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RBI allows banks to issue Masala Bonds

Indian banks can raise Tier I, Tier II and funds for lending to the infrastructure sector by issuing rupee denominated masala bonds within the Rs 2.44 lakh crore foreign investment ceiling for corporate bonds, Reserve Bank of India said in a notification on Thursday. 
●    Banks can raise perpetual debt which qualifies as Tier I capital through rupee denominated bonds overseas. 
●    They can also raise long term funds to finance infrastructure and affordable housing projects in India, the central bank said. 
●    Tier I capital is the core capital of the bank is used to gauge a bank’s capability of absorbing losses. 
●    On Thursday, RBI just notified the measures announced for the bond market in August which included allowing banks to issue masala bonds. 
●    Until now these bonds could only be issued by companies and NBFCs. 
●    These bonds are different from other overseas instruments because the currency risk is borne by the investor. 

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RBI asks banks to ensure 10% of ATMs dispense Rs. 100 notes

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 2 November 2016 directed all the banks to dispense more 100 rupees notes through ATMs within the next 15 days.
●    The decision came after a review of steps taken by banks for installing ATMs dispensing lower denomination banknotes was conducted. 
●    After the review, it was found that very few banks had taken initiatives in setting up ATMs dispensing lower denomination notes including 100 rupees banknotes.
●    Moreover, RBI also decided to conduct a pilot project wherein 10 percent of the ATMs in the country will be calibrated to dispense 100 rupees banknotes exclusively. 
●    For this purpose, banks are free to select the branches with the sample covering relatively large number of centres or states. 
●    Once it is completed, the banks will further share their feedback on the pilot project after a lapse of two months.

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World Bank to come out with "ease of living" index

The World Bank Group will bring out an ‘ease of living’ index that will rank cities globally.
●    On the World Bank Group's Doing Business index, India had suggested that the Bank needs to take into account the reforms undertaken across the country and not just in two cities (Mumbai and Delhi) as is being considered currently for the rankings.
●    World Bank country director for India is Junaid Ahmad.
●    The index could include categories on social inclusion, cost of living, public transport, housing, education, health, environment-friendliness, crime/safety, governance and corruption, etc.
●    On the criticism regarding the World Bank Doing Business Report this year ranking India a lowly 130th despite several reforms carried out by the government, Mr. Ahmad said the rankings did not capture important reforms, including the laws on Goods & Services Tax (GST) and insolvency & bankrupcty as they did not come before the cut off date for this year.
●    Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had recently said that the law on bankruptcy & insolvency is likely to be effective by this December-end.
 

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OVL completes acquisition of additional 11% stake in Vankor Oilfield

ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has completed the acquisition of additional 11% interest in Russia’s Vankor oilfield.
●    Now its total stake is 26%.
●    The company signed a deal with Rosneft Oil Company to acquire additional 11% stake in the East Siberian field for $930 million on 28 October.
●    OVL, which had previously bought 15% stake in Vankor from Russian national oil firm Rosneft for $1.268 billion, will get an 7.3 million tonnes of oil from its 26% stake. 
●    The $2.2 billion OVL spent for acquiring 26% stake in Vankor will be its third biggest acquisition.
 

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Ease of Doing Business : Andhra Pradesh, Telangana on Top

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have jointly topped the 2016 all-India State/Union Territory-wise Ease of Doing Business rankings, while last-year's topper Gujarat slipped to the third spot.
●    The ranking was announced by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
●    It was on the basis of a 340-point business reform action plan and their implementation by the States. 
●    This covers the period from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.
●    The World Bank said that four of the seven states with the lowest income levels have found a place in the top ten ranks.
●    All the seven such states had an implementation rate of over 75 per cent.
●    These low-income states included Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar.
●    India's rank in the recently released global Doing Business rankings was a lowly 130th.
 

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6 lakh SBI customers to get new Debit Cards

Over six lakh customers of State Bank of India (SBI) will get new debit cards soon.
●    BankS have moved swiftly to contain the damage caused by a recent malware-related security breach.
●    The move has been dubbed the biggest card replacement exercise in the history of Indian banking. 
●    Over 6.29 lakh cards have been dispatched already.
●    A total of 95.5% of the blocked cards were dispatched by October 26. 
●    SBI had blocked over 6 lakh cards following a malware-related security breach in a non-SBI ATM network. 
●    32 lakh cards from 19 different banks were hit by the breach. 
●    Not all banks, however, blocked their customers' cards, but instead sent out messages to change the ATM PIN immediately .

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SBI to allot shares to Govt for Capital Infusion

Country’s largest lender SBI on Saturday said it will issue equity shares on preferential basis to the government for capital infusion of Rs 5,681 crore.
●    The bank has also sought approval from government and RBI to increase the issued capital by raising additional equity share capital up to Rs 5,681 crore by way of preferential issue to the government.
●    State Bank of India (SBI) is an Indian multinational, public sector banking and financial services company. 
●    It is a government-owned corporation with its headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra. 
●    The company is ranked 232nd on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world's biggest corporations as of 2016.
●    As of 2014–15, the bank had 191 overseas offices spread over 36 countries. 
●    It has branches in Singapore, Moscow, Colombo, Dhaka, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tehran, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Maldives, Muscat, Dubai, New York, Osaka, Sydney, and Tokyo.

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CBDT signs 5 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements with Indian Taxpayers today

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT),Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance entered into five Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) on 27th October.
●    The Agreements cover a range of international transactions, including sale of finished goods, purchase of raw materials, software development services, IT enabled services, exports and interest payment. 
●    The Agreements pertain to different industrial sectors like manufacturing, IT services, etc. 
●    The Agreements provide certainty to the taxpayers for 5 years with regard to the covered international transactions.
●    The total number of APAs signed so far has reached 108. 
●    These include 4 bilateral APAs and 104 unilateral APAs since 2013-14. 

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India ranked 130 in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business

In rankings released by the World Bank on Oct. 25, India’s position in Doing Business 2017 list moved up by only one place to 130 among 190 countries. 
●    This comes as a dampener for the Narendra Modi government, which, two years ago, publicly announced an ambitious target to improve India’s rankings to within the top 50 by 2018.
●    The Doing Business report, started in 2002, reviews business regulations and their implementation across 190 countries. 
●    In the 2016 report, India’s ranking jumped 12 positions, cheering up the government.
●    This year, Asia’s third-largest economy slipped in areas such as starting a business, dealing with construction permits and protecting minority investors. 
●    Even as India suffered, despite being the world’s fastest-growing major economy, Russia, China, Singapore, South Africa, Nepal, and Brazil paced ahead in overall rankings.
 

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1400 New Firms: India Retains its Start-up Hub tag

Despite a funding slowdown this year compared to last year’s bonanza, as many as 1,400 startups have come up in the country this year.
●    It has allowed India to maintain its position as the third largest startup base in the world with over 4,750 tech startups.
●    It is ahead of countries such as China and Israel in the startup report released at the Nasscom Product Council revealed. 
●    Even the number of startups that have been funded this year has increased by 8%, though the overall funding has come down by 20-30%. 
●    One of the reasons for the funding to have come down could be that investors are funding in tranches based on milestones. 
●    But it’s a very positive sign that more startups are getting funded," said Ravi Gururaj, chairman, Nasscom Product Council.
 

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