11 Dec, 2016
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Indian Economy News
December 9-10, 2016
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.
SECI to Launch 1000 MW Rooftop Solar PV Scheme for Government Sector
Press Information Bureau: December 09, 2016
New Delhi: As a step towards fulfilment of the Government of India’s target for installation of 40 GW rooftop solar power plants by the year 2022, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is launching today a tender of 1000 MW capacity for development of grid-connected rooftop solar capacity for Central Government Ministries/Departments. This would be the largest rooftop tender to be launched by SECI, and is expected to give a big boost to the hugely potent rooftop solar power generation segment.
The 1000 MW tender, one of the largest globally, is a move to rapidly escalate rooftop solar capacity in the country, and comes in quick succession to SECI’s earlier tender of 500 MW capacity, targeting buildings in the residential/institutional and social sectors.
SECI is the leading PSU in the rooftop solar segment, and has already commissioned over 54 MW capacity of rooftop solar projects under multiple government schemes.
The upcoming 1000 MW tender is especially targeted at utilising the numerous buildings of the Central Government Ministries/Departments. The highlight of this tender is its innovative ‘Achievement-Linked Incentives scheme’ wherein the incentives in terms of capital subsidy shall be provided on the basis of performance achieved by designated Ministries/departments against their committed targets in the given timespan.
In this scheme the Grid connected rooftop solar systems shall be installed with the financial assistance for MNRE in the form of Incentives. The power generated from the systems shall be used for meeting the captive requirement of the buildings and the surplus power, if any, shall be fed to the grid under the net-metering arrangement of the respective State.
Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has allocated 21 Ministries/ Departments to SECI interalia Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs etc. The ministries have shown great enthusiasm and have assured their commitment with submission of “Green Energy Commitment Certificates” to MNRE for implementation of Grid Connected SPV power plants at the roof of their offices/other buildings etc., as part of their Clean energy initiatives and achieving National target of alleviating Global Warming. Various ministries/department have been sensitized by MNRE/SECI for implementation of Grid connected rooftop systems.
MNRE has also collated the demand of the various Ministries/departments for implementation of the systems. Based on the indicative list of sites provided by MNRE and various interested Ministries, SECI is carrying out a potential assessment which shall be provided to the solar PV developers (SPD).
The SPDs will be selected state-wise through national competitive bidding process and provision of one Rate / state shall be kept in the scheme. The 1000MW capacity will be distributed between CAPEX and RESCO modes of implementation in the ratio 30/70.
In this scheme, SECI in consultation with MNRE, is also introducing a Payment Security Mechanism which is apparently a first in the history of the rooftop programme, with the assurance of all rightful payments to the SPDs under RESCO model. SECI has also tied up with Financial institutes (FIs) Banks such as IREDA and SBI for disbursement of loans with Special Discount Packages to be offered by these institutions to the developers.
A toll-free number is being set up to ensure ease of communication of various stakeholders to SECI.
Government waives service tax charged for card payments up to Rs. 2,000 in a single transaction
Press Information Bureau: December 09, 2016
New Delhi: When a customer uses a credit card, debit card, charge card or any other payment card for payment of his purchase of goods or services, the merchant/service establishment is charged certain merchant discount rate (MDR) by credit card or debit card issuing banks. With a view to promote digital transactions and encourage merchant establishments to accept such card payments, Government has waived service tax on such amount charged while making payments though credit card, debit card, charge card or any other payment card. However, this waiver is limited to payments upto two thousand rupees only (Rs.2000) in a single transaction.
India has improved by 21 spots as per latest Gender Gap Report of World Economic Forum
Press Information Bureau: December 09, 2016
As per the Global Gender Gap Report 2016 by World Economic Forum, India ranks at 87th in respect of Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) among 144 countries of the World. According to the Human Development Report 2015 brought out by UNDP, India ranked 130 on the Gender Inequality Index among 155 countries.
As per the GGR, India has climbed 21 spots to rank 87th in 2016, which is an improvement from being ranked at 108th in 2015. The improvement in ranking has been driven largely by major improvements in education. On education attainment India has moved up from 125th rank in 2015 to 113th in 2016. On economic participation and opportunity too, India has moved up to 136th rank in 2016, from 139th in 2015. On health and survival, it has moved up by one rank over last year to rank 142nd. India ranks 9th on political empowerment in the world, which is a major achievement.
Government of India has taken several measures, interventions and strengthened Institutional mechanism towards the empowerment of women and for elimination of gender gap and inequality. ICDS is being implemented to address the nutritional needs of children and pregnant and lactating women, Matritva Sahyog Yojana for pregnant and lactating women to improve their health and nutrition status. Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), implemented with the objective of reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality. Sabla scheme aims at the empowerment of adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhayamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA) schemes are being implemented to universalize elementary and secondary education respectively, having a strong focus on improving enrolment and retention of girls. Support to Training & Employment programme for Women (STEP) scheme aims to ensure sustainable employment and income generation for marginalized and asset-less rural and urban women. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) helps in economic and social empowerment of women.
Government of India has given utmost priority to end the gender based inequities, reducing disparity between men and women, improving socio-economic status of women and increasing their participation in various fields. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing the following schemes to reduce gender gap and promote gender sensitization; i)The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has been launched to address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio on a life cycle continuum basis. ii) One Stop Centres integrated with Women Helpline (181) have been established across the country to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence, iii) Engagement of Mahila Police Volunteers has been initiated to act as a link between police and public.
Several steps and initiatives have also been taken up in school education system such as National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 and flagship programme like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the subsequent Right to Education Act (RTE). Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) have been opened in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs). Gender Sensitisation is also done through Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) which includes Gender sensitization Module- part of In-service training, Construction for toilet for girls, Construction of residential quarters for female teachers and Curriculum Reforms.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Smt. Krishna Raj in the Rajya Sabha today.
Flipkart re-enters the private label business with Smart Buy
Business Standard: December 09, 2016
India’s largest e-commerce marketplace Flipkart has launched Smart Buy, the first of two new private labels, as it looks at in-house brands to boost earnings and fill gaps in its product selection.
This isn’t Flipkart’s first dabble with private labels. The company had launched products under the brand name DigiFlip as far back as 2012. However, the brand didn’t stick around for long as Flipkart saw slow sales until it finally discontinued it couple of years later.
“Flipkart Smart Buy is the first brand that we’re launching in the private label space. We’re starting with electronic accessories, mobile cases, power banks, speakers and parallelly we will be launching a range of home plastics as well. Phase two of Flipkart Smart Buy would be personal care appliances,” said Adarsh Menon, head of Flipkart’s private label business.
The company plans to have two large umbrella labels under which it will serve 40-50 product categories. The second brand which is scheduled to be launched in February will cater to home decor, furnishings and home appliances categories.
Flipkart’s private label push comes at a time when it is struggling to raise fresh funds at a valuation it wants, hurting its efforts to effectively compete with deep-pocketed rival Amazon. Morgan Stanley, a small but strategic investor in the company, marked down its valuation to just $5.58 billion, from a peak of $15 billion last year.
While Flipkart’s first foray into private labels might have been a failure, its subsidiary Myntra has enjoyed great success with building its own clothing brands. Roadster, Mast & Harbour and HRX are among the few successful private labels Myntra owns, which power a little over a quarter of the sales on the fashion retail platform.
Flipkart isn’t the only large e-commerce player to be experimenting with private labels. Rival Amazon too has its own brands such as Symbol and Myx in the fashion space, apart from Amazon Basics in the electronic accessories market.
E-commerce companies are turning to private labels at a time when competition is fierce and winning customers means offering big discounts. This has hurt margins as players such as Flipkart and Amazon earn on every product they sell. In turn, the margins on private labels are much higher, as high as 45 per cent on fashion products for Myntra.
Globally Amazon has several private label brands in nearly a dozen categories such as computer accessories, home goods, pet supplies, grocery etc. The focus is largely on plugging gaps in its offerings to customers, anywhere it sees quality and affordability of products being a problem. Flipkart too has adopted this mantra, saying its biggest focus will be to provide quality products at affordable costs to customers in India.
De Beers to expand synthetic diamond testing facility in Surat
Business Standard: December 09, 2016
Surat: Sensing huge demand for its newly-launched synthetic diamond detection device PhosView, the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of The De Beers Group of Companies, is now planning to make at least 200 to 300 such machines next year.
IIDGR had launched PhosView, a compact screening device designed to allow parcels of polished stones to be quickly and accurately analysed to determine if they contain High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) synthetics, in September this year.
Speaking at the sidelines of the expansion of its Surat diamond grading and testing center, Jonathan Kendall, IIDGR President said that they see huge demand for the instrument from jewellery makers, retailers etc. “We plan to make around 200-300 such instruments next year. They would be manufactured in the UK,” he said.
The device, priced at around Rs 3 lakh, is much cheaper than the company’s DiamondView instrument (which is priced around $35,000). De Beers had made around 50 machines for jewellers, and they sold out quickly.
The device basically illuminates a batch of stones in a pan. Synthetic or laboratory grown stones are revealed when they show a strong phosphorescent glow, something not seen in natural diamonds.
Julian Regan-Mears, head of external communications, De Beers Group of Companies informed that the Group has actually invested close to $50 million over the past few years to develop technology to detect lab-grown diamonds. Kendall, in fact, went on to add that the Group actually is engaged in making lab-grown diamonds at its own synthetic diamond facility Element Six (that makes synthetic diamonds for industrial purposes like drilling etc) as this helps them to have insight into the process of manufacturing lab-grown diamonds that, in turn, offers technological know-how to detect such diamonds as such.
Lab-grown diamonds, as such are a very small share of the overall diamond market. While 140 million carats of diamonds are produced annually, only around 200,000-250,000 carats of lab-grown diamonds are made each year.
Meanwhile, one of the leading diamond companies in the world, is very much committed to its India plans. It invested $5 million to expand its diamond grading and testing centre in Surat. The Group had already invested $10 million in 2015 to establish the facility which has a capacity to process over $500 million of diamonds every year.
Moreover, IIDGR is also all set to launch its first ever education service to cover the entire diamond pipeline. The service, scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2017, will be run out of Surat and comprise courses that cover essential subjects for India’s diamond sector, including polished diamond grading, diamond foundation and synthetics.
Surat is not only the heart of India’s diamond polishing industry, but is also a key centre globally. Around 90 per cent of the world’s rough diamonds are cut and polished in the country, with the sector employing around 800,000 people in highly-skilled jobs.
India has also experienced almost uninterrupted growth (in Rupee terms) in consumer demand for diamond jewellery in the last 20 years and now makes up eight per cent of global demand.
Mutual funds’ assets under management edge up to fresh records in November
Livemint: December 09, 2016
Mumbai: Mutual funds’ assets under management (AUMs) rose marginally in November to touch a fresh record, data from Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) showed on Thursday.
Assets under management at the end of November stood at Rs16.5 trillion, up from Rs16.29 trillion a month ago.
However, with the market declining during the month, the equity assets under management fell to Rs4.69 trillion from Rs4.85 trillion in the previous month, despite fresh net inflows of Rs90.79 billion, which was the second-best monthly inflow since June 2015.
In November, BSE’s 30-share Sensex and National Stock Exchange’s 50-share Nifty fell 4.57% and 4.65% respectively, their biggest monthly decline since February, as foreign investors took out money following the sudden withdrawal of high-value currency notes in India and the victory of Republican Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections.
Income funds which invest in a combination of government securities, certificates of deposits, corporate bonds and money market instruments saw inflows falling to Rs183.06 billion from Rs521.25 billion in the previous month.
Liquid funds that invest in very short-term market instruments such as treasury bills and call money that hold least amount of risk, saw net inflows of Rs13.50 billion, compared with net outflows of Rs348.13 billion in the previous month.
Gold ETFs (exchange-traded funds) resumed outflows, after seeing inflows for the first time in 41 months in October. It witnessed net outflows of Rs69 crore in November. ETFs other than gold, saw their best net inflows in 32 months, with Rs28.30 billion coming into their schemes.
The Swedish newspaper was recently asked it to delete the reference made by President Pranab Mukherjee to the Bofors scam in an interview to it, as a claim protested by the Indian Government on 27 May 2015. India has expressed disappointment over the disrespect shown to the President, the newspaper has defended its right to publish what was said during the interview.
Know, who is Vijay Kelkar and what is PPP !
Vijay Kelkar is a renowned economist and a former Finance Secretary. He was appointed head of newly constituted committee to give recommendations to recast the model of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in India. India is one of the largest PPP market with over 900 projects. The Kelkar committee will review the PPP policy, suggest a better risk-sharing mechanism between private developers and the government after analysing such projects.
Know, who is Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar !
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar was crowned as the new Maharaja of of Mysuru (Mysore) royal family. He is the 23-year old grandson of Princess Gayathri Devi, who was the eldest daughter of the last Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar. The coronation was held at Mysuru’s famous Amba Vilas Palace, which was decked up for the occasion.
Know about Sepp Blatter!
Swpp Blatter, was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term at the 65th Annual Congress of FIFA held at Zurich for four year term.
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan stood against Blatter in this election. It is worth mentioning that FIFA is going through a major controversy regarding corruption in the organisation with two FIFA vice presidents and a recently elected FIFA executive committee member still in custody.