Economy News-Daily Digest: 2 Key Updates
1. MPC to continue with 3-day format for monetary policy meet
The RBI will continue with the three-day meeting format of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which decides on the key interest rate.
The MPC, headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel, used to meet for two-days, but last the meeting was stretched to three days owing to “certain administrative exigencies”.
2. Vodafone-Idea merger: DoT puts Rs 6,000-crore condition
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has granted a conditional clearance to the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, a combination that would create the country’s biggest mobile company. While the two companies had received an unconditional clearance from the Competition Commission of India last year, the DoT has asked them to pay out a total of over Rs 6,000 crore upon which the government’s clearance is conditional. The DoT has sought Rs 3,976 crore for one time spectrum charge of Vodafone India, and a joint bank guarantee of Rs 3,342 crore. The DoT’s conditions are based on the spectrum cap guidelines, which were eased by the Cabinet earlier this year. The combined firm, which will be known as Vodafone Idea Ltd, will create the country’s largest telecom operator worth over $23 billion, with a 35 per cent market share and a subscriber base of around 430 million. Currently, with around 310 million subscribers, Bharti Airtel is the biggest mobile company in India. In the new merged entity, Vodafone Group will own 45.1 per cent stake, Idea’s parent Aditya Birla Group will have 26 per cent and the remaining 28.9 per cent will be held by Idea’s shareholders. The Aditya Birla Group has the right to acquire up to 9.5 per cent additional stake from Vodafone under an agreed mechanism with a view to equalising the shareholdings over time.
3. Ease of doing business: Andhra Pradesh tops ranking; Telangana and Haryana follow
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana have scored first, second and third spots, respectively, in annual ease of doing business rankings for states and Union territories, released by the World Bank and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Others in the top-10 states are Jharkhand (4), Gujarat (5), Chhattisgarh (6), Madhya Pradesh (7), Karnataka (8), Rajasthan (9) and West Bengal (10). Andhra Pradesh had scored the top spot in the previous year, too.
DIPP, in collaboration with the World Bank, conducts this annual reform exercise for all states and Union territories under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP). The assessment under the BRAP 2017 is based on a combined score consisting of ‘reform evidence score’ that is based on evidence uploaded by states and Union territories as well as ‘feedback score’ that is based on response garnered from the actual users of the services provided to the businesses. It is for the first time that DIPP has introduced taking feedback to ensure that the reforms have actually reached ground-level.
4. India to hold first ever India Tourism Mart
To increase tourist footfalls, India will organise its first-ever India Tourism Mart (ITM) for three days from September 16. To be held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, it would be similar to major