Business December 5th Week 2017
Category : Business
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 1. SLCM Ties up with HDFC, IndusInd bank for Post Harvest Credit.

Sohan Lal Commodity Management (SLCM) today said it has tied up with HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank to provide collateral management services.

This tie-up will help improve the farmers` access to post-harvest credits at affordable interest rates and also provide easy access to scientific storage facilities leading to a fair price discovery of their products in the market, SLCM said in a statement.

"SLCM will leverage its proprietary (patent pending) technology `Agri Reach` and support both these banks towards offering more efficient post-harvest credit and storage service to farmers, millers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector," it added.

With a presence across 17 states in India, SLCM has a network of 2,100 warehouses backed by a reliable scientific management system for over 725 commodities, including cotton, pulse, maize, spices, mentha oil, among others.

SLCM Group CEO Sandeep Sabharwal said, "Like the other six banks and financial institutions with whom we have tie-ups in India, both these banks can also now benefit from our vast network of warehouses and expertise to facilitate loans to entities across the agricultural ecosystem without the fear of default or loss.

2. Three Hundred Eighteen Million Loan Agreement Signed with World Bank for Farmers in Tamil Nadu.

The World Bank will provide a $318 million loan for modernisation of irrigation projects in Tamil Nadu and help small and marginal farmers improve water management and adopt climate resilient techniques.
The project will also help increase market opportunities for small and marginal farmers.
A tripartite agreement has been signed today between the central government, the World Bank and the Tamil Nadu government, an official statement said.
"About 500,000 farmers, of which a majority are small and marginal, are expected to benefit from improved and modernized tank irrigation systems," it said.
Under the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation Project, about 4,800 irrigation tanks and 477 check dams across 66 sub-basins will be rehabilitated and modernised to deliver bulk water to irrigation systems in the state.
Tamil Nadu is a water stressed state that continues to experience water shortages which are expected to exacerbate in future, said Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
"Rehabilitating and modernising irrigation tanks will improve the reliability and availability of irrigation water for farming communities, making them less prone to climatic hazards. More than 160,000 ha of currently partially irrigated lands will come into full irrigation under this project," Khare said.
This project will help Tamil Nadu scale up its efforts to unlock the full potential of its agriculture sector. It will support farmers improve efficiency of water used in farming, diversify into high value crops and produce crops that are resilient to increasing threats of climate change, said John Blomquist, Programme Leader and Acting Country Director, World Bank, India. 
3. Samsung, Axis Bank Tie-up to Offer `Bill Payments` on Samsung Pay.
Smartphone manufacturer Samsung on Thursday launched its `Bill Payments` on its flagship payments service, Samsung Pay in partnership with Axis Bank.
The new feature launched by the company will enable users to pay their utility bills seamlessly via Samsung Pay`s secure and convenient platform.
"Since the launch of Samsung Pay, we have constantly innovated and added user-centric features such as UPI, wallets, gift cards and now `Bill Payments`. With the introduction of `Bill Payments`, consumers will be able to pay their utility bills seamlessly through Samsung Pay, set reminders and search favourite biller based on their current location," said Samsung India Director, Sanjay Razdan.
"`Bill Payments` is another `Make for India` innovation that we believe will greatly benefit our consumers," he added.
Currently, users can pay their mobile, landline phone, electricity, gas, water and DTH bills using `Bill Payments` on Samsung Pay.
Bill payment through Samsung Pay comes with a host of unique features.
It will offer users a secure, hassle free, and instant payment option on-the-go.
Consumers can view due amount, details of previous bills and location-based suggested billers while paying bills through Samsung Pay. One can also set `reminders` for bill payments.
"Samsung Pay is a key partner of Axis Bank in driving digital payments. With the addition of Utility Bill Payments in Samsung Pay, powered by Axis Bank, we see our partnership strengthening even further," said President and Head, Transaction Banking, Axis Bank, Himadri Shekhar Chatterjee.
4. IRDAI Norms Allow Insurers to Begin Offshore Business From GIFT IFSC.
Insurance operations at India’s only operational International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), at Gujarat International Finance Tec City (GIFT), will get a major boost with the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) issuing enabling regulations for undertaking offshore insurance business from this IFSC.
Under the regulations, for the first time in India, foreign insurers have been permitted to open IFSC Insurance Offices (IIO) at GIFT IFSC, which has been notified as foreign territory by the Government of India.
Foreign direct insurers (life, non-life and general) and foreign re-insurers are permitted to open office to undertake dollar-denominated business from within the IFSC in GIFT SEZ, all other Special Economic Zones in India, and foreign countries (including foreign to foreign, India to foreign and foreign to India). It would also be allowed to undertake domestic insurance and reinsurance business in line with the provisions of IRDA regulations, said Ajay Pandey, MD & Group CEO, GIFT City, here on Wednesday.
The Government of India has provided competitive tax regime for the IFSC units and thereby units are provided 10 year tax holiday (of which the first 5 years is a complete tax holiday and for next 5 years there’s a tax reduction of 50%),which is applicable for all insurers operating within GIFT IFSC. For export of services, insurance companies operating from IFSC are exempted from GST.
GIFT IFSC, being a foreign territory, mainly conducts offshore business. Thus, the restriction on shareholding does not apply in IFSC and thereby a foreign direct insurer has option to set up operations directly without any local partner.
The move would also help Indian insurers to set up their offshore office in GIFT SEZ IFSC to undertake dollar business which otherwise was restricted in India. This would become a big enabler for Indian direct and re-insurance players as it provides them a foreign branch in close proximity which would be operationally cost effective.
6. Pluto Exchange Launches Indias First Bitcoin Trading App.
At a time when bitcoins are in focus for the wrong reasons, cryptocurrency dealer Pluto Exchange on Thursday announced the launch of India’s first mobile application for transacting in virtual currencies.
At a press conference here, Pluto Exchange founder and Chief Executive Bharat Verma said his company is all set to launch the country’s first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number.
“The Pluto Exchange mobile app offers a solution to the coordination problem between payment processors, financial gateways and banks,” Verma said. “All other apps already in the market do transactions using bitcoin addresses, which are long and prone to error while copying. Pluto Exchange will change this scenario by enabling transactions using mobile numbers only, which are just 10 digits,” he said.
By using a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), users can now buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile number, Verma added.
Elaborating, he said the app would permit a range of transactions, including payments, remittances, business-to-business commerce, supply chain finance, asset management and trading.