- Current Affairs March 2018
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Current Affairs March 2018 - Economic
1 - India's exposure to US government securities touches $144.7 bn in 2017
India's exposure to US government securities rose sharply to a high of 144.7 billion US dollars at the end of 2017. India has been raising its holding of American government securities during last year except for a few months when the total exposure had declined.
Figures compiled by the US Treasury Department show that the holding of India went up to 144.7 billion dollars, an increase of little over 26 billion dollars compared to the year-ago period. In 2017, neighboring China was the largest holder of US government securities with holdings to the tune of 1.18 trillion dollars, followed by Japan at 1.06 trillion dollars.
2 - Moody's Investors Service reported India’s GDP at 7.6% for 2018
Moody’s Investors Service estimated India’s GDP at 7.6% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019. Such estimates were given on basis of demonetization undertaken in 2016 and introduction of Goods and Service Tax. However, Moody has reported that there are measures of recovery advised by government in budget 2018-19. Moody had estimated India’s real GDP growth to moderate to 6.7%.
GDP growth forecasts for the US, Japan, Germany, France, UK, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey for 2018 have been observed to increase.
3 - India-China bilateral trade hits historic high of USD 84.44 billion in 2017
The India-China bilateral trade has reached 84.44 billion US dollar in 2017, an historic high. There was a 40% increase of Indian exports to China in 2017 totaling to 16.34 billion dollar.
The bilateral trade in 2017 rose by 18.63% year-on-year to reach 84.44 billion dollar. The volume of bilateral trade for the first time touched 80 billion dollars, well above the USD 71.18 billion registered in 2016.
4 - Direct tax collections register growth of 19.5% till Feb 2018
Direct tax collections have registered a growth of 19.5% till February of the current FY 2017-18 as compared to corresponding period of 2016-17. The Direct Tax collections until February stood at Rs 7.44 lakh crore.
The net Direct Tax collections represent 74.3% of the revised estimates of Direct Taxes for the financial year 2017-18 which is Rs 10.05 lakh crore. The gross collections before adjusting for refunds have increased by 14.5% to Rs 8.83 lakh crore during April 2017 to February 2018. The growth rate of net collections for corporate income tax is 19.7% and for Personal Income Tax is 18.6%.
5 - BHEL secured order worth Rs 736 crore from NPCIL
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited BHEL has secured significant orders worth Rs 736 crore, after competitive bidding, for supplying Steam Generators for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
The generators will be manufactured at the Tiruchirappalli plant of BHEL and will be installed at the Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), Gorakhpur, Haryana. BHEL is the only company associated with all the three stages of the Indian Nuclear Power Programme, which include the Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) and the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) stages.
6 - Retail inflation dips to 4.4% in February from 5.07% in January
According to the Central Statistics Office data, retail inflation has dipped to 4.44% in February from 5.07% in January. Inflation in vegetables was 17.57% as against 26.97%, and for fruits, it was 4.80%, down from 6.24%.
Inflation for the fuel and light category was at 6.80% in February as against 7.73% in January. The rate of price increase was, however, higher for transport and communication services at 2.39% as against 1.97%.
7 - Industrial Production grows 7.5% in January
According to the Central Statistics Office data, the Industrial Production expanded by 7.5% in January 2018 compared to 3.5% in January 2017.
The growth was mainly on the account of uptick in manufacturing sector which constitutes 77.63% of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). It grew by 8.7% during the month as compared to 2.5% in January last year. IIP had grown at 7.1% in December 2017.
8 - Milk Production up 20% in 2014-2017
India's Milk production has increased by 20% from 137.7 million tonnes to 165.4 million tonnes between 2014 and 2017. Also, the per capita availability of milk has risen by 15.6% from 307 gms a day to 355 gms per day between 2013-14 and 2016-17.
The Union Government has set up an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector with a corpus of Rs 2450 crore. The government has also initiated the "National Mission on Bovine Productivity" in order to help the benefits of animal husbandry schemes reach the farmers directly.
9 - GST Council approved rollout of e-way bill from April
The GST Council has approved staggered rollout of the intra-state e-Way Bill from April 15. The states have been divided into four lots for the rollout. It will cover all the States by June 1.
Businesses will continue to file summary sales return GSTR-3B till June. For December 56.30 lakh GSTR-3B were filed which fetched Rs 86,703 crore revenue to the exchequer, while in November 53.06 lakh returns were filed with total revenue of Rs 80,808 crore. Collections topped Rs 95,000 crore in the initial month of July.
10 - Wholesale inflation eases to 7-month low of 2.48% in February
Inflation based on wholesale prices eased to a seven-month low of 2.48% in February on cheaper food articles, including vegetables. On the basis of Wholesale Price Index (WPI), inflation was 2.84% in January and 5.51% in February 2017.
Inflation in food articles slowed to 0.88% in February from 3% in the preceding month. Inflation in vegetables softened with annual inflation at 15.26% as against 40.77% in January. Inflation in pulses remained in the negative zone at minus 24.51%.
11 - World Bank projects India's GDP growth at 7.3% for the next financial year
The World Bank has projected India's GDP growth at 7.3% for the financial year 2018-19. It also predicted that the growth will accelerate further to 7.5% in 2019-20.
The World Bank's biannual publication, India Development Update - India's Growth Story, expects the economy to clock a growth rate of 6.7% in the current fiscal ending 31st March, 2018. The Economic Survey tabled in Parliament has projected a growth rate of 7% to 7.5% in the 2018-19 financial year.
12 - Exports in February up 4.5% to $25.8 billion
India's exports grew by 4.5% in February-2018 to 25.8 billion dollar. It was 24.7 billion dollar during the same period of last year. The trade deficit narrowed to a five-month low of USD 12 billion. During April to February period of the current fiscal 2017-18, exports recorded a growth of 11% to $273.7 billion.
Imports also rose by 10.4% to $37.8 billion during February 2018. The imports grew by 21% to USD 416.87 billion for April-February 2017-18 period. The trade deficit was USD 143.13 billion.
13 - IIP rose to 7.5% in January 2018
According to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Index of Industrial Production rose to 7.5% in January 2018. The IIP growth was 7.1% in December 2017. Cumulative IIP growth for the period of April-January over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 4.1%.
The Index of industrial production (IIP) measures the factory output and it is the closest approximation for measuring economic activity in the country’s business landscape.
14 - India attracts $209 bn FDI during Apr 2014 to Dec 2017
Foreign Direct Investment has reached $208.99 billion during April 2014 to December 2017 period. The main sectors that received maximum foreign inflows include services, computer software and hardware, telecommunications, construction, trading and automobile.
According to a census by the Reserve Bank of India, Mauritius was the largest source of foreign investment in India, followed by the USA, the UK, Singapore and Japan whereas Singapore (19.7 per cent) was the major ODI destination, followed by the Netherlands, Mauritius, and the USA.
15 - GST second highest tax rate in world
According to a World bank report, the goods and services tax (GST) implemented from 1 July, 2017 is one of the most complex with the second highest tax rate in the world among a sample of 115 countries which have a similar indirect tax system.
The GST has four tax slabs that are, 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%. Currently, around 49 nations use a single GST slab of GST, while 28 countries use two slabs. Besides India, there are only five countries, which use four non-zero slabs.
16 - BHEL commissions first unit of Kishanganga HEP in Jammu & Kashmir
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has successfully commissioned the first 110 MW generating unit of the prestigious 330 MW Kishanganga Hydro-Electric Project (HEP) in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), being developed by NHPC Ltd. The project is located on the river Kishanganga, a tributary of the river Jhelum.
Once all the three units are commissioned, the project will generate 1,350 Million Units (MU) of clean electricity annually. In the state of J&K, BHEL has so far commissioned 31 Hydro sets with a cumulative capacity of 1,257 MW.
17 - IRCTC tied up with Ola
IRCTC has announced a partnership with cab aggregator Ola. Commuters can book the taxi on IRCTC website and App. The tie-up is a six-month pilot project. The partnership will aim to provide last-mile connectivity to commuters.
The Ola cab facility will provide all the services offered such as Ola Micro, Ola Mini, Ola Auto, Ola Share etc. on the same price available directly on the IRCTC Rail Connect App and website.
18 - BHEL enters into TCA with Republic of Korea for in-house design, manufacture of specialized components
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) as entered into a Technology Collaboration Agreement (TCA) with HLB Power, Republic of Korea for in-house design and manufacture of Large size Gates and Dampers for use in Coal fired power plants, to be commissioned or retrofitted with high capacity emission control equipment.
BHEL has been supplying conventional Gates and Dampers manufactured at its Boiler Auxiliaries Plant, Ranipet for over three decades. This TCA will help in establishing the capability for in-house design, manufacture and testing of very large size Gates and Dampers.
19 - India to borrow Rs 2.88 lakh crore in first half of 2018-19
The Union Government has planned to undertake borrowings of Rs 2.88 lakh crore in the first half of 2018-19. This is 47.56% of the budgeted gross borrowing programme of over Rs 6.05 lakh crore. The government had borrowed Rs 3.72 lakh crore rupees for the same period in 2017-18.
The government also plans to come out with inflation-indexed bonds linked to Consumer Price Index or retail inflation. Government securities of 1 to 4 years duration will also be introduced.
20 - BHEL won 75MW solar photovoltaic plant in Gujarat
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has won an order for setting up a 75 MW Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) Power Plant on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis, in Gujarat. It will be BHEL’s largest Solar PV project till date. Gujarat Industries Power Company Limited (GIPCL) has placed the order on BHEL.
With this order, BHEL’s solar portfolio has risen to 545 MW. The company is presently executing over 150 MW of ground-mounted and rooftop Solar PV projects across the country.
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