Economy Current Affairs
Economy Current Affairs February 2nd Week 2016
Category : Economy Current Affairs
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1) FDI in India doubles to $4.5 billion in December 2015.

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country more than doubled to about $4.5 billion (Rs. 30,514.5 crore) in December 2015. In the same time previous year it was $2.16 billion.
  • The major sectors that attracted foreign inflows include computer software and hardware, trading, services, automobile and telecommunications. India receives maximum FDI from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan.
  • The government has relaxed FDI norms in as many as 15 sectors, including Defence, single brand retail, construction development, civil aviation and LLPs, to boost FDI in the country.
  • Foreign investments are considered crucial for India, which needs around $1 trillion in the next five years to overhaul its infrastructure sector such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth.

2) Cisco acquires Japser Technologies for $1.4 billion.

  • Cisco Systems intends to acquire Silicon Valley-based Internet of Things (IOT) start-up Jasper Technologies Inc. for US $1.4 billion in cash.
  • Jasper allows companies to manage connected objects through cellular networks with a cloud-based software program, and was valued at US $1.4 billion in its most recent round of venture funding.
  • In addition to connecting devices to the Internet, Jasper makes a software platform that helps monitor these devices once they are online.
  • Cisco views Jasper as a unique Internet of Things (IOT) service platform that is disrupting a massive market with strong strategic alignment with Cisco.

About Cisco Systems:

  1. Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in San Jose, California, that designs, manufactures and sells networking equipment.
  2. Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by Leonard Bosack, who was in charge of the Stanford University computer science department’s computers.

3) Mahindra Asset Management Company (AMC) received SEBI nod for Mutual Fund business.

  • Mahindra AMC wholly-owned subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services (MMFS), got the regulator’s nod from markets regulator SEBI’s approval for setting up of their mutual fund business.
  • HDFC MF, ICICI Prudential and Reliance MF are among the top mutual fund companies in India.
  • MMFS is a part of the Anand Mahindra-led Mahindra group. The financial services arm has more than 1,000 branches across the country with over 16,000 employees.

About Mutual Funds:

  1. Mutual funds belong to a group of financial intermediaries known as investment companies, which are in the business of collecting funds from investors and pooling them for the purpose of building a portfolio of securities according to stated objectives.
  2. Mutual funds are generally organized as corporations or trusts, and, as such, they have a board of directors or trustees elected by the shareholders. Almost all aspects of their operations are externally managed.
  3. Mutual funds provide investors with a way to diversify their investment under professional management, which most investors may not be able to obtain on their own.

4) SEBI forms task force to review risk management norms for commixes.

  • Sebi has set up a task force to review the risk management norms for national-level commodity bourses following the suspension of futures trading for castor seed on NCDEX.
  • After recent developments witnessed in castor seed futures contracts, Sebi has established a task force to relook at the existing norms related to risk management, delivery mechanism, and other related issues.
  • The task force has been asked to submit the report in three weeks. Based on the report, the risk management norms for national-level commodity derivatives exchanges will be further tightened.
  • Last year Sebi laid down a comprehensive risk management framework for commodity derivatives exchange. It includes norms for margins, deposits, types of collateral, collateral haircut, concentration limits, and risk reduction mode.
  • The recent development in castor seed contracts and reports of high volatility in other commodities such as turmeric and coriander have forced Sebi to set up a task force to see if risk management norms can be further tightened.

5) BSE Institute launches new accelerator for start-ups.

  • BSE Institute Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of BSE Ltd, has launched a new accelerator for start-ups.
  • This accelerator is set up by BSE Institute in collaboration with Ryerson Futures Inc (Toronto), the technical arm of Ryerson University from Ontario, Canada.
  • The accelerator will focus on scalable, technology start-ups (both enterprise and consumer).Besides, it will help recreate in India the successful model of the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) - Ryerson`s flagship programme in Toronto which has been operational since 2010 and incubated over 150 start-ups.
  • This has been set up as a technology based incubator under the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.

6) Tax reforms proposed in gems & jewellery sector.

  • Government of India is considering a package of tax incentives for the labour-intensive leather and gems and jewellery sectors in the forthcoming Budget to provide a boost to manufacturing as well as exports.
  • Leather and leather goods sector is a focus area under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the central government and the aim is to increase its exports to USD 15 billion by 2020 from the current USD 6 billion.
  • The Commerce and Industry Ministry in its suggestions for the Budget 2016-17, has recommended several initiatives including elimination of customs duty on imported leather machinery from about 26.5 per cent currently.
  • It has also sought excise duty reduction for all leather and non-leather goods of up to Rs. 2,000 and increase in the abatement rate to 35 per cent from 25 per cent.

7) Religare Finvest, Just Buy Live join hands to provide credit to local retailers.

  • Religare Finvest, a non-banking finance company, and ‘Just Buy Live’, the world’s first e-distributor jointly launched a new credit product called ‘Udhaar by Just Pay’.
  • The product aims to offer retailers structured credit lines for their stock-in-trade requirements.
  • An independent credit line will help local retailers decide on the product mix, completely democratizing their buying ability.
  • With this facility, a small retailer can buy what he wants to sell and not what a distributor wants him to sell.
  • Just Buy Live and Religare Invest have now already pre-approved credit lines for over 20,000 Just Buy retailers and aim to provide five lakh retailers with structured lines by the end of 2016.
  • Religare Finvest will bear the credit risk and offer the credit through Just Buy and also carry out the know-your customer (KYC) process.

8) CIL to buy stake in IOC’s explosives unit.

  • State-run Coal India Ltd inked a memorandum of understanding to acquire a 50 per cent stake in IndianOil’s (IOC) bulk explosives business.
  • Explosives are used in open cast mines, which contribute nearly 93 per cent of CIL’s annual production of over 500 million tonnes.
  • The focus on quick production growth is set to increase the share of production from open-cast mines in the next few years.
  • IOC recorded 15 per cent growth in explosives production, at one lakh tonnes, in 2014-15. This is less than 20 per cent of CIL’s annual bulk explosives requirement of 5.5 lakh tonnes.
  • IOC acquired the explosives business through the merger of erstwhile IBP with itself in the middle of the last decade.

About Coal India Ltd:

  1. Coal India Limited (CIL) is an Indian state-controlled coal mining company headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
  2. It is the largest coal producer company in the world and contributes around 82% of the coal production in India.
  3. It was founded in 1975 and Sutirtha Bhattacharya is the Chairman & MD of Coal India.

9) CBDT lays down norms for e-assessments.

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has laid down operational guidelines for e-assessments of select non-corporate taxpayers to be undertaken as a pilot in five metros.
  • It has now specified the format and standards for ensuring secured transmission of electronic communication between the taxpayer and the Income-Tax Department.
  • The move comes three months after the CBDT announced its intent use ‘electronic mail’-based communication for assessment.
  • The aim is to move most of the communication to the electronic format. Once done, it would save time and effort both for the tax payers and the tax department.

About Non-corporate charges:

  1. Non-corporate charges are those dealing with assessments of individuals, Hindu Undivided Families and partnerships.
  2. Initially, 100 cases would be identified for e-hearing in each of these five regions and a major part of the assessment would be done electronically, the CBDT had then decided. Only cases taken up for scrutiny were to be covered under the pilot.

10) Minimum import price levied on 173 steel products.

  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has agreed to levy a Minimum Import Price on 173 varieties of flat steel products.
  • The MIP ranges from $341 per tonne for semi finished iron and non alloy steel to $752 per tonne. The prices will be valid for six months. A majority of the prices have been set for non-alloy steel.
  • India’s imports of non-alloy steel rose 29.6 per cent between April-December 2015 to 6.34 million tonne. It’s total consumption of non-alloy steel stands at 53.166 million tonne.

11) Indian Basmati gets geo-tag of authenticity.

  • The aromatic Indian Basmati rice infused with the sweet fragrance of international recognition of its uniqueness after the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) directed the Geographical Indications Registry to give it the GI tag.
  • The stamp of authenticity, which is acknowledged in international markets, applies to Basmati cultivated in the Indo-Gangetic plains in the foothills of the Himalayas; more specifically, it will cover the unique variety cultivated in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, western Uttar Pradesh and two districts in J&K, Jammu and Kathua.
  • The IPAB ordered the Registry to assign the GI tag within four weeks in line with an application made by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in November 2008.

About Geographical Indications (GI tag):

  1. A Geographical Indication is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin.
  2. India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  3. The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.

12) Digital content provider YuppTV partners B4U.

  • YuppTV, provider of digital Indian content, has expanded the entertainment choices available for its users by announcing a partnership with B4U.
  • Under the partnership, YuppTV users anywhere across the world, with the exception of the US, will be able to view B4U Music and B4U Movies.
  • The move to partner with B4U is meant to augment YuppTV’ s current Hindi entertainment library. Both channels will be available in Hindi and can be viewed on computers, smart TVs, smart Blu-ray players, streaming media players, tablets, smartphones along with other video content through YuppTV’ s platform.

About B4U:

  1. B4U is one of the Bollywood television networks and operates on more than 8 different satellites in over 100 countries.

About YuppTV:

  1. YuppTV is an over-the-top (OTT) content provider for South Asian Content, as live TV, Catch-up TV, and Unlimited Movies.
  2. YuppTV allows Broadcasters & Content Providers to reach their target audience, and consumers to view their content globally over 6 screens of Connected TVs, STBs, PC, Smart Phones, Tablets and Game consoles.
  3. Founded in 2006, headquartered at Atlanta, Georgia.
  4. Uday Nandan Reddy is the CEO of YuppTV.

13) Tech Mahindra enters mobile gaming platform with mSportz.

  • Tech Mahindra Ltd has entered into the mobile gaming entertainment space with the launch of a mobile gaming live streaming platform,, under its Growth Factory initiative.
  • mSportz is an integrated platform that allows users to view and broadcast mobile gaming content in real-time and showcase their skills with the mobile gaming community.
  • mSportz App has a vision to entertain and connect the world’s mobile gaming community. Currently, the beta version of the App is available on Android and iOS.
  • Tech Mahindra is eying mobile gaming entertainment as a huge opportunity area. Mobile gaming industry is a $29 billion market with over 1.5 billion people playing games daily. According to Digi Capital, the mobile gaming industry will surpass console gaming by 2018.
  • Under the mSportz umbrella, Tech Mahindra is keen to build an ecosystem around casual and competitive mobile gaming with leagues, tournaments, and professional teams.

14) India’s proposed trade pact with Russia-led EAEU bloc on fast track.

  • India has exchanged the first draft of the joint study group (JSG) report on the feasibility of free trade agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) that could give India greater access to the vast market in Russia and its neighborhood.
  • India’s enthusiasm comes from the fact that the EAEU, which came into force on January 2, 2015, integrating Russia’s market with that of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, offers a large, mostly unexplored, market with a joint population size of 180 million and a GDP of an estimated $4 trillion.
  • Pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture items and energy are some of the areas where India stands to gain by getting into a trade pact with the EAEU. If the political strain between Russia and the EU and the resulting sanctions against EU food products continue, India could gain even more.

15) Apollo Health short-lists 3 private equity firms to raise Rs. 500 crore.

  • Apollo Health and Lifestyle Ltd, a subsidiary of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, has short-listed three private equity firms and expects to close a deal to raise Rs. 500 crore by March to fuel its expansion plans.
  • Apollo Health operates a network of primary care and specialty care hospitals across the formats of Apollo Clinics, Apollo Sugar, Apollo Diagnostics, Apollo White and Apollo Dialysis. Also in its portfolio are Apollo Cradle and Apollo Spectra Hospitals.
  • While Apollo Diagnostics has 15 labs and 80-plus patient care centres in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Vijayawada and Warangal, it plans to launch 200 labs and 1,000 patient care centres over five years in tier 2 cities like Madurai, Tiruchi, Hubli, Visakhapatnam, Kurnool, Rajahmundry and Nashik.


16) TRAI stands up for net neutrality, rules against differential pricing.

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has barred telecom service providers (TSPs) from offering or charging discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content accessed by a consumer.
  • In this regard, TRAI has issued Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016.
  • The move is being seen as a boost to net neutrality and ends the long-running debate on it in India. Henceforth no TSPs can discriminate consumers on differential pricing of data Services basis of website, platform, application and source.

Key points of the Regulations:

  1. These Regulations aims at ensuring that consumers get non-discriminatory and an unhindered access to the internet.
  2. Prohibits TSPs from entering into any arrangement, contract or agreement with any person that may cause discriminatory tariffs based on content-led data services.
  3. Reduction of tariffs for or providing or accessing emergency services at times of public emergency has been permitted.
  4. TRAI will keep a close watch on the implementation of the regulation by the telecom service providers and may review it after 2 years or even before that if necessary.

17) Iran wants India to pay oil dues in Euros.

  • Iran has asked Indian refiners such as Essar Oil and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) to clear its past oil dues amounting to over $6 billion in Euros within six months.
  • With US lifting sanctions, Iran has told Indian authorities that the three-year old mechanism, paying 45 per cent of oil import bill in rupees and keeping the remaining 55 per cent pending for payment channels to clear, has come to an end.
  • The payments would be done in installments to prevent a run on the rupee with MRPL likely to be asked to clear its outstanding of close to $3 billion first.
  • Iran will be opening or re-activating euro accounts with Indian banks and would like to have the money transferred from refiners into these accounts.
  • The Persian Gulf nation is talking to State Bank of India (SBI) for the purpose and has also opened an account with IDBI.


  1. Since February 2013, Essar Oil and MRPL have been paying 45 per cent of their import bill in rupees to UCO Bank account of Iranian oil company. The remaining has been accumulating, pending finalization of a payment mechanism.
  2. With the lifting of sanctions, the payment channels will reopen and Iran is seeking the pending $6 billion in euros.

18) Wipro signs agreement to buy Healthplan Services for $460 millions.

  • Wipro has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent stake in Healthplan Services from Water Street Healthcare Partners for USD 460 million.
  • This marks the fourth acquisition by Wipro in the last one year. It is the IT major’s largest acquisition in last five years.
  • HealthPlan Services strengthens Wipro’s position in the health insurance exchange market while offering synergies with Wipro’s presence in the Managed Medicare and Commercial Group Insurance markets.

About Healthplan Services:

  1. HealthPlan Services employs over 2,000 and offers market-leading technology platforms and fully-integrated business process as a service (BPaaS) solution to health insurance companies.
  2. Since partnering with Water Street in 2008, HealthPlan has grown to become the leading independent technology and BPaaS provider in the US health insurance market.
  3. HealthPlan Services provides US payers with a diversified portfolio of health insurance products delivered through its proprietary technology platform.

19) Ratan Tata invests in B2B marketplace Moglix.

  • E-commerce Company Moglix has announced an undisclosed financial investment in the company by industrialist Ratan Tata.
  • Moglix specializes in B2B procurement of industrial products like MROs, Fasteners and industrial electricals with manufacturers across India, China and other Asian countries as partners.
  • Tata has already made investments in many e-commerce and new-age technology enabled companies.

About Moglix:

  1. Founded in August 2015 by former Google employee Rahul Garg, Moglix is focused on technologically disrupting the B2B Industrial products space for suppliers and buyers across the globe.
  2. It facilitates online convenience and enabling supply chain efficiencies in business purchasing.

20) IIT-M partners Nokia for Rural net connectivity.

  • Nokia Networks has partnered with Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) to create technology solutions that will enhance broadband connectivity in rural India.
  • Under the three-year partnership, Nokia will fund and provide technological expertise for research at IIT-M’s Centre of Excellence for Wireless Technology (CEWiT).
  • As part of this research, CEWiT at IIT-M will undertake some measures including verifying the feasibility of using unlicensed spectrum radio access technologies for cost-efficient, last-mile broadband connectivity.
  • It also provides last-mile connectivity from gram panchayats to their respective villages and creating effective low cost rural access solutions based on Wi-Fi technology.

21) IRCTC ties up with tea cafe chain `Chaayos`.

  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) entering into a tie up with leading tea cafe chain Chaayos.
  • The partnership with Chaayos will ensure that passengers get their tea and snacks delivered to their train seats directly.
  • Initially, the collaboration is for all trains at New Delhi station, and will soon be extended to other stations across Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Chaayos, which has 20 cafes in Delhi NCR and Mumbai, will offer many of its customized tea options such as Kulhad Chai, Adrak Tulsi Chai and Honey Ginger Lemon.
  • Passengers will have to order their tea two hours ahead of the train’s arrival time, which can be made on or calling a toll-free number (1800-1034-139). IRCTC has also launched a mobile app through which orders can be placed.

22) Rating agencies BARC, TAM form joint venture.

  • Rival rating agencies Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India and Television Audience Measurement (TAM) India have formed a joint venture to set up a meter management company.
  • The new entity will be called Meterology Data Pvt Ltd and will commence its operations in the next couple of weeks.
  • In Meterology Data Pvt Ltd (MDL), the new entity, BARC India will have full management control with a 51 per cent stake, while TAM India, which includes Nielsen and Kantar, will have a 49 per cent stake.
  • As a part of the new system, all TAM India meters will be re-deployed in panel homes selected by BARC India’s sample design. This JV will help BARC India in increasing its sample size.

23) India likely to grow at 7.9% in 2016-17: CRISIL.

  • According to Crisil Research, Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.9 per cent in the fiscal starting April, lower than earlier forecast of 8.1 per cent.
  • CRISIL noted that the economy’s modest recovery has been shaped by good luck on crude oil and commodities, and a supportive policy environment.
  • The economy has weathered two successive monsoon failures plus damage from unseasonal rains in early 2015 with no deleterious repercussion on inflation and growth.
  • According to the report, growth in the next fiscal will also find mild support from improved transmission of the RBI’s policy rate cuts and the implementation of the salary and pension revisions recommended by the One Rank One Pension Scheme and the Seventh Pay Commission.
  • As per the Central Statistics Office, Indian economy will grow at a 5-year high of 7.6 per cent in the fiscal ending March, overtaking a slowing China, on the back of improvement in manufacturing and farm sectors.

24) India’s gold demand up by 2.5% in 2015: World Gold Council.

  • According to the World Gold Council’s (WGC) Gold Demand Trends report, India remained cautious on gold buying in 2015 as demand remained nearly flat at 848.9 tonnes compared to the previous year 828.5 tonnes.
  • In 2015, gold demand was valued at Rs. 2,02,910 crore as against Rs. 2,05,750 crore in 2014.
  • Total gold jewellery demand in the country for 2015 was up 5.26% to 654.3 tonnes compared with 621.6 tonnes in 2014. In value terms, jewellery demand in 2015 was Rs. 1,56,395.35 crore, a marginal rise of 1.31% from 2014 at Rs. 1,54,368.37 crore.
  • Total gold recycled in India in Q4 2015 was 20 tonnes compared to 22.5 tonnes in Q4 2014.