Economy Current Affairs
Economy Current Affairs July 2nd Week 2016
Category : Economy Current Affairs
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1) Avast acquires antivirus maker AVG for $1.3 billion.

  • Security giant Avast Antivirus announced having acquired Czech-based antivirus software maker AVG in an all-cash deal worth around $1.3 billion.
  • The transaction has been unanimously approved by Avast`s Management and Supervisory Board.
  • Reports suggest that it isn’t yet clear if Avast will fold AVG’s services into its own brand or continue to sell them under the existing banner.
  • The company started operations in 2010 and a year later it raised funds from Bessemer Ventures. Later, it attracted funding from Tata Capital Growth Fund as well.
2) Zydus Cadila inks pact with Medicines Patent Pool for Hepatitis C drug.
  • Drug firm Zydus Cadila has inked a generic manufacturing pact with the Medicines Patent Pool for manufacturing global pharma major Bristol-Myers Squibb`s daclatasvir tablets used in the treatment of Hepatitis C.
  • The company "has signed a non-exclusive, royalty free agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for the generic production of Bristol-Myers Squibb`s daclatasvir, a novel direct-acting antiviral that is proven to help cure multiple genotypes of the Hepatitis C Virus.
  • The agreement sub-licences Zydus to produce and sell daclatasvir in 112 low and middle income countries.
  • The MPP licence allows generic manufacturers to develop fixed-dose combinations that offer the potential to treat all of the six major genotypes of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
3) VCats invests $250,000 in logistics platform.
  • Seed investment and innovation platform Venture Catalysts (VCats) has invested $250,000 (Rs. 1.7 crore) in Don’t Scratch Your Head (DSYH), a SaaS-based logistics reconciliation platform for e-commerce channels.
  • The seed investment was led by VCats Surat Managing Partner Gaurav Singhvi and Mumbai-based Zaffiro Ventures.
  • DSYH, with its SaaS-based platform, has been developing a technology to identify and address the real-time logistics reconciliation challenges of Indian e-commerce sellers.
4) IMF sets $5.3 billion programs for Iraq.
  • The IMF has announced a $5.34 billion program for Iraq to help strengthen the country`s finances, hit by the crash in oil prices and the fight against the Islamic State group.
  • The International Monetary Fund the three-year loan will see $634 million immediately allocated to Baghdad, which needs the money to stabilize its balance of payments and ensure it can keep up with its debt obligations.
  • It will also focus on maintaining the peg of the Iraqi currency to the US dollar, while slowly removing exchange restrictions.
  • The program will involve fiscal consolidation moves aimed at cutting inefficient capital expenditure and at the same time protecting social spending.
5) Government starts SUUTI stake sale process.
  • The government has kick started the process to offload its stake in 51 companies which include marquee firms such as Reliance Industries ICICI Bank and Tata Motors currently held through Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust Of India or SUUTI.
  • The government intends to pare down its stake in these firms over a period of three years and has invited applications from merchant bankers and selling brokers for assisting and advising on the sale process.
  • SUUTI, which was created to take over part of the assets and liabilities of the now-defunct Unit Trust of India, holds an 11.27% stake in ITC, 8.18% in L&T and 11.66% of Axis Bank.
6) Kerala Government imposes 14.5 per cent fat tax on Junk.
  • The Kerala government has proposed a 14.5 per cent `fat tax` on burgers, pizzas and other junk food served in branded restaurants which officials from the quick service industry termed as `detrimental` to consumption while some indicated the levy may not be passed on to customers.
  • Fat tax on junk food, a reality in European countries such as Denmark and Hungary, looks out of place in a market barely recovering from a six-quarter back-to-back slump in eating out.
  • The move is business-unfriendly. It calls out the organized, eating out sector.
  • Industry estimates suggest there are 50-60 outlets of organized fast-food restaurant chains in Kerala, including global brands McDonald`s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino`s Pizza and Subway.

7) World Bank to lend $290 million for Bihar`s JEEViKA.
  • Centre, Bihar government and World Bank signed a USD 290 million credit agreement to help improve livelihood opportunities for poor rural households across 300 blocks and 32 districts of the eastern state.
  • The new project would cover 300 new blocks in 32 districts (not covered in the earlier phase or through National Rural Livelihood Project), thus covering the entire state.
  • Bihar Transformative Development Project, also known as Jeevika II, will mobilize rural population into self-help groups (SHG) and higher level federations and help them gain access to markets, public services and a range of financial services from formal financial institutions.

8) Reliance Nippon Life eyes double-digit growth this fiscal.
  • Reliance Nippon Life Insurance is targeting double-digit growth in premium income this fiscal, supported by new products, agent expansion and entry into the bancassurance segment.
  • The company is preparing to have bancassurance tie-ups with at least three banks this year as it has received necessary approvals.
  • The private insurer, the largest life insurance player in the non-bancassurance space, will roll out at least five new products this year. While it has secured approvals for two, it is awaiting the regulator’s approval for three more. This company’s first new product this fiscal, ‘Increasing Money Back’, will be launched next week and it targets customers in the traditional money-back product segment.
  • Money-back plans have been maintaining a strong demand, with about 40 per cent share in overall life insurance products.

9) Airtel-Aircel 4G deal cleared.

  • Telecom Ministry is learnt to have cleared the Rs. 3,500 crore 4G spectrum trading deal between service providers Bharti Airtel and Aircel.
  • The spectrum trading deal between Bharti Airtel and Aircel was cleared by the telecom minister.
  • Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was in-charge of the Telecom Ministry as well.
Acquire rights:
  1. Airtel has entered into an agreement with Aircel to acquire rights to use 4G spectrum of Aircel in eight telecom circles for Rs. 3,500 crore.
  2. These circles are Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, and the North-East, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
10) IMF cuts Euro zone growth forecast post `Brexit`.
  • The IMF cut its growth forecast for the euro zone, citing the fallout from Britain`s shock vote to leave the European Union.
  • The IMF cut the growth forecast for 2017 to 1.4 per cent, from the earlier 1.6 per cent, "mainly due to the negative impact of the UK referendum outcome".
11) Lafarge to sell India assets to Nirma for $1.4 billion.
  • Nirma, a small, regional cement player headquartered in Ahmadabad trumped the bigger boys of India Inc Ajay Primal and Sajjan Jindal led JSW Cement to scoop up one of the most prized cement portfolio in the country the 11 million tonnes per annum.
  • LafargeHolcim has entered into a letter agreement with Nirma Limited subject to approval by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the divestment of its interest in Lafar India for an enterprise value of approximately $1.4 billion. Lafarge India operates three cement plants and two grinding stations with a total capacity of around 11 million tonnes per annum.
  • The company also markets aggregates and is one of India`s leading ready-mix concrete manufacturers. The proceeds from the divestment will be used to reduce debt further.
  • This agreement is an important step in our CHF 3.5 billion divestment program. With this deal, two thirds of the program has been secured and the remainder of the program is well on track. We are confident that we will meet our target by the end of this year.
12) Myntra acquires Bangalore-based start-up Cubeit.
  • Online fashion retailer Myntra has acqui-hired Cubeit, a Bengaluru-based tech start-up focused on content aggregation on mobile.
  • The company focuses on building mobile applications which allow users to aggregate content from anywhere, organize, view and share the same from a given location. It developed an interactive mobile application that provided the user access to multiple apps depending on the need, through a smart interface and allowing the same to be shared with individuals or groups.
  • As part of the acquisition, the team at Cubeit has been inducted into Myntra to expand Myntra’s technology team.
13) European Major Airbus contracts with Mahindra Aerostructures.
  • European aviation major Airbus Helicopters has awarded a contract to Mahindra Aerostructures to supply airframe parts for its AS565 MBe Panther copter.
  • The contract positions Mahindra Aerostructures as the first Indian company to receive a direct manufacturing contract from Airbus Helicopters as a Tier 1 supplier.
  • Mahindra Aerostructures will gradually emerge as the global single source supplier to Airbus Helicopters for these parts.
  • The parts will be produced at Mahindra`s facility in Bengaluru. They will be shipped directly to the Airbus Helicopter production line in Marignane, France, where they will be integrated with the rest of the airframe assembly and will form a critical part of the Panthers sold worldwide.
14) Cairn Energy seeks $5.6 billion compensation from India.
  • British explorer Cairn Energy has sought $5.6 billion in compensation from the Indian government for raising a retrospective tax demand of Rs. 29,047 crore on 10-year old internal reorganization of its India unit.
  • In a 160-page `Statement of Claim` filed with an international arbitration panel on June 28, the Edinburgh-based company sought withdrawal of the tax demand and declaring that India has "failed to uphold its obligations" under the UK-India Investment Treaty by not giving its investments in the country "fair and equitable treatment".
  • It sought $1.05 billion in compensation for the loss of value its 9.8%-shareholding in its erstwhile subsidiary Cairn India suffered following Income Tax (I-T) Department raising the tax demand and attaching the shares.

15) IDFC acquires Micro Finance Institution Grama Vidiyal to extend its Rural Banking Services.

  • Private sector lender IDFC Bank bought South India-based lender Grama Vidiyal Microfinance for an undisclosed amount.
  • This is a first-of-its-kind transaction, where a bank has taken over a microfinance institution (MFI) and made it a subsidiary.
  • Grama Vidiyal is the fifth-largest MFI in India and has a customer base of 1.2 million, operating from 319 locations across 65 districts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala Karnataka, Puducherry, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. The assets under management were Rs. 1,502 crore, with a quarterly profit of Rs. 15 crore.
16) Axis Bank ties up with Vistara to introduce cobranded credit card.
  • Axis Bank, India`s third largest private sector bank and Vistara, India`s fastest growing full service carrier have launched the contactless Axis Bank Vistara Credit Card on the VISA network platform.
  • The co-branded card will cater to the needs of corporate and leisure travelers. Travel is a key spend category for credit cards and the Axis Bank Vistara range of cards will help us further strengthen our travel product suite, as it addresses both the business and leisure traveler segments.
  • The card comes in three variants - Infinite, Signature and Basic with embedded benefits of the carrier`s Club Vistara frequent flyer programme. The benefits from this co-branded travel credit card will be tiered depending on travel preferences of customers and their travel frequency. The card also offers enhanced insurance coverage, including air accident cover up to Rs 2.5 crore and lost card liability up to the credit limit.
17) Fourth tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds.
  • The Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue fourth tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds.
  • Applications for the bond will be accepted from July 18 - 22, and bonds will be issued on August 5, 2016.
  • The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognized stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange.
18) Excise duty norms on gold jewellery relaxed.
Union government relaxed the rules for its tax on gold jewellery sales.
Jewelers with turnover up to 150 million (Rs. 15 crore) rupees ($2.2 million) a year will be exempt from the excise duty.
Earlier, the exemption limit was for jewellers with turnover up to 120 million rupees.
First two years, government agencies will not audit jewellers that have turnover of less than 1 billion rupees.
This comes after the jewellers protested over the imposition of 1% excise duty on gold jewellery, as proposed in the budget.

19) Cabinet approves 15% disinvestment in NBCC.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the disinvestment of 15 per cent paid-up equity in NBCC India Ltd out of Government’s 90 per cent shareholding.
  • NBCC India is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Urban Development and has interests in construction, engineering and project management consultancy services.
  • The divestment, which is expected to raise Rs. 1,706 crore, will be through the Offer For Sale (OFS) route.
  • Cabinet Committee has also decided to allot additional shares to the eligible and willing NBCC employees at a discount of 5 per cent to the issue/ discovered (lowest cut off) price of OFS.
20) E-filing: ATM-based validation facility enhanced.
  • The Income Tax department has widened the ATM-based validation system for filing e-ITRs by taxpayers with the inclusion of Axis Bank after SBI, as part of its measure to enhance the paperless regime of filing the annual I-T returns.
  • Electronic Verification Code (EVC) can also be generated by pre-validating Automated Teller Machine (ATM) provided by Axis Bank.
  • These measures help to validate the e-ITR so that the taxpayer does not take the trouble of sending the paper-based ITR-V by post for final resolution and processing.
21) GoAir signs $7.7 billion deal with Airbus for 72 Neos.
  • India’s fifth biggest airline by market share, has signed an initial agreement with Airbus for 72 A320 Neo aircraft in a deal worth about $7.7 billion at current list prices at the Farnborough International Airshow.
  • The deal will help continue company’s growth and built on its existing order for 72 of the same aircraft which it made in 2011.
  • The new A320neo has latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which deliver for 15 percent saving of the fuel from day one and 20 per cent by 2020.
22) Mastercard changes logo for 1st time in 20 years.
  • Mastercard unveiled a new consumer-facing logo, the first redesign in 20 years.
  • The brand mark`s visibility, recognition, and overall brand image are improved, with new features including larger lettering highlighted with a drop shadow and fewer interlocking bars within the red and yellow circles.
23) 3.1 tonnes gold mobilised under monetisation scheme.
  • The government has received deposits of 3.1 tonnes of gold under the Gold Monetisation Scheme since its launch in November 2015.
  • Banks are authorised to collect gold for up to 15 years to auction it off or lend to jewellers, while paying depositors an interest of 2.5% per annum.
  • Depositors will earn up to 2.50 per cent interest per annum, a rate lower than savings bank deposits.
  • All gold deposits under the scheme have to be made at (Collection and Purity Testing Centres) CPTCs.
24) Trai releases paper on public Wi-Fi networks.
  • The regulator’s consultation paper seeks suggestions on issues including growth of public Wi-Fi networks, regulatory and licensing measures required for expansion of Wi-Fi across cities and rural areas.
  • The paper seeks views on regulatory hurdles, licensing restrictions, business models, and interoperability between WiFi networks, among others.
  • The paper has proposed several ways for the deployment of Wi-Fi hot spots, including free, partly free and advertisement-based models.
25) Tata, US-based Bell to manufacturE helicopters.
  • Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) and US-based Bell Helicopter signed a pact to jointly manufacture helicopters under the `Make in India` initiative.
  • The pact includes developing potential production and assembly units, training and maintenance, repair and overhaul needs, research and development, and technology sharing.
  • They will develop both commercial and government (including military) rotary wing markets in India.

26) ShopClues acquires mobile payments firm Momoe.
Online shopping platform (Clues Network Pvt. Ltd) has acquired mobile payments firm Momoe Technologies to add a payment service to its platform.
ShopClues will use Momoe’s technology to further strengthen the platform and ease transactions.
As a mobile payments app, Momoe allows users to pay offline merchants like restaurants, grocery stores, electronics, pharmacies, spas and salons. Using the app, customers can pay for products and services using credit cards, debit cards, net banking and mobile wallets.

27) Government extended tax payment deadline for black money scheme.
  • The government extended the deadline for payment of tax and penalty under the black money disclosure scheme and allowed declarants to pay the amount in three installments by September 30,2017.
  • The first instalment of 25% of the total tax, surcharge and penalty due will have to be paid by November 30, 2016, followed by a second tranche of an equivalent amount by March 31, 2017.
  • The remaining amountwill have to be paid by September 30, 2017.
  • Earlier the tax, surcharge and penalty under the black money disclosure window were required to be paid by November 30,2016.