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Centre to hold meeting with 17 'Laggard' states for improving Doing Business

Peeved by the abysmal performance of 17 States/Union Territories (UTs) in effecting reforms for ease of doing business, the Centre will soon hold a special high-level meeting with them.
●    The States, among others, include Kerala and those in the entire North-Eastern region. 
●    They have managed to implement only 25 per cent or below of the 340-point ‘Business Reform Action Plan' that was circulated in late October 2015.
●    At present, there are ten States that have an implementation percentage of 90 per cent or more, and these have been categorised as ‘leaders’. 
●    The number one rank is currently being held by two States — Andhra Pradesh and Telengana with a score of 99.09 per cent each. 
●    The next category is that of ‘aspiring leaders’ — those with an implementation rate between 60-90 per cent. 
●    The third category is termed ‘acceleration required’ — those with an implementation percentage of 30-60 per cent. There are two States in this category.

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Next Tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds from Oct 24


The government will launch on October 24 a sixth tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) scheme, in which people can buy securities worth up to 500 grams.
●    The Sovereign Gold Bonds scheme, an alternative mode of investment to physical gold, was launched in November last year. 
●    It provides investors a choice to diversify their portfolios without the need to buy the metal in physical form. 
●    So far, the government has come out with five tranches of the Sovereign Gold Bonds. 
●    There were more than 2 lakh applications for the fifth tranche.
●    The bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited, designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges NSE and BSE.
●    The Reserve Bank of India had earlier this week said that five tranches of Sovereign Gold Bonds for a total value of Rs. 3,060 crore have been issued till date. 

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Centre Proposes 4 GST Slabs

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on 18 October 2016 reached a consensus on the way the states would be compensated for any loss of revenue after implementation of the new indirect tax regime, GST from 1 April 2017.
●    During the meet, the GST Council also discussed the possible GST rates, including a four-slab structure of 6, 12, 18 and 26 with lower rates for essential items and highest band for luxury goods.
●    The three-day GST council meet was headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and included representatives from all states. 
●    Base year for calculating the revenue of a state would be 2015-16
●    Secular growth rate of 14 per cent would be taken for calculating the likely revenue of each state in the first five years of implementation of the GST.
●    States getting lower revenue would be compensated by the Centre.
●    They reached at a consensus on definition of revenue to compensate states for revenue loss due to GST implementation.

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Revised Ethanol price to Public Sector OMCs Approved by CCEA

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 13 October 2016 approved the mechanism for revision of ethanol price for supply to Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to carry out the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme.
●    The administered price of ethanol for the Programme will be 39 rupees per litre for the next sugar season from 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017.
●    Charges will be paid to the ethanol suppliers as per actuals in case of Excise Duty and VAT or GST and transportation charges as decided by the oil marketing companies.
●    The prices of ethanol will be reviewed and suitably revised by Government at any time during the ethanol supply period depending upon the prevailing economic situation and other relevant factors.
●    The revision in ethanol prices will facilitate Government in providing price stability and remunerative prices for ethanol suppliers.

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CERC appointed committee suggests overhaul in transmission planning

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) appointed committee has submitted its recommendations. 
●    It was headed by power system expert Mata Prasad. The committee has suggested an overhaul in transmission planning to facilitate transfer of power on economic principles. 
●    Transmission planning: It must be aligned to meet customer aspirations as opposed to existing system where transmission is associated with long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs). 
●    Renewable energy sources transmission system: To be planned by central transmission utility (CTU) based on estimated capacity additions in perspective plan and renewable purchase obligations of each state. 
●    Promote of power market: Transmission corridor allocation must be done suitably made. 5% of each flow gate may be reserved for day-ahead collective transactions. 
●    System studies: They must be carried out for various generation and load scenarios during peak and off-peak hours.


 

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ICICI Bank executes India's first blockchain transaction with Emirates NBD

ICICI Bank on Wednesday announced that it has successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittances using blockchain technology in partnership with Emirates NBD.
●    ICICI Bank is the first bank in the country and among the first few globally to exchange and authenticate remittance transaction messages as well as original international trade documents related to purchase order, invoice, shipping and insurance, among others, electronically on blockchain in real time.
●    The usage of blockchain technology simplifies the process and makes it almost instant—to only a few minutes. 
●    This is in contrast to the current process which involves a complex and lengthy paper trail that requires international shipping and courier.
●    ICICI Bank executed these pilot transactions via its blockchain network with Emirates NBD on a custom-made blockchain application, co-created with EdgeVerve Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Infosys.

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RBI, Banks Discuss to set-up a company for project-monitoring


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and banks are discussing a proposal to float a company for independent project appraisal and monitoring of big-ticket infrastructure and industrial projects.
●    This is part of RBI’s efforts to improve risk management, contain delays and reduce risks for projects becoming bad loans.
●    Indian banking system has extended financial and non-financial assistance to large number of infrastructure and core-sector manufacturing projects over the past few decades.
●    The proportion of public-sector banks’ exposure to the infrastructure sector.
●    Such actions are being taken by RBI for the ease of people who do take loan for their various needs.
●    RBI has been doing Such meetings since a very long time.
●     It is part of RBI's effort to improve risk, delay and prevent projects from bad loans.


 

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April-August Industrial Growth is decade's worst

Remaining in the negative for the second month in a row, industrial production contracted by 0.7 per cent in August due to slump in manufacturing, mining and capital goods segments.
●    The capital goods output registered a steep decline of 22.2 per cent in the month, against a growth rate of 21.3 per cent in last year.
●    This is being considered as the worst growth in decade.
●    The data revealed that mining activities shrunk by 5.6 per cent as in August this year as against a growth of 4.5 per cent in August 2015.
●    Power generation remained almost flat (0.1 per cent) in compared to an expansion of 5.6 per cent in the year ago period.
●    Output of consumer durables registered a growth of 2.3 per cent while growth in non-durables segment was almost flat.
●    Overall, consumer goods production recorded a growth 1.1 per cent in August compared to 6 per cent a year ago.
●    In terms of industries, seven out of 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown negative growth during August year-on-year.


 

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IIP Contracts 0.7% in August

Remaining in the negative for the second month in a row, industrial production contracted by 0.7 per cent in August due to slump in manufacturing, mining and capital goods segments.
●    The capital goods output registered a steep decline of 22.2 per cent in the month, against a growth rate of 21.3 per cent in last year.
●    The data revealed that mining activities shrunk by 5.6 per cent as in August this year as against a growth of 4.5 per cent in August 2015.
●    Power generation remained almost flat (0.1 per cent) in compared to an expansion of 5.6 per cent in the year ago period.
●    Output of consumer durables registered a growth of 2.3 per cent while growth in non-durables segment was almost flat.
●    Overall, consumer goods production recorded a growth 1.1 per cent in August compared to 6 per cent a year ago.
●    In terms of industries, seven out of 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown negative growth during August year-on-year.
 

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Anti-Dumping Duty on Chinese Products Extended

The revenue department has extended anti-dumping duty on import of certain Chinese products, used in garment, footwear and toy manufacturing, for another five years.
●    The anti-dumping duty on “narrow woven fabrics hook and loop velcro tapes” will be charged at the rate of $1.87 per kilo. 
●    These products are mainly used in garment manufacturing, surgical and orthopaedic apparatus, shoes and footwear, luggage/bags, toys, automobile upholstery and other industrial segments.
●    The Central Board of Excise and Customs imposed the duty, based on recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties (DGAD).
●    The DGAD made the case for continuation of the levy, after its second sunset review of the anti-dumping duty in force on the imports.
 

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