Economy Current Affairs
Economy Current Affairs February 1st week 2016
Category : Economy Current Affairs
posted Date :
Total No.of views :
Total No.of Comments :
5 / 5 (1 votes)

1) TCS, Infosys, Wipro join Obama`s `computer science for all` plan.

  • Three major Indian IT companies - Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro have joined US President Barack Obama`s ambitious `computer science for all` initiative as part of a public-private collaboration, pledging thousands of dollars in grants.
  • Obama announced his `Computer Sciences for All` plan in his weekly address as he emphasized on the need for teaching the subject as a "basic skill" to all children across schools in the country in a changing economy.
  • While Infosys has pledged a $1 million in donation, Tata Consultancy Services is providing support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities.
  • Wipro announced a $2.8 million grant for multi-year project in partnership with the Michigan University to involve over a hundred school teachers, with the aim of nurturing excellence in science and mathematics.
2) Jet Airways launches booking feature ``Fare Lock``.
  • Jet Airways, has introduced a new booking feature called ‘Fare lock’, which allows the passengers the flexibility to retain a selected fare for a limited period of time before confirming the purchase at a later date.
  • Once a passenger selects the FareLock option, he will need to pay a nominal fee for availing the same. The fee is Rs. 350 for domestic flights and Rs. 700 for an international ticket to “lock the fare”.
  • The passenger can return to the website anytime within the next 72 hours and confirm the purchase at the pre-selected fares by using the Manage Booking option.
  • Jet Airways has become the first airline to launch this innovative feature and it is available across its network. 
  • FareLock can be accessed on the Jet Airway’s online platforms, its website, the mobile site and the mobile app. 
3) TRAI suggests the public-private partnership model for BharatNet.
  • In a bid to speed up the implementation of the national optical fibre project, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended public-private partnership (PPP) model. The project is being executed by BSNL, RailTel and Power Grid.
  • This is contrary to the proposals made by an expert committee last year, which had suggested a model wherein the Central public sector units in some States and the private sector be roped in under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.
  • At present, a special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) under Telecom Ministry is handling roll out of optical fibre network.
  • TRAI also said the task of rolling out broadband network should be given to a concessionaire selected through reverse bidding process to arrive at fund to be provided by the government. 
4) Financial tech firm Global Analytics looking to kick-start lending operations in India.
  • Global Analytics, a US-based financial technology company delivering online financial products in the UK, wants to be an alternative money lender in India by providing short-term credit to customers.
  • In India, it will lend largely to those who don’t get loans from banks. They can use the money for medical emergencies, paying rental deposits, and so on.
  • The company started a beta site to test how people search for credit online. It is exploring tie-ups with NBFCs and banks.
  • Founded by professionals from the credit-risk scoring, fraud detection and predictive analytics domains, the company gradually moved to lending.
  • In the UK, it offers short-term credit to customers who do not have access to mainstream credit. The amount could be $200 to $2,000 for six months. At any point in time it serves 100,000 to 150,000 active customers in the UK.
5) ITC to set up property in Sri Lanka to mark overseas hotel debut.
  • ITC Ltd plans its first overseas hotel at Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2018. The Sri Lankan property will be a super-premium one and branded as “ITC”.
  • Apart from Sri Lanka the company also exploring other overseas destinations such as Dubai, Far East nations and Europe.
  • ITC Hotels, whose commitment to responsible luxury has given it the unique distinction of being the greenest luxury hospitality chain in the world, has four brands. “ITC Hotels” for the super premium luxury ones, “WelcomHotels” for business and leisure travellers, “Fortune Hotels” in the mid-market to upscale properties and WelcomHeritage through which it runs a chain of palaces, forts, ‘havelis’ and resorts. 

6) Alphabet officially dethrones Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

  • Alphabet, the company that owns Google, has overtaken rival Apple to become the highest valued company in the world. Alphabet now comes before Apple atop the list of the world’s most valuable companies.
  • Operating income from its core businesses rose 23% in 2015. Investors liked what they saw and shares spiked 8% in after-hours trading. 
  • Alphabet generated $21.3 billion in revenue, beating Wall Street estimates of $20.8 billion. Earnings were $8.67 per share, beating estimates of $8.09 per share. The company attributed its strong revenue growth to search ads, YouTube and programmatic advertising.
  • By changing its name and structure last year, Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page has put the focus on the company’s main web business while giving more insight into investments in new areas such as artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, health technology and fast Internet access. 
  • Google and Apple have worked to improve mobile computing, and their competition has seen Apple’s iOS smartphone operating system fight out against Google’s own Android for dominance since the latter emerged on the market in 2008 and became the system of choice for Samsung. 
7) Govt sets up two new tax committees to bring coherence in policies.
  • The government has set up two new committees - Tax Policy Research Unit and Tax Policy Council in order to bring coherence and streamline the direct and indirect tax policy and administration.
  • These committees have been constituted based on the recommendation of the Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) on taxation reform.
About Tax Policy Research Unit: 
  1. The TPRU will be headed by Revenue Secretary. It will carry out studies on various topics of fiscal and tax policies.
  2. TPRU will be a multi-disciplinary body to examine and analyse any fiscal or tax policy referred by the CBDT and CBEC and also prepare and disseminate policy papers and background papers on various taxation issues.
  3. TPRU will include officials from the CBDT and the CBEC as well as economists, statisticians, operational researchers and legal experts.
About Tax Policy Council (TPC):
  1. The TPC will help the government in identifying key policy decisions for taxation. It shall aim to have a consistent and coherent approach to the issue of tax policy.
  2. It will look at all the research findings coming from TPRU and suggest broad policy measures for taxation.
  3. The council will be headed by Union Finance Minister. It shall have 9 members – Minister of State for Finance, Commerce Minister, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman, Chief Economic Advisor and Finance Secretary.
8) CBDT signs two bilateral advance pricing agreements with UK.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into two bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with United Kingdom. 
  • The two bilateral APAs were signed with two Indian group entities of a UK based Multi-National Company (MNC). 
  • The APAs have been entered into soon after the Competent Authorities of India and United Kingdom finalised the terms of the bilateral arrangement under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) process contained in the India-UK DTAA.
  • With the signing of the bilateral APAs, the two Indian companies have been provided with tax certainty for 12 years each (5 years under MAP and 7 years under APA).
  • With this signing, CBDT has so far signed 41 APAs out of which 38 are unilateral and 3 are bilateral. 
9) Reliance Entertainment, Neeraj Pandey join hands to form film production venture.
  • Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment announced a joint venture with film-maker producer duo Neeraj Pandey and Shital Bhatia’s Friday Filmworks for production of movies.
  • Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Rustom’ will be the first movie under the banner, Plan C Studios. Plan C Studios will be an equal partnership joint venture between these two.
  • Reliance Entertainment has produced, distributed and released more than 170 films in multiple Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali. Internationally, it has partnered with iconic film producer and director Steven Spielberg.
10) Craftsvilla acquires sendd for $4.5 Million.
  •  Mumbai-based ethnic e-tailer, Craftsvilla, has acquired Mumbai-based on-demand shipping service provider startup Sendd for about $4.5 Million.
About Sendd:
  1. Sendd was founded by Nav Agrawal (IIT Bombay dropout), Sumeet Wadhwa (IIT Bombay Alumni) and Sargun Singh (IIT Bombay Alumni) in April 2015. 
  2. Sendd is an on-demand shipping services startup, allowing users to send parcels. The company had launched its B2C product in April and had later pivoted to B2B in August 2015.
  3. Sendd had its services in Mumbai and was enabling over 1,500 orders a day with average ticket size being INR 160, before getting acquired.
About Craftsvilla:
  • Craftsvilla was founded by Manoj and Monica Gupta in 2011. It counts Sequoia India, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Global Founders Capital and Apoletto among its investors.


11) BSE, IFC jointly develop corporate governance scorecard.

  • The scorecard seeks to help companies assay their corporate governance performances against national or international-benchmarked practices.
  • It can be used to make board processes more efficient, improve strategy, aid decision-making, and manage risks. Companies can better understand the way in which governance affects their operations.
  • The scorecard can be used by a wide range of stakeholders, including regulators, promoters, and investors.
  • IFC is implementing a South Asia Regional Corporate Governance Project with donor support from Japan’s Ministry of Finance.
  • This five-year project provides advisory services to individual firms and partners with local institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, to strengthen sector-level work on corporate governance. 
12) Dhirubhai Ambani Centre for Innovation and Research in Bangalore.
  1. Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani announced the establishment of the first-ever of its kind in the private sector in India “Dhirubhai Ambani Centre for Innovation and Research in Aerospace” at Whitefield in Bengaluru.
  2. The centre would also generate more than 1,500 highly skilled jobs and support government’s plan for indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment.
13) Birla Corporation Acquires cement arm of Reliance Infra.
  • Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) has sold its cement business arm to Birla Corporation for Rs. 4,800 crore.
  • RInfra has announced the signing of share purchase agreement with Birla Corporation Limited, the flagship Company of the M P Birla Group, in relation to 100 percent sale of its subsidiary RCCPL.
  • RCCPL has an integrated cement capacity of 5.08 million tonne per annum (MTPA) at Maihar, Madhya Pradesh and Kundanganj, Uttar Pradesh and a grinding unit of 0.5 Mtpa at Butibori, Maharashtra. 
  • Under this transaction Birla Corporation Ltd will acquire the 100 per cent shareholding of RInfra in RCCPL. The transaction is subject to approval of the Competition Commission of India and other applicable regulatory approvals.
About RInfra:
  1. RInfra is one of the largest infrastructure companies, developing projects through various special purpose vehicles (SPVs) in several high growth sectors such as power, roads, metro rail, cement and defence.
About Birla Corporation:
  1. Birla Corporation has presence across cement and jute and cement constitutes over 90 per cent of the company’s revenues. With a total operational cement capacity of 10 MTPA, it has units in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.