Current Affairs January 2017 - Economic


News 1 - India’s Petronet signed an MoU to Setup $950 Million LNG Project in Bangladesh


India’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, Petronet, has signed a deal to set up a US Dollars 950 Million LNG import project in Bangladesh.

Petronet signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Petrobangla, the government-owned national oil company of Bangladesh. It will help to setup a 7.5 million tonnes-a-year project. It will receive and regasify LNG on Kutubdia Island in Cox's Bazar and lay a 26-km long pipeline to connect it to the consumption markets.

News 2 - The output of country's eight infra industries' grows 4.9% in November 2016

Eight Infrastructure

Output of India's eight infrastructure industries grew 4.9 percent in November 2016, helped by a healthy performance of the electricity sector. The eight infrastructure sectors had grown 0.6 percent in November 2015, and 6.6 percent in October 2016.

Refinery output rose 2 percent and cement output rose 0.5 percent in November. But crude oil production declined 5.4 percent and natural gas production contracted 1.7 percent.

News 3 - Rs. 23,500 Crores realized via disinvestment this year so far


Government has realized around 23500 crore rupees during the current financial year so far from disinvestment of its stake in the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). This includes 21432 crore rupees through minority stake sale in 14 CPSEs and around 2096 crore rupees through strategic disinvestment.

The disinvestment target for the current financial year has been set at 56,500 crore rupees. It comprises 36,000 crore rupees from disinvestment of CPSEs and 20,500 crore rupees from strategic disinvestment.

News 4 - Centre waived additional charges on e-payments


The Centre asked state governments to ensure that no additional charges are levied on e-payments to urban local bodies and consider rolling out incentives like cashback on utility bills paid through digital means.

Urban local bodies to consider launching incentives like giving one per cent cash back on utility bills paid through various eplatforms. Centre has launched a massive drive to promote payments through cards and digital means which will help the country move towards a less-cash economy.

News 5 - Azure Power commissioned a 150 Megawatt Solar Power Project

Azure Power

New Delhi based leading solar power producer Azure Power commissioned a 150-megawatt power project in Punjab. Azure Power entered solar power implementation agreement with Punjab Energy Development Agency. It is done with the aim to supply power to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for 25 years.

This project will benefit Azure Power in creating discretionary long term cash flow for the company.

The solar power plant will help in electrifying Punjab completely and will create job opportunity in the state.

News 6 - Google launched My Business and Digital Unlocked tool

Digital Unlocked tool

Google India announced the launch of a brand-new tool for the small and medium businesses in India — "My Business". This tool will help small businesses in setting up a website from their mobile devices.

Google also launched "Digital Unlocked". It is an education programme in association with industry body FICCI and Indian School of Business. This program will help in imparting mobile and online courses that will help small businesses in a very big way.

News 7 - India's GDP growth estimated at 7.1% this year

GDP growth

As per the advance estimates of the CSO, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is estimated at 7.1% in 2016-17 as compared to the 7.6% in 2015-16. The per capita net national income during 2016-17 is estimated to be Rs. 10307/- showing a rise of 10.4% as compared to Rs. 93290/- during 2015-16 with the growth rate of 7.4%.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector is likely to show a growth of 4.1% during 201617. The manufacturing sector is estimated to grow by 7.4% in 2016-17.

News 8 - Indian Government imposed anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh, Nepal jute products

antidumping duty

The Indian Government imposed an antidumping duty ranging from 6.30 US dollars to 351.72 US dollars per tonne on imports of jute and its products from Bangladesh and Nepal.

This anti-dumping duty has been imposed to protect the domestic industry. The duty has been imposed for five years. The import restrictive levy has been imposed on jute yarn, twine, Hessian fabric and jute sacking bags in all forms and specifications.

News 9 - Tata Motors and Castrol announces a global strategic partnership

Tata Motors

Tata Motors and Castrol announced the signing of a three-year strategic partnership agreement for supply of Commercial Vehicle Oils to Tata Motors globally.

This agreement will cover over 50 markets including SAARC and ASEAN region, Middle East, Africa, Russia and Latin America. Castrol with its established presence in these markets, will support Tata Motors’ channel partners with high quality products and services to enhance their market share and profitability.

News 10 - World Bank cuts India's growth rate to 7% after demonetization

World Bank

The World Bank has decelerated India's growth for 2016-17 fiscal to 7% from its previous estimate of 7.6% after considering the impact of demonetization and the fall in private investments.

The World bank has however predicted India to regain momentum in the following years with 7.6 and 7.8% growth with the various reform initiatives expected to unlock domestic supply bottlenecks and raise productivity. As per the report, India maintains the distinction of being the fastest growing emerging market economies of the world, bypassing China.

News 11 - BIS revises Indian Standards on Gold Hallmarking


Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has revised the Indian Standard on gold hallmarking, which is effective from January 1, 2017. The hallmarked gold jewelry will now be available in three grades of 14 carats, 18 carats and 22 carats.

The caratage will also be marked on jewelry in addition to fineness for convenience of consumers. Hallmark on gold jewelry will now have four marks, like the BIS Mark, the purity in carat and fineness, assaying center’s identification mark and jeweler’s identification mark.

News 12 - Foreign tourist footfall on e-tourist visa rises 56% in December

e-tourist visa

Over 56% growth has been registered in foreign tourist’s arrival on E-Tourist Visa in December 2016 over the same period in last year. A total of over 1,62,000 foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1,03,000 during the last year.

United Kingdom with 22% continues to occupy top slot followed by USA 16%. The facility of e-Visa has been made available by the government to the citizens of 161 countries.

News 13 - World Bank Projected Global Economic Growth at 2.7% in 2017

Global Economic Growth

As per the World Bank’s January 2017 Global Economic Prospects report, the global economic growth rate is predicted to accelerate moderately to 2.7% in 2017 compared with the 2.3% seen last year driven mainly by improvements in emerging markets and developing economies.

The growth in advanced economies is expected to edge up to 1.8% in 2017. The bank also predicted the growth in emerging market and developing economies to pick up to 4.2% this year from 3.4% in the previous year.

News 14 - Government on course to achieve FY17 disinvestment target


The Government has garnered 23,500 crore rupees by divesting its stakes in the PublicSector Undertakings so far in the current fiscal and is hopeful of achieving the disinvestment target of 56,500 crores during the current financial year.

Buyback of shares undertaken for the first time by central public sector enterprises has earned 15,000 crore rupees so far in the current fiscal.

News 15 - Retail inflation fell to a 3-year low of 3.41% in December from 3.63% in November

Retail inflation fell

Retail inflation fell to a nearly 3-year low of 3.41% in December 2016, from 3.63% in November. Inflation eased mainly because of the falling prices of vegetables and pulses.

As per official data, overall food inflation fell to 1.37% in December last year, from 2.11% in November. Retail inflation in the vegetables category slipped to -14.59% in December. Inflation in pulses and products fell to -1.57 %. Retail inflation in cereals and products stood at 5.25%.

News 16 - NITI Aayog projected India’s GDP at 8%

NITI Aayog

Based on the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, India’s GDP for 2016-17 has been estimated at 8% due to better monsoon and agriculture sector growth. As per the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), manufacturing sector showed improved growth of 9.3 percent while agriculture sector grew at 2.3 percent.

There was not any mention of impact of demonetization. The 12th Plan is the last fiveyear Plan and from 2017-18, the Centre would adopt a three-year action plan and a fifteen-year vision document.

News 17 - Global Employment projected to reach 3.4 million in 2017

International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization stated that the global unemployment is expected to reach 3.4 million by 2017 and 3.6 million by 2018. Recently, the World Employment Social Outlook: Trends 2017, estimated that unemployed workers are rising 11 million a year globally.

ILO appreciated India for creating major amount of new jobs in 2016. ILO projected unemployment levels to rise by 450,000 in 2017 in developing countries and 5.5 per cent in 2017 and 2018.

News 18 - NTPC signed an MOU with the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd


A non-bounded MOU was inked between NTPC and Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd and Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd over the Chhabra Thermal Power Plant.

With this MOU, NTPC takes over Chhabra Thermal Power Plant Stage-I (4x 250 MW) and Stage-II (2x660 MW) of Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam. This decision came into action after Cabinet approved to divest equity of four units of thermal power plants in Rajasthan. This was to curtail loses made by Chhabra Thermal Power Plant.

News 19 - December WPI inflation at 3.39%


The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation for December is pegged at 3.39% as compared to 3.15% in November 2016, due to a rise in prices of manufactured items, even as food articles turned cheaper. Overall wholesale food inflation fell to minus 0.7% in December 2016, from 1.54% in November.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods. Some countries use WPI changes as a central measure of inflation. But now India has adopted a new CPI to measure inflation.

News 20 - BHEL Commissions a 500 MW Thermal Unit in West Bengal


Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned the second 500 MW set at Sagardighi Thermal Power Station (TPS) Phase II project in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. The first unit of the 1,000 MW project was commissioned earlier by BHEL in December, 2015.

The project has been set up by the stateowned West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL). Presently, BHEL is also executing 3 units of 40 MW each of Rammam hydroelectric project of NTPC Limited, in West Bengal.

News 21 - IMF downgrades India’s FY17 growth rate to 6.6% from 7.6%

IMF downgrades

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) update released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut India’s growth rate for the fiscal year 2016–17 to 6.6% from its previous estimate of 7.6%.

India’s growth rate was cut due to the temporary negative consumption shock of demonetization. For China, the growth forecast for FY 2017 was revised upwards, to 6.5%, 0.3% point above the October 2016 forecast. In 2018, China’s growth rate is projected to be 6% against India’s 7.7%.

News 22 - United Nations WESP 2017 projected India’s GDP at 7.7%


The United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017 report estimated India’s GDP growth rate at 7.7% for fiscal 2017 and 7.6% for 2018, due to its strong private consumption and gradual significant domestic reforms. For 2016-17, the deficit is estimated to reach 3.5% of GDP and inflation at 5.7 in 2017.

It has also been revealed in the report that growing NPAs of banks could be a matter of concern regarding strong investment revival in the short term.

News 23 - India's forex reserves soar by $ 932.4 million to $ 360.775 billion

India's forex reserves

Rising for the second consecutive week, India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves soared by 932.4 million dollars to 360.775 billion dollars in the week ended January 20. As per the RBI, foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by 926.4 million dollars to 338.434 billion dollars. India's forex reserves increased by 687.9 million dollars to 359.843 billion dollars.

India’s gold reserves remained unchanged at 18.584 billion dollars. India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by 3.7 million dollars to 2.315 billion dollars.