Current Affairs : Economy
 

  • Honda may develop cheaper hybrid cars to cater to price-sensitive markets, including India. Currently, hybrid cars are expensive to buy in the country as they attract 43% duty under GST, compared with electric vehicles that are taxed at 12%.
  • "Hybrids can be used with the existing infrastructure. Our purpose is to come up with hybrid vehicles that customers can choose, including the price," said Takahiro Hachigo, president & CEO of Honda Motor Company.
  • "That is what Honda needs to focus on rather than think about the policies that the Indian government has put into place." Honda has rolled out a strategy to get 65% of its global sales from electrified vehicles by 2030. Of the 65%, 50% would be hybrid and plug-in hybrids, while 15% would be zero-emission vehicles, including those using fuel cells.
  • The Indian government wants the country to move completely towards electric vehicles by 2030. Hachigo said Honda will work to make gasoline engines more efficient.
  • "We have sold over two million hybrid vehicles but when it comes to India, we still do not know to what extent hybrids can grow and nor do we understand how much electric vehicles are likely to increase," said Hachigo.
  • On the sidelines of the recently concluded Tokyo Motor Show in Japan, Honda showcased hybrid variants of its popular cars, including a race version of its plug-in hybrid sedan Clarity. But senior Honda executives told TOI that none of the models are planned for the Indian market currently.
  • However, Honda India Cars president & CEO Yoichiro Ueno confirmed that the company is planning to bring in six new models to India in the next three years. The new models will be assembled in the country and may include hybrid cars.

  • The richest 1 per cent of people in the world now own half of the planet's wealth, according to a new report that highlights breathtaking levels of global inequality.
  • The study reveals how the super-rich have profited from the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, seeing their proportion of the world's wealth increase from 42.5 per cent in the midst of the crisis to 50.1 per cent now.
  • According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, the top 1 per cent are now worth a total of £106 trillion - around eight times more than the size of the US economy. The wealthiest 10 per cent of people, meanwhile, own 87.8 per cent of global wealth.
  • "The downward trend reversed after 2008 and the share of the top 1 per cent has been on an upward path ever since, passing the 2000 level in 2013 and achieving new peaks every year thereafter," the report says.
  • The gaping inequality has resulted in a huge rise in the number of millionaires and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (those worth more than $30m). Since 2000, the number of millionaires in the world has risen by 170 per cent, to 36 million, while the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals has increased five times over.
  • The UK has the third highest number of millionaires - 6 per cent of the total.The report states: "Increasing inequality can boost the speed at which new millionaires are created."At the other extreme, the poorest half of the world's population - 3.5 billion people - own just 2.7 per cent of global wealth, which grew faster in the last year than at any time since 2010, reaching a total of $280 trillion.

  • Delhi's upscale Khan market has moved up four positions to become the world's 24th most expensive retail location even as it continues to be the costliest to hire a shop in India, according to Cushman and Wakefield report.
  • Monthly rentals at Khan market stood stable at Rs 1,250 per sq ft in the past one year, but still its ranking improved. In the 2016 report, it was placed 28th.
  • "Delhi's Khan market has emerged as the most expensive retail location in India and has clinched the 24th position in global rankings," the consultant said.
  • The rise of Khan market in the global rankings since 2016 is because of a drop in rentals in some key global markets, it added. New York's Upper 5th Avenue retained its numero uno position while Hong Kong's Causeway Bay and London's Bond Street were ranked second and third, respectively.
  • The survey took into consideration over 400 retail locations globally across 66 countries for the annual survey.
  • "The retail sector in India has remained cautious in activities even though there was a visible momentum in leasing across main streets as well as shopping centres," said Anshul Jain, Country Head and MD-India, Cushman and Wakefield.

  • On the 128th birth anniversary on 14 Nov of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, widely celebrated as Children's Day across the country, Google decided to sport a playful Doodle celebrating 131 years of the hole puncher.
  • "on 14 Nov we celebrate 131 years of the hole puncher, an understated but essential artifact of German engineering.
  • As modern workplaces trek further into the digital frontier, this centuries-old tool remains largely, wonderfully, the same," Google said.
  • The decision has amused social media users in India.
  • "#Google #Doodle pays tribute to hole puncher on 131st anniversary ! missed #ChildrensDay? asked one Twitter user.Google Doodle recently honoured Urdu author Abdul Qavi Desnavi and Himalayan explorer Nain Singh Rawat.
  • The hole punch was invented by German entrepreneur and inventor Friedrich Soennecken.

  • India is likely to achieve strong growth over the next decade and will overtake Japan in nominal GDP by 2028, to emerge as the world's third largest economy, says a foreign brokerage report.
  • The country has already overtaken Brazil and Russia to emerge as the second largest BRIC economy after China and is well on track to cross France and Britain to emerge as the world's fifth largest economy after Germany by 2019.
  • "We see India crossing Germany and Japan in nominal GDP in dollar term by 2028. This assumes that the Indian economy grows at 10 per cent (in nominal US GDP) in the next decade, well ahead of Japan's 1.6 per cent," a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report said on 13 Nov.
  • The American brokerage has conservatively projected the country's real GDP growth at 7 per cent potential.Last year the economy closed at $2.26 trillion. But the report did not quantify the size of the economy by 2028 when it would be the third largest after China and the US.
  • The report titled, 'India 2028: The last BRICK in the Wall', said falling dependency ratios, financial maturity and increasing incomes and affordability are the three key drivers for the country to stand among the large emerging economies.

  • In a major move, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided not to pursue a proposal for introduction of Islamic banking in the country.
  • Replying to an RTI query, the central bank said the decision was taken after considering "the wider and equal opportunities" available to all citizens to access banking and financial services
  • Islamic or Sharia banking is a finance system based on the principles of not charging interest, which is prohibited under Islam.
  • The issue of introduction of Islamic banking in India was examined by the RBI and the government of India, it said."Taking into account, the wider and equal opportunities available to all citizens to access banking and financial services, it has been decided not to pursue the proposal further," the central bank said in its reply to the RTI application filed by this PTI correspondent.
  • The RBI was asked to provide details of steps being taken for the introduction of Islamic or 'interest-free' banking in India
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on August 28, 2014 launched Jan Dhan Yojana, a national mission to bring about comprehensive financial inclusion of all the households in the country
  • In late 2008, a committee on Financial Sector Reforms, headed by former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, had stressed on the need for a closer look at the issue of interest-free banking in the country.

  • Nearly a month after dairy giant Amul approached the Indian Railways on its official Twitter handle with a business proposition to use refrigerated parcel vans to transport butter across India, the first shipment is on its way.
  • "First refrigerator van with 17 MT #Amul butter being flagged off from Palanpur to Delhi with our milk train. Thanks @RailMinIndia for the prompt action," Amul tweeted on11 Nov.
  • On October 23, Amul had reached out to the railway ministry on its Twitter handle for advice on the proposition, saying the dairy major was "interested in using refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul butter across India."
  • The Railways promptly responded on the micro-blogging site, using a popular tag line of the company. "IR will be utterly butterly delighted to get the taste of India to every Indian," the ministry's handle @RailMinIndia tweeted.
  • The national transporter uses Twitter extensively to address passenger woes. But that was perhaps the first time it received a business proposition on the popular social site.

  • Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on 11 Nov.said debit and credit cards as well as ATMs will be redundant in next three-four years and people will use their mobile phones for financial transactions.
  • He further said that with India being a country where 72 per cent population is below 32 years of age, it will have an advantage over other regions like the US and Europe in terms of demographic dividend.
  • "India will make credit cards, debit cards and ATMs technologically redundant in next 3-4 years and we all will be using mobiles for doing many transactions," Kant said at Amity University Noida campus where he was felicitated with an honorary doctorate degree.
  • Kant said that India is the only country in the world with billion biometrics and as many mobile phones and bank accounts and therefore, in future, it will be the only nation which will make a lot of disruptions.More financial transactions will be done on mobile phones and this trend is already rising spirally, he said.
  • "India is growing at around 7.5 per cent per annum and it is an oasis of growth in the midst of a very barren economic landscape across the world but our challenge is to grow at even higher rates of 9-10 per cent," Kant said.

  • Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, said its Singles' Day sales surged past last year's total just after midday 11 Nov, hitting a record $18 billion, pointing to a likely giant haul for the world's biggest shopping event.
  • Once a celebration for China's lonely hearts, Singles' Day has become an annual 24-hour extravaganza that exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States, and acts as a barometer for China's consumers.
  • After a star-studded event in Shanghai late Friday to ring in the event, which is held each year on November 11, the volume of goods sold on Alibaba's platforms raced past a billion dollars in two minutes and hit $10 billion in just over an hour.
  • The company's tills are set to shut at midnight 11 Nov.At just past the halfway mark, the gross merchandise value swept past last year's dollar total of $17.7 billion. Shortly afterwards, sales surpassed 120.7 billion yuan, the total in 2016 in the local currency, which has appreciated against the dollar in the past year.
  • The event gets shoppers around China scouting for bargains and loading up their online shopping carts, while delivery men - and robots - are braced for an estimated 1.5 billion parcels expected over the next six days.
  • "This is a big event for China, for the Chinese economy," Joseph Tsai, Ali Baba's co-founder and vice chairman, said ahead of the sales bonanza. "On Singles' Day, shopping is a sport, it's entertainment."
  • Tsai said rising disposable incomes of China's "over 300 million middle-class consumers" was helping drive the company's online sales - and would continue. "This powerful group is propelling the consumption of China," he said.

  • Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) has asked high performing employees in certain bands to take cash instead of granting stock options as is the norm.
  • In a communication sent to senior managers and associate directors who were rated EA (Exceeds All), the company has asked them to take cash instead of taking employee stock options citing reasons of the buyback program it has embarked upon.
  • Earlier this year, the US-headquartered company announced its plan to return return $3.4 billion to its shareholders over the next two years through share repurchase and dividends. The company kicked off its $1.5 billion accelerated share repurchase program in the first-quarter of 2017 and has been handing out a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share every quarter.
  • On completion of the accelerated share repurchase program, the company will buyback $1.2 billion shares between 2017-18.
  • The announcement of buyback along with a host of changes including a voluntary separation scheme for senior employees, changes in its board and formation of a financial policy committee came after CTS saw pressure from activist investor Elliott Management which holds 4% stake last November.
  • In February this year, CTS entered into a cooperation agreement with Elliott Management, committing to a strategic plan which includes expanding non-GAAP operating margins to 22%, in 2019.

  • Gold prices dipped by Rs 80 to Rs 30,450 per 10 grams at the bullion market today, tracking a weak trend overseas amid easing demand from local jewellers.
  • Silver eased further by Rs 175 to Rs 40,400 per kg on poor offtake by industrial units and coin makers.
  • Traders said apart from a weak trend overseas, fall in demand from local jewellers and retailers at existing levels led to the decline in gold prices.
  • Globally, gold fell by 0.75 per cent to $1,274.90 an ounce and silver by 0.53 per cent to $16.86 an ounce in New York in 10 Nov trade.
  • In the national capital, gold of 99.9 per cent and 99.5 per cent purity drifted lower by Rs 80 each to Rs 30,450 and Rs 30,300 per 10 grams, respectively. The precious metal had gained Rs 80 on 10 Nov.Sovereign, however, ruled flat at Rs 24,700 per piece of eight grams.
  • In a similar fashion, silver ready moved down by Rs 175 to Rs 40,400 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs 160 to Rs 39,500 per kg.Silver coins, however, remained unaltered at Rs 74,000 for buying and Rs 75,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

  • The GST Council on 10 Nov decided to reduce tax rate on a wide range of mass use items from chewing gums to detergents to 18 per cent from current 28 per cent, Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said.
  • The all-powerful council pruned the list of items attracting the top 28 per cent tax rate to just 50 from 227 previously, Modi told reporters here. In effect, the council, in its 23rd meet on 10 Nov , cut rates on 177 goods.
  • Facing intense heat from opposition-ruled states over keeping mass used goods in the 28 per cent bracket which was meant for luxury and de-merit goods, the Council pruned the list to 50 as against 62 that was recommended by its fitment committee.
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST), implemented from July 1, has five tax slabs of 0 per cent, 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.
  • "There were 227 items in the 28 per cent slab. The fitment committee had recommended that it should be pruned to 62 items. But the GST Council has further pruned 12 more items," Modi said.
  • He said all types of chewing gum, chocolates, preparation for facial make-up, shaving and after-shave items, shampoo deodorants, washing powder detergent and granite and marble will attract lower 18 per cent tax rate.
  • "There was unanimity that in 28 per cent category there should be only sin and demerit goods.So, on 10 Nov the GST Council took a historic decision, that in the 28 per cent slab there will be only 50 items and the remaining items have been brought down to 18 per cent," he said.

  • Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW is expected to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Jaypee Associates and jointly bid to invest in Jaypee Infratech that is facing insolvency proceedings.
  • The proposal is expected to be formally announced following a meeting of the committee of Creditors that is scheduled on Friday afternoon.
  • The insolvency professional has invited bids from investors willing to pump in at least Rs 2000 crore to complete the project that involves nearly 32,000 apartments, plots and villas.
  • "Talks have been on for the last few weeks between the Gaurs and Jindal and the details including the valuation are being worked out," a source familiar with the negotiations told TOI. The details are expected to be finalised over the next four weeks or so, the source added.
  • The joint bid comes at a time when there is severe criticism of the insolvency process allowing promoters to rebid for companies that are in a financial crisis. Jaypee Associates is the main shareholder of Jaypee Infra, which was brought under insolvency proceedings at the behest of lender IDBI Bank. The bank in turn had been ordered by RBI to initiate action.
  • Jaypee Infra is the most high profile case given that nearly 25,000 flat buyers are stuck for close to a decade as the promised projects are running woefully behind schedule. Protests by home buyers has prompted the government to rework rules in a bid to protect them.

  • For the first time, Apple Inc has decided to come to an Indian engineering college with job offers. And after learning about the tech giant's presence at this year's campus recruitments, students at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H) here have found a good reason to be elated with optimism.
  • "We are elated that Apple has decided to come for our campus placements this year. We are not sure of the kind of profiles that the company will be offering. However, it will provide an opportunity to the graduating students to showcase their skills before representatives of the firm," said T V Devi Prasad, head of placements at IIITH, adding that the placements for Apple are likely to be for its Hyderabad or Bengaluru facilities.
  • Apart from Apple, the other big companies that have registered with IIITH are Microsoft, Google, and Philips to name a few.
  • Close to 350 BTech, BE, MTech and MSc (research) students from the institute have so far registered for the placement drive that is set to begin in December.
  • Officials said they observed a rise in the number of companies hiring for artificial intelligence (AI), data science, automation and deep learning this placement season.
  • "The companies will be holding technical interviews in which students who are well acquainted with Python (a computing language) will be preferred. Majority of them are offering jobs for product development and research and development profiles," said Prasad.

  • India offers "golden opportunities" for global investors in sectors such as infrastructure, transport, agriculture and food processing, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on 4 Nov.
  • Not only the country is going to offer a world class infrastructure in highways in two years, waterways and agriculture are also undergoing massive reforms that include 325 irrigation projects and massive river-interlinking programme, the Road, Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation minister said.
  • Addressing the World Food India 2017 conference on the 'Opportunities in Infrastructure Technology & Equipment', Gadkari said, "There are golden opportunities for investors in food processing, agriculture, water transport, highways, shipping and other sectors."
  • "We are bound to create a world-class infrastructure in coming two years. Of the 32 logistic parks, 24 have already been identified on National Corridors to be built at a cost of Rs 2 lakh crore. These parks will cater to key production and consumption centres accounting for 45 per cent of India's road freight," the minister said.
  • He said the work has already been started at Chennai, Bangalore, Vijaywada, Hyderabad, Surat and Guwahati for logistic parks that are designed to house cold storages and warehouses

  • About 60 companies from Japan and 12 CEOs of major firms of that country will take part in the three-day World Food India event that kicks off on 4 Nov., its envoy Kenji Hiramatsu said on Nov 3 .
  • Addressing a gathering at a reception held at the Japanese Embassy for representatives of 11 of those firms, the envoy urged both the sides to work towards "establishing a network" which can be "mutually beneficial".
  • "Japan is a partner country in the mega event that will take place in Delhi for the next three days. About 60 Japanese firms will participate in it. Our Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will be arriving on 4 Nov. to attend the event," Hiramatsu said.
  • The Ambassador said the world food event would help bring Japanese investment in India."The Indo-Japan relationship is expanding and deepening dramatically. And, the special bond between Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe is already seen in economic, politics and security fields," he said.
  • He emphasised to the investors from both the sides that there were "amazing possibilities" in the country.
  • The Embassy has put up a spread of its ethnic cuisine and Hiramatsu invited the guests to sample the Japanese delicacies from the buffet.

  • Largest public lender State Bank of India (SBI) today lowered home loan rate by 0.05 per cent to 8.30 per cent, the lowest in the industry.
  • It has also reduced the auto loan by a similar percentage point to 8.70 per cent.The reduction in the retail loan rate by SBI is expected to prompt other lenders to go for a similar move.
  • "With this reduction, SBI's offering in home loan is the lowest in the market. The new rates will be effective November 1," SBI said in a statement.
  • The reduction follows a cut in marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) two days ago, which came after a gap of 10 months. The bank had last cut the rate on January 1.
  • On the rate reduction, P K Gupta, SBI MD retail banking, said, "With this reduction in rates, we are offering lowest rates for most of our product offering in retail loans.
  • Lower rates along with wide distribution network and use of digital technology to enhance customer experience is a perfect package for any retail loan customer."
  • The effective interest rate for all eligible salaried customers will be 8.30 per cent per annum for loans up to Rs 30 lakh.Rates have been reduced by 5 basis points (0.05 per cent) in all other loan brackets.

  • The government is working with the World Bank to recognise over 200 reforms that will help propel India into the top-50 bracket in ease of doing business, according to Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) secretary Ramesh Abhishek.
  • "We have already implemented 122 reforms this year, and are working with World Bank to recognise these. We will further initiate 90 more ease of doing business reforms this year," Abhishek told reporters on the sidelines of the CII Invest North conclave.
  • Indiaon 31 oct jumped 30 places to rank 100th in the World Bank's 'ease of doing business' ranking, helped by a slew of reforms in taxation, licensing, investor protection and bankruptcy resolution.
  • "A jump of 30 positions in the World Bank rankings is extremely commendable. Now the aim is to move into the top-50 countries bracket," he added.
  • Abhishek said his department has already started meeting stakeholders and taking feedback from them on the reform measures taken by the government to improve business climate.
  • "This exercise has helped us a lot. This time we focused mainly on taking feedback from stakeholders. All nodal ministries were taking feedback," he said.
  • The Secretary also said the World Bank report has acknowledged that GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a substantial reform and "hopefully it will have a positive impact on the country's ranking next year".

  • Many individuals and small businesses could now find the tax office raking up old wounds and chasing tax demands they believed had been long forgiven. To minimise feuds between the income-tax (I-T) department and small taxpayers, the revenue authorities had in the past decided that for tax demands below certain limits, the department would not wage legal battles to recover dues.
  • These limits were fixed in February 2011 and were raised in December 2015.A recent Supreme Court ruling will now change this for many. The apex court has ruled that "the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) cannot issue any circular having retrospective operation."
  • Who all will the ruling impact?-"Many small taxpayers who had earlier faced tax demands of between Rs 4-10 lakh may be impacted. These cases, which were dismissed by the tax tribunal, may now be revived and referred back to the tribunal. This will increase litigation and assesses too will have to cough up extra legal expenses," said senior chartered accountant Dilip Lakhani.
  • In 2011, the nodal tax authority CBDT had said in a notification that the I-T department would not file an appeal at the I-T Appellate Tribunal if the tax demand is Rs 4 lakh or less. (These understandably pertain to cases where the Commissioner of Appeals which constitute the first stage of appeal had ruled in favour of the tax payer.)
  • The same circular also stated that no appeal would be filed before the high court if the amount in question is Rs 10 lakh or less, and at the Supreme Court if the tax demand is Rs 25 lakh or less. On December 10, 2015, the monetary limits for moving the tax tribunal and high court were raised to Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh, respectively, while the applicable limit for appealing before the Supreme Court was kept unchanged at Rs 25 lakh.

  • Three-fourths of light emitting diode (LED) bulbs sold in India's $1 billion market were found non-compliant with government's consumer safety standards, market research firm Nielsen said in a survey on 30 oct.
  • The report, based on a study of 200 electrical retail outlets across major cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and New Delhi in July, found the products to be spurious and riskier, with the highest number of violations in the national capital.
  • "The spurious and non-branded LED products are a serious threat to not just the organised and compliant market players but also to the government's key programs like Make in India," the report said, referring to the government's programme to set up more manufacturing units in the country.
  • In August, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had ordered LED makers to register their products with BIS for safety checks, in a market where smuggling of Chinese products is rampant
  • India is tightening quality controls for consumer and capital goods, officials say, a move that follows calls to curb cheap imports from China amid diplomatic tensions between the world's two most populous nations over their shared border.

  • Maruti Suzuki India, the country's biggest carmaker, said on Friday it planned to build electric cars as the government strives to electrify all new vehicles by 2030, though it didn't give a timeline for the process.
  • Maruti Suzuki's chairman said there was still no clear roadmap on how the government aimed to achieve its target and a lot would depend on that.
  • "We will make electric cars but I can't give you the date just now because it is all very much a work in progress," R.C. Bhargava told reporters, after the company posted a 3 percent rise in quarterly profit, beating analysts' estimates
  • India is working on a new auto policy that promotes the use of electric cars, and a draft is likely to be made public before the end of the year. This is a shift from an earlier policy that promoted hybrid and electric vehicles.
  • Sales of electric cars in India remain negligible, however, mainly due to the high cost of batteries which make the vehicles expensive and out of reach for many buyers in a country where cars are as cheap as 250,000 rupees ($3,800). A lack of charging stations also makes the whole proposition unviable for now.
  • Maruti's parent, Suzuki Motor Corp, has electric car technology which it can provide, Bhargava said, adding the Japanese company was also in talks with Toyota Motor Corp to form an alliance which may include sharing technologies like hybrid and electric.
  • Maruti dominates the small car market in India and has been launching more premium vehicles as competition heats up with newer and planned entrants such as Kia Motors and SAIC Motor Corp.

  • Powered by businesses and consumers, the US economy grew at a solid 3 annual pace last quarter despite two devastating hurricanes evidence of economic durability and all but assuring that the Federal Reserve will resume raising interest rates late this year.
  • on 27 oct figures from the government marked the first time in three years that the economy has expanded at a 3 percent or more annual rate historically, a normal pace for a healthy economy for two straight quarters.
  • More than eight years since the Great Recession officially ended, the economy is still posting consistent gains in the job market, in business investment, in consumer spending and corporate earnings.
  • Unemployment is at a 16-year low. Companies are restocking. An improving global economy is boosting US exports. Stock prices are rising in tandem with company profits.
  • The 3 percent annual growth for the July-September quarter in gross domestic product the total output of goods and services produced in the United States followed a 3.1 percent annual pace in the previous quarter. It was the strongest two-quarter showing since 2014.

  • India has 108 publicly-listed family-owned businesses, third highest in the world, while China tops the tally with 167 such companies followed by the US which has 121, says a Credit Suisse report.
  • As per the Credit Suisse Research Institute's (CSRI) latest "CS Family 1000" report, with an average market capitalisation of $ 6.5 billion, India ranks 5th in Asia Pacific excluding Japan, and 22nd globally, in terms of average m-cap.
  • Besides China, the US and India, the top 10 countries in terms of number of family-owned companies include France (4th place), Hong Kong (5th), Korea (6th), Malaysia (7th), Thailand (8th), Indonesia (9th), Mexico (10th).
  • However, in terms of average size, the ranking changes much more in favour of developed markets, the report said.
  • Average market capitalisation of family-owned companies is greatest in Spain ($ 30 billion), the Netherlands ($ 30 billion), Japan ($ 24 billion) and Switzerland ($ 22 billion), the report that covered close to 1,000 family-owned, publicly-listed companies by region, sector and size said.
  • It further said Indian companies surveyed are more mature, with 60 per cent of family businesses in their third generation compared to 30 per cent of Chinese companies.

  • The government on 24 oct increased the minimum support price (MSP) of six rabi (winter-sown) crops - wheat, mustard, barley, masoor (lentil), gram and safflower - for the crop year 2017-18. The move is expected to boost acreage and production of these crops.
  • The MSP rate at which the government procures grain from farmers of wheat was increased by Rs 110 per quintal, from Rs 1,625 per quintal in 2016-17 to Rs 1,735 per quintal in 2017-18, an increase of 6.8%.
  • The increase in MSPs of pulses and oilseeds was higher. The MSP of gram was increased from Rs 4,000 per quintal last year to Rs 4,400 per quintal in 2017-18 - a hike of Rs 400 (10%) per quintal.
  • Similarly, the MSP of masoor stands increased by 7.6% (from Rs 3,950 per quintal to Rs 4,250 per quintal), mustard by 8.1% (from Rs 3,700 to Rs 4,000 per quintal) and barley by 6.4% (from Rs 1,325 per quintal to Rs 1,410 per quintal). The MSP of safflower has seen the maximum hike of 10.8% - from Rs 3,700 per quintal to Rs 4,100 per quintal. Sowing of all these crops will begin soon. These crops will be harvested in March and be ready for procurement from next year April onwards.
  • The decision to hike the MSP was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Officials said that the new support prices were in line with the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.

  • Tech freelancers are on a roll, specially those that are into new-age technologies. A severe shortage of these skills is also encouraging many full-time employees to become independent workers offering their expertise to multiple companies and earning much more than in their erstwhile positions.
  • A study by Manipal Global Education - one of India's largest education services groups - says that with 15 million independent workers, India is second only to the US (60 million) in terms of the number of freelancers.
  • The study, shared exclusively with TOI, says there's been a boom of freelancers because of growth of internet and mobile phones.
  • The most common roles that freelancers are present in are data visualisation, data mining, digital marketing and social media, says A P Ramabhadran, CEO, professional learning unit, Manipal Global Education.
  • "Specific areas like Google digital marketing, data science, analytics, Android and iOS app development programs are witnessing a significant shift towards individuals choosing to be entrepreneurs and freelancers," he says. Thammaiah B, India managing director at staffing solutions firm Kelly Services, says the technology transformation is helping the sector's gig economy to evolve to a level seen only in the US.
  • "In India, the gig economy used to be an extrapolation of temporary and contract employees. However, that is changing with the innovation required at IT companies demanding newer skills. You cannot have a single homogenous group of talent anymore in a team. And what you need may be only avai lable when you go shopping for talent with very specific requirements," he says.
  • On Freelancer.com, one of the largest global online platforms where freelancers can offer their services, the number of registered people from India is the highest, at more than 20 per cent of the total. The portal currently has around 5.3 million people from India, and 3.3 million from the US.

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