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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY - October 2020

Oct 2020

Dec 01, 2021

Gujarat Displaces Maharashtra to Become Largest Manufacturing Hub in Country

  • Gujarat emerged as the biggest manufacturing hub in India with the state's Gross Value Addition (GVA) in manufacturing growing at 15.9 per cent annually on average between FY'12 and FY'20 to touch Rs. 5.11 lakh crore, displacing Maharashtra, according to data released by the RBI. Maharashtra's annual growth rate during the period was 7.5 per cent, taking the state's total manufacturing GVA to Rs. 4.34 lakh crore in FY'20. Maharashtra continues to lead as the nation's biggest services hub.

HSBC Launches India's 1st Credit Card Made from Recycled PVC Plastic

  • HSBC India launched India's 1st credit card made from recycled PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) plastic. The cards were introduced in partnership with global cards manufacturer IDEMIA to gradually eliminate single-use PVC plastic. The cards are made from 85 per cent recycled plastic and each card will save 3.18 gm of plastic waste in addition to helping lower overall carbon emission.
  • The card was launched as a part of a new program launched by HSBC Group to introduce sustainable cards across all its global locations to support its global commitments to sustainability and a net-zero in its operations by 2030.

Seven Firms, including JSW Steel, Submit Bids for Coal Blocks

  • JSW Steel and Adhunik Power & Natural Resources are among seven companies that have submitted bids for four coal blocks put up for sale under "second attempt" of auction process for 11 mines for commercial mining.
  • These coal mines were also offered in the first attempt this year and had fetched single bids.
  • The seven firms are Auro Coal Pvt Ltd, JSW Steel, MP Natural Resources Pvt Ltd, Adhunik Power & Natural Resources, Assam Mineral Development Corp Ltd, Virtuous Mining Ltd and Twenty First Century Mining Pvt Ltd.

Walmart Announces MoU with MP Government to Train and Support MSMEs

  • Walmart and its subsidiary Flipkart announced they will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Madhya Pradesh government to create an ecosystem of capacity building for MSMEs in the state.
  • Under the partnership with Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) of the MP government, Walmart and Flipkart will help MSMEs digitize their businesses and enable them to sell products across India through online retail.
  • The initiative comes under Walmart Vriddhi Supplier Development Programme.
  • Launched in 2019, Walmart Vriddhi aims to train 50,000 Indian MSMEs with the business skills necessary to succeed as suppliers to Walmart, sellers on Flipkart, and other domestic and global marketplace platforms.

RBI Appoints Three-member Advisory Committee to Assist RCap's Administrator

  • After superseding the board of Reliance Capital (RCap), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appointed an advisory committee tasked with assisting the administrator appointed to the company in discharging his duties.
  • The three-member advisory committee includes State Bank of India's ex–deputy managing director (DMD) Sanjeev Nautiyal, Axis Bank's ex-DMD Srinivasan Varadarajan, and Tata Capital's ex-MD and chief executive officer Praveen P. Kadle.

Nov 30, 2021

RBI Imposes Penalty of Rs. 1 crore on Union Bank of India

  • The Reserve Bank of India imposed a monetary penalty of Rs. 1 crore on state-owned Union Bank of India for deficiencies in regulatory compliance. The penalty was imposed by an order dated November 25 for non-compliance with the certain provisions of directions issued by the RBI contained in Reserve Bank of India (Fraud - Classification and Reporting by commercial banks and select FIs) Directions 2016 and Guidelines on Sale of Stressed Assets by Banks.

Indian-origin Executive Parag Agrawal New Twitter CEO

  • Indian-origin technology executive, Parag Agrawal was appointed as the new CEO of Twitter after the social media giant's co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down. He is now the youngest CEO in the S&P 500 elbowing Meta Platform Inc.
  • Parag joined Twitter 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees. He has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He's curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware and humble.

Hindujas Top Rich British Asians' List

  • The combined wealth of British Asians stood at just a shade below £100 billion this year, an impressive rise of more 20 per cent compared to last year, as Asian entrepreneurs in the UK successfully managed to ward off unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic and the Brexit, according to the annual Asian Rich List.
  • Topping the list for the seventh consecutive year is the Hinduja family, whose wealth swelled by £2.5bn, over the year, according to a press release from the Asian Media Group, which hosts the awards and publishes the Asian Rich List.

LIC Gets RBI's Nod to Increase Stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted approval to state-owned insurance behemoth Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India to raise its stake in private lender Kotak Mahindra Bank up to 9.99 per cent.
  • LIC is one of the biggest institutional investors in India's stock market and has a stake in a number of private and public sector banks. LIC has a stake in as many as 24 scheduled commercial banks, shows the data from Capitaline. It holds 49.24 per cent stake in IDBI Bank.

Kantar's BrandZ India Report 2021

  • According to Kantar's BrandZ India 2021 report, Amazon, Tata Tea and Asian Paints emerged as the most purposeful brands in India across technology, FMCG, and non-FMCG categories respectively. In technology ranking Amazonleads the index followed by Zomato, YouTube, and Google, and Swiggy jointly in 4th place.
  • While Asian Paints topped the non-FMCG rankings, Samsung and Jio ranked jointly in the 2nd position, followed by MRF. The FMCG category rankings saw Tata Tea topping the chart, Surf Excel in 2nd position.

Fedo Launches "Health Savings Account" in Partnership with Neo Bank Open

  • AI driven Health- tech company Fedo announced 'Health Savings Account', called Fedo HSA, in collaboration with neo bank Open.
  • Fedo HSA woould offer a combined account that helps customers meet their required spends through a combination of smart savings, insurance, line of credit all bundled in a powerful savings account that comes with a health Credit/ Debit cards with health benefit features and rewards.

RBI Raises Higher Cap on Promoter Stake in Private Banks at 26%

  • An internal working group of the Reserve Bank on the ownership and corporate structure of private sector banks has favoured allowing promoters to maintain any percentage of holding in the first five years-- more than the present minimum of 40 per cent now favoured -- and then capping it at 26 per cent after 15 years of operations.
  • According to the RBI's current norms, a promoter of a private bank needs to pare holdings to 20 per cent within 10 years, and to 15 per cent within 15 years.

Nov 29, 2021

Vipin Sondhi Steps Down as CEO of Ashok Leyland

  • Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of the Hinduja Group, announced that Vipin Sondhi decided to step down from the post of managing director and chief executive officer of the company with effect from December 31.
  • Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of the Chennai-based auto major stepped in as the executive chairman of the company with immediate effect to assist in business continuity and to ensure a seamless transition.

Former RBI Executive Director Lily Vadera Joins HDFC Bank Board

  • HDFC Bank's board has approved the appointment of former RBI executive director Lily Vadera as independent director.
  • The board of directors of the bank approved the appointment of Lily Vadera as an additional independent director of the bank for a period of five years effective from November 2021.
  • Vadera has 33 years of experience in central banking. She retired as Executive Director from the Reserve Bank of India in October 2020.

Hero MotoCorp Appoints Rajnish Kumar as Independent Non-exec Director

  • Two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp appointed former chairman of State Bank of India (SBI) Rajnish Kumar as an independent non-executive director on the company's board.
  • Kumar completed his three-year term as chairman of SBI in October 2020.
  • Kumar is a career banker with nearly four decades of service with the State Bank of India. His expertise in corporate credit and project finance is well recognised. He currently serves as an Independent Director on the Boards of many other prestigious companies viz. HSBC, Asia Pacific, L&T Infotech.

MG Motor India Ties up with CleanMax, Adopts Wind-solar Hybrid Energy

  • MG Motor India collaborated with CleanMax to become the first passenger car company to adopt wind-solar hybrid energy.
  • Under the collaboration, Clean Max Enviro Energy Solutions (CleanMax) will supply 4.85 MW of wind-solar hybrid power to MG Motor's manufacturing facility in Halol.
  • With this partnership, MG will abate approximately 2 lakh MT of CO2 over 15 years which is equal to planting more than 13 lakh trees.
  • CleanMax is the first renewable energy company to set up a wind-solar hybrid power park in Gujarat to sell clean energy to private consumers and corporates. It plans to expand to 150 MW by 2022. MG's Halol facility is expected to begin drawing power in February 2022 from CleanMax's hybrid park in Rajkot and will continue to do so for 15 years.

CESL Inks Pact with IIT Bombay to Establish EV Charging Infrastructure

  • State-owned CESL signed a Letter of Association with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) to implement electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country.
  • Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd.
  • Under this association, both parties will collaborate to work on technological advancements in the electric vehicle charging domain by development of flagship products, standardization of technical specifications, solutions for meeting EV charging capabilities, and customized solutions for Indian EV charging ecosystem.

Nov 28, 2021

Reliance, Aramco Call off $15-bn Deal

  • Reliance Industries and Saudi Aramco called off a deal for the state oil giant to buy a stake in the oil-to-chemicals business of the Indian conglomerate due to valuation concerns.
  • Talks broke down over how much Reliance's oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business should be valued as the world seeks to move away from fossil fuels and reduce emissions.
  • Instead, Reliance will now focus on signing multiple deals with companies to produce specialty chemicals for higher margins.

Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India Clarify on Privatisation Business

  • Amid privatisation business, Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) and Central Bank of India (CBI) informed the stock exchanges that they received no information from government on these lines. The clarification cames a day after Centre's legislative agenda for Winter Session hinted at tabling of Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 bill for privatisation of two public sector banks.
  • The bill seeks to "effect amendments in Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Acts, 1970 and 1980 and incidentalamendments to Banking Regulation Act, 1949 in the context of Union Budget announcement 2021 regarding privatisation of two Public Sector Banks.

Royal Enfield Starts Local Assembly Unit, CKD Facility in Thailand

  • Eicher Motors said that its Royal Enfield motorcycle unit commenced operations of its exclusive local assembly unit and CKD (Completely Knocked Down) facility in Thailand.
  • With this, Royal Enfield now has three local CKD units - in Argentina, and Colombia in Latin America, and in Thailand - in addition to the three manufacturing facilities in Chennai, India.
  • To begin with, the facility will start local assembly of the Himalayan, Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 models.

Centre Releases New Series of Wage Rate Index

  • The Labour ministry released the new series of wage rate index (WRI) with the base year being 2016. The government periodically revises the base year of WRI for key economic indicators in order to provide a clear picture of economic changes and record the wage pattern of workers. The new series of WRI with base 2016=100 will replace the old series with base 1963-65.
  • According to the recommendations of the International Labour Organization and National Statistical Commission, the base year of WRI numbers has been revised from 1963-65 to 2016 by the Labour Bureau to enhance the coverage and to make the index more representative. The new WRI series has expanded the scope and coverage in terms of the number of industries, sample size, occupations under selected industries as well as weightage of industries among other indicators.

HCL Technologies Expands its Presence in Sri Lanka

  • HCL Technologies (HCL), a global tech major, opened its new facility at the state-of-the-art Cinnamon Life complex in Sri Lanka and this new facility will be its largest in the country, accommodating 4,000 employees..
  • HCL Technologies (HCL) had entered Sri Lanka in 2020 with the aim to make it a global technology and IT services delivery hub for some of the largest corporations in the world. Currently, HCL intends to occupy 80% of Cinnamon Life, a project by John Keels, with plans of taking up 10 floors now and 10 floors at a later stage.

Debt-laden IL&FS Completes Stake Sale in Prime Terminals FZC

  • Debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) completed the sale of its 71.84 per cent stake in IL&FS Prime Terminals FZC to VTTI Terminal I BV.
  • The transaction has resolved the group's outstanding debt to the tune of Rs. 757.79 crore.
  • IL&FS' stake in IL&FS Prime Terminals FZC (IPTF), a state-of-the art energy storage terminal situated in the UAE's Fujairah, was held through IL&FS Maritime Infrastructure Company (IMICL).
  • VTTI has acquired the stake from IMICL and other shareholders.

Nov 27, 2021

Bajaj Allianz, TropoGo Join Hands for Drone Insurance

  • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance announced its partnership with deep-tech start-up TropoGo for the distribution of a drone Insurance product.
  • The drone insurance product would cover damage to the Drone and Payload it carries, Third Party Liability along with additional covers for BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) Endorsement and Night Flying Endorsement.
  • Drone owners and drone manufacturing companies can avail an annual third-party and comprehensive coverage for accidental damage, theft, and disappearance, users can opt for additional endorsements for night flying, BVLOS, payload and data loss liability. Companies can also avail customised insurance coverage for fleet requirements.

RBI Imposes Penalties on Tata Communications Payment Solutions, Appnit

  • The Reserve Bank has imposed penalties on Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited (TCPSL) and Appnit Technologies Private Limited (ATPL) for deficiencies in regulatory compliance.
  • A penalty of Rs. 2 crore wasn imposed on TCPSL and Rs. 54.93 lakh on ATPL.

BNP Paribas, Societe Generale Trim Stake in Indiabulls Housing

  • Societe Generale and BNP Paribas Arbitrage offloaded 51 lakh shares of Indiabulls Housing Finance for about Rs. 113 crore through open market transactions.
  • Societe Generale sold 27.40 lakh shares of Indiabulls Housing Finance while BNP Paribas Arbitrage divested 23.59 lakh shares of the company.
  • The shares were offloaded in the range of Rs. 221.34-221.75 apiece, valuing the transaction size to Rs. 113 crore.
  • Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited is a mortgage lender headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana, India. It is India's second largest housing finance company and is regulated by the National Housing Bank.

SBI signed an MoU with Pondicherry Co-op Milk Producers' Union Ltd

  • The State bank of India (SBI) signed an MoU with Pondicherry Co-op. Milk Producers' Union Ltd (PONLAIT) for financing individual dairy farmers up to Rs. 3 Lakh. The Loan will be made available through YONO application of the SBI Bank. SBI has introduced a technology product, named 'SAFAL- Simple And Fast Agriculture Loan' for financing individual Dairy farmers, who are supplying milk to commercial dairies on a regular basis.
  • Around 3,500 dairy farmers supplying milk to 98 primary milk societies of PONLAIT would be benefited by the arrangement. This was the first MoU signed in the Chennai circle of the bank which plans to enter into such agreements with commercial dairies throughout the country to finance farmers supplying milk to the dairies. The present arrangement to boost milk production with the help of bank loans would help the administration of the union territory to meet the daily requirement of milk.

JM Financial Launches Bondskart.com, a Retail Bond Platform

  • JM Financial Products, the flagship non-banking finance arm of the JM Financial Group announced the launch of Bondskart.com, a digital application that would enable retail investors to trade or invest in fixed income securities including corporate bonds, a facility similar to the RBI's retail direct platform for government bonds.
  • Bondskart.com features diverse fixed income investment options across rating categories, yields and instrument types such as plain vanilla bonds, sub-debt/ Tier II & perpetual bonds aided by in-house analytics and data driven technology platform.
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