Economy Current Affairs
Economy Current Affairs September 3rd Week 2017
Category : Economy Current Affairs
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1. Finance Minister Constitutes GoM to Monitor IT Challenge in GST.

 In order to monitor and resolve the IT challenges faced in the implementation of GST, the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley today constituted a Group of Ministers under the convenorship of Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Modi.

The committee was constituted in pursuance of decision taken in the 21st Meeting of GST Council held on September 9 at Hyderabad.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted under the convenorship of Sushil Modi will include Amar Agarwal, Minister for Commercial Taxes, Government of Chhatisgarh; Krishna Byregowda, Minister for Agriculture, Government of Karnataka; T.M. Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister, Government of Kerala and Etela Rajendar, Finance Minister, Government of Telengana.

The GoM will be assisted in its work by the Chairman, Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) and the Chief Executive Officer, GSTN.

The Union Finance Minister has also constituted a Committee on Exports under the Revenue Secretary to look at the issues of export sector and to recommend to the GST Council suitable strategy for helping the export sector in the post-GST scenario.

This Committee consists of the Chairperson, CBEC; Member (Customs), CBEC; Director General, DGFT; Addional Secretary, GST Council; Director General, DG Export Promotion from the Central Government and Commissioners of Commercial Taxes from the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
2. Reserve Bank of India introduce Rs 100 Coin to mark MG Ramachandran’s birth centenary.
Reserve Bank of India introduce Rs 100 Coin to mark MG Ramachandran’s birth centenary
The Centre is all set to roll out Rs 100 coins for the first time in the country.
The Ministry of Finance on Monday issued a notification regarding the introduction of Rs 100 coins to commemorate the birth centenary of AIADMK founder Dr MG Ramachandaran and renowned Carnatic singer Dr MS Subbulakshmi.

The Reserve Bank of India will also issue new Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins to honour the former Tamil Nadu chief minister and the Bharat Ratna-winning singer.
"The ministry in exercise of the powers conferred by clauses (d) and (e) of sub-section (2) of section 24 of the Coinage Act, 2011 (11 of 2011), the Central Government, has decided to coined Rs 100 - which are presently distributed in notes form, and introduce Rs 10 and Rs 5 coins with new features at the Mint for issue under the authority of the Central Government to commemorate the occasion of Birth Centenary of Dr M S Subbulakshmi and Dr MG Ramachandran Birth Centenary," the official notification from the ministry stated.

The obverse side of the coin shall bear the Lion Capitol of Ashoka Pillar in the centre with the legend Satyamev Jayate inscribed below, flanked on the left periphery with the word Bharat in Devnagari script and on the right periphery with the word India in English.

It shall also bear the Rupee symbol (?) and denominational value "100" in international numerals below the Lion Capitol.

The reverse side of the coin shall bear the portrait of Dr MS Subbulakshmi in the centre. The inscription Dr MS Subbulakshmi shall be written in Devnagari script on the upper periphery and "Birth centenary of Dr MS Subbulakshmi" in English on the lower periphery of the coin. The year "1916-2016" in international numerals will be placed on the coin`s right periphery.

In the second design, the face of the coin will bear the portrait of Dr MG Ramachandran in the centre, with his name inscribed in Devnagari script on the upper periphery and "Dr M G Ramachandran birth centenary" in English on the lower periphery of the coin.
3. London tops in 2017 Global Financial Centres Index.
London tops in 2017 Global Financial Centres Index
London has retained its position as the world’s top financial centre despite fears that the City will become less attractive for financiers in the wake of Brexit.

New York – London’s closest rival and expected beneficiary of the fallout from the UK’s leaving the EU – has fallen further behind amid uncertainty about Donald Trump’s views on free trade.

The Z/Yen global financial centres index (GFCI), which ranks 92 financial centres, found that New York’s ratings score had fallen by 24 points – the largest fall among the top 15. 

London’s total score fell by only two points this year. “Interestingly, despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations, London only fell two points, the smallest decline in the top 10,” the report said.

Frankfurt rises to 11 in the table from 23 a year ago, while Dublin moves to 30 from 33. Both are among the EU centres battling for business that will leave London as a result of Brexit.

The issues that financial firms will consider when deciding where to move may not just be based on business factors. Sir Howard Davies, chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, on Monday pointed to the importance of education systems when moving financiers out of the UK.

“The biggest issue [in relocating staff] is schools....The capacity of international secondary schools in Frankfurt is probably the biggest question on the minds of human resources directors in London”.

He indicated that financiers relocating may have to leave their children at schools in the UK.

His remarks on Bloomberg TV come after a speech by John Cryan, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, who also mentioned the importance of schools if Frankfurt was to win business from the UK.

Cryan had said Frankfurt was the only EU centre which had the infrastructure to handle activities that had taken place in London. But, Cryan said, it was up to Frankfurt to decide how much business to take, and also pointed to the issue of schools.

He said Frankfurt needed “more attractive, urban residential areas, enough international schools and a dozen additional theatres and a few hundred restaurants.”

Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING in Frankfurt, said international schools needed to make preparations. “This would require finding land and investors. [The] big question is whether the state government of Hessen would be willing to actually give some money as well.”

Davies told Bloomberg that contingency plans for the UK leaving the EU would need to be rolled out on the basis of a hard Brexit – without a trade agreement or any implementation period. “The longer it goes and the closer it gets to March 2019, you will just have to implement that.

“The clock is ticking, and in the City people are making contingency plans, and at the moment they can only make them on the basis of a hard Brexit... so the longer it goes, the more likelihood it is those ‘hard Brexit’ plans will be implemented,” said Davies. 

He said the government was going to have to start “warming up” people to the fact there will be a bill for the UK to leave the EU.

A number of major firms have announced their Brexit plans. Bank of America has selected Dublin as the location for some of its activities while JP Morgan Chase has bought a new office in Dublin’s docklands area that can house up to 1,000 staff.

Morgan Stanley has picked Frankfurt and could relocate about 200 staff there while Citi is expanding in in the German city.
4. HSBC Ties-up With Sa-Dhan.
HSBC Ties-up With Sa-Dhan
HSBC has entered into an agreement with microfinance industry association Sa-Dhan to develop digital ecosystem for India`s unbanked segment. 

The bank will provide technology expertise to train and educate microfinance consumers at grassroots level and introduce digital banking to promote easier and time-efficient financial transaction among the so-called bottom-of-the-pyramid customer. 

It has been observed that for rural MFI clients, the nearest bank branch is on an average at a distance of about 7 km. 

“To digitise the microfinance ecosystem and render it cashless, the pilot with HSBC will provide us a path to empower MFI clients," P Satish, executive director at Sa-Dhan was quoted as saying in a press statement. 

HSBC will run a pilot in West Bengal, Punjab, Karnataka & Maharashtra, benefiting 1200 consumers. The pilot run will involve creating digital hubs with POS machines and internet connectivity. 

"Digitisation MFIs and creating a robust ecosystem is possible only when clients become aware. As their awareness is the key component, facilitating on-ground training will ensure spread of knowledge and adaptability at a fast pace,” he said.

 5. India Signs 76 Million US Dollar Loan Deal with Japan International Cooperation Limited (JICA) to Upgrade Alang-Sosiya Shipyards.

India Signs 76 Million US Dollar Loan Deal with Japan International Cooperation Limited (JICA) to Upgrade Alang-Sosiya Shipyards
The Government of India signed a loan deal worth $76 million with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) today, for a project to upgrade the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards. The total cost of the project will be $ 111 million, out of which $76 million will be provided as soft loan from JICA. Out of the remaining amount, $25 million as taxes and fees will be borne by Government of Gujarat and the balance $10 million will be shared by Ministry of Shipping & Government of Gujarat. The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and is likely to be completed by 2022. 

This project will help the Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety & environmental regulations. This will attract more business at the recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidating Indias share in the global ship-recycling industry. 

This project will also help in safeguarding the marine and coastal environment. The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out the possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety. 

The project is expected to result in increase in direct employment from 50,000 to 92,000 people and in-direct employment from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakh people. 
6. India’s Forex Reserves Top $400 billion for the First Time.
India’s Forex Reserves Top $400 billion for the First Time
For the first time ever, forex exchange reserves crossed the $400-billion mark as on September 8 to reach $400.727 billion, data from the Reserve Bank of India show. The central bank took almost a decade to shore up its forex kitty by $100 billion to cross $400 billion from $300 billion. Compared with this, the RBI took just 11 months to reach the $300-billion mark in February 2008 from $200 billion of reserves it had in April 2007.

Reserves rose by a whopping $2.6 billion as on September 8 from the week before. Foreign currency assets, which form a key component of reserves, rose by $2.57 billion from the previous week to $376.209 billion.

FCAs are maintained in major currencies such as US dollar, euro, pound sterling, yen, etc. any movement in FCAs occurs mainly on account of purchase and sale of foreign exchange by the RBI, income arising out of deployment of foreign exchange reserves, external aid receipts of the government and revaluation of assets.

Gold reserves remained stable at $20.69 billion. Special drawing rights (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund rose by $14.2 million from the previous week to $1.52 billion. SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF and is allocated to its members in proportion of their quota at the multilateral agency. The reserve position in the IMF rose by $21.4 million to $2.3 billion.

Currently, reserves take care of approximately 12 months of imports; in the past, reserves covered seven to eight months of imports. Interestingly, India has seen the third-highest reserves accretion globally after Switzerland and China so far in 2017.

Strong foreign portfolio investment into Indian debt and equity this year – to the tune of $27 billion – and a weakening dollar gave ample opportunities to the central bank to shore up its reserves.