1. Automobile sales for December fell the most for a month in 16 years pointing to a possible impact of demonetisation prompting consumers to delay their purchases of cars, motorcycles and trucks. Data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers shows that sales of two-wheelers slid 22% in December 2016 compared to the figure in December 2015, marking the highest monthly contraction since SIAM started recording the data since 1997.
2. Air India launched a ‘Fly For Sure’ scheme under which passengers can pay ₹2,000 and board any other Air India flight on the same sector on the same day on missing their booked flight. The voucher will be non-refundable and can be availed on all domestic routes offered by AI. Low-cost airline SpiceJet had launched a similar scheme last year.
3. McDonald’s is planning a breakfast revolution with a branded menu that will include culinary delights that range from the quaint -masala dosa burgers with molaga podi sauce -to the familiar -anda bhurji. The McBreakfast is aimed at luring consumers early in the day with new dishes, some of which will only be available in the morning. The new menu is a combination of continental and Indian options and will be launched initially in Mumbai and then across India.
4. The government has, for the first time, decided to fund up to 60% of the R&D cost for developing indigenous low-cost electric technology that will help power two-, three-wheelers and commercial vehicles operating in public spaces.
5. Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) is planning to raise Rs. 1,800 crore through the Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) route. The money would be raised privately from Indian and foreign investors.
6. A group of cyber experts is working for RBI’s tech arm IDRBT to create malware to attack the vulnerabilities in banks’ security networks. The cyber expert group consists of young researchers in cyber security and faculty at the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT). The institute set up the group, IB-CART (Indian Banks – Center for Analysis of Risks and Threats), to help banks create a safety net to contain cyber attacks. The attacks are done on dummy sites, not on the main sites, so as not to disrupt banking transactions. The feedback is shared with banks to help them upgrade their security systems. As many as 67 banks have joined the initiative started by the institute to get their cyber security preparedness tested.
7. HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company has launched a new policy- Trade Credit Insurance Policy, which safeguards businesses against the risks of non-payment for the goods or services delivered to the buyers. Under the new policy, also known as Credit Insurance Policy, the insurer covers a portfolio of buyers and pays an agreed percentage of the invoice or receivables that remain unpaid as a result of insolvency, bankruptcy or protracted default.
8. National University of Singapore won the 14th edition of ‘Quiz on the Beach’ event at Malpe beach in Udupi district. The Manipal-based TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) hosted the event.
9. Private sector Axis Bank became the third lender in the country to announce usage of block chain solutions for its operations. For this purpose, Axis Bank has tied up with fintech firm Ripple. The bank will use this upcoming technology for its cross-border remittances. ICICI Bank was the first to announce block chain solutions in for international trade finance and remittances in October 2016. It was followed up by Yes Bank (launched in January 2017) for its will be using the technology for vendor financing.
10. The World Bank released its flagship ‘Global Economic Prospects’ report in which it has decelerated India’s growth for 2016-17 fiscal to 7% from its previous estimate of 7.6%. One of the reason given for decline in growth figures is to unexpected demonetisation of high-value currency notes. However, report mentions that India still retains its position as the world’s fastest growing major economy ahead of China. It also held that demonetisation could also pose a risk to other reforms such as the goods and services tax and labour and land reforms. But over the medium term, demonetisation may lead to liquidity expansion in the banking system, helping lower lending rates and lift economic activity.
11. Real estate portals PropTiger.com and Housing.com announced their merger. Both companies have merged with it in an all-stock deal to form India’s largest online real estate services company. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is the largest shareholder in PropTiger.com and Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank is the biggest investor in Housing.com. Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder of PropTiger will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the joint entity. By 2030, India is expected to be the third largest real estate market in the world with the sector contributing to over 15% of the national gross domestic product (GDP).
12. According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Reliance Jio has beaten beat telcos Airtel, Vodafone and others, to become the fastest 4G service provider in India in December 2016. In October, TRAI had revealed that Jio was India’s slowest 4G operator.
13. IBM has become the first company to receive more than 8,000 US patents in one year in 2016. With 8,088 patents, IBM received an average of 22 patents per day last year. IBM was followed by Samsung and Canon with 5,518 and 3,665 patents respectively. Technology major Google received the fifth most number of patents at 2,835.