Current Affairs Business

 Gurgaon-based Food delivery startup and restaurant aggregator “Zomato” has announced the acquisition of Uber Eats business in India. Uber Eats is an Uber Technologies Inc’s food delivery business in India. The acquisition was done in an all-stock deal. The deals provides Uber with the 9.99% ownership in Zomato after the acquisition. The deal is estimated to be pegged at $300-350 million. Uber Eats, having about 26,000 restaurant partners entered the food delivery business in 2017 in India.

 The global e-commerce firm, Amazon has announced the incremental investment of USD 1 billion in India. The investment will have the prime objective of digitising the small and medium businesses (SMB’s) in India. The firm has also announced its plans to boost its size and scale by exporting worth USD 10 billion of ‘Make in India’ goods by year 2025.

  Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), India’s largest private sector port operator, has agreed to buy a 75% stake in Krishnapatnam Port Co. Ltd (KPCL) at an enterprise value of Rs 13,572 crores. The Krishnapatnam Port is located in southern Andhra Pradesh and is a multi-cargo facility. It handled 54 million tonnes (mt) of cargo in the year ended 31 March 2019. The purchase will accelerate Adani Ports’ plan to expand its cargo-handling capacity to 400mt by 2025.
Source: The Business Standard

 Ministry of Commerce and industry has announced that 371 items from China will get strict restriction from March 2020. The move aims at curbing imports of non-essential items such as plastic goods, toys, furniture, sports.
  • Highlights
The rules are to be framed by the Ministry in coordination with BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards). Though the rules focus on Chinese imports, it will also be applicable to Indian producers in order to make the regulations WTO-compliant. Currently there are 370 standards for imports. India’s plan is to increase the it to 5000 in the second phase. The move will help boost the local industries and help Indian consumers get quality products. The non-essential commodities imports include petrochemicals, chemicals, heavy industrial products, steel products, telecommunication, electronics, etc. Apart from trade relation with China, India is also concentrating on FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with ASEAN, Japan and South Korea that enjoy free access to Indian markets. The step is being considered to boost domestic goods.
  • Significance
The imports from China that are categorized as non-essential amount to 4 trillion USD. Also, trade deficit with China is widening and it currently stands at 553.6 billion USD. The step will help in reducing India’s dependence on China and will also help in curbing low quality imports from China. This is the main reason why India refused to join RCEP.

 Government of India misses its disinvestment target as the plan to sell Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Air India and Container Corporation of India has not been succeeded.
  • Highlights
The Government had planned to sell 53.3% of BPCL, 31% of Concorp as per latest market prices. The Government had set the Disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 trillion for the year 2019-20. However, it was only able to extract Rs 17,364 crores. This has increased burden on the economy of the country as the fiscal deficit of the Government has already touched 115% of the budget estimated for the year 2019-20 as far as November 30. The deficit will increase further as there are another 4 months (Dec-Mar) to go before the financial year ends. The data was released by the Controller General of Accounts. The missing of disinvestment target has impaired its ability to meet its Fiscal Deficit target of 3.3% of GDP. The fiscal deficit is arising in spite of RBI transferring Rs 1.76 lakh crore rupees. It was widely criticized as windfall money of the government.
  • What is Windfall money?
Windfall money is the term used for unexpected money good fortune. The RBI transferred the windfall to the GoI on recommendation of Jalan Committee.
  • Air India
Among all the disinvestment targets, Air India is the least performing and at huge losses. In order to solve the problem, recently it was announced that Air India will stop issuing tickets to government agencies that owe more than Rs 10 lakh due. This included defence accounts, CBI, BSF, Enforcement Directors, customs commissioners, etc.

  The prices of Darjeeling Tea that recently received GI tag has fell by 20% to 25% due to unchecked flow of Nepal Tea into the country.
  • Highlights
Nepal Tea also known as Himalayan Tea is very similar to that of Darjeeling Tea in aroma, flavor and taste. But Nepal Tea is 50% cheaper than that of Darjeeling Tea. This is being misused by many traders. Nepal tea can be imported by anyone freely under Free Trade Agreement between India and Nepal. Around 16 million kg of Nepal Tea is entering India every year.
  • Issue
Most of the Nepal Tea is uncertified. On the other hand, 70% of 87 estates growing Darjeeling Tea are certified organic. The annual export of Darjeeling Tea was Rs 600 crores. Experts believe that it would have touched Rs 700 crores if Nepal Tea hadn’t played its role.
  • GI Tag
The Darjeeling Tea and White Tea received GI Tag recently in November 2019. The GI tag is provided to fetch an identity for the product international market and increase its exports. When such products develop fake, their exports get affected greatly. India enacted Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 under Article 22 of World Trade Organization.

 HDFC Life Insurance has partnered with Paytm to expand its distribution. The partnership is aimed to enable customers of Paytm to purchase insurance products from HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance is constantly exploring opportunities to create and sustain new partnerships to strengthen its distribution network. With the partnership, HDFC Life Insurance aims to increase insurance penetration in India and to simplify the customers experience right from the purchase to the claim process.
Source: The Economic Times

  Mastercard has announced an agreement to acquire RiskRecon. RiskRecon is one of the leading providers of data analytics solutions and artificial intelligence focused on cyber-risk and security and offering solutions to mitigate cyber risks faced by the companies. The acquisition would enhance the cyber-security systems for MasterCard which offers payment processing services on a global scale.
Source: The Economic Times

 The Ministry of Minority Affairs will organize more than 100 Hunar Haat in the next five years. The move aims to increase employment opportunities to craftsmen, artisans and culinary experts and also to increase their market exposure.
Highlights The Ministry will organize Hunar Haats in Chennai, Delhi, Kolakata, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Patna, Dehradun and Indore. The ministry has also sanctioned to set up more than 100 Hunar hubs in different parts of the country. The Ministry in its report said that more than 65,000 artisans and craftsmen have been employed through Hunar Haats in the last 2 years.
Significance Indian Handicrafts have great recognition in international market. US and EU are the major destinations that account to 65% of export of Indian handicrafts. China is a new buyer. Other countries where Indian crafts have great market includes Israel, Uruguay, Columbia and chile. In 2019, India exported 128 billion rupees worth handicrafts. Last year, it stood at 118 billion rupees. The increase is 9%.
Government measures The GoI has taken several steps to develop the handicraft sector. Government set up Indian Institute of Carpet at Bhadohi. It also reduced interest rates to MUDRA loans provided to handicrafts and artisans. The custom duties and exercises that were paid for importing inputs of handicrafts were refunded through Duty Drawback Channel.

  Infosys has announced the launch of three blockchain-powered distributed applications. The applications will be dedicated for government services, insurance, and supply chain management domains. The applications are equipped with predictive return on investment (ROI) analytics for business investments that can be tailored to meet numerous industry-specific needs.
Source: The Economic Times

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