In this column, we will daily present before you the top stories in the country related to science, technology, economy, and finance.
1. Central government is expecting to get over Rs. 39,500 crores under the Sabka Vishwas Scheme.
The government is likely to realise over Rs. 39,500 from the Sabka Vishwas Scheme. Sabka Vishwas Scheme is a dispute resolution-cum-amnesty program that was launched to settle pending disputes of central excise and service tax. Around 2 lakh applications were submitted involving duties of more than Rs. 90,000 crores during the amnesty window.
2. CAIT to build a database of employees, traders in India.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) announced it would develop a database of traders and its employees from all the states and union territories of India. The database will be on lines of the National Population Register (NPR). The exercise will begin from March 1 till September 30, and is aimed at better addressing and solving the basic problems of traders in the country.
3. Government has envisaged boosting jewellery exports to $80 billion in 5 years.
The government is aiming to increase jewellery exports of the country to USD 80 billion from USD 40 billion within the next five years. The central government also estimates the jewellery industry would generate additional employment of 2 million workers.
4. Foreign capital outflows exceeded the FDI inflows in the mining sector.
The outflows of foreign capital in the mining sector have outweighed the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). FDI in the mining sector was allowed since February 2000 in our country, but its flow has been irregular for the past few years. The FDI in the country between 2010-11 was USD 592 million and by the end of 2018-19, the figure diminished to almost its half at USD 247 million.
5. Coal India’s production would not exceed 640 million tonnes in FY20: Official.
The production of the mining major Coal India Ltd in the current fiscal would not exceed 640 million tonnes, a top company official stated. The loss in the production was mainly due to a prolonged monsoon this year. The target of the production that the state-run miner had earlier set was 660 million tonnes in 2019-20 as against 607 million tonnes in the previous fiscal.
6. Petrol and diesel prices are likely to hike by Rs. 0.50-1 per litre from April.
Petrol and diesel prices may shoot up by 50 paise to Re 1 per litre. The hike in the prices will be effective from April because of India’s leapfrog to using Euro-VI or BS-VI standard emission-compliant ultra-clean auto fuels. Currently, BS-IV or Euro-IV emission-compliant fuel is being supplied in our country and the current prices of petrol and diesel (in Delhi) are Rs. 73.36 per litre and Rs. 66.36 per litre respectively. But the government has decided to leapfrog to BS-VI grade fuel from April 2020 to reduce pollution by cutting vehicular emissions.
7. Ind-Ra estimates state fiscal deficit to be 3% of GDP in FY21.
India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) estimates the aggregate fiscal deficit of all the states to be around 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the current fiscal year. The budgeted fiscal deficit was 2.6 percent of GDP, which is lower than this estimation. Ind-Ra has also revised its outlook on state finances from ‘stable’ to ‘stable-to-negative’ for the current fiscal.
8. Axis Bank is planning to raise Rs. 4,175 crores through NCDs, but on a private placement basis.
The private-sector lender has announced that it has plans to raise funds up to Rs. 4,175 crores by issuing non-convertible debentures (NCDs) on a private placement basis. Axis Bank, in a regulatory filing, stated, “The committee of whole-time directors of the Bank, today approved the allotment of 41,750 senior unsecured redeemable non-convertible debentures of the face value of Rs 10 lakh each, for cash, at par aggregating to Rs 4,175 crores.” The filing also added that the coupon rate for the issue would be 7.65% per annum.
9. RBI accepted Kotak Bank promoters’ plan to reduce stake and cap voting rights.
Kotak Mahindra Bank had proposed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on capping the promoters’ voting rights and stake reduction in the bank. On Thursday, the private-sector lender announced that the central bank had given in-principle approval to its proposal. In a letter, the RBI also stated that the promoters, within six months, would have to reduce their shareholding to 26 percent of the paid-up voting equity share capital.
10. Huawei led the smartphone market in China with its 5G devices: Report.
The Shenzhen-based technology giant and smartphone manufacturer led the Chinese smartphone market with a 39% market share. The company has left Apple behind as the latter had to face a downfall in its sales due to the unavailability of 5G devices. The smartphone market in China, however, declined by 15% to 85.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2019.
11. Cognizant consortium won a five-year deal from Network Rail.
Cognizant announced that it had won a five-year contract from the UK-based Network Rail. The contract is a part of a consortium. The UK’s principal infrastructure company is going to use Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and other digital technologies to enhance its asset management and performance. Cognizant is going to lead the consortium and will help Network Rail in developing and applying advanced data collection and analytics from more than 12,000 connected assets viz. Switches, track circuits and signal power supplies.
12. Google paid around Rs. 50 crores to ‘hackers.’
The technology giant announced that it paid $6.5 million (around Rs. 46.4 crores) in rewards to hackers in 2019. The reward was given to keep the internet and the end-users safe. It is a part of the Vulnerability Reward Programs (VRPs). Through the VRPs, hackers were rewarded to find loopholes, bugs, and other flaws in Google products including Chrome and Android.
13. Apple rolled out a new software update for its iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook, and Apple TV.
Apple has rolled out a new software update for Apple Watch, iPad, MacBook, and Apple TV. The tech giant has rolled out macOS Catalina 10.15.3, iPadOS 13.3.1, tvOS 13.3.1, and watchOS 6.1.2 for the users.