QBiz: Xiaomi Eye On India; Aadhaar May Add Security Layer
1. Xiaomi Looking to Invest $1 Billion in Indian Startups
Chinese phone and appliances maker Xiaomi Corp will invest as much as $1 billion in 100 startups in India over the next five years, seeking to create an ecosystem of apps around its smartphone brand, chief executive Lei Jun said in an interview.
Lei said Xiaomi and its sister company Shunwei Capital, which have purchased stakes in six Indian internet companies, including Hungama and KrazyBee, will invest in businesses such as content, financial technology, hyperlocal services, including mobile phone repairs, and manufacturing in order to increase the adoption of mobile internet in the country.
2. Aadhaar May Add Security Layer With Dummy Numbers
Amid the privacy and protection concerns voiced by various groups, the top team of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is exploring the possibility of introducing dummy numbers that would add an extra layer of security to every Aadhaar cardholder.
Such a framework would require an individual to share dummy or pseudo numbers – and not the real Aadhaar number – to government agencies, private utilities, banks and while withdrawing money from ATMs or moving funds from ATMs or moving funds from one bank account to another under the Aadhaar-enabled payment system. Besides the cardholder, the original Aadhaar number would be known only to UIDAI. Two senior persons in the industry told ET that the concept has been discussed at senior levels in UIDAI but is yet to be finalised.
3. FDI in Non-Food Retail Unlikely Before 2019 Lok Sabha Elections
Wary of the potential electoral fallout of breaching its promise not to permit foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has decided not to allow foreign supermarket chains to sell non-food items during its current tenure, which ends in 2019.
“Allowing foreign retailers to sell non-food items in India is unlikely to happen before the next general election,” a senior government official involved in the FDI decision-making process said on condition of anonymity.
The Union cabinet in June 2016 allowed 100 percent FDI in trading, including through e-commerce, of food products manufactured or produced in India.
4. India Moves up One Notch to 126 in per Capita GDP Terms, Says IMF Data
India has moved up one position to 126th in terms of GDP per capita of countries, still ranked lower than all its BRICS peers, while Qatar remains the world's richest on this parameter, as per IMF data.
The data, which forms part of the latest World Economic Outlook report of the International Monetary Fund, ranks over 200 countries in terms of per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP).
PPP between two countries is the rate at which the currency of one country needs to be converted into that of a second country to ensure that a given amount of the first country's currency will purchase the same volume of goods and services in the second country as it does in the first.
5. Auto Exporters Under Pressure as Over Rs 1,000-Cr GST Refund Gets Stuck
Passenger vehicle exports from India have run into a goods and services tax (GST) speed breaker as manufacturers have been unable to file claims since July and the pending sum has crossed over Rs 1,000 crore.
Industry players said as the current GST system of making payments upfront and claiming input tax credit refund is not functioning properly, the working capital requirement for companies have increased and they could rethink on exports till the issues stay unresolved.
6. SBI to Use Blockchain for Smart Contracts and KYC by Next Month
India’s largest lender State Bank of India will roll out beta launches of blockchain-enabled smart contracts by next month, according to Sudin Baraokar, head of innovation, SBI. Blockchain-enabled Know Your Customer (KYC) will soon follow suit. These applications are part of BankChain, a community of 27 banks, which have joined hands to explore and build blockchain solutions for banking.
“By next month, we should have two beta production solutions ready for use by the 27 banks. We will also invite further participation. The beta production that will be ready are smart contracts and second is KYC,” said Baraokar.
7. Import Tax on Edible Oils Raised
The Centre has raised the import duty on crude palm oil to 30 percent from 15 percent and on refined oil to 40 percent from 25 percent in a bid to curb cheaper shipments and boost local prices for supporting farmers and refiners, according to a notification.
The import duty on soyabean oil, sunflower oil, canola/mustard oil – both crude and refined format – has been raised, the notification released by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) late on 17 November on Friday said.
Import duty on soyabean has also been increased.
An inter-ministerial group headed by Minister Nitin Gadkari and the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) had examined the local price situation and suggested raising the import duties on edible oils and some oilseeds.
Source: Hindu Business Line
8. Government Seeks Rs 13,000 Crore Surplus From RBI
The government has not asked the Reserve Bank to pay any special dividend and is only seeking Rs 13,000 crore of surplus lying with the central bank, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has said.
In August, the RBI had paid a dividend of Rs 30,659 crore for the fiscal ended June 2017. It was less than half the Rs 65,876 crore it had paid in 2015-16.
The government had budgeted for a Rs 58,000 crore dividend from the RBI in its Budget for fiscal year 2017-2018.
There is no proposal at this stage to ask for any special dividend. What is being discussed is to only ask for what the RBI earned in 2017 but did not distribute. That is about Rs 13,000 crore. That’s what the government has suggested the Reserve Bank to transfer.Subhash Chandra Garg, Economic Affairs Secretary
9. L&T Wins Rs 8,650-Crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link Order
Larsen & Toubro Ltd won orders worth Rs 8,650 crore to build two parts of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project.
L&T Construction's heavy civil infrastructure vertical won Packages 1 and 3 of the project, which aims to connect the city with its suburban twin Navi Mumbai through the longest sea bridge in the country, according to L&T’s exchange filing.
Package 1 involves the construction of a multi-level interchange at Sewri in Central Mumbai and a 10.38-kilometre six-lane marine bridge connecting Sewri with Nhava Sheva to its east across the Thane creek. L&T secured this part of the contract in partnership with IHI Corporation, a Japanese heavy machinery maker.
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