CA December 02
GOVT SETS UP SPECIAL CELL TO MONITOR FAKE CURRENCY NOTES
Government has set up a special cell to monitor the receipt of fake currency notes and inform such instances to the Economic Offences Wing of State Police, Intelligence agencies as well as to the Finance Ministry. In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said, special watch is being kept on receipt of such fake notes in the States bordering our neighbouring countries.He said, the Law Enforcement Agencies have been directed to maintain close vigil about possible movement of fake currencies. He said, the government has also asked them to make effective arrangements to keep watch on illicit cash transactions and movement of high value cash.
SC ASKS GOVT TO SPELL OUT MEASURES TO EASE OUT INCONVENIENCE OF MASSES DEPENDING ON CO-OPERATIVE BANKS
Supreme court today asked government to spell out measures taken to ease out inconvenience of rural masses, dependent on co-operative banks. It was hearing the plea filed by 14 district co-operative banks in connection with the demonetisation issue.Attorney general, Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the government told the supreme court that it has already looked into the issues concerning co-op banks. The matter will now be heard on Monday.
OVER 25 CR ACCOUNTS OPENED NATION-WIDE UNDER PMJDY: JAITLEY
As per the latest information, 25 crore 67 lakh accounts have been opened nation-wide under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana or PMJDY. It facilitates the beneficiaries a universal access to financial services. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated in the Lok Sabha today that the beneficiaries under the scheme get a RuPay Debit Card having an inbuilt accident insurance cover of one lakh rupees.He said the account holders under PMJDY are eligible for an overdraft facility of upto five thousand rupees after six months of satisfactory performance of credit history. Altogether 20 lakh and 75 thousand account holders had availed overdraft facility until October this year.
INDIA INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL 2016 TO BE HELD FROM 7TH TO 11TH DEC IN NEW DELHI
India International Science festival 2016 will be held from 7th to 11th of this month in New Delhi. Briefing reporters about the upcoming event Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, 5 nominated students from every Adarsh gram would travel to Delhi to participate in this festival.The festival being organized by ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences in collaboration with Vijnana Bharati(VIBHA) will be inaugurated by Home minister Rajnath Singh on 8th of December. The theme of the science festival is science for the masses. The minister said, more than 5000 young Indian scientists would be showcasing their scientific work to the public during the festival.
CBI DIRECTOR ANIL SINHA RETIRES; GUJARAT-CADRE IPS OFFICER RAKESH ASTHANA TAKES CHARGE
CBI Director Anil Sinha today retired from the post handing over the charge to Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana. A DoPT order said, the competent authority has approved assignment of additional charge of the post of Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to Rakesh Asthana.
PLEA IN HIGH COURT AGAINST CIC REFUSAL TO GIVE INFO ON TATA-DOCOMO SHARE TRANSFER
A plea has been moved in the Delhi High Court against the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) refusal to provide information regarding Tata Sons application to RBI in connection with purchase of Japanese telecom major NTT Docomo’s stake in Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL).
The application in CIC under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had also sought information about communications between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) regarding the application by Tata. The high court is likely to hear the matter next week.
The commission had denied the plea for providing the information sought, saying it may “prejudicially affect” the economic interest of the country and relations with a foreign nation.
The CIC’s June 14, 2016 order had come after the Centre had said that the matter involved was a policy issue which was under consideration and thus, was exempted under the RTI Act from providing information sought by the applicant, Ashish Rana.
The transparency panel had agreed with the government’s contention and had also said that “disclosure of information sought may harm the competitive position of third parties, including Indian companies, foreign investors.”
SBI IN FINAL STAGES OF DIVESTING STAKE IN SBI LIFE
State Bank of India is believed to be in the final stages of divesting part of its stake in its life insurance subsidiary.
SBI Life Insurance Managing Director Arjit Basu said that there is a bright possibility of the exercise getting over by December. “There is an outside chance that it happens in the third quarter. If not, it will certainly be over by the end of this fiscal,” Basu told ET on Friday in Kolkata. “Global investors always show interest whenever SBI wants to sell something,” he said
SBI said it would sell up to 5% of its stake and is in talks with global sovereign wealth funds and strategic investors. Basu said that the stake would be sold to non-promoters.
SBI Life is a 74:26 joint venture between State Bank of India and BNP Paribas Cardiff. SBI has also offered to sell 10% stake to Cardiff. There has also been talks of SBI Life making initial public offer next fiscal. But
Basu played it down. “It is not being considered this financial year and the earliest it will be considered is in the next financial year,” he said.
EXPECT CHALLENGING TIMES AHEAD FOR INDIA STEEL PLAYERS: ICRA
The sharp rise in international coking coal prices besides an almost stagnant steel demand pose challenging times ahead for the domestic steel players, ratings agency ICRABSE -0.48 % said today.
Domestic steel demand remained largely stagnant in Q1 2016-17, with consumption growing by just 0.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) during this period, ICRA said in a statement.
“Cost pressures amidst weak demand signal challenging times ahead for domestic steel players,” it added.
With demand for steel starting to improve from July 2016 onwards, steel consumption growth in Q2 2016-17 was much higher at 6.8 per cent.
“However, going forward, an anticipated slowdown in the real-estate sector on account of government’s demonetisation drive will impact demand of long steel players in the immediate term,” it said.
ICRA Senior VP and Head (Corporate Ratings) Jayanta Roy said given that a majority of the small to medium-sized secondary steel players in India are positioned in the long product segment, impact of this slowdown in real estate demand is expected to affect their capacity utilisation levels.
For the auto sector, the impact of demonetisation is expected to be marginally negative in the near term, especially for the 2/ 3 wheeler segments, where the share of the cash purchases has remained higher, it added.
FERTILISER MINISTRY SEEKS FUNDS FOR SETTING UP 11 NEW CIPET CENTRES
Fertiliser Ministry has sought funds from the Finance Ministry for setting up 11 new plastics engineering institute (CIPET) centres in states such as Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir, Parliament was informed today.
There are 28 CIPET centres in the country at present. The Centre has approved setting of up of 11 new centres including an Advanced Polymer Design and Development Research Laboratory of CIPET, Minister of State for Fertilisers Mansuk L Mandaviya said in the Rajya Sabha.
“Funds/budget for setting up of these centres have been requisitioned from the Ministry of Finance,” he said in his written reply to the Upper House. The new centres of the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tripura, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, he said.
They will aim at enhancing technology support to industries, strengthen skill development initiatives, promote entrepreneurship and research and development for indigenous technologies, Mandaviya said.
That apart, he said, the government has plans to set up Central Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (CICET) on the lines of CIPET as well as chemical and petrochemical hubs around 22 refineries in the country.
“The government has initiated the process for preparation of the concept note and feasibility study for establishing a CICET… The government will start five CICET centres and CIPET will work as a mentor organisation,” he said while replying to a separate query.
AIRTEL PAYMENTS BANK OFFERS TALKTIME WITH NEW SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
To woo customers open savings account with it, Airtel Payments Bank today announced it will offer one minute of talk-time (within its network) for every rupee deposited by customers.This benefit is applicable on first time deposits only, Airtel said.
“Any customer opening a savings account with Airtel Payments Bank, will get one minute of talk time on his/her Airtel mobile for every rupee deposited,” the company said in a statement. This means that if a customer opens an account with a deposit of Rs 1,000, then the person will get 1,000 minutes of free talk time on his or her Airtel mobile number. The talk time can be used for calling all over India, it added.
“We are leveraging Airtel’s telecom ecosystem to bring banking services to the doorsteps of every Indian… We are also undertaking a massive drive to enroll over one lakh merchants in Rajasthan by the year-end, who will not be charged anything for accepting digital payments from Airtel Payments Bank customers,” Airtel Payments Bank CEO Shashi Arora said.
Airtel believes this will boost the digital payments ecosystem hugely and reduce dependence on cash, he added. On November 23, Airtel Payments Bank had rolled out banking services in Rajasthan, becoming the first payments bank to go live in the country. The launch comes at a time when the government is making a determined push for a less-cash economy through demonetisation of high-value currencies
RAILWAYS GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO GO CASHLESS
Indian Railways has asked the State Bank of India BSE -0.53 % and ICICI Bank BSE 0.12 % among others to provide around 15,000 point of sale (PoS) machines at reservation counters, with about a thousand of these machines to be made available by Dec 31, to make railway travel bookings digital. Currently, the Railways does not provide POS service for debit and credit card payments at its ticket counters.
“We have around 12,000 ticket counters. All of them would be equipped with one or more POS machines depending on the daily transactions. Managing cash is also a huge task for our staff. It would be beneficial for them as well if we could have enough swipe machines,” a senior rail board official said. In the first phase, counters at all urban centers would have the machines. “In places like Mumbai, where there’s a huge sale of monthly passes, we would have POS machines installed immediately. SBI has promised to provide 1,000 machines,” the official added
The railways ministry will also go cashless for paying vendors and contractors. A notification would soon be issued that payment for all expenses should be made cashless by all zonal and divisional railways. The chairman of the railway board would soon issue a notification for the same. Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu has already instructed his officials to make the national transporter the first government organisation to be cashless. Railways already has 95% of its freight collection cashless. However, in the reserved category, it’s just 55%. In unreserved category and monthly passes it’s 100% dependent on cash payments as payment through cards was not allowed.
PAYTM, ITZCASH, RAZORPAY AND PAYU MAKING MOST OF THIS UNEXPECTED BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
It has been an extremely busy period for the fintech industry right from the night of November 8, when the prime minister announced demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes. For companies in the sector, it was a boon. Banks, on the other hand, had to mobilise staff from every part of the business to be able to cope with the mammoth foot traffic.
Fintech firms immediately recognised that the next few weeks would see an unprecedented spike in digital transactions. It meant they needed employees to perform at full capacity
To make the most of this unexpected business opportunity, Paytm, ItzCash, RazorPay and PayU mobilised their teams, created situation rooms and got in place an action plan to help employees transition swiftly into working towards business development and acquisition.
To brief employees, their offices turned into war rooms: some held webcasts, others organised teams to handle the sudden jump in work volumes. Employees put in late nights and weekends in order to deal with customer queries and transactions, some of which went up 10 times.
The day after the announcement, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma addressed the entire team in the digital wallet company’s Noida office and pinpointed areas of focus. The teams have since been working through weekends to cope up with the work load.
RBI CAPS BANKS’ LOAN EXPOSURE TO LARGE BORROWERS
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday capped banks’ exposure limit to a single entity to 20% and that to a business group at 25%. The move, aimed at containing concentration risk of banks, is in line with international best regulatory practice that is popularly known as Basel III norms. A bank’s exposure to an entity or a business group is considered ‘large’ if it is equal to or above 10% of a bank’s eligible capital base.
According to the revised norms, the sum of all exposures of a bank to a single business entity must not be higher than 20% of a bank’s available and eligible capital base at all times. However, in exceptional cases, bank boards may be allowed an additional 5% exposure of the lender’s available and eligible capital base.
“The sum of all exposure of a bank to a business group must not be higher than 25% of its available and eligible capital base at all times,” the RBI said in a notification to banks. Under the proposed framework, an exposure to a counterparty will comprise both balance sheet as well as off-balance sheet exposures such as derivatives and other hedgings.
RBI had released the draft guidelines in August for feedback from bankers. “A bank’s exposures to its counterparties may result in concentration of its assets to a single counterparty or a group of connected counterparties,” RBI said. The revised norms will be implemented from April 2019, it said.
ATF PRICE CUT BY 3.7%, LPG HIKED BY RS 2 PER CYLINDER
Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price was today cut by 3.7 per cent while subsidised LPG rate was hiked by Rs 2.07 per cylinder, the seventh increase in cooking gas price in six months. ATF or jet fuel price was cut (rpt) cut by Rs 1,881 per kilolitre (kl), or 3.7 per cent, to Rs 48,379.63 per kl in Delhi. The reduction comes after two rounds of hikes, the last one being on November 1 by a steep 7.3 per cent.
While, the rate of subsidised LPG rate was hiked and it will now cost Rs 432.71 per 14.2-kg cylinder as against Rs 430.64 previously. This is the seventh increase in price since July when the government decided to go in for a small hikes of up to Rs 2 per bottle every month to cut down its subsidy outgo.
LPG rates were last hiked on November 1 by Rs 2.05 per cylinder. Prior to that rate was hiked on October 28 by Rs 1.5 per cylinder on account of hike in commission paid to dealers. Rates went up by Rs 2.03 per cylinder on October 1 to Rs 427.09.
The near Rs 2 per cylinder hike in LPG every month is also aimed at achieving the same purpose. In case of kerosene, the government has allowed state-owned oil companies to raise the price by 25 paise a litre every fortnight for 10 months. The 9th hike in kerosene, since July, was effected today.
A litre of kerosene now costs Rs 17.51 in Mumbai. Delhi has been declared a kerosene-free state and no subsidised PDS kerosene is sold in the national capital. The price of non-subsidised cooking gas (LPG), which consumers buy after exhausting quota of 12 bottles of 14.2-kg each per household in a year, was hiked by Rs 54.5 to Rs 584. The hike comes on the back of Rs 37.5 hike on November 1. Oil firms revise rates of ATF and cooking gas on 1st of every month based on oil price and foreign exchange rate in the preceding month.
IIT TEAM TRACKS BROWN CARBON’S EFFECT ON ATMOSPHERIC WARMING
The effect of biomass burning in increasing atmospheric aerosols and in turn atmospheric warming through light absorption has been highlighted in a study by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur.
While the role of black carbon produced by biomass burning in increasing atmospheric warming has already been well established, this study highlights the lesser-known role of brown carbon.
Compared with earlier studies carried out in the U.S, absorption of light of 365 nanometre wavelength was found to be five times higher in Kanpur, which has a high biomass burning area.
Also, brown carbon accounts for about 30 per cent of light absorption in Kanpur. The results were published on November 24 in the journal Scientific Reports.
DIGICEL FOUNDATION LAUNCHES PHASE THREE OF MOBILE SCIENCE LAB INITIATIVE
Nine more of the island’s high schools will receive a major boost to their science programmes with the gift of state-of-the-art Mobile Science Labs from the Digicel Foundation.
Already, 32 schools have been outfitted with the modern facilities, and now nine others will enjoy the benefits of science lessons with their own well-equipped mobile labs.
The announcement of the nine beneficiaries was made at the JosÈ MartÌ Technical High School in St Catherine recently at the launch of phase three of the foundation’s Mobile Science Lab programme which began in 2014.
With the completion of phases one and two of the programme, more than 3,000 students in grades seven to nine in 32 schools mainly in town centres now have lab access on a regular basis.
AEROSPACE STARTUP TEAM INDUS SIGNS LAUNCH CONTRACT WITH ISRO
Bangalore-based aerospace startup Team Indus has signed a contract with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch a spacecraft that will attempt to land on the moon as part of its bid to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
Team Indus, incorporated as Axiom Research Labs Pvt Ltd, is the only Indian team competing for the $30 million prize money in the Lunar XPRIZE challenge.
To win the prize, privately-funded teams must land their spacecraft on the surface of the moon, travel 500 metres, and broadcast high-definition videos, images and data back to earth.
Team Indus is the fourth company, of the total 16 that have survived the heat till date, to sign a verified launch contract for 2017. Israel’s SpaceIL and American companies Moon Express and Synergy Moon are the other three.
“We see SpaceIL as our toughest competition. We are definitely going to be among the top two in the final challenge,” said CEO Rahul Narayan, who is confident of hoisting the tricolour on the surface of the moon.
INDIA, CHINA, RUSSIA HOLD CONSULTATION ON ASIA-PACIFIC AFFAIRS
India, China and Russia today held their first round of consultation on Asia-Pacific Affairs which included regional security architecture, coordination within regional and multilateral fora, anti-terrorism and other regional issues.
The consultation was attended by representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Ministry of External Affairs of India, an Indian Embassy statement here said today.
The three parties conducted in-depth exchange of views on the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, foreign policy towards Asia, regional security architecture, coordination within regional and multilateral fora, anti-terrorism and other acute, topical regional issues, it said.
The three parties also agreed that as important countries in the region, China, Russia and India have extensive common interests and close views on many aspects of regional agenda.
‘LA LA LAND’ LEADS CRITICS CHOICE, WINS OVER NEW YORK FILM CRITICS
“La La Land,” a modern-day musical love story of two struggling artists in Los Angeles, cemented its Hollywood awards season front-runner status on Thursday by simultaneously leading the nominees for Critics’ Choice Awards and being named best picture by New York film critics.
“La La Land” scored 12 Critics Choice nominations, including best picture, best actress for Emma Stone, best actor for Ryan Gosling and best director and screenplay for Damien Chazelle.
Sci-fi drama “Arrival” and independent drama “Moonlight” both landed 10 nominations each, including in the best picture race, as well as best director for Denis Villeneuve and Barry Jenkins respectively.
The New York Film Critics Awards, a separate critics organization, named its 2016 winners on Thursday, with “La La Land” taking best picture. Jenkins was named best director.
The Critics’ Choice Awards are chosen by the 300-plus members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA).
Winners will be announced at a televised ceremony held in the Los Angeles coastal town of Santa Monica on Dec. 11.
ICICI BANK HONOURS WINNERS OF SWACHH SOCIETY AWARDS
The Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis presented the awards to the winners at an event at ICICI Bank’s corporate office at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
The awards were given to societies for their exemplary efforts on energy conservation, rainwater harvesting, waste management and adoption of clean-green technology, among others.
ICICI Bank launched the ‘Swachh Society Awards’ in July this year with the objective of sustaining the spirit of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ as well as recognising and celebrating excellence in cleanliness and safety and adoption of green technology in housing societies.
TATA STEEL WINS 3 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN VALUE ENGINEERING
Tata Steel has won 3 Awards for Excellence in Value Engineering at INVEST 32nd National & 5th Asian Value Engineering Conference held on Nov 28 & 29, 2016 in New Delhi.
The awards that steel major received includes- Vasant Rao Trophy, Mohta Prize for submission of Best VE Project and Best Technical Paper Award.
Indian Value Engineering Society (INVEST) conferred Tata Steel with “Vasant Rao Trophy” for excellence in Systematic Application of Value Engineering at Engineering & Projects”.
The Application was authored by Surya Prakash Prabhaker and Arun Kumar from Engineering & Projects.
Mohta Prize for submission of Best VE Project report: A Value Engineering Case Study on “Maintenance of Earthing-Pit installation” authored by Pradyut Saha, Arun Kumar and Surya Prakash Prabhaker from Engineering & Projects has been adjudged as best VE Project report.
TWINKLE KHANNA, AMITAV GHOSH, RUSKIN BOND AMONG WINNERS FOR THE 2016 CROSSWORD BOOK AWARDS
Ever since its inception in 1998, the Raymonds Crossword Book Awards has always celebrated Indian writing, acknowledging the achievements of Indian authors.
The 14th edition this year was no different. At a literary night in Mumbai the award honoured writers in various categories.
Held at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, it saw the presence of eminent personalities and legends of the literary world.
The exclusive Literary Award in India for the Indian Authors is spread across Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s, Translations and Popular categories.
In its 2016 edition, the prestigious award also included a few new categories – Popular Award-Readers’ Choice, Best Biography Book of the Year, Management Book of the Year, Health & Fitness Book of the Year, Best Children’s Author of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
RANJI TROPHY: MUMBAI TAKE 3 POINTS FROM DRAW AGAINST BENGAL
Bengal managed to save the match but Mumbai walked away with three points due to the first innings lead on the fourth and final day of their Ranji Trophy Group A encounter on Friday. Overnight 433/8, Bengal could add just four runs to the total and were bowled out for 437 with Dhawal Kulkarni grabbing a five-wicket haul. Chasing a target of 308, Mumbai ended the match at 203/6 in 87 overs. It was nonetheless an admirable comeback from Bengal, who had been bowled out for 99 in the first innings. Although the first innings lead was conceded by them but the team can still draw confidence from the second innings performance in which skipper Manoj Tiwary (169) and Sudip Chatterjee (130) played big knocks.
SOUMINI WINS TITLE
Soumini Srinivas of Madras Gymkhana Club defeated Neena Praveen of TNBSA 3-0 in the senior women’s billiards final in the Indian Oil-TNBSA Tamil Nadu State-ranking tournament held here on Thursday.
TIRUPUR CRICKET FOUNDATION ENTERS FINAL
Tirupur Cricket Foundation scored a nine-wicket win over Tirupur Cricket Foundation-A in a semifinal clash of the DCAT Talent Search league tournament for under-17 boys at the Migros Kids School grounds recently.Stadium Sports defeated Lucky Star CC by 131 runs in the DCAT first division league recently.Tirupur CF 128 for eight in 30 overs (S. Santhosh three for 19) bt Velusamy CC 119 in 28.1 overs. Tirupur CF-A 153 for eight in 30 overs (R. Krishna Sai 54, R.S Tharun 54) lost to Kunnathur SC 154 for five in 29 overs (K. Dravid 67 n.o.). Semifinal: Tirupur CF-A 112 for eight in 30 overs (R. Arunachaleeswar three for 24) lost to Tirupur CF 113 for one in 13.2 overs (R.B. Viswak 55, A.D. Siyamvikas 36 n.o.).
INDIA BEATS THE NETHERLANDS
Playing for 9th-12th placings, India made short work of the Netherlands 3-0 in the opening round robin match of the World women’s team squash championship here on Thursday.
India will next take on Japan and Canada.
SIDHARTH RAWAT IN QUARTERFINALS
Sidharth Rawat beat third Yusuke Takahashi of Japan 6-4, 6-2 to make the quarterfinals of the $10,000 Futures tennis tournament here on Thursday.
In Doha, top seed Ramkumar Ramanathan lost to eighth seed Jonny O’Mara in three sets in the quarterfinals.handril Sood & Lakshit Sood bt Alexander Braun (Ger) & Giovani Samaha (Lib) 7-6(8), 6-2; Issam Al Taweel & Sherif Sabry (Egy) bt Haadin Bava & Arpit Sharma 3-6, 6-2, 10-4; Curtis Clarke & Jay Clarke (GBR) bt Kunal Anand & Anvit Bendre 7-6(4), 6-1.