March 2019 - Economy News



  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations. SWIFT is global messaging software used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities.
    In a regulatory filing, the Reserve Bank in a letter dated March 25 has informed the bank about the penalty. Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank had imposed penalties worth 71 crore rupees on 36 public, private and foreign banks for non-compliance with various directions on time-bound implementation and strengthening of SWIFT operations.


  • Five coffee varieties get Geographical Induction (GI) tag. Tribal women harvesting organic coffee on a plantation near Girliguda in Araku, Visakhapatnam. The Araku Valley coffee which is processed and marketed with the help of the tribal farmers cooperative society recently won the gold medal for the best coffee pod in the Prix Epicures OR 2018 Award in Paris.

    The government on 29 March 2019 said it has awarded Geographical Indication (GI) tag to five varieties of Indian coffee including Coorg Arabica. The move is expected to help the growers get maximum price for their premium produce. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has recently awarded this tag to —
    1. Coorg Arabica coffee from Karnataka,
    2. Wayanad Robusta coffee from Kerala,
    3. Chikmaglur Arabica from Karnataka,
    4. Araku Valley Arabica from Andhra Pradesh, and
    5. Bababudangiris Arabica coffee from Karnataka.

    The Araku coffee is produced by the tribals, who follow an organic approach in which they emphasise management practices involving substantial use of organic manures, green manuring and organic pest management practices, the ministry said in a statement. Similarly, it said, Bababudangiris Arabica coffee is selectively hand-picked and processed by natural fermentation.

    In India, coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectare by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers of which 98 per cent are small farmers. Coffee cultivation is mainly done in the southern states of India including Karnataka, which accounts for 54 per cent of the total production. It is followed by Kerala (19 per cent), Tamil Nadu (eight per cent). It is also grown in non-traditional areas such as Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (17.2 per cent) and North East states (1.8 per cent).

    A Geographical Indication (GI) is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.


  • Government decides to infuse around Rs 5000 crore into Bank of Baroda. The government has decided to infuse around five thousand crore rupees into state-owned Bank of Baroda ahead of merger of two other public sector lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda. The merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda would be effective from 1st April.

    The Bank of Baroda, in a regulatory filing, said that the finance ministry through its notification conveyed its decision to infuse capital of 5,042 crore rupees in the bank. The government in September 2018 had announced merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda, aiming to create the third-largest lender after SBI and ICICI Bank.


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said India has been one of the fastest growing large economies in the world. IMF asserted that the country has carried out several key reforms in the last five years and more reforms are needed going forward to sustain the high growth, including to harness the demographic dividend opportunity.

    The details about the Indian economy would be revealed in the upcoming World Economic Outlook WEO survey report to be released by the IMF ahead of the annual spring meeting with the World Bank next month. This report would be the first under Indian American economist Gita Gopinath, who is now IMF's chief economist.


  • The Reserve Bank of India, RBI has said it will infuse 12,500 crore rupees into the system through open market operations (OMOs) on 14 March 2019. The central bank said in Mumbai on 12 March 2019 that based on an assessment of prevailing liquidity conditions and also of the durable liquidity needs going forward, it will conduct the purchase of the government securities under open market operations. The purchase will happen through multi-security auction using the multiple price method. OMOs are money market tools to infuse or suck out liquidity from the system.


  • Industrial output growth stood at 1.7 per cent in January 2019 on account of slowdown in the manufacturing sector. According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation data released on 12 March 2019, factory output as measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 7.5 per cent in January 2018. During April-January 2018-19, industrial output grew at 4.4 per cent as against 4.1 per cent in the same period previous fiscal.


  • World Bank to provide 250 Million dollars for the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) to boost Rural Incomes across 13 States in India. World Bank said in a statement that the loan will help women in rural households develop viable enterprises for farm and non-farm products.


  • The European Union expanded its tax haven blacklist by 10 counties, adding the UAE and BERMUDA on 12th march 2019. The list, now 15 countries long, was first drawn up in 2017 in wake of several scandals, including the Panama Papers. 7 countries will be moved back from grey list because reform commitments had not been met. These are Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu and Dominica.


  • India signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for 96 Million US dollars for additional financing of Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project. Finance Ministry in a release said the World Bank has been supporting the State Government since 2014 to restore housing and rural connectivity and to build the resilience of communities. It said, the Project has completed more than two thousand permanent houses and 23 public buildings and restored over one thousand 300 kilometers of roads and 16 bridges so far. The Ministry said, the additional financing of 96 million US dollars will further help in the reconstruction of bridges, road and river bank protection works in the state.


  • The government announced new 20rs coin on 7th march 2019 which will be shaped like a 12-edged polygon (dodecagon). The composition of the coin is 65% copper, 20%nickel and 15%zinc for the outer ring. PM Narendra Modi also released the new series of visually impaired friendly circulation coins (re1, rs2, rs5, rs10 and rs 20).


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