Daily Economic News 30th January 2017

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15 Feb, 2017

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Indian Economy News

January 30, 2017

ND has initiated a new section of daily news, where our news desk compiles the latest news on the Indian economy, to keep our readers abreast and updated on daily economic state of affairs.

The economy news compilations bring business news reports that are relevant today and tomorrow, based on the new pattern of current affairs, and for English awareness. This gives vital inputs on the various sectors of the Indian Industry and trade.

       Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 637 Lakh Hactare

·        Google Play spend up 70%, India key contributor

·        Nilekani: GST to ease loan access for millions of firms

·        IndiaPost becomes 3rd entity to receive licence to start payment bank operations

·        Reliance Group and Dassault's joint venture gets CCI approval

·        ONGC to invest Rs78,000 crore in KG basin, signs deal with Andhra Pradesh

Google Play spend up 70%, India key contributor

Business Standard:  January 30, 2017

Bangaluru: Google has seen its Play Store business grow 70 per cent over the last year from international markets. India, one of the largest Android markets in the world, has emerged a key contributor.

Over the past year, the internet giant has stepped up its efforts on Play, introducing paid apps at prices as low as Rs 10, allowing users to purchase prepaid cards sold offline to buy apps on smartphones as it looks on ways to overcome India’s low penetration in credit cards.

It has also increased the range of paid content online, including movies, books and games, to get users to consume these for a fee.

“Play had a great quarter, with continued growth in our top markets, as well as in emerging markets where user spending grew 70 per cent year-on-year in India, Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia,” global chief executive Sundar Pichai told analysts after the company’s fourth quarter results. He did not disclose specific numbers.

Early this month, Google signed up Airtel and Vodafone, this country’s two largest mobile carriers, for allowing users to pay for purchase of books, music, video and games on Play, getting it access to a little over 450 million subscribers.

Google’s Android platform runs on nine of 10 smartphones sold in this country, among the world’s largest markets here, at 300-plus million users.

Google also integrated its play store in e-wallets such as Paytm and FreeCharge, allowing users to pay for apps through the respective platforms.

Pichai, who has pushed for better internet access by partnering with Indian Railways to offer high-speed internet, has backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push towards a less-cash system.

“We at Google want to focus on usage of Internet in rural areas in India. We are big supporters of the Digital India programme. We are also working on digitising payments,” said Pichai at an event earlier this month.

However, it’s unlikely that Google will integrate any third-party wallets into its own store. Globally, the company has Android Pay, its own digital wallet where users can add credit/debit cards and authenticate payments on their smartphones. Google has not indicated if it would bring Android Pay to India anytime soon.

 Growing importance

  • India is a key player in emerging markets as well as in Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia
  • Google hosts paid apps for as less as Rs 10 on Play Store
  • India has about 300 million smartphone users
  • Google Play Store is integrated with wallets such as Paytm and FreeCharge
  • Google has signed up carrier billing with Airtel and Vodafone in India


Nilekani: GST to ease loan access for millions of firms

Business Standard:  January 30, 2017

Bangaluru: The implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) should drive nearly seven million small businesses to the formal digital economy and help them get easy access to loans, said Nandan Nilekani, the technology entrepreneur and co-founder of Infosys who was tapped by the government to run an ambitious identity-recognition programme, on Friday.

The new unified taxation system, which is scheduled to be implemented later this year, will bring in millions of unorganised businesses on one platform. This would effectively, Nilekani believes, help them get loans using digitalised data.

Nilekani pointed out, though the country has over 60 million businesses, fewer than one million are incorporated and only a few thousand are listed. A digital trail through GST would help these firms get access to formal credit at a much lower cost, which would help more small enterprises get into the formal economy.

Nilekani headed the empowered group on information technology infrastructure on GST.

“Digitisation is the basis for credit and credit becomes the attractive reason for businesses to enter the formal economy,” he said, adding that ‘India’s formal economy is small and only 7 per cent of the India’s employment is in the formal sector.

Unified Payment System (UPI) used by 600 million-odd mobile users is also expected to boost the digital transactions. UPI was used by banks, but after demonetisation, the Union Government launched a common app called BHIM using this technology. “Already more than 11 million downloads have happened. While 250 million smartphone users can only use this app to do financial transactions without using debit or credit card, NPCI created USSD, also built on UPI infrastructure, for feature phones. That’s an important step for the cashless economy,” Nilekani said.


IndiaPost becomes 3rd entity to receive licence to start payment bank operations

Economic Times:  January 30, 2017

New Delhi: IndiaPost has become the third entity to receive a final license last week from the Central Bank to start its payment bank operations. Country’s largest telcom service provider Bharti Airtel and digital payments firm Paytm are the other two to have received the license while only Airtel has started operations so far.

The government has also appointed AP Singh has interim MD and CEO of the India Post Payment Bank. A 1986 Indian Postal Service Officer he was earlier Joint Secretary in the department of disinvestment, ministry of Finance and Deputy Director General incharge of financial inclusion and payments systems at Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Singh was one part of the founding team that launched Aadhaar and was stationed at the department of Post prior to UIDAI.

As per the initial road map, each post office in the country will offer the post bank services. The department of post has an existing network of around 1,55,000 post offices currently. ET had reported earlier that IndiaPost plans to open 650 new branches for the payment bank. The branches will be co-located with the existing post offices. The idea is that the 650 branches will be in located in postal district headquarters and all the branches under that particular head post office will be enabled by the payment bank services. This will cover the entire network of 155,000 post offices in the country.

Earlier this month, Airtel Payments Bank launched nationwide operations, offering 7.25% interest on savings bank balances, which is more than the maximum 7% paid by SBI on its fixed deposits. Bharti and Kotak Mahindra, which holds a 20% stake in the payments bank, would invest Rs 3,000 crore in the venture.

Payments banks can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to Rs 1 lakh per account. And RBI had set a condition that formal license has to be obtained before 31 March.

Alibaba backed Paytm also said early in January that it has received the final license from RBI and the company hopes to launch operations in February with the first branch coming up in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

While operation of Payment Banks such as Paytm are likely to be focused on technology based differentiation, IndiaPost is banking on its huge reach especially in the rural areas to be successful.


Reliance Group and Dassault’s joint venture gets CCI approval

Livemint:  January 30, 2017

New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday approved a joint venture between Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group and French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation SA.

The fair trade regulator announced its approval in a posting on the microblogging site Twitter. “CCI approves setting up of a joint venture between Reliance Aerostructure Limited and Dassault Aviation,” the commission said.

The joint venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Pvt. Ltd, between Reliance Aerostructure and Dassault was announced in October.

In September, India inked a deal to buy 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault for Rs59,000 crore. The agreement has a 50% offset clause. Of this Rs24,500 crore, 74% will have to come from India in goods and services, which could mean a boost for the government’s efforts to promote the local manufacture of defence equipment.

A filing with the CCI stated that Reliance Aero will hold a 51% stake in the joint venture and the remaining 49% will be held by Dassault.

CCI’s approval fulfils the regulatory requirements needed by the companies to proceed with the deal. The agreement has a 50% offset clause.

Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.

ONGC to invest Rs78,000 crore in KG basin, signs deal with Andhra Pradesh

Livemint:  January 30, 2017

New Delhi: State-owned explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) said on Saturday it will invest Rs78,000 crore in the Krishna Godavari basin for producing hydrocarbons and has signed an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh government for smooth execution of the projects.

ONGC has been pursuing exploration in the basin and had last March announced a $5 billion (Rs34,000 crore) investment over the next three years in two of its fields there after the central government earlier that month announced a liberal pricing formula for natural gas from deep sea blocks.

The investment figure announced on Saturday is for the entire basin. The agreement with Andhra Pradesh to “take forward all critical exploration and production activities in the state” was signed on the sidelines of the Partnership Summit, 2017 jointly organized by the state government and industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Visakhapatnam on Friday.

ONGC sees Andhra Pradesh as a hydrocarbon rich state. “ONGC is very aggressively pursuing to put the huge gas reserves it has discovered in KG basin, to production. It plans to invest about Rs10,000 crore for exploration and production activities in onland blocks and about Rs68,000 crore in offshore assets in the KG Basin,” said a company statement.

As per the deal, the state government will assist ONGC in taking over land and in obtaining other statutory clearances. The state has offered ‘single window service’ through office of the Commissioner of Industries.

All state-owned oil and gas companies together have planned an investment of Rs1.43 trillion in Andhra Pradesh, the statement said quoting oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan who was present on the occasion. “These Investments would start from 2017-18 and will be completed by 2021-22,” it said quoting Pradhan.

Andhra Pradesh will extend full cooperation in making the country self-sufficient in energy and the present agreement is the first step in that direction, the statement said quoting chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who was also present on the occasion.


Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 637 Lakh Hactare

Press Information Bureau:  January 30, 2017

New Delhi: As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 27th January 2017 stands at 637.34 lakh hectares as compared to 600.02 lakh hectare this time in 2016.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 315.55 lakh hectares, rice in 21.77 lakh hectares, pulses in 159.28 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 56.90 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 83.84 lakh hectares.

The area sown so far and that sown during last year this time is as follows:

Lakh hectare

Crop Area sown in 2016-17 Area sown in 2015-16
Wheat 315.55 292.52
Rice 21.77 25.64
Pulses 159.28 143.05
Coarse Cereals 56.90 60.24
Oilseeds 83.84 78.58
Total 637.34 600.02


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