Arthik Parivesh Vol 4

11.40 lakh transactions settled in 8 hours after RBI operationalises NEFT 24X7

Keypoints :

The RBI has operationalised National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) System 24X7 from 12:00 am of 16th Dec,2019.

Around 11.40 lakh transactions were settled in the first eight hours after it was made operational on 24X7 basis.

This ensures availability of anytime electronic funds transfer.

The RBI now joins an elite club of countries having payment systems which enable round-the-clock funds transfer and settlement of any value.

In order to give further impetus to digital retail payments, banks have been asked to levy any charges from their savings bank account holders for funds transfers done through NEFT system which are initiated online from January 1, 2020.

Banks get $7.6 billion (Rs 54000 crore) boost from India bankruptcy recovery

Sped up bankruptcy recovery could see SBI, IDBI, BoI, Canara Bank and Bank of Baroda get their dues.

Keypoints :

India’s banks are set for a $7.6 billion earnings windfall this month as the country’s bankruptcy court has made sudden progress in clearing a backlog of large cases.

The lenders are expected to benefit from the recovery process from four failed companies – Essar Steel India Ltd., Prayagraj Power Generation Co., Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. and RattanIndia Power Ltd. – which should be completed in December.

The gains will be welcome news for banks, which are facing a further increase in their $130 billion pile of bad loans thanks to India’s shadow banking crisis and the slowdown in the economy.

Centre sanctions Rs 2,228 crore as GST compensation to Punjab

Keypoints :

The Centre has sanctioned the release of Rs 2,228 crore as grant-in-aid against the pending GST arrears of the Punjab government since August 2019.

The amount is aimed at compensating the Punjab government for the loss of revenue for the months of August and September 2019, on account of implementation of GST.

In case the total GST compensation entitlement of the state government, on the basis of the audited revenue figures of the Comptroller and General of India, falls below the total amount of provisional GST compensation already released to Punjab, the excess payment shall be recovered from future claims or by direct debit to the state government’s account as per the procedure.

India, Germany ink pact for Rs 1,958 crore finance to develop energy-efficient housing programme

Keypoints :

India has secured a USD 277 million (about Rs 1,900 crore) loan from Germany to establish an energy-efficient housing programme in the country.

The loan agreement has been signed between State Bank of India and German development bank KfW.

The programme shall be part of the Indo-German Development Co-operation, guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Under the programme, both builders and homebuyers shall be financed for developing/purchasing energy-efficient residential projects that achieve at least 25 per cent energy savings in comparison to standard reference buildings.

Hence, this programme will contribute to India’s policy framework towards energy conservation in the residential building sector and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Exports fall marginally to $25.98 billion in November


The decline in India’s goods exports continued for the fourth consecutive month with outbound shipments in November falling 0.34 per cent (year-on-year) to $25.98 billion.

Major sectors such as petroleum products, garments, gems & jewellery, leather and carpets, many of them labour-intensive, have taken a hit.

Imports were down 12.7 per cent in November at $38.11 billion as all major items, with the exception of gold and pearls and precious stones, witnessed a decline, as per figures released by the Commerce & Industry Ministry.

The sharper decline in imports helped bridge the trade deficit to $12.12 billion, compared to $17.58 billion in November 2018.

Trade deficit in the April-November 2019-20 was lower at $106.84 billion compared with $133.74 billion in the same period last fiscal.

Higher wholesale prices, strong reservoir levels to help farmers in FY20


As per CRISIL’s report Higher wholesale prices for kharif crops and a likely bumper harvest will spell gains for farmers in the crop year 2019-20.

The rating agency expects overall farm profits per hectare to grow at 7-9% on-year in 2019-20 based on its analysis of 15 key minimum support price (MSP)-linked crops on parameters such as crop productivity, output, international and domestic demand-supply scenario, share of government procurement and exports, farm gate prices, and evolving cost dynamics indicates.

Though an unprecedented heavy rainfall in September-October adversely impacted kharif production by 4-6%, the above normal monsoon has filled reservoirs and increased chances of a bumper rabi or winter crop production.

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies to start School of Smart Agriculture


The University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) is gearing up to start “School of Smart Agriculture” soon at its campus in Dehradun, Uttarkhand.

UPES is uniquely positioned to focus on convergence of advanced technologies such as IoT, AI, Big Data, unmanned aerial vehicles and GPS with existing agricultural practices to create a new offering.

The world food demand is expected to double by 2050 and it is estimated that with business as usual, in the face of declining resources, intensifying volatilities of climate change and markets, only 59 percent of India’s total demand for food and agricultural products would be met by 2030.

So, use of technology in agriculture, from production to processing to logistics, will become a norm in the near future. This will result in demand for skilled professionals in agriculture. Food Processing is one of the 25 focus sector of Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

NPCI sets up subsidiary for exporting UPI to international markets: RBI governor


The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has setup a subsidiary to export the much acclaimed Unified Payment Interface or UPI for governments and central banks interested in implementing similar instant fund transfer in their countries.

The subsidiary will also look at various business propositions exporting the payment solution will bring to the NPCI.

Bank of International Settlement’s (BIS) recently released paper which hailed India’s digital financial infrastructure, said that UPI is being “internationally watched.”

No extension beyond Dec 31 for Sabka Vishwas Scheme


The finance ministry is unlikely to extend the last date for ‘Sabka Vishwas Scheme’, a dispute resolution-cum-amnesty scheme for settling pending disputes of service tax and central excise, which is ending on December 31.

Live since September 1, the Sabka Vishwas Scheme provides a one-time window to eligible persons to declare their tax dues and pay the same in accordance with the provisions.

The relief under the scheme varies from 40 per cent to 70 per cent of the tax dues for cases other than voluntary disclosure cases, depending on the amount of tax dues involved. The scheme also provides relief from payment of interest and penalty.

Haryana Records 18 per cent Growth in GST


In Haryana, the revenue under State GST has recorded a growth rate of 33 per cent in the month of November, 2019 over the corresponding month of the previous financial year. The overall growth of the collections under State GST up to the month of November 2019 in the current financial year is 18 per cent over the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

The return compliance of the State has also shown marked improvement in the month of November, 2019. It stands at 78 per cent, which is 4 per cent higher than the national average.

Excise and Taxation Commissioner (ETC) Dr. Amit Kumar Agrawal directed all DETC’s to ensure 100 per cent return compliance by the top taxpayers of the state. At present, the compliance of top taxpayers for the month of November, 2019 stands at 93 per cent.

Government may raise FDI cap in insurance to 74%


In the run up to the Budget, life insurance companies have pitched for increasing the cap for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector to 74 per cent.

All life insurance companies have said they are in favour of increasing the FDI cap, which can be decided by the government.

At present, FDI up to 49 per cent is allowed in the insurance sector through the automatic route. Following the Budget announcement on further opening up FDI in insurance sector, the insurance regulator had earlier this month sought views of stakeholders.

Fitch lowers India GDP growth to 4.6% in FY20


Fitch Ratings cut its growth forecast for India to 4.6 per cent for the 2019-20 fiscal from the previous estimation of 5.6 per cent after factoring in significant deceleration in past few quarters due to credit squeeze and deterioration in business and consumer confidence.

It reaffirmed India’s rating at ‘BBB-‘ with a Stable Outlook saying the rating balances a still strong medium-term growth outlook compared with similar category peers and relative external resilience stemming from solid foreign-reserve buffers against high public debt, a weak financial sector and some lagging structural factors, including governance indicators and GDP per capita.

It said its rating for India incorporates the expectation of moderate slippage in the fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP in FY2019-20.

The rating agency expected the RBI to cut the policy rate by another 65 basis points in 2020, after a cumulative 135bp easing since February 2019.

Bangladesh to allow transhipment of Indian goods from January sans custom duties, transit fees


Bangladesh, notwithstanding its decision to cancel visits by foreign and home ministers to India last week in the aftermath of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill controversy, will allow transhipment of Indian goods via Chittagong and Mongla sea ports from January without charging customs duties and transit fees.

Bangladesh expects that such connectivity between the countries will open up greater economic opportunities, strengthen infrastructure and boost business.

Customs fees are not applicable as it is a bilateral agreement between the two countries. But India will pay duties and taxes as per Bangladesh’s tariff schedule for ports. It will also pay fees for using roads in line with the policy of the Bangladesh Road and Highways Division.

Meanwhile, passengers travelling on cruise ships to India and Bangladesh will get on-arrival visas at the ports.

 AbhiBus launches rent-a-bus service

Keypoints, an online bus ticketing service and solutions company, has launched Rent-a-Bus service, a do-it-yourself digital tool, allowing customers hire buses, mini-buses and tempo-travel buses with capacities in the range of 14 to 52 seats.

With the new service, customers can now book entire bus and plan their trips without any hassle.

The firm set up a 10-member customer support team to attend to the customers using the Rent-a-Bus service.

Customers from India or aboard can book this service for pan India destinations and select the relevant bus.

MakeMyTrip, Hyderabad Metro launch QR-code based e-tickets for easy mobility


Online travel company, MakeMyTrip together with L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, introduced QR code-based e-tickets for Hyderabad metro that will provide cashless, convenient and connected experience to over 4 lakh riders using the service every day.

The feature, embedded with a Quick Response (QR) code will allow riders to pre-book various type of tickets.

One of the biggest advantages of the feature is that riders will be able to book six tickets in a single transaction and share those (six) QR codes with other riders on WhatsApp; a functionality introduced for the first time in the history of Indian metro e-ticket booking system.