Current Affairs
Select Date
Tags:
Hindi

The markets regulator SEBI has put in place a stricter KYC (Know Your Customer) norms and disclosure regime for Participatory Notes (P-Notes)

Indian markets regulator SEBI recently put in place a stricter KYC and disclosure regime for Participatory Notes to make it tougher to use these offshore instruments without disclosing the money-trail and details of their users.
•    The new norms follows approval from the regulator's board to amend its regulations for Offshore Derivative Instruments (ODIs)-- popularly known as P-Notes -- after taking into account suggestions from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money to ensure this route is not used for money laundering
•    Taking forward the proposals approved by its board, Sebi on Friday issued a detailed circular about the tightened Know Your Client (KYC) and disclosure requirements for ODIs, which provide the foreign investors an easier and cost-effective route to invest in Indian markets without directly registering as Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs)
•    Under the new norms, all the users of ODIs would have to follow Indian KYC and AML (Anti Money Laundering) Regulations, irrespective of their jurisdictions, while the ODI issuers will be required to file suspicious transaction reports, if any, with the Indian Financial Intelligence Unit, in relation to the ODIs issued by them
•    Presently, the details of ODI holders need to be mandatorily reported to Sebi on a monthly basis. Sebi has now decided that in the monthly reports on ODIs all the intermediate transfers during the month would also be required to be reported
•    Besides, ODI issuers will have to carry out reconfirmation of the ODI positions on a semi-annual basis. In case of any divergence from reported monthly data, the same should be informed to Sebi in a prescribed format
•    The new guidelines have been finalized after detailed consultation with the FPIs and users of ODIs, while they were also consulted for preparation of the formats
•    ODIs have often been in controversy in India for alleged misuse for round-tripping of funds. But the norms have been made stringent in the recent years, following which they have also become less attractive. While ODIs used to account for as high as 55 per cent of the total foreign fund flows in Indian capital markets in 2007, now their share has fallen to a record low level of 9.3 per cent

Read More
Read Less

NRDC inks MoA with Andhra Pradesh government to establish smart agribusiness platform networks

National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) on 9 June 2016 inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the AP Food Processing Society of Andhra Pradesh Government to establish Smart Agribusiness Platform Networks of Andhra Pradesh (SAPNAP).
These networks will strengthen the agribusiness and food processing sector by focusing on creation of enabling ecosystem for accelerated growth of agribusiness by involving all the stakeholders.
• It is an initiative to increase food production and food processing units under AP Food Processing Policy 2015-20.
• It will have two key development platforms, they are:
(i) Smart Agribusiness Value-chains:
•These chains focus on intelligence, analytics, big data, innovations and partnerships.
•Farm-to-Fork value chains will be mapped and developed for existing and potential crops, commodities and products
(ii) Smart Agribusiness Incubators and Accelerators:
•These focuses on establishing 13 district level incubators which will enable infrastructure and ecosystem for start ups, enterprise development and FPO mentoring.
•They will have Office or lab spaces, trial fields, common facilities, pilot equipment and start up ecosystem to help new enterprises take off.
• It is an enterprise of the department of Scientific & Industrial Research under Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
• It shall be the knowledge partner in the programme and would provide the required technologies, know-how, IPRs and other value added techno-commercial services to the start-ups of SAPNAP and linkages to the stakeholders of national and international level.

Read More
Read Less

NIIF and Qatar Investment Authority inks MoU to boost infrastructure investments

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd. on 5 June 2016 signed a MoU with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to facilitate investment in Indian infrastructure sector.
•    The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Doha during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Qatar.
•    Its objective is to facilitate QIA to study investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector in India.
•    The QIA will develop a framework for exchange of information with regard to such investments opportunities, in order to enable both sides to decide on joint investments.
•    The MoU will remain in effect for 12 months during which period, both parties will discuss and agree on the terms, principles, criteria for such investments.
•    The NIIF shall share with QIA a pipeline of investment opportunities available in the infrastructure sector in India
•    It is the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar.
•    They are long-term investors and access investment opportunities across all geographical areas, sectors and asset classes.
•    The majority of their investments are outside Qatar with assets spanning a wide range of sectors and spread across asset classes.
•    The fund deploys a wide range of investment strategies and invests through a carefully selected network of top-tier fund managers.
•    It was approved by the Union Cabinet in July 2015 to fund new and rejuvenate stressed projects so that stalled investment cycle is revived in the country.
•    It was established as a Category II Alternate Investment Funds (AIF) as per the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
•    It has an initial corpus of 20000 crore rupees which can be leveraged by infrastructure companies including Indian Rail Finance Corporation (IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB).
•    Similar to the agreement with the QIA, the NIIF signed a MoU with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities in February 2016 to mobilize investments into the Indian infrastructure sector.

Read More
Read Less

Axis Bank has launched India’s first internationally-listed certified green bond


Axis Bank has launched India’s first international certified green bond to finance climate change solutions around the world.
•    It was done at London Stock Exchange (LSE). 
•    The proceeds of the bond will be invested by Axis Bank in green energy, transportation and infrastructure projects. 
•    It will play important role in reinforcing India’s commitment to produce 175,000 MW of renewable power by 2022. 
•    The green bonds of Axis Bank were certified by the Climate Bonds Standards Board. 
•    It has raised 500 million dollars at the LSE after it launched. This is the first green bond of Axis Bank issued within its 5 billion dollars Medium Term Note (MTN) programme, which has also has been listed entirely on LSE. 
•    Bonds basically are debt instruments which help issuer to get capital while the investors receive fixed income in the form of interest. 
•    In case of Green Bonds, the issuer gets capital from the investors only if the investment (capital) is being raised to fund green projects relating to renewable energy or emission reductions etc.

Read More
Read Less

India has joined a group of nearly 40 countries that have signed a Europe-led clampdown on tax evasion and corruption

India on 8 June 2016 signed a Europe-led scheme that seeks to clampdown on tax evasion and corruption by committing to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership.
•    With this, India joined a group of nearly 40 nations that are signatories of a scheme.
•    Under the scheme, the signatories commits to the initiative to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership.
•    The next stage will be for the development of a global standard for this exchange.
•    The scheme was announced in April 2015 by Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
•    The signatories to the scheme will have to provide one another free access to information on who ultimately owns companies.
•    Besides India, some of the other countries outside Europe on the list include Afghanistan, Nigeria, Mexico and the UAE. Most European countries except Switzerland are part of this automatic exchange mechanism.
•    It seems that the step is in the direction to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 election pledge in which he said that he will recover billions of dollars sent to tax havens abroad to avoid income tax.

Read More
Read Less

India-US inked 8 MoUs to bolster economic growth & sustainable development

India and the United States (US) on 8 June 2016 signed eight agreements in various fields including exchange of Terrorist Screening Information, cooperation on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change among others.
•    Technical Arrangement concerning Unclassified Maritime Information Sharing: The arrangement would allow sharing of unclassified information on White Shipping between India and the US as permitted by respective national laws, regulations and policies, and provides a framework for mutually beneficial maritime information. It was inked between the Indian Navy and the United States Navy.
•    MoU for Cooperation in Gas Hydrates: The MOU aims to increase the understanding of the geologic occurrence, distribution, and production of natural gas hydrates along the continental margin of India and in the US.
•    It was inked between the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Department of Energy of the United States.
•    Information Exchange Annex (IEA) to the Master Information Exchange Agreement concerning Aircraft Carrier Technologies: IEA is aimed to enhance data and information sharing specific to aircraft carriers technology between India and the US.
•    It was finalized between the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Defense of the United States.
•    Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement: The agreement is aimed at facilitating mutual logistic support between India and the US for authorized port visits, joint exercises, joint training and HA-DR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief).
•    It was finalized between the Ministry of Defence, Government of India and the Department of Defense of the United States.
•    Apart from signing of the MoUs/agreements, the two leaders, Modi and Obama also issued a joint statement in which US recognized India as a major defence partner. Under this, US will allow India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies. 
•    This move will also complement India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). MTCR is an exclusive club that restricts trade in sensitive defence technologies.
•    The US also declared that it will be its “strong objective to have India voted as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), another export control regime, later in June 2016.

Read More
Read Less

India has signed loan agreement of US 12 crore dollars with the Asian Development Bank

India has signed loan agreement of US 12 crore dollars with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve irrigation and water management infrastructure in Odisha.
On 7 June 2016 India signed loan agreement of 12 crore ($120 million) US dollars with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve irrigation and water management infrastructure in Odisha.
•    The financing will be used for modernizing seven irrigation subprojects resulting in improved irrigation in over one lakh hectares.
•    It will also help in strengthening of Water User Associations (WUAs) and the institutional capacity of Odisha’s Department of Water Resources.
•    The project aims to improve existing irrigation infrastructure, operation and maintenance, and water use efficiency that will lead to higher agricultural productivity.
•    The selected areas for the investment program are the Baitarani, Brahmani, Budhabalanga, and Subernarekha river basins and part of the Mahanadi delta.
•    The loan is the second tranche of a 157.5 million dollar financing facility under the Orissa Integrated Irrigated Agriculture and Water Management Investment Program.
•    The second tranche loan from ADB’s ordinary capital resources has a 20-year term. 
•    The State of Odisha, acting through its Department of Water Resources is responsible for implementing the tranche 2 activities and overall program, which are both due for completion by September 2018.

Read More
Read Less

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its second bi-monthly monetary policy review for year 2016-17

The RBI kept the policy repo rate under the LAF unchanged at 6.5%
•    The cash reserve ratio of scheduled banks unchanged at 4% of net demand and time liabilities
•    And continue to provide liquidity as required but progressively lower the average ex ante liquidity deficit in the system from one per cent of NDTL to a position closer to neutrality.
•    The reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 7.0 per cent.
•    Since the first bi-monthly statement of April 2016, global growth is uneven and struggling to gain traction. 
•    World trade remains muted in an environment of weak demand. 
•    In the United States, growth was slow once again in Q1 because of contracting industrial activity and exports.
•    GDP growth slowed sequentially in China in Q1, with retail sales, industrial production and fixed investment showing signs of weakness in recent months amidst still rising levels of indebtedness among households and corporations. 

Read More
Read Less

Walmart retains top position in Fortune 500 list

American multinational retail corporation, Walmart has topped the Fortune 500 list for the 4th consecutive year. 
•    Rounding out the top 10 in the 62nd annual rankings, based on total revenues for their fiscal years: ExxonMobil, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, McKesson, UnitedHealth Group, CVS Health,General Motors, Ford Motor and AT&T.
•    Apple, which was the most profitable company on the list, with $53 billion in profits, was among companies making big moves this year, jumping to No. 3 from No. 5 last year. 
•    Other movers in the top 25 included Amazon.com (No. 18) and Walgreens (No. 19), which moved into the top 20 from No. 29 and No. 35 last year & Microsoft (No. 25) made the top 25 for the first time, up from No. 31 last year.
•    Facebook jumped 85 spots to No. 157, while Netflix leaped 95 spots to No. 379 (from No. 474) and Expedia moved 73 to No. 385. 
•    More than half of Fortune 500 companies saw sales drop, including No. 1 Walmart, which had a sales decline of 0.7% in 2015. 
•    For the entire list, revenues were down 4.2% from 2015.

Read More
Read Less

The New Development Bank of BRICS is set to issue its first yuan-denominated bonds

Shanghai-based New Development Bank is set to issue its first renminbi-denominated bonds, and is eyeing future funding for infrastructure projects.
•    This was revealed by Paolu Nogueira Batista, the bank's vice-president for economic research, strategy and partnerships and chief risk officer.
•    The bank was founded by the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to finance sustainable development in the emerging markets and developing countries.
•    Its first five-year yuan-denominated bonds, also referred as green bonds, will be issued after receiving a rating from international ratings agencies as well as getting authorities' approval.
•    Batista outlined the bank's plans on Monday at the closing ceremony of the Shanghai Forum, an annual meeting of officials, academics, business chiefs and world opinion leaders that discusses issues such as business solutions and social governance.
•    Batista said that more bonds denominated in local currencies of the BRICS countries, including the rupees in India, will be issued if the bank's board and local authorities endorse the project plans.
•    The NDB announced its first batch of loans on April 16, providing $300 million to Brazil, $81 million to China, $250 million to India and $180 million to South Africa.
•    The NDB aims to be a global lender instead of being limited to being an institution for just a handful of countries.

Read More
Read Less