrying out cooperation activities, including scope of action.
  • The MoU aims to increase IP cooperation between the two countries by way of exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP awareness among authorities, businesses and research and educational institutions, and collaboration in training programmes, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities.
  • Both the sides would also exchange information and best practices on processes for disposal of applications for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and Geographical Indications, as also for protection, enforcement and use of IP rights.
  • Besides, the MoU is aimed at enhancing cooperation in development of automation and implementation of modernisation projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP, and understanding ways to protect traditional knowledge.

Sri Lanka Seeks Fresh Currency Swap Facility, Deferment of Debt Payments from India

  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa sought an additional currency swap facility and deferment of debt payments from India during an online bilateral summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Sri Lanka owes about $960 million to India and earlier this year India agreed to a $400 million currency swap facility for Sri Lanka until November 2022.
  • As per the Indian foreign ministry, an additional request for a bilateral currency swap arrangement worth around $1 billion by the Sri Lankan side remains under discussion.
  • Sri Lanka, located off the southern tip of India, has become an arena of competing influence between India and China, which has built ports, power stations and highways as part of President Xi Jinping's signature "Belt and Road Initiative", designed to boost trade and transport links across Asia.
  • But the terms of some of these projects have drawn domestic criticism in Sri Lanka and opened the way for countries such as India, the United States and Japan to rebuild ties in the Indian Ocean country that lies near key shipping lanes.

Eight of Top 10 Valued Firms Lose Rs. 1.57 lakh cr in Market Valuation

  • Eight of the top 10 valued firms witnessed a combined erosion of Rs. 1,57,277.53 crore in market valuation last week, with Reliance Industries Limited emerging as the biggest laggard.
  • Only Infosys and HCL Technologies emerged as gainers among the most valued firms.
  • The market valuation of Reliance Industries Limited tumbled Rs. 70,189.95 crore to Rs. 14,88,797.82 crore.
  • Bharti Airtel's market capitalisation tanked Rs. 31,096.67 crore to Rs. 2,39,880.86 crore and that of ICICI Bank plummeted by Rs. 14,752.95 crore to reach Rs. 2,40,329.93 crore.
  • The market valuation of HDFC declined by Rs. 12,737.66 crore to Rs. 2,96,339.09 crore and that of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) dived Rs. 10,675.53 crore to reach Rs. 9,08,940.15 crore.
  • HDFC Bank witnessed an erosion of Rs. 7,286.42 crore to Rs. 5,74,614.23 crore and Kotak Mahindra Bank Rs. 5,710.01 crore to Rs. 2,47,292.12 crore.
  • Hindustan Unilever Limited's valuation also dropped by Rs 4,828.34 crore to Rs 4,88,179.05 crore.
  • In contrast, HCL Technologies Limited, the latest entrant in the coveted list of most valuable companies, added Rs. 4,450.79 crore to Rs. 2,24,555.79 crore in its m-cap.
  • The valuation of Infosys rose by Rs. 3,622.14 crore to Rs. 4,30,647.81 crore.
  • In the list of most valuable firms, RIL was at the number one rank followed by TCS, HDFC Bank, HUL, Infosys, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank, Airtel and HCL Technologies.

Sep 26, 2020

Vodafone Wins Arbitration Case against India

  • British telco Vodafone Group Plc won a decade-long battle against the Indian tax department's demand of Rs. 20,000 crore, stemming from its entry into the country in 2007. The victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague may finally signal an end to the retrospective tax amendment case that had become a symbol of the country's aggressive tax collection methods. The Vodafone Idea stock rose 13.6% to close at Rs. 10.36 on the BSE.
  • The government will examine the order and further action will be taken after seeking legal opinion, including whether to appeal against the decision in the appropriate court in Singapore. There was also no question of the government losing Rs. 20,000 crore as Vodafone had not paid the original tax demand or the interest and penalties. The tribunal had not accepted Vodafone's demand for award of damages.

Fino Pyments Bank Launches Contactless Payment for Mass Tranport

  • Fino Payments Bank along with fintech partners has introduced NFC-based contactless payments solution for mass transit systems, especially state bus transport services in India.
  • Buses run by state road transport corporations are the most preferred means of travel for majority of people in rural and semi-urban areas where cash is used to purchase tickets.
  • Fino, which has over 80 per cent of its banking network of 2.75 lakh points in villages, aims to tap the opportunity to digitise cash used in mass transit systems.
  • Fino's NFC-based prepaid smart card ecosystem facilitates contactless or tap-and-go payments enabling cashless ticketing, it can also be used offline for fare collection.
  • Fino has already issued over 30 lakh NFC-enabled smart cards that are accepted across 20,000 Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses. It has partnered with fintech firms such as City Cash for developing the contactless payments solution for mass transit systems.

KVIC Appoints Sunil Sethi as Advisor

  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission appointed Sunil Sethi,Chairman of the Fashion Design Council of India, as its Advisor.
  • Sethi will advise the Commission on latest design interventions in the readymade garments segment as well as promotion of Khadi in India and abroad.
  • Sethi's appointment is for a period of one year. He succeeded fashion designer Ritu Beri whose term expired recently.
  • Sethi comes with over four decades of experience in global merchandising, where he has contributed significantly to the growth of Indian handicrafts, design and the textile industry, through many innovative and successful initiatives.

LIC, GIC, New India Assurance Systemically Important Insurers: IRDAI

  • Regulator IRDAI has identified LIC, GIC and New India Assurance as domestic systemically important insurers (D-SIIs) and subsequently decided to subject them to enhanced regulatory supervision.
  • The three insurers have also been asked to raise the level of corporate governance, identify all relevant risks and promote a sound risk management culture.
  • D-SIIs will also be subjected to enhanced regulatory supervision.
  • D-SIIs refer to insurers of such size, market importance and domestic and global inter-connectedness whose distress or failure would cause a significant dislocation in the domestic financial system.
  • Therefore, the continued functioning of D-SIIs is critical for the uninterrupted availability of insurance services to the national economy.
  • D-SIIs are perceived as insurers that are 'too big or too important to fail.
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