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June 2018 Economic Affairs

  • Gujarat launches Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) Scheme for farmers to generate solar power
    The Gujarat government on 24th June launched a solar power scheme for farmers- Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) enabling them to generate electricity for their captive consumption as well as sell the surplus power to the grid and earn an extra buck. 

    Announcing the pilot project of the scheme in Gandhinagar, chief minister Vijay Rupani termed it a revolutionary step towards empowering farmers to generate their own electricity using solar energy and help doubling their income. 

    As per the scheme, farmers having existing electricity connection will be given solar panels as per their load requirements. The State and Central governments will give 60 per cent subsidy on the cost of project. The farmer is required to take 5 per cent cost, while 35 per cent will be provided to him as an affordable loan with interest rates of 4.5-6 per cent. 

    The scheme duration is 25 years, which is split between 7-year period and 18-year period. The scheme envisages setting up of separate feeders for agricultural solar energy consumption. Under the pilot project, which is likely to kickoff from July 2, about 137 feeders will be set up. 

    As of 24th June, 22,704 MU or 26% of the total power consumption in the state is consumed by agriculture sector. 

  • Projects worth Rs 187 billion being carried to connect Railways to ports: Government
    Aimed at bringing down logistics costs by providing rail connectivity to ports, Indian Port Rail Corporation along with other agencies are implementing projects worth Rs 187.95 billion (Rs 18,795 crore), the government has said. 

    IPRCL, a joint venture between major ports and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), as a dedicated SPV is developing railways as a mode of transport in the port sector under the government's ambitious initiative Sagarmala - a flagship programme for port led-development in the country. 

    As many as 70 rail connectivity projects for 4,247 km length were identified to be implemented at a cost of about Rs 467.28 billion (Rs 46,728 crore), the report said. 

    Of the 70 identified projects, 27 projects are currently under implementation for 1,967 km at a cost of about Rs 187.95 billion (Rs 18,795 crore), it said. 

    Thirteen projects having a length of 426 km have already been completed at a cost of Rs 25.92 billion (Rs 2,592 crore), as per the report. 

    It also said that 30 more projects entailing an investment of Rs 253.41 billion (Rs 25,341 crore) are under pre-implementation stage to provide 1,967 km connectivity. 

    Under the Ministry of Shipping, Sagarmala aims at promoting port-led development along India's 14,500 km long coastline. 

    As part of Sagarmala, more than 400 projects at an estimated infrastructure investment of more than Rs 7 trilliion (Rs 7 lakh crore), have been identified across port modernisation & new port development; port connectivity enhancement, port-linked industrialisation and coastal community development. 

  • Sebi to amend IPO, takeover norms; caps tenure of MDs at stock exchanges
    Regulator Sebi on 25th June decided to amend the norms governing initial public offers, takeovers and buybacks as well as harmonise shareholding patterns in market infrastructure institutions and cap the tenure of managing directors at stock exchanges. 

    The board of Sebi, at its meeting in Mumbai, also cleared a draft of proposed amendments to the IPO framework, including reduction in time period for announcement of price band and financial disclosure requirements as well as bringing down the minimum anchor investor size in SME IPOs to Rs 2 crore. 

    Besides, the category of 'sub-brokers' would be done away with and instead such entities would have to migrate to 'authorised persons' or 'trading members' category. 

    Implementing another round of reforms agenda in the securities market, entities going for IPO can announce the price band two days before commencement of the offer whereas the current time period is five days. 

    In the case of public and rights issues, financial disclosures have to be made only for three years instead of five years requirement at present. 

  • ADNOC joins Saudi Aramco to build Ratnagiri Refinery
    The world largest oil refinery cum petrochemical project is set to come up in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri. And now, not only Saudi Arabia but the United Arab Emirates has also become India's partner in the endeavor. 

    UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Company or ADNOC along with Saudi Arabia's ARAMCO will together have a 50% stake in the Greenfield Ratnagiri refinery project. ADNOC signed an agreement with other stakeholders on 25th June

    While 50% stake will be shared between Aramco and Adnoc the rest will be with Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum. 

    The project is being considered significant for India's energy security. All efforts are being to ensure that it goes into production by 2022. 

  • Bank NPA ratio to hit 12% may reach highest level since 2000: RBI report
    The gross bad debt ratio of the banking system may touch a two-decade high, with banks under prompt corrective action (PCA) expected to be the worst hit, warned the Financial Stability Report (FSR) released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 26th June. 

    As bad debts balloon, the money set aside as provisions would drag down the capital position of Indian banks, with at least six banks witnessing a shortfall of capital, the inter-regulatory report warned. 

    Under the current macroeconomic environment, the gross non-performing asset (GNPA) ratio of scheduled commercial banks may rise to 12.2 per cent of the advances by March 2019, from 11.6 per cent in March 2018. The March 2019 level would be the highest since the financial year ended 2000, according to Bloomberg. 

    The system level capital to risk-weighted assets ratio may come down from 13.5 per cent to 12.8 per cent during the period. 

    The scenario is part of the macro-stress tests and represents the baseline scenario. If the macroeconomic situation worsens, the GNPA ratio. 

    Despite that, India’s financial system remained stable, the report said. The banks undergoing the RBI’s restrictive PCA framework would be worse off. The GNPA ratio of these banks is expected to rise to 22.3 per cent of the advances, from 21.0 per cent in the period under consideration. The thrust of the PCA framework is to prevent further capital erosion and nurse the banks back to health. 

    Between September 2017 and March 2018, the GNPA ratio in the industry sector rose from 19.4 per cent to 22.8 per cent, whereas the stressed advances ratio increased from 23.9 per cent to 24.8 per cent. The asset quality of ‘food processing’ and ‘textiles’ improved in the period. The provision coverage ratio rose across all bank groups, with the foreign banks having the highest provision coverage ratio (88.7 per cent) followed by private banks (51.0 per cent) and then public sector banks (PSBs). 

    While interconnectedness in the interbank market has increased marginally, analysis reveals that the size of the interbank market itself has shrunk. 

    Some of the structural vulnerabilities of the banking sector such as legacy bad debts are finally being tackled headlong. The revised framework on stressed assets, which states even one day delay in servicing loans should be treated as a default, would “incentivise early identification and resolution of credit risk.” 

  • Union Cabinet takes vital decisions
    Sugarcane and sugar production is very high leading to dampening of sugar prices
    The sugarcane and sugar production in this sugar season is very high leading to dampening of sugar prices. Consequently, sugarcane farmers' dues have increased. 
    Mechanism for procurement of ethanol by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (PSOMC) 
    In a significant step that will reduce import dependency for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Mechanism for procurement of ethanol by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies for Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme. 
    Establishment of additional 6.5 Million Metric Tonne Strategic Petroleum Reserve facilities at two locations
    The Union Cabinet has approved establishment of additional 6.5 Million Metric Tonne Strategic Petroleum Reserve facilities at two locations, i.e. Chandikhol in Odisha and Padur in Karnataka. 
    Capital infusion of Rs.2000 crore for strengthening of ECGC
    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved the capital infusion of Rs.2000 crore for strengthening of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation or the ECGC. 
    Infusion would enhance insurance coverage to MSME exports
    The infusion would enhance insurance coverage to MSME exports and strengthen India's exports to emerging and challenging markets like Africa, CIS and Latin American countries. 
    Increased capital infusion will help ECGC to diversify its product portfolio and provide cost effective credit insurance helping exporters to gain a stronger foothold in the difficult markets. 

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development organises POSHAN Abhiyaan TECH-THON
    Ministry of Women and Child Development organises POSHAN Abhiyaan TECH-THON. With an aim to integrate information technology for better rolll out of its major social sector schemes, Ministry of Woman and Child Development organized a day-long Seminar on Technology Partnerships for Steering POSHAN Abhiyaan called 'TECH-THON’. 

    Poshan is an overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment launched by PM Narendra Modi. 

    CEO of NITI Ayog underlined the importance of IT in the mission. Convergence and innovative use of technology are the two hallmarks of POSHAN Abhiyaan. 

    ICDS- Common Application Software has been specially designed to strengthen the Service Delivery System as well as the mechanism for Real Time Monitoring for nutritional outcomes. 

    POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched by the Prime Minister on 8thMarch, 2018 in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Now, Effective monitoring and Timely interventions along with use of specially designed software will surely help achieve the target of Poshan Abhiyan. 

  • Fiscal deficit hits 55% of full-year target on the back of higher capital expenditure
    The Centre’s fiscal deficit for the first two months of fiscal year 2018-19 stood at Rs 3.45 trillion, or 55 per cent of the full year target, on the back of higher capital expenditure. 

    However, the pace of spending in relative terms was slower than the same period last fiscal. Fiscal deficit for April-May 2017 touched 68.3 per cent of the full year target. The fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 is Rs 6.24 trillion, or 3.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). 

    Net tax revenues for April-May 2018 was Rs 1.02 trillion, or 6.9 per cent of the full year target, compared with 5.5 per cent for the first two months of 2017-18. Non-tax revenue was Rs 240 billion, or 9.8 per cent of the full year target against 5.3 per cent for the same period last year (2017). Total receipt was Rs 1.27 trillion, which is 7 per cent of the target compared to 5.4 per cent in the previous year. 

    Total expenditure till May 31 was Rs 4.73 trillion, or 19.4 per cent of the full year target compared to 21.4 per cent last year (2017). Revenue expenditure was Rs 4.09 trillion, or 19 per cent compared to 21 per cent last year (2017). Capital expenditure was Rs 638 billion, which is 21.3 per cent of the full year target compared with 17 per cent for the same period last year (2017). 

  • India’s external debt went up 12.4% to $529.7 billion in March 2018
    India's external debt increased 12.4 per cent in March 2018 from a year-ago figures, primarily on account of an increase in commercial borrowings, short-term debt, and deposits from non-resident Indians (NRIs). 

    At the end of March 2018, India's external debt was at $529.7 billion, recording an increase of $58.4 billion over its level at the end of March 2017, the RBI said in a notification. 

    The external debt level, however, suffered from valuation loss after the US dollar depreciated against major currencies that time. The dollar has started strengthening now. Excluding the valuation effect, the increase in external debt would have been $53.1 billion. The external debt to GDP ratio stood at 20.5 per cent at the end of March this year (2018), higher than its level of 20.0 per cent in the same period last year (2017). 

    The share of long-term debt (over one year) in total external debt at end-March 2018 was 80.7 per cent, lower than its level of 81.3 per cent at end-March 2017. 

    The share of short-term debt in total external debt increased to 19.3 per cent at end-March 2018 from 18.7 per cent at end-March 2017. 

  • NITI Aayog ranks 108 aspirational districts on development progress
    Dahod district in Gujarat has been ranked first among 108 ‘aspirational districts’ by the NITI Aayog on the basis of incremental development over two months from March 31, 2018. West Sikkim district stood second. The NITI Aayog has ranked 108 districts on the basis of the improvements in five developmental areas that they have made from March 31 to May 31. 

    The Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme was launched by the Prime Minister that aims to develop some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country. 

    The ranking is on the basis of self-reported data of districts between the said period, across five developmental areas of health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure. 

    Begusarai in Bihar (ranked 100) and Kupwara in Jammu & Kashmir (ranked 101) are the worst performers according to data released by the NITI Aayog. 

  • NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in Delhi
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17th June reiterated the NDA government's commitment to provide universal coverage of seven key schemes to 45,000 additional villages in 115 Aspirational Districts by 15th August, 2018. The 4th NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting was held on 17th June in New Delhi. 

    In the meeting the Prime Minister said: 
    All villages of the country are now electrified, and under Saubhagya Yojana, four crore houses are now being provided with electricity connections. 

    Rural sanitation coverage has increased from less than 40 percent to about 85 percent in four years. 

    The Ujjwala Yojana is providing access to cooking gas, and Mission Indradhanush is working towards universal immunization. 

    States can define their own parameters to identify 20 percent of the total blocks in the state as aspirational blocks on the lines of the 115 aspirational districts identified by NITI Aayog. 

    The PM urged all states to use LED bulbs in their government buildings, official residences and streetlights. 

    Called upon Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, to work together to make recommendations on a coordinated policy approach to the two subjects of agriculture and MNREGA, including both pre-sowing, and post-harvest phases. 

    Swachh Bharat Mission is being discussed around the world. In the last four years, 7.70 crore toilets have been constructed. 

  • GST results formalization of economy of tax base: Government
    Goods and Service Tax has resulted in formalization of economy of tax base. According to the Finance Ministry, under GST, there will be seamless flow of availability of data to both the Centre and the States making Direct and Indirect Tax collections more effective. It also said, there are early signs of tax base expansion. 

    Between June and July last year (2017), 6.6 lakh new agents which were previously outside the tax net, sought GST registration. This figure is expected to rise consistently as the incentives for formalization increase. 

    The Finance Ministry also said, entire Textile chain has now been brought under tax net. A number of procedural changes have also been made since the roll-out of GST to simplify the processes. 

    Steps are also being undertaken for further simplification in order to facilitate the tax payers and to extend benefit to the customers. 

  • CAD at 2.5% of GDP not a worry, government geared to deal with outlows: FinMin
    Current account deficit (CAD) at 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) won’t be a worry as the government has the required instruments to deal with any imbalance created due to foreign fund outflow, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said on 19th June

    CAD, which is the difference between the inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, jumped to $48.7 billion, or 1.9 per cent of GDP, in 2017-18 fiscal. This was higher than $14.4 billion, or 0.6 per cent, CAD in 2016-17 fiscal. 

    With rising oil prices, depreciating rupee and outflow of portfolio investments, there are concerns that CAD might rise in the current fiscal. The price of Indian basket of crude surged from $66 a barrel in April to around $74 a barrel at present. 

    Asked about monetary policy tightening by the US, he said India can afford to be “less edgy and concerned” than it was during taper tantrum in 2013. 

    Observing that the fund flow from portfolio investors depend on factors like yields and exchange rate, he said “we still are in good shape. CAD between 2.5-3 per cent is something not in our control. It depends on way the oil would behave. 

    On managing fiscal deficit, he said the government has worked in a very prudent and sound manner. India would shortly achieve the targeted 3 per cent fiscal deficit level and it will be more permanent and sustainable in nature, Subhash Chandra Garg said. 

  • TS government to set up special turmeric cell in Nizamabad
    The Union Commerce Ministry, which has set up Spice Board Development Agency in Warangal, is also proposing to set up a special cell for turmeric in Nizamabad. These two organisations in association with TS government agencies can help in improving the production, quality, marketing and export of turmeric, said Spices Board India’s Director of Research & Development A.B. Remashree. 

    The State Horticulture Mission and the Farmers Producers Groups too can join forces to help improve the content of ‘curcumin’, the naturally occurring chemical compound found in turmeric, which will provide better price for the crop and also enhance the export potential, she said. 

  • RBI revises upwards home loan limits under priority sector to give fillip to low-cost segment
    The Reserve Bank has revised the Priority Sector Lending, PSL guidelines for housing loans with Affordable Housing definition under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. 

    The apex bank said that housing loans of up to 35 lakh rupees for dwellings costing less than 45 lakh rupees, will be treated as priority sector lending to give a fillip to the low-cost segment. 

    An announcement in this regard was made in the 'Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies' released along with the Second Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy on June 6. 

    There is a condition however that the overall cost of the dwelling unit in the metropolitan centre should not exceed Rs 45 lakh and Rs 30 lakh at other centres for being classified as priority sector. 

    The RBI has further revised existing family income limit of Rs 2 lakh per annum for loans to housing projects for Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups. 

    It has been revised to Rs 3 lakh per annum and Rs 6 lakh per annum, respectively. This has been done in alignment with the income criteria specified under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. 

  • European Union announces retaliatory tariffs to U.S. imports starting 22nd June
    The European Union will impose additional 25 percent tariffs on a range of U.S. products on 22nd June in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, the European Commission announced on 20th June The list of U.S. imports worth 2.8 billion euros includes a vast range of items, such as cranberry, orange juice, peanut butter, jeans, cosmetics, motorcycles, and steel products. 

    While the list did not name specific brands, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European commission, have warned that the EU intends to tax items such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Levi's jeans. 

    Some analysts believe that the EU's retaliatory tariffs mainly targeted agricultural products from red states to put pressure on the Republicans in the mid-term election. 

    U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders in March to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports, but granted temporary exemptions to the EU, Canada and Mexico. The U.S. eventually ended the exemptions at the start of June. 

    The EU's second-phase countermeasures are expected to begin in March 2021, which involves 10 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 50 percent tariffs on different US products approximately 3.6 billion euros in total worth. 

  • India slaps tariffs on 29 US items; new rates to kick in from August 4
    After a week of speculations, India on 21st June finally imposed higher tariff rates on 29 import items from the United States (US) but announced that new rates would kick in from August 4. 

    India had last week notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its decision to impose ‘reciprocal tariffs’ on American products. The move comes after New Delhi got a cold shoulder from Washington DC on its request for exempting India from the higher tariffs announced by the US on steel and aluminium imports. 

    The government has not officially clarified why it chose to impose the new rates — which have been doubled for some items — from a later date instead of June 21, as had been widely expected. But senior officials in the commerce department suggested that it may have been done to provide the US with some elbow room for negotiations next week when a senior US delegation visits New Delhi for official talks. 

    The latest list of tariff hikes has 18 iron and steel items, a potent political reply against Donald Trump’s tariff hikes in the sector. However, the government has dropped ‘motorcycles above 800cc’ from the list after giving strong hints that it would do so. 

    This would have effectively made imports of high-end motorcycles such as those made by US major Harley-Davidson’s more expensive. Despite India importing only about $10 million worth of bikes in the category in 2017-18, Trump has used the company as an instrument to attack India on alleged market access issues. 

    However, in terms of real import value based on last financial year’s trade, agricultural commodities such as apples and almonds are to hit. The US is the largest exporter to India of both items and US exporters of chickpeas, lentils, walnuts, and artemia (brine shrimps) may find contracts getting cancelled owing to higher import duties on these products. 

    The global trading mechanism has been shaken up by $34 billion worth of tariff hikes announced by both the US and China last weekend. Since then, Trump has threatened an additional $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing has indicated it won’t buckle down. 

  • GST fails its biggest promise - formalisation of economy: HSBC report
    A year into implementation, goods and services tax (GST) has not delivered on the promised formalisation of the economy as yet, while the glitches in the one-nation-one-tax regime has increased the demand for cash, says a foreign brokerage report. The report, however, noted that over the long-term, GST will lead to more formalisation of the economy. 

    The GST was implemented from July 1, 2017 and since then it has undergone multiple changes including lowering of tax rates of many items and an increase in the numbers of cesses and the levy rate, which was supposed to be done away with under this tax regime. 

    In the short-run, the glitches in the framework, including delays in tax refunds, teething issues with the new IT network and higher tax rates for services have led to an increase in the cash-based activity, the report said, adding which is one of the factors for the rise cash circulation. 

    In April, finance minister Arun Jaitley had claimed that GST and note-ban had led to increased formalisation of the economy and also cited that one crore new income tax returns were filed in FY18. 

    Citing corporate sales data, the report said the level of formalisation of the economy has gone back to the pre- note-ban levels. The report said usually rural wages are the key driver of cash demand, but that relationship is broken for now. 

    The report, however, said once GST settles down, the e-way bill system matures and refunds are expedited with improvement in IT systems, tax evasions will fall and the recent rise in informality will diminish gradually. 

    Rural wages will rise on higher inflation, stronger construction growth, normal rains and minimum support price increases which can put pressure on cash in circulation growth. 

  • Use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data for criminal investigation is not permissible: UIDAI
    Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has clarified that the use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data for criminal investigation is not permissible under Aadhaar Act. 

    The authority was referring to reports published in certain section of media about purported use of Aadhaar biometric data for the purpose of crime investigation. 

    The UIDAI said, the biometrics data collected by the authority can be used only for the purpose of generating Aadhaar and for authentication of identity of Aadhaar holders and cannot be used for any other purpose. 

    It however said that certain section of the Act allows a very limited exception and permits use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data in cases involving national security. It said, UIDAI has never shared any biometric data with any crime investigating agency. 

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates several development projects in Madhya Pradesh
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated several development projects worth over 4700 crore Rupees in Madhya Pradesh on 23rd June. 

    Also launched urban economical bus service "sutra seva"; presents Swachhta Survekshan-2018 Awards to the clean cities and best performing states. 

    The Prime Minister also remotely inaugurated various urban development projects worth over 4000 crore rupees, at various locations across the State. These include houses under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, urban drinking water supply schemes, urban solid waste management, urban sanitation, urban transportation and urban landscape projects. 

    He also distributed Swachh Survekshan-2018 Awards, and launched the Swachh Survekshan-2018 results dashboard. Cleanest cities, and best performing States received awards from the Prime Minister. One Swachh Innovation, one Swachh Best Practice, and one Swachh Entrepreneur also received awards from the Prime Minister. 

    Earlier, Prime Minister Modi dedicated the Mohanpura Dam Project to the nation at Rajgarh in Madhya Pradesh. Rajgarh is a drought prone region in the state. The project will facilitate irrigation of agricultural land of the district and provide drinking water to villages in the area. 

    The dam which has been constructed ahead of the schedule, has 17 gates and will irrigate 1.15 lakh hectares of land. 

  • Violence cost India's GDP over Rs 80 lakh crore on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis: Report
    Violence cost the Indian economy a whopping US $1.19 trillion (over Rs 80 lakh crore) last year (2017) in constant purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, which amounts to roughly US $595.4 per person, says a report. 

    The findings are part of the report prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) based on an analysis of 163 countries and territories. 

    Violence impacted US $1,190.51 billion to the Indian economy in 2017, 9% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) or US $595.4 (over Rs 40,000) per person. 

    The economic impact of violence to the global economy was US $14.76 trillion in 2017, in PPP terms. This is equivalent to 12.4% of GDP, or US $ 1,988 per person. 

    The global economic impact of violence is defined as the expenditure and economic effect related to containing, preventing and dealing with the consequences of violence. 

    The estimates include the direct and indirect cost of violence as well as an economic multiplier. "The multiplier effect calculates the additional economic activity that would have accrued if the direct costs of violence had been avoided," the report noted. 

    As per the report, human beings encounter conflict regularly whether at home, at work, among friends, or on a more systemic level between ethnic, religious or political groups. But the majority of these conflicts do not result in violence. 

    The fall in peacefulness over the decade was caused by a wide range of factors, including increased terrorist activity, the intensification of conflicts in the Middle East, rising regional tensions in Eastern Europe and northeast Asia, and increasing numbers of refugees and heightened political tensions in Europe and the US, it added. 

    About the Asia-Pacific region, it said it remained the third most peaceful region in the world despite a slight fall in its overall peacefulness. There were notable improvements in both internal and external conflicts fought and relations with neighbouring countries, but violent crime, terrorism impact, political instability and political terror all deteriorated across the region. 

    For South Asia, the report said strengthening scores on the Political Terror Scale, refugees and internally displaced person (IDPs) and terrorism impact were only partially offset by a deterioration in external conflicts fought after a border dispute with China flared in the Doklam Pass. The three-month standoff also involved India, which sent troops to the area, it added. 

    In this region, the two least peaceful nations Afghanistan and Pakistan continued their decline. Besides, Bangladesh and Myanmar also saw deterioration, including due to the Rohingya crisis. 

    Syria topped the list of most affected countries by economic cost of violence as a percentage of GDP at 68%, followed by Afghanistan (63%), Iraq (51%) in the second and third position respectively. 

    Others in the ten most affected countries by economic cost of violence include El Salvador, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Cyprus, Colombia, Lesotho and Somalia. 

    The report further noted that there has been a widening "prosperity gap" between less and more peaceful countries. Since 1960, the most peaceful countries have, on average, seen their per capita GDP grow by an annual rate of 2.8%.

    On the other hand, less peaceful countries have experienced economic stagnation. Their annual per capita GDP has, on average, grown by just 1% over the last seven decades. 

    Switzerland is the least affected country in terms of economic cost of violence, followed by Indonesia and Burkina Faso. 

    Among emerging markets violence impacted US $1,704.62 billion to the Chinese economy, Brazil (US $511,364.9 million), Russia (US $1,013.78 billion) and South Africa (US $239,480.2 million). 

    Among developed nations, for the US, the cost of violence in terms of PPP was US $2.67 trillion or 8% of the GDP. For the UK, it was 312.27 billion, 7% of GDP. 

  • Ravi Shankar Prasad launches 5000 Wi-Fi Choupals in villages and delivery of rail tickets through Common Service Centres (CSCs) 
    Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched 5000 Wi-Fi Choupals in villages and delivery of rail tickets through Common Service Centres, CSCs, in New Delhi on 11th June. 

    The aim is to transform rural Internet connectivity through BharatNet. The WiFi Choupals will enable people in rural areas with an effective Internet access for their various digital processes. 

    Ravi Shankar Prasad said, with the concept of power of information, CSCs are running a mass movement of digitalization which, in turn, empower the common man. 

    He said, recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated CSCs efforts in Singapore which is a great recognition for all the Common Services Centres- Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs). Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad also announced that the Prime Minister will address CSC- VLEs on 15th. 

  • RBI needs more powers to oversee PSBs in view of bad loans: Governor Urjit Patel to parliamentary panel
    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) needs more powers to oversee public sector banks (PSBs), Governor Urjit Patel told a parliamentary panel amid mounting bad loans in state-run lenders. 

    The RBI governor, who appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance, faced tough questions from lawmakers on bad loans, bank frauds, cash crunch and other issues. 

    Regarding PSBs, he told the panel that the RBI has "inadequate" control over them. The governor asked for more powers to control the government-owned banks, said sources present at the meeting. 

    There are 21 state-owned banks, including State Bank of India. Their combined losses crossed a whopping Rs 87,300 crore in 2017-18 fiscal, topped by scam-tainted Punjab National Bank which took a hit of nearly Rs 12,283 crore. 

    Of the 21 state-owned banks, only two banks, Indian Bank and Vijaya Bank, posted profits during 2017-18. Indian Bank posted the highest profit of Rs 1,258.99 crore and Vijaya Bank's profit was Rs 727.02 crore in the fiscal. 

    Gross non-performing assets (NPA) of the entire banking sector stood at Rs 8.31 lakh crore at end-December 2017. 

    The RBI governor also answered queries regarding the USD 2 billion fraud allegedly committed by diamontaire Nirav Modi and his associates in the PNB. Patel said it was impossible to look after each and every branch of a bank in terms of an audit. 

    Some members of the committee, headed by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily, sought to know about the reasons for recent instances of ATMs running out of cash and why enough steps were not taken to tackle banking frauds. 

    Patel told the panel that steps were being taken to strengthen the banking system. On an optimistic note, Patel informed the committee that after implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the situation on the NPA front has been improving. 

  • SEBI sets up panel to recommend ways to make stock market listing attractive for startups
    Market regulator SEBI has set up a panel to recommend the ways to make stock market listing attractive for startups. The panel has to submit the report within a period of one month. SEBI also said the group has been formed after discussions with various stakeholders. 

    Members of the group include representatives from the Indian Software Product Industry Round Table (iSPIRT), The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA), law firms, merchant bankers, and stock exchanges. 

    This move will open a new way for finance if entrepreneurs find it difficult to obtain capital from traditional sources of finance such as banks and financial institutions. 

  • Union Cabinet approves HDFC Bank’s proposal to raise additional share capital of Rs 24,000 crore
    Union Cabinet on 13th June approved the proposal for grant of permission to HDFC Bank to raise additional share capital of up to a maximum of 24,000 crore rupees. 

    The composite foreign shareholding in the Bank will not exceed 74 percent of the enhanced paid-up equity share capital of the bank. According to the Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, the proposed investment is expected to strengthen the capital adequacy ratio of the bank. 

    The Cabinet also approved reconstitution of North Eastern Council (NEC). 

    Home Minister will be the ex officio chairman of NEC and the Minister of State for DoNER will serve as Vice Chairman of the council. Under the new arrangement, it will provide a forum for discussing interstate matters more comprehensively and also consider common approaches to be taken in future. 

  • Union Cabinet approves monetization of 3.70 acres of land at Pragati Maidan by ITPO
    Union Cabinet has approved the monetization of 3.70 acres of land at Pragati Maidan by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) on long-term leasehold basis for 99 years for construction and running of a Hotel by a third party including private sector through a transparent competitive bidding process. 

    This measure is part of the Phase - I of redevelopment project of Pragati Maidan which is Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) Project. It was approved by the CCEA in January 2017 at an estimated cost of 2254 crore rupees. The IECC project envisages construction of a world class state-of-the-art Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre. 

  • Government approves revision of carpet area of houses eligible for interest subsidy under PMAY (Urban) 
    The government has approved a 33 per cent increase in carpet area of houses eligible for interest subsidy under its affordable housing scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) to attract more beneficiaries. 

    The carpet area of a house has been enhanced to 160 square metres from 120 square metres for Middle Income Group-1, while it has been increased to 200 square metres from 150 square metres in case of Middle Income Group-2. 

    The new rules will be effective from 1st of January, 2017, the date on which the scheme became operational. The enhancements will now enable more Middle Income Group customers to qualify for subsidy and avail the benefits provided under the flagship mission of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban. 

    Apart from increasing the number of beneficiaries, the enhancement in carpet area will increase the construction activity and will give a push to housing sector. Under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme, each beneficiary can avail subsidy up to two lakh 35 thousand on purchase of a house under the scheme. 

  • One day-long visit to Chhattisgarh, PM Narendra Modi inaugurates developmental projects
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a one-day visit to Chhattisgarh on 14th June where he will dedicate the modernised and expanded Bhilai steel plant to the nation. This is PM Narendra Modi's second visit to the Chhattisgarh in the last two months. 

    The PM inaugurated Integrated Command and Control Centre at Naya Raipur. Thereafter, in Bhilai, he inaugurated Raipur-Jagdalpur air service, lay foundation stone for the new building of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bhilai, besides dedicating to the nation the expanded and modernised Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) of SAIL. 

  • Gujarat to be 1st state with 100% piped gas network, India to see 25% coverage
    Gujarat will become the first Indian state to get completely covered under the piped gas distribution network after the ninth round of bidding, which will see a quarter of the country brought under the network. 

    The western Indian state already has 84.31 per cent of its area under the city gas distribution (CGD) network, and will see the remaining area covered after the ninth round of bidding which opened last month, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Chairperson D K Sarraf said. 

    Following this, the country's overall penetration will go up in terms of geographical areas, from existing 11 per cent to 24 per cent, covering 29 per cent population from existing 19 per cent. 

  • US, China announce fresh duties against each other
    US President Donald Trump has slapped a stiff 25 per cent tariff on USD 50 billion worth of Chinese goods. The president accused Beijing of intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices, triggering a full-fledged trade war between the world's two largest economies. 

    In a statement, Donald Trump said, trade between the two countries has been very unfair for a very long time adding that this situation is no longer sustainable. Donald Trump warned China of more tariffs if Beijing retaliated on the announcement. 

    Reacting to Trump's latest announcement, China said it has imposed equal tariffs on US products. 

    Donald Trump's decision to impose fresh tariffs on China follows his recent imposition of steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union on national security grounds. 

    The EU and Canada have said they will enact retaliatory tariffs starting in July. Mexico has already retaliated with its own tariffs on US goods. 

    A set of retaliatory tariffs released by China includes a plan to tax American lobster exports, potentially jeopardizing one of the biggest markets for the premium seafood. 

    Chinese officials announced on 15th June the planned lobster tariff along with hundreds of other tariffs amid the country's escalating trade fight with the United States. 

    China said it wants to place new duties on items such as farm products, autos and seafood starting on July 6. The announcement could have major ramifications for the US seafood industry and for the economy of the state of Maine, which is home to most of the country's lobster fishery. 

    China's interest in US lobster has grown exponentially in recent years, and selling to China has become a major focus of the lobster industry. The announcement came in response to President Donald Trump's own increase in tariffs on Chinese imports in America. 

  • Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to create new financial institution to fund food processing sector
    Food Processing Ministry will soon create its new financial institution which will exclusively fund food processing projects and create capacity building in the field of risk assessment and lending to food processing sector. 

    Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on key initiatives of her ministry during the last four years, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, 15 more mega food parks will be operationlised soon. 

    Mrs Harsimrat Kaur badal said, 13 Mega Food Parks have been made operational in the last four years. She said, government is creating cold chain grid to link every nook and corner of the country by its 42 mega food parks and 234 cold chain projects and around 700 projects under Prime Minister Kisan Sampada Yojana. 

    She said, this will help eliminate food wastage. The Minister said, there is zero tolerance towards wastage of food and infrastructure is being created to stop wastage of food especially post harvesting. 

    Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, food processing sector is set to become the most robust sector in India to contribute majorly to country's growth. She said, the sector will help double farmers' income by 2022. 

    The Minister said, post World Food India 2017, the investment in food processing sector in India has increased significantly. She said, Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana under which a total of 122 projects have already been approved, are expected to generate direct and indirect employment of around 3.4 lakh persons. 

  • Reserve Bank of India organizing Financial Literacy Week
    The Reserve Bank of India, RBI, is organizing Financial Literacy Week from till 8th of this month, across the nation. This year (2018 )the theme is Customer Protection. The aim is to create financial awareness among bank customers about financial products and services, good financial practices and digitization. 

    According to an RBI official, the bank is leaving no stone unturned to accelerate the level of outreach of the initiative. For this, a pilot project for financial literacy in 80 blocks of 9 states has been devised, in which 6 NGOs have registered themselves in Depositor education and awareness fund. RBI has also signed pact with 10 banks to provide financial education. Target groups of this initiative are farmers, industrialists, school students, senior citizens and self- help groups. 

  • India projected to top wealth growth rate over next 10 years: New World Wealth and AfrAsia Bank
    The big 7 wealth markets in Asia — also known as the Asia7 – comprising China, Japan, India, Australia, Korea, Russia, New Zealand, may surpass Europe over the next 10 years, predicts a study by research firm New World Wealth and AfrAsia Bank. 

    The report said that expecting co-operation and trade between these seven countries to accelerate, allowing them to surpass Europe to become the most powerful alliance of countries in the world. 

    At 200 per cent, India figures among the fastest-growing wealth markets in the world. The other fast-growing wealth markets in Asia are Sri Lanka (10-year wealth growth forecast: 200%), Vietnam (200%) and Mauritius (150%).

  • Telangana government signs MoU with LIC for farmers’ life insurance
    Telangana government on 4th June entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India to provide RS.5 lakh insurance cover to the farmers. 

    According to the LIC chairman VK Sharma the corporation will settle the claim in 10 days. 

    Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said the scheme will be launched from August 15, 2018 and farmers should submit required documents to LIC along with the duly filled in forms. 

    The agricultural officers in the villages should ensure proper documentation including the nominee details. The officials will be provided with i-Pads from completing the task in time online. 

    All farmers who are in the age group of 18-60 years are eligible for the ‘Telangana Rythu Beema’ scheme. 

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves a package for sugar mills to clear farmers' dues
    Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 6th June approved a package of over eight thousand five hundred crore rupees to enable cash starved mills clear dues to sugarcane farmers. The package includes 4,500 crore rupees soft loan for building ethanol production capacity. 

    According to the Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the government will bear the interest subversion of 1,332 crore rupees on the loan to be provided for creating new ethanol production capacity. He said, the package also include creation of buffer stock of 30 lakh metric tonne of sugar for one year at an estimated cost of 1175 crore rupees. 

    Mr Ram Vilas Paswan said, a minimum selling price of white and refined sugar has been initially fixed at 29 rupees per Kilogram. He said, the package include 1,540 crore rupees previously announced production-linked direct payment to help clear dues which sugar mills owe to cane farmers. 

  • President Ram Nath Kovind assent to promulgate the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance- 2018
    President Ram Nath Kovind on 6th June gave his assent to promulgate the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance- 2018. The Ordinance provides significant relief to home buyers by recognizing their status as financial creditors. 

    This will give them due representation in the Committee of Creditors and make them an integral part of the decision making process. It will also enable home buyers to invoke Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 against errant developers. 

  • RBI increases repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent
    For the first time since January 2014, the Reserve Bank announced a 25 basis point hike in the key policy rate. In its second bi-monthly monetary policy review, the six member Monetary Policy Committee headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel unanimously hiked the policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility now stands at 6 percent. 

    Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends to banks generally against government securities while the reverse repo is the rate at which RBI borrows money from the banks. A rise in the repo rate can translate into banks charging their customers higher EMIs for home, auto and other loans. 

    While predicting a slight rise in inflation numbers, RBI has however retained its neutral policy stance and the GDP growth outlook at 7.4 percent for FY19. 

    The six member Monetary Policy Committee has noted that domestic economic activity is exhibiting sustained revival and investment activity is also recovering. 

  • Union Cabinet approves revised guidelines for time-bound closure of sick PSUs
    Union Cabinet has approved the revised guidelines of the Department of Public Enterprises on time bound closure of sick and loss making Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and disposal of movable and immovable assets. 

    The revised guidelines will reduce delays in implementation of closure plans of sick and loss making CPSEs. 

    These guidelines provide a broad framework for expeditious completion of various processes and procedures for closure of CPSEs by laying down important milestones in the closure process along with timelines, outlining the responsibilities of the concerned Ministries, Departments and CPSE in the process. 

  • CCEA approves construction of 9.9 kms long new six-lane bridge 
    The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs, CCEA, approved construction of 9.9 kilometer long new six-lane bridge with its approaches across the river Ganga at Phaphamau, Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. The new bridge will resolve the traffic congestion on existing old two-lane Phaphamau bridge on NH-96 at Allahabad. 

    It will generate direct employment during construction for about 9.20 lakh man days. It will be made with a total capital cost of over 1,948 crore rupees. The construction period of the project is three years and it is likely to be completed by December 2021. 

    The new bridge will facilitate a large congregation of people at Allahabad during Kumbh, Ardh Kumbh and yearly ritual bath at Sangam. He said, the new bridge will also be beneficial for Lucknow and Faizabad-bound traffic coming from Madhya Pradesh via NH 27 and NH 76 through Naini Bridge. 

  • RBI to allow transition of urban cooperative banks into Small Finance Banks
    The RBI has decided to allow voluntary transition of Urban Cooperative Banks meeting certain prescribed criteria into Small Finance Banks. 

    RBI deputy governor N S Vishwanathan said, the High Powered Committee on Urban Cooperative Banks, chaired by R. Gandhi, the then Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank, had, inter alia, recommended the voluntary conversion of large Multi-State UCBs into Joint Stock Companies and other UCBs which meet certain criteria into Small Finance Banks. The RBI release mentioned that the detailed scheme will be announced separately. 

    The RBI has also revised the Priority Sector Lending guidelines for housing loans with Affordable Housing definition under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. 

    In order to give a fillip to the low-cost housing for the Economically Weaker Sections and Lower Income Groups, the RBI has decided to revise the housing loan limits for Priority Sector Lending eligibility from existing 28 lakh rupees to 35 lakh rupees in metropolitan and from existing 20 lakh rupees to 25 lakh rupees in other centres. However, the house cannot cost more than 45 lakh rupees in a metro and 30 lakh rupees in other centres. 

  • Centre constitutes group to suggest changes in SEZ policy of India headed by Industrialist Baba Kalyani
    The Centre has constituted a group of eminent persons to study the Special Economic Zones, SEZ Policy of India. The group will be headed by Industrialist Baba Kalyani. 

    The group will evaluate the SEZ policy, suggest measures to cater to the needs of exporters in the present economic scenario and make the SEZ policy WTO compatible. The Group has to submit its recommendation in three months. 

    The SEZ Policy was implemented from 1st April, 2000. Subsequently, the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 was passed by Parliament in May, 2005 which received Presidential assent on the 23rd June, 2005 and the Special Economic Zone Act was enacted. The SEZ Act, 2005, supported by SEZ Rules, came into effect on 10th February, 2006. 

  • National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of Tobacco inaugurated
    Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey on 6th June inaugurated the National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of Tobacco Control Measures for achievement of Goals under National Health Policy, 2017. The two-day consultation which is being held in New Delhi, will focus on capacity-building of the National Tobacco Control Progamme Nodal Officers. 

  • DAC approves procurement of equipment for defence forces valued at over Rs 5500 crore
    The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the procurement of equipment for the defence forces valued at over 5500 crore rupees. 

    The council chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved procurement of 12 High Power Radars for the Indian Air Force under ‘Buy (Indian) IDDM’ category. 

    The radars will provide long range and high altitude radar cover with the capability to detect and track high speed targets. Their procurement will enhance the overall efficacy of the Air Defence network in the country. 

    The DAC also accorded approval for procurement of Air Cushion Vehicles for the Coast Guard and Army from Indian Shipyard. 

    These vessels would offer advantage over conventional boats with their ability to travel at high speeds over shallow water terrain. 

  • Interest subsidy scheme to be implemented through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode: RBI
    Reserve Bank has said that interest subsidy scheme on short-term crop loans of up to 3 lakh rupees will be implemented through direct benefit transfer mode from the current financial year. 

    A RBI notification has informed that the government has earmarked 15,000 crore rupees for 2018-19 towards interest subvention for short-term crop loans. 

    The notification adds that the scheme will be required to be settled as applicable in Plan Scheme namely Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and North East Region among others. 

    It adds that banks will now be required to capture category-wise data (General, SC, ST) of beneficiaries for reporting of the same on ISS portal. As per the scheme, farmers can avail of short-term crop loans of up to 3 lakh rupees at subsidised interest rate of 7 percent that could go down to 4 percent on prompt repayment. 

  • National Carrier Air India seeks Rs 1,000 crore bank loan to meet its urgent working capital requirement
    National Carrier Air India has sought proposals for short-term loans worth one thousand crore rupees to meet its urgent working capital requirements. 

    According to the bid document, one thousand crore loan will be drawn in June in one or more tranches. The airline has requested banks to submit their financial bids by 13th of this month. 

    The tenure of the loan will be one year (renewable) from the date of availing short-term loans. Amid fund crunch, during which Air India also had to defer its staff salaries, the airline borrowed 6,250 crore rupees from various banks between September last year (2017) and January this year (2018) for working capital requirements and other needs. 

    The debt-ridden Air India, has not paid salaries of the staff for the month of May. The government had attempted to sell 76 percent stake in of national carrier which came a cropper last month after it did not get even a single bidder. 

  • Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announces setting up committee for asset reconstruction companies
    Finance Minister Piyush Goyal has announced setting up of a committee to give recommendations in two weeks on the formation of an Asset Reconstruction Company for faster resolution of stressed accounts of public sector banks. 

    After meeting the heads of state-owned banks in Mumbai, Mr Piyush Goyal said the government stands solidly behind each of the 21 public sector banks (PSBs). 

    He said, the committee under Sunil Mehta, non-executive chairman of PNB, will make recommendations in two weeks on setting up of an Asset Reconstruction Company or Asset Management Company for faster resolution of stressed accounts. 

    Mr Piyush Goyal said, most of the stressed assets have been identified that could fit into the ARC or AMC structure. Also, banks will consider having oversight committees with external experts to help faster decision making and resolving stressed accounts in a transparent and speedy manner. 

    Piyush Goyal said discussions during the meeting focused on credit flow and banks devising mechanism to ensure credit flow to good borrowers should not face difficulties. He said that all vacant positions of PSB heads will be filled in the next 30 days. 

    Mr Piyush Goyal said suggestions about strengthening governance process and honest recognition of NPAs or bad loans were discussed at the meeting. He assured that processes will be streamlined and customer interest protected. 

  • Task Force on Shell Companies deregisters over 2 lakh 26 thousand companies
    Government Task Force on shell companies have identified and removed the names of over 2 lakh 26 thousand firms from the register of companies in the Financial Year 2017-18. 

    According to the Finance Ministry, these companies have not filed their annual returns for a continuous period of two or more financial years. 

    Over three lakh directors were also disqualified for non-filing of Financial Statements or Annual Returns. 

    The former directors and authorized signatories of the struck-off companies have been restricted from operating the bank accounts of these firms. 

    They cannot withdraw any amount, other than for specified purposes till the company is restored. The Ministry said, appropriate action will be taken against these companies after considering their response. 

    The task force was set up in February last year (2017) to check in a systematic way, the menace of companies indulging in illegal activities including facilitation of tax evasion. 

  • RBI amends Gold Monetisation Scheme to make it more attractive
    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made changes in the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) of 2015 to enable people to open a hassle-free gold deposit account. In a notification, RBI said that the short-term deposits should be treated as bank's on-balance sheet liability. 

    It further said that these deposits will be made with the designated banks for a short period of 1-3 years (with a facility of rollover). While deposits can also be allowed for broken periods (e.g. 1 year 3 months; 2 years 4 months 5 days or other. 

    RBI added that the interest rate payable in the case of deposits for maturities with broken periods should be calculated as the sum of interest for the completed year plus interest for the number of remaining days. 

    In 2015, the government launched the GMS with the objective of mobilising the gold held by households and institutions in the country. 

    The apex bank also said that the Medium Term Government Deposit (MTGD) can be made for 5-7 years and Long-Term Government Deposit (LTGD) for 12-15 years or for such period as may be decided by the Central Government from time to time. 

    Deposits can also be allowed for broken periods (e.g. 5 years 7 months; 13 years 4 months 15 days; etc.). 

    The scheme allows banks' customers to deposit their idle gold holdings for a fixed period in return for interest in the range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent. 

  • 8 states, 4 UTs sign MoUs with health ministry to implement Ayushman Bharat-Nation Health Protection Mission
    Eight states and four Union Territories have signed MoUs with the Union Health Ministry to implement the government's ambitious scheme Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission. 

    The schemes aim to provide a cover of five lakh rupees per family annually to ten crore vulnerable families. 

    A beneficiary will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public and private empanelled hospitals across the country. 

    The eight states which signed the MoUs include Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand. The Union Territory of Chandigarh is among the four UTs. 

    He said, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Tamil Nadu are among those that will sign the agreement soon. 

    Through the MoUs, the states and Union Territories formally committed to implementing the health programme. The MoU outlines the role of central and state governments in implementing the scheme.
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