Current Affairs Nov 2019 - Economic


1 - Siemens signed MoUs on decarbonization


Siemens Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NTPC Limited, India’s largest power utility, to identify, evaluate and set up reference use cases of hydrogen sector-coupling for various upstream and downstream applications. The collaboration is aimed at developing innovative technologies, solutions and techniques to reduce the dependence on Hydrocarbons in India.

Siemens Limited signed a separate MoU with TERI for collaboration on technologies to support the energy transition in India including sector-coupling.

2 - ADB to give $451 mn for Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor power links


The Asian Development Bank will provide a $451 million (about Rs 3,200 crore) loan to strengthen power connectivity between the southern and northern parts of the Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) in Tamil Nadu. The total cost of the project is $653.5 million, of which the government will provide $202.5 million.

The project is estimated to be completed by the end of 2024. CKIC covers 23 of the state's 32 districts and 70% of the state population.

3 - Coal India to produce one billion tonne of coal by 2024

Coal India

Coal India Limited (CIL) has set a target to produce 750 million tonnes of coal by the Financial Year 2020-21 and would further produce one billion tonne of coal in the financial year 2023-24. The CIL is currently given the target to produce 660 million tonnes of coal amounting to 82% of the country’s coal output.

CIL today is the single largest coal producer in the world. Operating through 82 mining areas CIL is an apex body with 7 wholly owned coal producing subsidiaries and 1 mine planning and consultancy company spread over 8 provincial states of India.

4 - OECD expects slower growth in India, Southeast Asia, China


According to the OECD's (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) economic outlook presented at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, the regional GDP GDP growth of the economies of India, Southeast Asia and China is expected at 5.7% over 2020-24, down from 6.7% in 2013-17.

OECD has projected India's growth over the next five years at 6.6%, compared to 7.4% in 2013-17. For Southeast Asia, it forecast a growth of 4.9% over 2020-24 while China's growth was projected at 5.6%.

5 - IOCL gets environmental clearance to set up 2G ethanol plant in Panipat

Indian Oil

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has given environment clearance to Indian Oil Corporation Limited to set up new 2G Ethanol plant at Panipat in Haryana. The estimated investment in setting up the plant is Rs 766 crore.

The IOCL had submitted a proposal seeking environment clearance for its proposed 100 KLPD Ligno-Cellulosic 2G ethanol plant. Ethanol produced will be used for blending in transportation fuel.

6 - Khadi India’s flagship store in CP records high sales of Rs 3.44 core

Khadi India

Khadi India’s flagship store at Connaught Place in New Delhi has recorded higher sales of 3.44 crore rupees. The store belongs to Khadi and Village Industries Commission, KVIC. The sale from April to October 2019 has recorded 36.47 crores rupees as compared to 33.03 crores rupees during the same period in 2018.

On October 2nd 2019, the store registered highest ever sale of Rs. 1.28 Crores in a single day beating previous record of Rs. 1.25 Crore on 13th Oct 2018.

7 - Government allocated unique HS code for Khadi


In order to give impetus to the export of Khadi, the government has allocated a separate Harmonized System (HS) code for this fabric. According to Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena, allocation of HS code to the khadi will help the government to plan the export strategies effectively.

Earlier, Khadi did not have exclusive HS code and all the export data regarding this fabric used to come under the normal fabric head.

8 - Tech Mahindra acquired New York-based BORN Group for $95 million

Tech Mahindra

Tech Mahindra Ltd (Tech M) acquired BORN Group, a New York-based digital content and production agency, for $95 million to bolster creative capacity. Of this $95 million enterprise value, $25 million will be linked to the achievement of financial targets for the year ending December 31, 2019. Tech Mahindra will acquire the Indian subsidiary of Born Group - Born Commerce Private Ltd.

The deal will help Tech Mahindra Ltd utilize BORN’s services such as consulting, content creation, maintenance and hosting services, digital and social marketing, among others.

9 - Moody’s changed India’s economic outlook to “negative” from “Stable”


Moody's Investors Service changed the outlook on the Government of India's ratings to negative from stable and affirmed the Baa2 foreign-currency and local-currency long-term issuer ratings. Moody's affirmed India's Baa2 local-currency senior unsecured rating and its P-2 other short-term local-currency rating. The Baa2 rating balances the country's credit strengths including its large and diverse economy and stable domestic financing base for government debt, against its principal challenges including high government debt, weak social and infrastructure and a fragile financial sector.

Moody's decision to change the outlook reflects increasing risks that economic growth will remain materially lower than in the past.

10 - NCAER Survey: Business Confidence fell by 15%

Business Confidence

110th Round of the Business Expectations Survey (BES) carried out by NCAER, said the National Council of Applied Economic Research unveiled that business confidence across the industry declined in the September quarter by 15% due to an all-pervasive worsening of business sentiment. It stood at 103.1 in the second quarter of 2019-20. Other component of present capacity utilisation dropped 86.2% to an all-time low since July 2009.

BCI of all five sectors i.e. consumer non-durables, consumer durables, intermediate goods, capital goods and services, showed a deterioration of business sentiment.

11 - Retail inflation jumps to 4.62% in October

Retail Inflation

Retail inflation surged to 4.62% in October 2019 mainly on account of higher food prices. According to government data released, the inflation in the food basket spiked to 7.89% in October 2019 as against 5.11% in September 2019.

The inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 3.99% in September and 3.38% in October 2018. The Reserve Bank mainly factors in the CPI-based inflation to arrive at its bi-monthly monetary policy. The RBI has been asked to keep the retail inflation at around 4%.

12 - Wholesale inflation eases to 0.16% in October

Wholesale Inflation

Wholesale prices based inflation eased further to 0.16% in October, as against 0.33% in September. Government data showed subdued prices of non-food articles and fall in prices of manufactured items.

Annual inflation, based on monthly wholesale price index (WPI), was at 5.54% in October last year. For manufactured products, the wholesale inflation was at -0.84% in October 2019. However, retail inflation for the month hit a 16-month high of 4.62% due to soaring prices of food articles, including fruits and vegetables.

13 - NCAER forecasts India’s GDP growth at 4.9% for FY20

Economic Research

National Council of Applied Economic Research predicted India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2019-20 at 4.9% as against 6.8 % in 2018 (or FY-19) due to fall in consumption demand. Cargo movement across rail, ports and airways has also shown a substantial fall.

Real private consumption expenditure growth has fallen from 9.8% in Q2FY19 to 3.1% in Q1FY20, while real government fixed capital formation growth has gone from 11.7% in Q3FY19 to 4% in Q1FY20.

14 - SBI’s economic research team revised India’s FY20 GDP forecast to 5%

GDP Forecast

SBI's economic research team in its report ‘Ecowrap’ revised India's FY20 GDP forecast to 5% from its earlier estimate of 6.1% for the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) due to low automobile sales, deceleration in air traffic movements, low consumption demand, flattening of core sector growth and declining investment in construction and infrastructure.

Real private consumption expenditure growth has fallen from 9.8% in Q2FY19 to 3.1% in Q1FY20. The report predicted pick-up of growth rate pace in 2020-21 to 6.2%.

15 - MELPL Indo-French collaboration became largest FDI project of Indian Railways

Indian Railways

Indian Railways has entered into Procurement cum Maintenance Agreement with Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL), a joint venture of Indian Railways and M/s Alstom. As part of largest Foreign Direct Investment project of Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways and Alstom came together in 2015 to transform the heavy freight transportation landscape of the country. A landmark agreement worth 3.5 billion Euro was signed to manufacture 800 electric locomotives for freight service and its associated maintenance.

Alstom has redesigned the complete locomotive including bogies. This is the first time such High Horse Power locomotive is being tested on Broad Gauge network in the World by any Railways.