QBiz: EPF Interest Rate Hiked; Govt To Auction 66 Oilfields
1. EPF Interest Rate Hiked to 8.65% Ahead of Elections 2019
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), the retirement fund manager under the Union labour ministry, raised on Thursday, 21 February, interest rate on deposits for its 60 million subscribers to 8.65 percent for 2018-19, paring its reserves to the lowest level in three years.
This is a 10 basis point increase from the 8.55 percent EPF interest rate announced by the retirement fund for 2017-18. It is the same as in 2016-17 but less than the 8.8 percent paid out in the previous years.
2. RBI MPC Minutes: Spurring GDP Growth Now a Priority Amid Low Inflation Outlook
India needs to take steps to boost economic growth as the inflation outlook remains low, the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy committee (MPC) said in minutes released on Thursday, 21 February.
Most of the six-member MPC were in favour of spurring growth in Asia's third largest economy amid a soft inflation outlook on a sustained fall in food prices, minutes of the February MPC meeting showed.
The MPC delivered a surprise repo rate cut in a 4-2 split vote earlier this month while members unanimously agreed to move the policy stance to "neutral" from "calibrated tightening".
3. Govt To Auction 66 Oilfields of ONGC And Oil India For Private Firms
India plans to auction 66 small oil and gas fields of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. and Oil India Ltd. as it tries to step up production to reduce the import bill of the world’s third-biggest consumer of fossil fuel.
“These small discovered fields will be auctioned for private companies,” newswire PTI reported quoting Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan as saying.
Sixty-two fields of ONGC and four of Oil India will be auctioned, another government official told BloombergQuint. The process will be initiated in six months, the official said requesting anonymity.
4. Parliamentary Panel Summons Top Bosses of Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has asked the top bosses at Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to appear before it on 6 March. Last week, the same panel had kicked up a storm after it sent out a similar summons to microblogging platform Twitter.
Refusing to meet any local representative, the panel asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to show up or send a senior global executive from the San Francisco-based social networking firm.
While questions were being raised over why Twitter was being singled out, the committee had recently said that it would call the other social media companies too for questioning.
5. Tejas Mark 1A to Fly by 2022 If Defence Ministry Issues Contract This Year
An advanced version of the Tejas light fighter could fly by 2022, said Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) on Thursday, 21 February, a day when Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and principal scientific advisor to the government Vijay Raghavan both took flights in the fighter at the Aero India 2019 show in Bengaluru.
However, that depends on a crucial step: the Ministry of Defence (MoD) must place the contract for 83 Tejas Mark 1A fighters this year. HAL executives point out that building a complex fighter from ground up requires three years. For each year delay in ordering, there will be a corresponding delay in delivery.
6. Oyo Rooms May Join the Food Fight With Freshmenu Stake
Oyo Rooms (Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd), India’s third most valuable startup, is in advanced talks to buy a significant stake in cloud-kitchen startup FreshMenu, according to two people directly familiar with the matter. If the negotiations are successful, Oyo will add the online food delivery business to its portfolio, complementing its budget hotels business.
Discussions with FreshMenu come just months after Oyo raised close to $1 billion, boosting the hospitality chain’s valuation to nearly $5 billion.
Also Read : OYO Hotels names Aditya Ghosh as South Asia CEO
7. Airlines ‘Requested’ To Give Passengers Letters On Govt’s Achievements
Months before the nation goes to polls, the Civil Aviation Ministry has "requested" airlines flying on domestic routes to give their passengers a letter written by Suresh Prabhu that enlists various "achievements and initiatives" of the Narendra Modi government in the aviation sector.
The airlines operating on the domestic routes have been sent a note along with the letter written by Prabhu, a copy of which has been accessed by PTI.
"I am directed to forward herewith a letter from Honourable Minister of Civil Aviation (Suresh Prabhu) and to request you to forward it to all the passengers travelling in your airline," stated the note dated February 20, which was sent to all scheduled domestic passengers airlines.
8. HAL Taps Into Credit Lines To Tide Over Cash Crunch
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. has tapped into credit lines to tide over cash crunch, according to its Director of Finance CP Ananthkrishnan.
India’s largest aeronautical company has been facing cash-flow concerns due to piling receivables—or pending payments—from clients. These more than doubled since March 2017 to Rs 9,845 crore as of September 2018.
The payments are mostly due from the government as HAL gets more than 90 percent of its revenue from Indian Air Force.
9. Reliance Capital Invites Nippon Life to Buy 43% Stake in Its MF Business
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group has decided to put on the block its stake in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management, a prized asset operating in the Rs 24-trillion domestic mutual fund (MF) industry.
On Thursday, 21 February, Reliance Capital said it had invited equal joint venture partner Nippon Life Insurance of Japan to acquire its 42.9 percent stake in the asset manager.
Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management, commonly referred to as Reliance MF, has the highest market capitalisation among the seven listed companies belonging to the Anil Ambani group.