Current Affairs

Manufacturing growth down

  • India’s manufacturing activities slowed down to a six-month low in March, reflecting a loss of”growth momentum”, stated a survey.
  • The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slipped from 54.3 in February to 52.6 in March. A figure above 50 means expansion while below means contraction. However, business sentiment strengthened to a seven-month high.
  • The latest data also comes ahead of the RBI’s first monetary policy for the ongoing fiscal year, which will be announced on April 4, with markets expecting a rate cut.

IAMAI on e-Com policy

  • As per Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), draft e-commerce policy may be “inimical” to the government’s efforts of building a trillion-dollar economy by 2022. Draft e-commerce policy is likely to “severly bring down FDI flows” in the sector. IAMAI also said some provisions of the draft Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP) on multiple grounds.
  • PDP is restricted to individual data and keeps anonymised data outside its ambit, while the e-commerce policy covers all data. PDP recognizes individuals as ultimate owner of their data while the e-commerce Bill considers state as the ultimate owner of data.

IIP growth at a 20-month low

  • Industrial production grew just 0.1% in February with capital goods recording its third contraction in the past four months. In January there was 1.43 percent growth rate. The index of industrial production (IIP) has witnessed low growth since November, 2018, and is expected to remain muted owing a weak exports, rural distress, credit constraints and uncertainty over the election outcome, according to economists.
  • The manufacturing segment is contracted by 0.3 per cent in February against an equally small rise of 0.93 per cent in January.

Trade Deficit narrows

  • India’s exports rose to a five-month high of 11% in March because of the higher growth mainly in pharma, chemicals and engineering sectors. Merchandise exports in March stood at $32.55 billion against $29.32 billion in the same month last year. Outbound shipments are at $331 billion for FT18-19. This is the best growth rate for exports since October 2018. Trade deficit narrowed to $10.89 billion during the month under review against $13.51 billion in March 2018.
  • A trade deficit is an economic measure of international trade in which a country’s importsexceed its exports

Refiners’CO2 to help raise output of aging oilfields

  • Indian Oil has signed a preliminary agreement to capture carbon dioxide emitted from its refineries and pipe it to ONGC and Oil India for injecting in their depleting oilfields to boost output. In a carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique, the CO2 dissolves in the residual oil, reduces its viscosity and displaces it from the rock pores towards a producing well.
  • Carbon purchase is probably the single largest cost associated with the CO2 EOR project that’s expensive and involves drilling and reworking wells and laying CO2 collection and transportation pipelines.

Troubled power cos

  • As per the bankers, the resolution of 3 troubled power companies including, Coastal Energen, GMR Chhattisgarh and Jaiprakash Power Ventures could be completed in the next 2 months.
  • In the case of GMR Chhattisgarh, the Adani Group is expected to take control later this month following a nominal upfront payment. Lenders have agreed to the change in management and will continue to extend loans to the business. Also, all lenders to Jaiprakash Power are expected to approve the restricting with the existing promoter this week.
  • An ICICI Bank-led consortium had been looking to restructure the business which has piled up a debt of over Rs 20,000 crore; the company has plants at Vishnuprayag, Bina and Nigrie. According to the plan, the promoters will make an upfront payment of 20% over the next 1 year and lenders expect to upgrade the account by quarter ending June 2020.
  • The group that once owned the 1,200-MW thermal plant based in Tamil Nadu has offered to pay Rs 3,000 crore. Lenders are awaiting 10% of the amount upfront either as cash or in the form of a bank gurantees.

RIL to buy toy brand Hamleys

  • Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries is in talks to buy centuries-old British toy retailer Hamleys, founded in n 1760. Currently, Reliance Industries’ retail arm Reliance Retail has the licence to sell Hamleys’ products in India. In 2015 it was bought by a Chinese Company named C. Banner International.

Cost overrun of Railway projects

  • Indian Railways account for nearly 205 central sector projects that are facing huge cost overrun of Rs 21 lakh crore, due to delay in railway project implementation for various reasons, the latest flash report of the Statistics and Programme Implementation Ministry (MOSPI) for December 2018 showed.
  • According to the report the total original cost of these 205 projects was Rs 1,68,116.34 crore up to December 2018.
  • After the railways, the power sector reported the second highest incidence of overall cost overrun.

Make in India Success Story

  • India’s electronics imports touched a record $55.6 billion in FY19, against $51.5 billion a year before, and remained the largest driver of its trade deficit after oil, showed the latest official data. Policymakers some comfort was that electronics exports jumped as much as 39% to a record $8.9 billion last fiscal, against 3% in the previous year.
  • Telecom instrument imports dropped almost 15% up to February in FY19, against an almost 17% rise in the entire FY18. Between April and February 2019 exports of telecom nstruments jumped a massive 129% year-on-year to $2.4 billion– the highest since FY14. Although such exports are still far below potential.
  • Make in India, a type of Swadeshi movement covering 25 sectors of the economy, was launched by the Government of India to encourage companies to manufacture their products in India and enthuse with dedicated investments into manufacturing.

Make in India Launched in– 24 September 2014.

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