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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY - October 2021

Oct 2021

May 28, 2022

RBI Reduces Net-Worth Requirement for Non-Bank Bharat Bill Payment Units

  • The RBI eased norms for non-bank entities to set up Bharat Bill Payment operating units by reducing the net-worth reqirement to Rs. 25 crore, with a view to encourage more players in the segment. At present, a net worth of Rs. 100 crore is required to obtain authorisation for a non-bank BBPOU (Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units). Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an interoperable platform for bill payments and the scope and coverage of BBPS extends to all categories of billers who raise recurring bills.
  • The requirement of Rs. 100 crore net worth for a non-bank BBPOU to obtain authorisation was viewed as a constraint to greater participation. To increase participation, the RBI had decided to align the net worth requirement of non-bank BBPOUs with that of other non–bank participants which handle customer funds (like payment aggregators) and have a similar risk profile.

RBI to Adopt 'Graded Approach' to Introduce Digital Currency

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is proposing to adopt a graded approach towards the launch of central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the country to ensure conformity objectives of monetary policy, financial stability and efficient operations of currency and payment systems.
  • RBI has been exploring the pros and cons of introduction of CBDC in India and the appropriate design elements of CBDCs that could be implemented with little, or no disruption are under examination.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Union Budget for 2022-23 that the RBI will introduce the CBDS as India's official digital rupee in 2022-23. The digital currency is expected to be tethered to the fiat version of the Indian rupee, and will use blockchain and related technologies to operate.

May 27, 2022

SBI Introduces Xpress Credit on YONO

  • State Bank of India (SBI) introduced Real-Time Xpress Credit on its Yono platform, allowing eligible customers to get personal loans of up to Rs. 35 lakh. The bank said its flagship personal loan product for salaried customers "Xpress Credit" now has a digital avatar and customers can now avail of it through Yono.
  • Real-Time Xpress Credit, central, state government and defence salaried customers of SBI will no longer be required to visit the branch for availing of a personal loan. It would be a 100% paperless and digital experience and an end-to-end eight-step journey.

Delhi Customs Launches Project 'NIGAH' at ICD Garhi Harsaru, Gurugram

  • Project NIGAH is an initiative to track container by using ICTM (ICD Container Tracking Module) which will help in better visibility of the container movement inside the ICD. It will help Customs to expedite long standing containers and monitor timely clearances, thereby enhancing Ease of Doing Business along with ensuring lead preventive checks. ICTM has been developed in collaboration with the Custodian M/s. GRFL. A live demo of the project was given to all the participants.
  • On this occasion, the Chief Commissioner thanked the Custodian M/s. GRFL for this innovative development at local level to provide granular level visibility supporting ease of monitoring and to synergise the technological platforms introduced by the government with other stakeholders' platforms, which will lead India to high standards of EXIM trade. He encouraged other Custodians to replicate the project at ICDs for the benefit of trade.

May 26, 2022

CCEA Approves Sale of Government's 29.5% Stake in Hindustan Zinc

  • The government approved a proposal to offload its 29.5% in Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL), which is likely to fetch around Rs. 38,000 crore to the exchequer. A decision in this regard was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) at its meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • As the government has budgeted Rs 65,000 crore from PSU disinvestment and strategic sale in the financial year 2022-23, the decision would give a further push to its plan.
  • HZL was a wholly-owned government till 2002. In April 2002, the government offloaded 26% stake in HZL to Sterlite Opportunities and Ventures Ltd for Rs. 445 crore and gave management control of the company to Vedanta Group.

BSNL to Migrate 30,000 Wifi Hotspots to PM-WANI Framework by June

  • State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam will migrate 30,000 of its wifi hotspots to the PM-WANI framework by June 2022. Railways too has an ambitious blueprint for all its future hotspots to be under the framework. In a bid to fuel broadband internet proliferation across the country, the government, in December 2020, approved the setting up of public wifi networks and access points by local Kirana and neighbourhood shops through public data offices that will not involve any licence, fee or registration.
  • The public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface, known as PM-WANI, hold the promise of unleashing a massive wifi revolution in the country.

Government on Course to Privatise Two PSU Banks

  • The government is on course with the privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs) and will take appropriate steps in the coming months. In the Union Budget for 2021-22, the government announced its intent to take up the privatisation of two PSBs in the year and approved a policy of strategic disinvestment of public sector enterprises. Central Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank are likely candidates for privatisation.
  • The divestment of BPCL is also on the card and fresh bids will be invited. As per the process, the Core Group of Secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, will send its recommendation to Alternative Mechanism (AM) for its approval and eventually to the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister for the final nod.

May 25, 2022

SAIL Celebrates Fifty Years of Incorporation with a Special Logo

  • Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), the maharatna steelmaking public sector unit, is celebrating the company's fifty years of incorporation in 2022. SAIL was incorporated on 24th January, 1973. SAIL's legacy of fifty years is being celebrated with the launch of a new commemorative logo and will be followed by several events to be held all across the company throughout the year. The design of the commemorative logo retains the essence of SAIL's company logo while bringing out the spirit of fifty years of journey of this company. The logo was launched by Smt. Soma Mondal, Chairman, SAIL in presence of the Company's directors.
  • This feat is a testimony of the company's sustained efforts and initiatives in ensuring better stakeholders' engagement and contribution in nation building over the years.

HDFC Bank Partners with B2B Pharma Marketplace Retailio to Launch Co-branded Credit Cards

  • HDFC Bank, India's largest private sector bank, launched a new range of co-branded credit cards with Retailio, aimed largely at chemists and pharmacies in the merchant market. Retailio is the largest B2B pharma marketplace in the country. It is a useful app that is having a significant digital impact on the Pharma supply chain management in India. Chemists, retailers, distributors, pharmacists, and hospitals can use the Retailio mobile application and web interface to place orders with their respective distributors.
  • With over 6 crore credit, debit, and prepaid cards covering every market sector, HDFC Bank is the market leader in the payments ecosystem. Retailio has a network of over 1000 health care and pharmaceutical enterprises, 3000 pharmaceutical distributors, 1 lakh pharmacies, hospitals, and nursing homes in over 1000 locations.

Tata Power, Tata Motors Collaborate to Develop a 7mwp Solar Rooftop Project

  • Tata Power and Tata Motors have collaborated to develop a 7 MWp solar rooftop project at the latter's passenger vehicle plant in Chikhali, Pune. This is the third phase of a joint 17 MWp on-site solar project developed by the two companies, of which 10 MWp has already been installed. The two companies have recently inked a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for this solar project. The rooftop installation is collectively expected to generate 23 million units of electricity, mitigating 5.23 lakh tonne of carbon dioxide. This will be equivalent to planting 8.36 lakh trees over a lifetime.
  • Tata Power has executed multiple large solar rooftop solutions including one of the world's largest rooftop (16MW) at a single location at Radhasoami Satsang Beas (RSSB), Amritsar.

May 24, 2022

RBI-Constituted Panel to Review Customer Service Standards in Banks, NBFCs

  • The RBI set up a committee to evaluate the efficacy, adequacy and quality of customer service in banks, NBFCs, and other entities regulated by it.
  • The six-member committee headed by former RBI deputy governor B. P. Kanungo was asked to submit a report within three months from the date of its first meeting.
  • The committee will also review the emerging and evolving needs of the customer service landscape, especially in the context of evolving digital/electronic financial products and distribution landscape and suggest suitable regulatory measures.
  • Besides, it has also been asked to identify the best practices, adopted globally and domestically, in customer service and grievance redressal, especially for improvement in services rendered to retail and small customers, including pensioners and senior citizens.

ONGC Becomes 1st Gas Producer to Trade on IGX

  • State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) became the first gas producer to trade domestic gas on the Indian Gas Exchange, trading unspecified volumes from its eastern offshore KG-DWN-98/2 block.
  • The gas traded is from ONGC Krishna Godavari 98/2 block, but ONGC did not specify the volumes that were sold.
  • After the deregulation in gas pricing ecosystem in 2000-21, ONGC has prepared itself to reap the benefits.

Exim Bank, JBIC Sign $100 mn Loan Agreement to Support Healthcare Sector

  • Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) signed a USD 100 million loan agreement with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), along with three Japanese private financial institutions -- MUFG Bank Ltd, Bank of Kyoto Ltd and Hachijuni Bank Ltd -- aimed at supporting the Indian healthcare sector for combating COVID-19.
  • The agreement was signed on Monday on the sidelines of the Quad Leaders' Summit.
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