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Indian economy to grow 7.8% in first quarter of financial year 2016-17

Recovery in the Indian economy is likely to continue and the GDP growth is expected to be higher at 7.8 per cent in the current fiscal, although it will be “uneven”, propped largely by “strong consumption” and public expenditure, says a Development Bank of Singapore report.
•    According to the global financial services firm, doubts remain however on the underlying inconsistencies in the GDP numbers. 
•    For the 2015-16 fiscal, the GDP growth has been pegged at 7.6 per cent.
•    “We expect growth to gain momentum in 2016-17 fiscal, with headline real GDP up at 7.8 per cent,” DBS said in a research note.
•    Though the January-March growth fared better than expected on real GDP and gross value added (GVA) basis, it “masked” underlying weakness in fixed investments and non-agricultural growth, the report added.
 

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NPCI launches Bharat Bill Payment System

National Payments Corporation of India today said it has launched the pilot project for Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) with 26 Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units.
•    BBPS is the Reserve Bank mandated system which will provide interoperable bill payment services to customers.
•    In the first phase, BBPS will cover repetitive payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and direct-to-home (DTH), NPCI said in a statement here today.
•    Currently, the volume of bills being paid by cash is so large that even if 25 per cent of the bills get paid electronically, the impact would be visibly enormous, he said.
•    Some of the banking entities which are participating in the pilot project include -- AP Mahesh Co-operative Urban Bank, Axis Bank, Gopinath Patil Parsik Janata Sahakari Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and IDBI Bank.
 

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Unified Payments Interface Becomes Operational

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) was introduced on 25 August 2016 by four banks, namely Axis Bank, Union Bank of India, Federal Bank and Bank of Maharashtra. 
•    The app will allow customers to make payments via digital means.
•    The app went live for these banks after National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) issued letters to them asking them to make the apps available on Google Play Store. 
•    Apart from this, the UPI-enabled apps will be available for other 19-banks in next 2-3 working days.
•    Initially, the facility, which is available on Google Play Store, will be available for bank customers with Android smart phones. 
•    Versions for Apple’s iOS operating system will be launched in next six months.
•    UPI, a product of NPCI, will help move India towards a cashless economy. 
•    It will allow customer to have multiple virtual address for accounts in various banks.
•    UPI is a set of standard Application Programming Interface (APIs).
•    National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is the umbrella organisation for all retail payments system in India.
 

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Union Government Constitutes Committee to Suggest Steps to Promote Card Payments

The Union Finance Ministry has constituted an 11 members high-level committee to suggest steps to promote card payments with an aim to discourage cash transactions. 
•    The 11-member committee will be headed by former Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal. 
•    They will recommend various measures to incentivise transactions through cards and digital means, e.g., through tax incentives/rebates, introduction of cash back/lottery. 
•    Review the payments system in the country and recommend measures for encouraging digital payments. 
•    Study feasibility of creating a payments history of all card and digital payments and ensure that merchants and consumers can leverage the data to access. 
•    Study and recommend ways for leveraging Unique Identification Number (UID) or any other proof of identity for authentication of card and digital transactions. 
•    Study introduction of single window system of payment gateway to accept all types of cards and digital payments of government receipts.
•    Look into the scope of integration of all government systems like Public Finance Management System, Bharatkosh, PayGov and eKuber. 
 

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Karnataka ranks 1st in IT investments: Assocham

Karnataka has received the highest IT investments in 2015-16, getting nearly 25% of the total 2.2 lakh crore investments in the sector. 
•    IT investments in the state grew from 14,337 crore in 2005-06 to 53,396 crore in 2015-16, at a CAGR of 14%. 
•    Gujarat ranked second with 35,300 crore investment in the sector, the report added.
•    Karnataka attracted Rs 53,396 crore investments in the IT sector last fiscal, a nearly 25 per cent of total Rs 2.2 lakh crore from both public and private sources across the country.
•    Clocking a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 14 per cent, IT investments in Karnataka had grown from Rs 14,337 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 53,396 crore in 2015-16.
•    Investments attracted by the IT sector in India increased from over Rs 46,200 crore in 2005-06 to over Rs 2.2 lakh crore in 2015-16, thereby clocking a CAGR of over 17 per cent during this period.
 

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MSME Databank and Finance Facilitation Launched at 14th Meeting of National Board

Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs launched two important initiatives of the Ministry of MSME, viz. MSME Databank Portal and Online Finance Facilitation Web Portal on the sidelines of 14th Meeting of the National Board of MSME at Vigyan Bhawan, today. Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister for MSME, Shri Giriraj Singh and Shri Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, Minister of State for MSME were present on the occasion.
•    The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, a branch of the Government of India, is the apex body for the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India.
•    Ministry of MSME is making online Census of the MSMEs in the country for the first time by launching a comprehensive databank on http://www.msmedatabank.in This will not only save the efforts and money required for physical Census but will also enable the MSME units and the various Associations to furnish data on click of the button and sitting in their units. 
•    The MIS dashboard of the databank will provide real time information on various types of the MSMEs registered on the databank. 
•    The databank will eventually will be used for public procurement purposes and the PSUs will make use of the data for procuring from MSMEs.
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India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has signed an agreement worth 4,200 crore rupees ($625 million) with the World Bank

State Bank of India has signed an agreement worth 4,200 crore rupees with the World Bank to support its grid connected rooftop solar photovoltaic (GRPV) programme. 
•    The programme also aims at improving the investment climate for solar PV, and increase the ease of doing rooftop business. 
•    It will also support development of the overall solar rooftop PV market. 
•    Under GRPV programme, at least 400 MW solar capacity will be created across the country. 
•    This agreement will help SBI to finance grid connected rooftop solar photovoltaic projects at very competitive rates. 
•    The investment climate for solar PV projects will be improved through technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of key institutions. 
•    The eligible beneficiaries under the programme would be developers, aggregators and end-users. 
•    Mainly they will set up solar projects on commercial, industrial and institutional rooftops.

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