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Apple to acquire Intels smartphone modem business for a transaction value of $1 billion:

  • Apple announced the acquisition of chip-maker Intel`s smartphone modem business for $1 billion. 
  • There are around 2,200 Intel employees will join Apple along with intellectual property, equipment and leases, the Cupertino-based iPhone.
  • The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • This agreement us to focus on developing technology for the 5G network while retaining critical intellectual property and modem technology that our team has created.
  • Apple will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Intel will retain the ability to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet-of-things devices and autonomous vehicles. Johny Srouji, Apple`s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies said that Apple is excited to have excellent engineers to join its growing cellular technologies group.
  • Apple has been working on its own chips for quite some time. 
  • Intel`s technology could help the iPhone maker accelerate its plans. 
  • Apple may have paid chip-maker Qualcomm somewhere between $5 billion-$6 billion for an agreement to dismiss all ongoing litigations, including those with Apple`s contract manufacturers. 
  • Intel working on a chipset for the iPhone maker, with the chip expected to be part of iPhones by 2020.
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RBI liberalises ECB norms by relaxing end-use restrictions:

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) norms for corporates, non-banking lenders by relaxing end-use restrictions with regard to working capital, general corporate purpose and repayment of rupee loans. This decision was taken after receiving feedback from stakeholders for easing liquidity in the domestic market.

Recent changes by RBI

End-use stipulations for ECBs for both corporates as well as liquidity starved non-banking lenders has been liberalised.

Liberalisation will be applicable to ECBs taken for general corporate purpose loans, working capital or repayment of rupee loans.

It allows eligible borrowers to raise ECBs from recognised lenders, except foreign branches and overseas subsidiaries of Indian banks, with minimum average maturity period of ten years for working capital purposes and general corporate purposes.

It also allows ECBs to raise with minimum average maturity period of 7 years for repayment of rupee loans availed domestically for capital expenditure.

It also permits borrowing for on-lending by NBFCs for above maturity and end-uses. It also permits borrowings for on-lending by NBFCs for repayment of rupee loans.

It also allows corporate borrowers to avail ECBs for repaying rupee loans taken for Capital expenditures if they are into infrastructure building/ manufacturing and classified as Special Mention Account (SMA-2) or Non-Performing Asset (NPA), under any one-time settlement arrangement with lenders.

About External Commercial Borrowing (ECB): 

It is instrument used in India to facilitate Indian companies to raise money outside the country in foreign currency. It may be commercial loans which can be in form of bank loans, bonds, securitized instruments, buyers’ and supplier’s credit availed from non-resident lenders with minimum average maturity of 3 years. In India, ECBs availed of by residents are governed by Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 along with Foreign Exchange Management (Borrowing or Lending in Foreign Exchange) Regulations, 2000, as amended from time to time.

Reliance Jio overtakes Vodafone-Idea network and became India`s Largest Telecom Operator:

Reliance Jio overtook Vodafone-Idea to become India`s leading telecom operator. While the monthly subscriber report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).The news comes from data collated off the quarterly financial reports furnished by Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea, India`s three leading telecom operators. Bharti Airtel disclosed through TRAI its user base of 320.4 million users while enduring a rough quarter of high subscriber churn rate (subscribers unsubscribing from the network against new subscriptions). Jio`s recently disclosed Q1 FY20 financial report showed 331.3 million subscribers in its network. 

Vodafone-Idea`s financial report for the same quarter, it has come to light that the operator group lost 14.1 million in Q1 FY20, declining from the industry-topping 334.1 million subscribers as of March 2019, to stand at 320 million subscribers.

Vodafone-Idea:

Vodafone-Idea attributed the loss of subscribers to its recently introduced service validity vouchers and the minimum recharge plans.The main aim is to reveal customers and consolidate its burgeoning losses.

When the Vodafone-Idea merger finalised on August 31, 2018. The subscriber group had a total of nearly 400 million subscribers and took the undisputed position of India`s number one telecom operator by market share and user base. The user base declined consistently every month in a rate that was directly proportional to Jio`s increase in subscriber base.TRAI`s data over the past one year does not show any notion of a slowdown in Jio`s subscriber base, and with the expected 5G spectrum battle on the horizon, Vodafone-Idea and Bharti Airtel will look to salvage some of their declining market shares through effective business strategies.

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Rs.1500 crore deal signed by India and Russia to acquire Russia’s R-27:

  • India signed a contract with Russia for the acquisition of R-27air-to-air missile which gives the additional capability to target enemy aircraft at long Ranges.
  • These missiles are to be equipped on the Su-30MKI combat aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) 
  • R-27 missile
  • It is a medium-to-long-range air-to-air missile developed by Russia for its MIG and Sukhoi fighter jets.
  • The army has acquired these missiles under 10-I projects to maintain critical weapon systems and spares for a special minimum period. This special period is known as the War Wastage Reserve (WWR).
  • Emergency procurement
  • So far the Indian Air Force has spent around 7600 crore for procurement of missiles like Spice 2000, Ataka ATGMs etc under emergency procurement.
  • The emergency procurement has increased after the Pulwama attack in order to safeguard the borders with Pakistan.
  • Under the emergency procurement route, the security forces can buy equipment of their choice within 3 months at a cost of up to Rs. 300crore per case.

FDI inflow registered a growth of 79% during the last 6 years amounting to $64.37 billion in 2018-19:

According to the Annual Report 2018-19 of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) which is under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow increased during the last 6 years from $36.05 billion in 2013-14 to $64.37 billion in 2018-19, registering a growth of 79%.

Key Points:

i .FDI worth $286 billion was received in the past five years.

ii. The FDI inflow was $45.14 billion in 2014-15, $55.55 billion in 2015-16 and  $60.98 billion in 2017-18.

US finalizes $670 million foreign military sales to support India’s C-17 aircraft:

The United States (US) approved foreign military sales worth $670 million to support India’s C-17 military transport aircraft in order to enhance operational readiness and ability to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) assistance in the Indo-Pacific region.

i. The implementation of the proposed sale requires the assignment of 1 US government representatives and 23 contractor representatives to India.

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