Economy Current Affairs
Economy Current Affairs January 3rd week 2016
Category : Economy Current Affairs
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1) BHEL commissions 520 MW Hindujas project near Vizag.

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has announced it has commissioned a 520-MW coal-based thermal generating unit of the Hinduja Group near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The unit has been commissioned at the 2x520-MW Vizag Thermal Power Project of Hinduja National Power Company Ltd, Visakhapatnam.
  • BHEL has thus far set up four 500 MW thermal power sets supplied and executed for NTPC Simhadri Thermal Power Station. The 2x520-MW Vizag thermal power project is being executed by BHEL on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.
  • This project is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal and uses single flow condenser and seawater as main cooling tower. BHEL has commissioned the first unit successfully.
  • The second unit is at advanced stage of completion. BHEL had secured orders for setting up two supercritical thermal power projects of 800 MW capacity each in Andhra Pradesh.
2) Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital to invest Rs. 600 crore for expansion.
  • The Chennai-based Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital chain has announced a Rs. 600 crore expansion plan to scale up its operations in India and abroad over the next five years.
  • It currently has 60 hospitals and will add 140 by 2020. The chain is targeting a total of 200 hospitals with 150 in India and 50 in Africa, West Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
  • The group is strengthening its presence in southern India by opening three hospitals in Kerala. The chain already has hospitals in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The model adopted by the chain is hub and spoke model, wherein each State will have hubs that offer specialised services, such as cataract surgeries, while the hospitals in the surrounding areas will offer regular treatment.
  • The chain currently employs 250 doctors and 2,500 support staff. Once the expansion is complete, it will have 600-700 doctors and 7,500 support staff.
3) FIPB clears 5 FDI proposals worth Rs. 6,050 crore.
  • The Government has approved five Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs. 6,050 crore, including ones from pharmaceutical companies Cadila Healthcare and Recipharm.
  • The approvals are based on the recommendations of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) at its meeting in December 2015.
  • The biggest proposal to get the nod was from Cadila amounting to Rs. 5,000 crore. The company was given approval for the transfer of its 99.90 per cent shares currently held by an NRI to Wellness Technology and Media Private Ltd, UK.
  • Recipharm Participation got approval for Incorporating a wholly-owned-subsidiary in India, which will be engaged in the business of investing in other companies.
  • Other proposals which got a nod include ones from Health Media Publishing, Sai Life Sciences Limited and Buimerc Core Investments Pvt Ltd.
4) Saint-Gobain to invest Rs. 1,000 crore more in Chennai float glass facility.
  • Saint-Gobain India is investing Rs. 1,000 crore to expand its float glass and value-added glass production capacity at its factory near Chennai.
  • The fully integrated factory at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, will get a third float glass line of 1,000 tonnes a day and a second magnetron coater line with a capacity of 84 million sq ft per year for making high-performance, energy efficient glass.
  • This will make it the largest float glass plant in India. The new capacities in coated line will go on stream in 2017 and the float glass line in 2018.
  • The 177-acre Chennai factory is a fully integrated plant making value added glass products, including advanced laminated glass such as bullet-proof glass, starting from the basic raw material, sand.
About Saint-Gobain:
  • Referred to as a World Glass Complex, the subsidiary of the €40 billion French multinational Saint-Gobain is a regional manufacturing hub catering to the domestic market and to West Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the ASEAN region.
  • It was founded in 1665 and headquartered in Courbevoie, France. It also makes 1.2 million sets of automotive glass annually.
5) Switch to BS VI fuel will cost Rs. 13,000 crore: IndianOil.
  • Indian Oil Corporation will invest close to Rs. 13,000 crore to upgrade its refineries and produce BS VI grade automotive fuels from April 1, 2020.
  • The investment figure does not include the amount required for the company’s newest refinery in Paradip, Odisha.
  • Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Heavy Industries, Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways agreed to implement the BS VI emission norms by April 2020 instead of the earlier date of April 2021.
  • It was also decided to move straight from BS IV which will be implemented by 2017, to BS VI.
  • Public sector oil marketing companies are expected to invest Rs. 28,750 crore to make the switch to BS VI automotive fuels.
About Bharat stage emission standards (BS):
  • These are emission standards instituted by the Govt of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change.
  • The standards, based on European Regulations were first introduced in 2000. All new vehicles manufactured after the implementation of the norms have to be compliant with the regulations.
  • Since October 2010, Bharat stage III norms have been enforced across the country. In 13 major cities, Bharat stage IV emission norms have been in place since April 2010.
  • In 2016, the Indian goverment announced that the country would skip the Euro V norms altogether and adopt Euro VI norms by 2020.
6) Direct benefit transfer to cut food subsidy bill by Rs. 25,000 crore annually.
  • Starting fiscal 2017-18, the Centre’s food subsidy bill is set to go down by Rs. 25,000 crore annually by Direct Benefit Transfer arrangement.
  • For 2015-16, the Centre’s food subsidy bill is estimated at Rs. 124,419 crore against Rs. 122,676 crore in 2014-15.
  • However, the food subsidy bill could be higher still this fiscal with more States rolling out the National Food Security Act.
  • The Centre’s overall subsidy bill is also expected to dip further with the planned extension of the DBT plan to kerosene sold through the public distribution system to more States.
  • The government plans to start DBT for kerosene subsidy from April 1 in 26 districts across Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan.
7) Dubai-based Abraaj Group to buy majority stake in CARE Hospitals.
  • Dubai-based global investor Abraaj Group will be acquiring a majority stake in Quality CARE India Ltd (Care Hospitals) from Advent International through one of its funds.
  • Though the details of stake to be acquired and its value have not been disclosed, it is learnt that the enterprise value of the deal is Rs. 1,800 crore. The transaction is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2016.
  • Founded in 1997 by B. Soma Raju, Hyderabad-based CARE is the fifth largest healthcare provider in India, operating 2,600 beds across 16 hospitals in nine cities.
  • Abraaj and CARE’s management will focus on expanding its integrated healthcare delivery system, especially in the underpenetrated regions of India.
  • The Abraaj Group has a strong track record of investing in healthcare, having deployed nearly $1 billion globally in 27 investments across the healthcare spectrum in growth markets.


8) Reliance Defence buys Saab’s stake in Pipavav.

  • Security and defence company Saab has sold its stake approximately 3.3 per cent in Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Limited to Reliance Defence Systems.
  • Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company is now part of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.
  • On November 1, 2012, Saab had said it made an investment in Pipavav. The company said the investment made a new partnership possible and also provided a good base for future businesses. With a new strong owner in Pipavav, Saab said it is looking forward to developing the potential even further.
About Saab Group:
Saab Group is a Swedish aerospace and defence company, founded in 1937.
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden.
About Pipavav Shipyard:
  • Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering company Limited is the India’s largest shipbuilding and heavy industry company headquartered in Mumbai.
  • It was established in 1997 and is located in west coast of India at Saurashtra, Gujarat.
9) Steel Exchange signs MoU to expand AP plant.
  • Steel Exchange India Ltd (SEIL) has inked a memorandum of understanding with the Andhra Pradesh government for the expansion of its steel plant in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The MoU outlines SEIL’s move for the expansion of steel plant from 0.25 mt to 1.25 mt at Sreerampuram village in L Kota mandal, Vizianagaram district, with an investment of Rs. 7,937 crore in two phases, with potential to generate 1,500 jobs.
  • Vizag Profiles, the flagship company of the group, also committed to a direct investment of Rs. 500 crore in setting up warehouses and cold chain warehouse from Srikakulam to Nellore coastline based on the land allotment by the State. 
10) Centre plans for an exclusive insurer for Indian ships.
  • To reduce the insurance cost of Indian ship-owners, the Centre plans to get the four public sector general insurers to float a new joint venture. The venture will exclusively provide cover to ships operating in Indian and South Asian waters.
  • The proposed company will be launched in the next fiscal year by the four PSU general insurers: New India Assurance, United India Insurance, National Insurance Company, and Oriental Insurance Company.
  • The move is in keeping with the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. It will save precious foreign exchange that shipping companies pay to get insurance cover from overseas insurers.
  • Crucial insurance covers such as Protection and Indemnity (P&I) will be offered to shipping companies by the Indian insurer at premiums that will be much lower than current global averages.
About Protection and Indemnity insurance cover:
  • P&I is a third-party-liability insurance for ship owners, operators and companies that charter ships.
  • The insurance covers their legal liability in the event of a crew member getting injured or dying in an accident.
  • It also covers collision, wreck removal, marine pollution, stowaways, cargo damage and fines levied by foreign governments or port authorities.
11) Airtel veteran buys 5% in ICEX from MMTC.
  • Bharti Airtel group veteran Akhil Gupta and a Delhi-based investor Vijay Sharma of BN Enterprises have acquired five per cent each in the now defunct Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX). Anil Ambani is the largest shareholder in the exchange.
  • State-owned Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC), which holds 26 per cent stake in the exchange, sold 10 per cent of its stake for an undisclosed amount.
  • ICEX suspended trading in April, 2014. It went live with trading in November 2009 but had to shut down due to dwindling volumes and raising expenses amid intense competition from established rivals such as MCX in metals and energy and NCDEX in farm category.
  • However, much has changed since the exchange was shut. Hopes are now high for commodity exchanges with SEBI taking over as regulator from the Forward Markets Commission late last year.
  • However, running a commodity exchange has become a costly proposition with SEBI directing exchanges to set a separate clearing house by September, 2018 with a minimum net worth of Rs. 300 crore.
12) Konkan Railway to build siding for MRPL.
  • Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) has announced plans to construct railway siding facility for Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) in Mangaluru.
  • After completion, around 2,800 tonnes of products are expected to be transported by railway everyday.
  • With the construction of a railway siding, the entire product can be loaded in train inside the premises of MRPL. If the products are transported by road, they require multiple handling and lead to road congestion
  • There will be two lines of 800 metres each in the railway siding. The project, which is estimated to cost Rs. 46 crore, will be completed in 24 months.
13) Max India completes three-way demerger.
  • Max India Limited has concluded its demerger into three separate listed companies to provide investors with specific and undiluted access to its diverse lines of businesses and unlock shareholder value.
  • Post the demerger, the $2.2 billion turnover Max Group now comprises three separate holding companies Max Financial Services, Max India and Max Ventures & Industries.
  • This demerger will pave the way for listing of Max Financial Services by the end of January 2016, making it the first Indian listed company exclusively focused on life insurance.
Leadership transformation:
  • By creating three separate platforms, investors now have the choice to be associated with all these businesses, or in the set of businesses that suit their respective investment objectives.
  • Rahul Khosla, earlier the Managing Director of the consolidated Max India Limited, has now been elevated as the President of Max Group.
  • Analjit Singh, will remain Chairman of Max Ventures and Industries, as well as Chairman of Antara Senior Living.
  • Naina Lal Kidwai, who had recently stepped down from the position of Chairperson of HSBC India, has now joined the Max Group as Chairperson of Max Financial Services.
  • Mohit Talwar, who was Deputy Managing Director of Max India, has been elevated to the position of Managing Director, Max Financial Services and Managing Director, Max India.
14) Aurobindo gets US nod for 2 generic products.
  • Aurobindo Pharma has received two approvals from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) for manufacturing and marketing of Tranexamic Acid Injection, (100 mg/mL) 1,000 mg/10 mL single-dose vial and Paricalcitol Capsules, 1 mcg, 2 mcg, and 4 mcg.
  • The first approved ANDA (Abbreviated New Drug Application) is bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent to the reference listed drug product (RLD) Cyklokapron Injection, 100 mg/mL, of Pharmacia and Upjohn Company.
  • Tranexamic Acid Injection is used in treatment of short-term control of bleeding in hemophiliacs, including dental extraction procedures.
  • This is the 22nd ANDA (including two tentative approval) approved out of Unit IV formulation facility in Hyderabad.
  • The Paricalcitol Capsules-approved ANDA is bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent to the reference listed drug product (RLD) Zemplar capsules 1 mcg, 2 mcg and 4 mcg of ABBVIE.
15) Mindtree acquires US-based firm Magnet 360 for $50 million.
  • Mindtree has acquired Magnet 360, a US-based Salesforce consulting partner, for $50 million in an all cash deal. The company has Honeywell, Nike, Cargill among its clients.
  • With this acquisition, Mindtree is looking to up its play in the fast growing cloud computing services area.
  • Mindtree also made an acquisition in the cloud computing space and also announced a reshuffle in its top management, as it seeks to build differentiation in some of its business offerings.
  • Further, as a part of the reshuffle, Krishnakumar Natarajan was elevated to the Executive Chairman position, as co-founder Subroto Bagchi stepped down.
  • The new CEO of the company will be Rostow Ravanan, who was the former CFO of the company. Bagchi will continue to be an independent director in the company.


16) RCom, RJio seal Rs. 4,500 crore spectrum deal.

  • Ambani brothers have come together yet again for a deal that will see Mukesh Ambani-backed Reliance Jio buying spectrum from Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications across nine circles. The deal also includes spectrum sharing across 17 circles.
  • While the financials of deal were not disclosed but RCom will get an immediate payment of Rs. 4,500 crore from RJio.
  • Both the companies also intend to enter into reciprocal intra-circle roaming, an arrangement which will allow them to use each other’s network resources.
17) Zee enters Germany; to launch free-to-air TV channel.
  • Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd has announced its foray into Germany. The company said it also plans to launch a free-to-air television channel for this market by mid-2016.
  • This channel will bring Bollywood films as well as popular Indian television series to German screens, 24-hours a day. The new channel’s core target group will be women between the ages of 19 and 59.
  • Zee has appointed Friederike Behrends who will be responsible for business operations in the German-speaking area.
18) Bombay Stock Exchange launches algorithm trading test.
  • BSE Ltd has launched a new service for algorithm trading test environment in partnership with Symphony Fintech Solutions Pvt Ltd.
  • The service will enable all market participants to test their trading algorithms in equity, equity derivatives and currency derivatives segments free of cost.
  • The members will be able to test their trading strategies with live market data feed during market hours and historical market data.
  • Algorithm trading uses mathematical models and software codes to make transaction decisions on exchanges and execute them at high speed.
About Bombay Stock Exchange:
  • The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai,Maharashtra, India.
  • Established in 1875, the BSE is Asia’s first stock exchange and the world’s fastest stock exchange with a median trade speed of 6 microseconds.
  • The BSE is the world’s 11th largest stock exchange with an overallmarket capitalization of $1.7 trillion. 
19) Godrej & Boyce buys 51% stake in India Circus.
  • Godrej & Boyce has picked up 51 per cent stake in designer Krsnaa Mehta’s company India Circus for an undisclosed amount.
  • India Circus is a two-year-old start-up with sales turnover of Rs. 20 crore, retailing lifestyle accessories and home décor objects mainly through the e-commerce route.
  • The acquisition is expected to complement the portfolio of Godrej & Boyce’s largest divisions such as Interio (furniture) and appliances.
20) SEBI released report of Narayan Murthy-panel on Alternative Investment Policy.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released the first report of the Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC) for comments from the stakeholders.
  • The 21-member committee was constituted by the SEBI in March 2015 under the chairmanship of N R Narayan Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, to suggest measures for development of the alternative investment funds (AIFs) and startup eco-system in the country.
  • Key Recommendations of the committee:
  • For creating a favourable tax environment the panel recommended that exempted income of AIFs should not suffer tax withholding of 10 percent.
  • Overseas investors in India-centric fund vehicles should not be subject to the indirect transfer provisions of the IT Act when they transfer their investments in an India-centric vehicle to another investor.
  • Provisions relating to investor diversification, control or management of portfolio companies, tax residence, arm’s length remuneration of fund managers and annual reporting requirements under the Section 9A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 should be amended.
  • Make foreign direct investment in AIFs work efficiently by clarifying the rules for investment by non-resident Indian investors in AIFs on a non-repatriation basis.
About Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs):
  • Anything alternate to traditional form of investments gets categorized as alternative investments.
  • Investments in stocks or bonds or fixed deposits or real estates are considered as traditional investments and AIF refers to private equity and hedge funds.
  • AIF refers to any privately pooled investment fund, (whether from Indian or foreign sources), in the form of a trust or a company or a body corporate or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). 
21) Ratan Tata invests in online coupons venture
  • The e-commerce company, will utilize the funding for expanding its business to international markets, build brand awareness and hire senior-level talents.
  • Similar to the likes of CouponDunia and CouponRaja, CashKaro offers customers cashbacks along with coupons and discounts.
  • Prior to Tata’s investments, CashKaro had raised about Rs 25 crore from Kalaari Capital. The company has also earlier raised about $750,000 in angel funding.
  • The e-commerce company has partnerships with about 1,000 online retailers, and claims to have more than 10 lakh registered users.
22) India post opens exclusive counters for eBay sellers.
  • India Post has opened exclusive counters at the business post centres in Gurgaon and Faridabad for eBay India sellers.
  • The counter for eBay sellers at Gurgaon and Faridabad business post center will be exclusive for them to send their products through speed post, registered post or any other service they wish to opt for in both the cities.
  • eBay sellers can dispatch both domestic and international parcels from eBay’s special counter at Phase-V, UdyogVihar in Gurgaon and NIT Faridabad Post Office.
About eBay:
  • eBay is an American multinational corporation and e-commerce company, providing consumer to consumer & business to consumer sales services via Internet.
  • It was founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995 and it was headquartered in San Jose, California.
  • The company manages, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide.
23) Centre, IIB in talks for healthcare portal.
  • The Centre plans to develop a comprehensive website for healthcare and is in talks with the Insurance Information Bureau (IIB), an arm of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), in this regard.
  • If the plan fructifies, all public agencies involved in healthcare may be brought under the portal for the purpose of data sharing and for uniformity and standardization of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) network.
  • IIB has launched a portal, Rohini, to serve as a registry of hospitals in the insurance network. It will allow hospitals to register, make changes, and add information, among others, through permitted access, providing them with visibility and faster claim processing.
  • The list now consists of about 33,000 unique hospitals, arrived at after an extensive exercise of automated as well as manual de-duplication undertaken by the IIB.
24) Ratan Tata invests in baby care platform Firstcry.
  • Ratan Tata has invested in baby care eCommerce platform FirstCry, continuing the slew of investments he has made in various startups globally.
  • FirstCry is omni-channel player with presence across desktop, mobile and offline routes offering baby and maternity products in India.
  • It started operations in 2010 and has over 2 million customers. It has over 150 FirstCry branded franchisee offline stores across 100 cities in the country.
  • A positive nod from a business leader of Tata’s stature is a great vote of confidence in the way FirstCry has created the ecosystem and validation of the business approach leading to definitive path to profitability.
  • Ratan Tata has been aggressively investing in startups, ranging from e-commerce firms to cab aggregators. He has invested in firms like Snapdeal, Kaaryah, Urban Ladder, Bluestone, CarDekho, Sabse Technologies, Xiaomi, Ola and