Current Affairs February 2018 - Economic


1 - Forex reserves surge by USD 3 billion to USD 417.789 billion


According to the Reserve Bank of India, country's foreign exchange reserves rose sharply by 3 billion dollars to touch a new all-time high of 417.789 billion dollars in the week to January 26, aided by a rise in foreign currency assets.

Expressed in US dollar terms, the foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies such as the euro, the pound and the yen held in the reserves. The gold reserves remained unchanged at 20.421 billion dollars.

2 - Retail inflation for industrial workers rose to 4% in Dec

Retail Inflation

Retail inflation for industrial workers rose to 4% in December 2017 due to increase in the price of certain food items and electricity charges as compared to 3.97% of Nov 2017.

It was 2.23% during the same period of 2016. It also said, the food inflation stood at 4.32 per cent in December last year against 3.91 per cent of November. The All-India CPI-IW for December, 2017 decreased by 2 points and pegged at 286.

3 - Paytm and AGTech Holdings to launch Gamepind

Paytm and AGTech

Paytm has partnered with Hong Kong-based Alibaba-owned gaming company AGTech Holdings to launch Gamepind, a mobile gaming platform. The platform will be available as a standalone app and in the Paytm app.

Paytm’s parent company One97 invested $8.8 million in the venture while AGTech Holdings invested $7.2 million. Paytm owns 55% stake while AGTech Media holds 45%. Gamepind will offer a host of popular social, casual and sports games with an exclusive rewards programme.

4 - CSO revised GDP growth to 8.2% for FY16


The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has revised the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for 2015-16 to 8.2% from the earlier estimates of 8% and kept the 2016-17 growth unchanged at 7.1%.

The real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for the years 2016-17 and 2015-16 stands at Rs121.96 trillion and Rs113.86 trillion respectively, showing growth of 7.1% during 2016-17 and 8.2% during 2015-16. According to advance GDP estimates of CSO, the GVA growth on 2011-12 price was estimated at 6.6 per cent for 2016-17.

5 - Government doubled import duty on sugar to 100%

Import Duty

The government doubled import duty on sugar to 100% and raised duty on chana to 40% to protect domestic farmers. At present, customs duty or import tax on sugar is 50% and on chana is 30%.

The move is aimed at curbing cheaper imports and ensures remunerative prices to domestic growers. In case of chana, the government has raised import duty to 40% as it wants to contain inward shipments in view of record production of pulses to nearly 23 million tonnes this year.

6 - CCI slapped Rs 136 cr fine on Google for unfair business practices


The Competition Commission imposed a fine of around Rs. 136 crore on search engine major Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search.

Passing the order on complaints, filed in 2012, CCI imposed the penalty on Google for infringing anti-trust conduct. It was alleged that Google is indulging in abuse of dominant position in the market for online search through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation, among others. The ruling has come on complaints filed by and Consumer Unity and Trust Society

7 - Direct tax collection grows Rs 6.95 lakh crore during April-January period

Direct Tax Collection

The government's direct tax collection has grown 6.95 lakh crore rupees during the April-January period of the current fiscal, a growth of 19.3% over the year-ago period. The net collections for Corporate Income Tax, CIT, showed a growth of 19.2% and for Personal Income Tax, PIT, at 18.6%.

The net direct tax collections represent around 69% of the revised estimates of 10 lakh five thousand crore rupees for direct taxes in 2017-18.

8 - FDI in food processing sector likely to rise by 38% this fiscal


According to Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the food-processing sector is expected to rise by 38% to one billion dollar this fiscal.

FDI in food processing stood at 727 million dollar in 2016-17. In the first seven months of this fiscal, it has reached to 500 million dollar. The central ministry is also putting efforts to translate the proposals worth 14 billion dollar signed during the World Food India last year into actual investment.

9 - Retail inflation eased to 5.07% in Jan; Industrial Production expands 7.1%

Industrial Production

Retail inflation fell to 5.07% in January 2018 due to easing prices of vegetables, fruits and fuel components. The inflation was at 5.21% in December. It was at 3.17% in January 2017. The base year for the calculation of CPI is 2012.

The Industrial production expanded 7.1% in December 2017, compared to 2.4% a year ago. The growth in industrial output was due to robust performance by manufacturing as well as higher off-take of capital goods and non-durable consumer goods. The base for IIP calculation is 2011-12.

10 - ONGC led Indian Consortium to acquire 10% Stake in Lower Zakum Concession, Offshore Abu Dhabi


ONGC Videsh Ltd, wholly owned subsidiary and overseas arm of ONGC, BPRL & IOCL signed a pact for acquisition of 10% participating interest in the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co's (ADNOC) offshore Lower Zakum Concession for 40 years from 2018 to 2057.

India will pay a sign-up bonus of $600 million as part of the deal. The current production of this field is about 400,000 barrels of oil per day (20 million tonnes per annum) and Indian consortium's annual share shall be about 2 million tonnes.

11 - Direct tax collections rise to 19.3% in April- Jan

Direct Tax Collections Rise

Direct tax collection for the April-January period in the current Financial year 2017-18 grew by 19.3% to Rs 6.95 lakh crore. This amounts to 69.2% of the Revised Estimates of Direct Taxes for 2017-18 of ₹10.05 lakh crore.

The net collections for corporate income tax (CIT) grew by 19.2% while the personal income tax (PIT) mop-up rose by 18.6%. The number of effective taxpayers increased to 82.7 million in FY18 from 62.2 million a year ago.

12 - 8.4% growth in foreign Tourist Arrivals in January, 2018 over January, 2017


Highlights of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs)and FTAs on e-Tourist Visa during the month of January, 2018 −

  • The number of FTAs in January, 2018 was 10.66 lakh as compared to FTAs of 9.83 lakh in January, 2017 and 8.45 lakh in January, 2016.

  • The growth rate in FTAs in January, 2018 over January, 2017 was 8.4%, compared to 16.4% in January, 2017 over January, 2016.

  • During the month of January, 2018, a total of 2.40 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1.52 lakh during the month of January, 2017 registering a growth of 58.5%.

13 - BHEL bagged order worth Rs 560 crore from NTPC


The Central Public Sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has bagged a major order worth Rs. 560 crore, from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) National Capital Power Station in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh.

The order involves the installation of an indigenously developed Flue Gas Desulphurization system in the NTPC station. The system is aimed at controlling various harmful emissions, as per the more stringent emission norms declared by the Union Ministry for Environment.

14 - Government to change base year for GDP, IIP to 2017-18


The government is considering to change the base year to 2017-18 for the calculation of gross domestic product, GDP, and Index of Industrial Production, IIP, numbers while for Consumer Price Index, CPI, the year will be revised to 2018.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has been allocated 4,859 crore rupees in the Union Budget 2018-19. A base year is the first of a series of years in an economic or financial index. It is typically set to an arbitrary level of 100.

15 - Indian IT industry is expected to clock a revenue of 167 billion USD in the current financial year

Indian IT

According to NASSCOM President R. Chandrasekhar, the Indian IT industry is expected to clock a revenue of 167 billion USD in the current financial year and digital industry is growing at a fast pace of nearly 30%. Indian IT industry is poised to register a growth rate of 7-9% during next fiscal.

Start-ups sector grew by 25-30% with 700 more start-ups coming into being. E-commerce grew by 17% with focus on sectors like e-travel.

16 - Airtel, Huawei conduct first 5G network trial in India

Airtel and Huawei

Airtel and Huawei have conducted India’s first 5G network trial under a test set-up at Airtel's Network Experience Centre in Manesar (Gurugram).

During the test, a user throughput speed of 3Gbps was achieved. 5G services are expected to offer enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) through R15 repeaters. Under 5G technology, users are expected to be able to experience premium video quality. It holds the key to growth of artificial intelligence (AI) systems and can enhance Internet of Things (IoT).

17 - India imposes anti-dumping duty on import of ceramic tableware, kitchenware from China

Anti-dumping Duty

India has imposed anti-dumping duty on import of ceramic tableware and kitchenware from China in a bid to protect domestic producers. Ceramic tableware and kitchenware shipped in from China will attract an anti-dumping duty of 1.04 US Dollar per kg, making the imports expensive.

All India Pottery Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA) and the Indian Ceramic Society had approached the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) for imposition of the levy on the items. The final duty has been imposed for five years starting June 2017.