1. SBI Card launches 'SimplySave Merchant SBI Card' for MSMEs
SBI Cards and Payment Services Limited (SBI Card), India's largest standalone credit card company, launched 'SimplySave Merchant SBI Card', an exclusive credit card tailored for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
An Overview of the News
The card, aimed at MSME merchants, was launched by State Bank of India (SBI) Chairman Dinesh Khara during the Global Fintech Fest held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The primary objective of 'SimplySave Merchant SBI Card' is to address the need for convenient and quick access to formal credit options for MSMEs.
This credit card operates within the RuPay network and can also be integrated with the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), thereby facilitating payments through various UPI-enabled third-party applications.
SBI Cards and Payment Services Limited, a subsidiary of State Bank of India (SBI), was earlier known as SBI Cards and Payment Services Private Limited (SBICPSL).
About State Bank of India
Established in 1806 as the Bank of Calcutta, it was later renamed the Imperial Bank of India.
Nationalized by the Government of India in 1955, it became the State Bank of India.
Provides personal banking, corporate banking, agricultural banking and international banking services.
Personal banking services include savings and current accounts, loans, credit cards and investment products.
SBI promotes digital banking with initiatives like YONO and SBI Quick.
Received awards such as Best Bank Award by Euromoney Magazine and Best Retail BankAward in India by Asian Banker.
The headquarters is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
2. Launch of 'CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal' by Union Home Minister and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah
On 18 July 2023, Union Home Minister and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the 'CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal' in New Delhi.
An Overview of the News
The Ministry of Cooperatives is actively working to strengthen the cooperative movement in India and protect the interests of cooperative members.
The Ministry of Cooperatives filed an application in the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India to address the grievances of the genuine members and depositors of the Cooperative Societies of Sahara Group.
On March 29, 2023, the Supreme Court ordered the transfer of Rs 5000 crore from the "Sahara-SEBI Refund Account" to the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS) for payment to valid depositors.
Objective of the Portal:
'CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal' has been developed to facilitate submission of valid claims by genuine depositors of Sahara Group of Co-operative Societies.
Eligible depositors include members of Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Limited, Saharayan Universal Multipurpose Society Limited, Hamara India Credit Cooperative Society Limited and Stars Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited.
With the launch of the portal, the refund process has been streamlined, ensuring that genuine depositors receive their dues from Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies.
It exemplifies the commitment of the government to protect the interests of cooperative members and strengthen the cooperative movement across the country.
3. Foxconn pulls out of joint venture with Vedanta to make semiconductors
On 10 July 2023, India's Make in India initiative suffered a major loss when Vedanta Limited's agreement with Taiwanese company Foxconn to manufacture semiconductors in India was cancelled.
An Overview of the news:
- It was established production for semiconductors in India.
- According to a report, the company has expressed confidence about India's semiconductor development. The company will fully support the "Make in India" campaign of the Government of India.
- According to Vedanta, it will work with local partners to meet the needs of its stakeholders.
- Foxconn and Vedanta last year signed an agreement to invest $19.5 billion to build a semiconductor and display production plant in Gujarat.
- Vedanta Limited is an Indian multinational mining company headquartered in New Delhi,
- Founder: Dwarka Prasad Agarwal
- Established: 25 June 1965
- CEO: Sunil Duggal
- Subsidiaries: Hindustan Zinc, Bharat Aluminum Company, More
- Parent organization: Vedanta Resources
4. Union Cabinet approved PM-PRANAM scheme
The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 28 June approved the PM-PRANAM Scheme.
An overview of the news
The scheme is aimed at incentivising states to use alternative, non-chemical fertilisers.
The cavinet also decided to continue the current urea subsidy for three years starting FY23, with an outlay of Rs 3.68 trillion.
About PM-PRANAM Scheme
The full name of PM PRANAM is Promotion of Alternative Nutrients for Agriculture Management Scheme.
Aim of the Scheme :
to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers
Reducing the subsidy burden on chemical fertilisers, which is projected to reach Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2022-23 - 39 per cent more than last year's figure of Rs 1.62 lakh crore.
70 percent of the grant provided under the scheme can be used for asset creation related to technology adoption of alternative fertilizers and alternative fertilizer production units at village, block and district level.
Introduction of sulphur-coated urea (Urea Gold)
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has made a significant decision to introduce sulphur-coated urea, also known as Urea Gold, in the country.
This move aims to address the issue of sulphur deficiency in the soil.
Sulphur-coated urea offers a more economical and efficient solution compared to other types of urea available in the market.
It provides a higher nitrogen absorption rate, leading to better crop productivity.
Conventional urea typically has a nitrogen absorption rate of around 30%.
Neem-coated urea, which is another alternative, offers a higher absorption rate of 50%.
5. Union Cabinet approves highest ever Fair and Remunerative Price for Sugarcane Farmers
The Union Cabinet on 28th June has approved a fair and remunerative price of 315 rupees per quintal for sugarcane farmers for the season 2023-24.
An overview of the news
This decision is aimed at benefiting five crore sugarcane farmers and their dependents, as well as five lakh workers employed in the sugar mills and related ancillary activities.
It is important to note that this price is the highest ever offered to sugarcane farmers, demonstrating the government's commitment to supporting the agricultural sector.
National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023
The government has decided to introduce the NRF Bill, 2023, which aims to strengthen the research ecosystem in the country.
The Union Cabinet has approved this bill, which will establish the NRF as an apex body responsible for seeding, growing, and promoting research and development.
The bill intends to foster a culture of research and innovation throughout India's universities, colleges, and research institutions.
Objectives of NRF
The NRF will provide high-level strategic direction for scientific research in India.
Over the next five years, the NRF is expected to receive a total estimated cost of 50 thousand crore rupees.
By repealing the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) established in 2008, the NRF will take on an expanded mandate, covering activities beyond those of SERB.
This will enable the NRF to forge collaborations among industry, academia, government departments, and research institutions.
Collaboration and Participation
The NRF will create an interface mechanism to facilitate the participation and contribution of industries, state governments, scientific ministries, and line ministries in research activities.
By encouraging collaboration between different stakeholders, such as industry, academia, and government, the NRF aims to enhance the impact of scientific research and promote innovation.
6. Center extends financial incentives to 12 states to accelerate power sector reforms
Centre has provided financial incentives to 12 states to accelerate power sector reforms. These states will receive over 66 thousand crore rupees incentives for reforms in the power sector.
An overview of the news
This initiative aims to support and motivate states in implementing reforms that enhance the efficiency and performance of the power sector.
The announcement regarding this initiative was made in the Union Budget 2021-22 by the Union Finance Minister.
As part of the initiative, states are granted an additional borrowing space of up to 0.5 percent of their Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) annually for a period of four years, from 2021-22 to 2024-25.
Based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Finance has granted permission for the reforms undertaken by 12 state governments in the years 2021-22 and 2022-23.
As a result, these states have been allowed to raise financial resources of Rs 66,413 crore through the additional borrowing permissions over the past two financial years.
Each State as an incentive to embark on the reform process is as follows:
Cumulative amount (Rs in crore)
7. MSME Ministry launches ‘CHAMPIONS 2.0 Portal’, ‘Mobile App’ and 'MSME Idea Hackathon 3.0'
The Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) celebrated 'Udyami Bharat-MSME Day' on International MSME Day (27th June).
An overview of the news
The event was attended by Narayan Rane, the Union Minister for MSME, as the Chief Guest, and Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, the Union Minister of State for MSME, as the Guest of Honor.
The occasion marked the launch of various initiatives by the Ministry of MSME to support the growth and development of MSMEs.
These initiatives included the 'CHAMPIONS 2.0 Portal' and the 'Mobile App for Geo-tagging of Cluster Projects and Technology Centers', which were launched by the Chief Guest and Guest of Honor.
The results for the 'MSME Idea Hackathon 2.0' were announced, and the launch of 'MSME Idea Hackathon 3.0' specifically for women entrepreneurs took place.
During the event, both Union Ministers presented certificates to Gold and Silver ZED-certified MSMEs, motivating and recognizing their achievements.
Additionally, a digital release of a subsidy worth 400 crore rupees was made to 10,075 beneficiaries of the new Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) units.
Significance of MSMEs in India's GDP
Narayan Rane highlighted the significance of MSMEs in India's GDP and exports.
He expressed his hope that MSMEs would contribute to 50% of the country's GDP by 2030.
He congratulated all stakeholders and encouraged them to work towards making India a USD 5 trillion economy.
Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma acknowledged the role of Indian MSMEs in the growth of the country's economy.
He mentioned that since 2014, India's GDP ranking has significantly improved, moving from the 10th position to the 5th position.
8. Sarbananda Sonowal launches New CSR guidelines ‘Sagar Samajik Sahayog’
The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal, has introduced a set of new corporate social responsibility (CSR) guidelines called 'Sagar Samajik Sahayog' by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways.
An overview of the news
The purpose of these guidelines is to enable ports to effectively address local community issues in a collaborative and efficient manner.
CSR funding guidelines
Under the new CSR guidelines, ports in India will allocate a specific percentage of their net annual profit towards CSR activities.
The allocation will be based on the turnover of each port for the year.
Ports with an annual turnover of less than Rs 100 crores will allocate 3-5% of their net annual profit towards CSR initiatives.
Ports with a turnover between Rs 100 to 500 crores will allocate 2-3% of their net annual profit for CSR activities.
Ports with a turnover exceeding Rs 500 crores will allocate 0.5-2% of their net annual profit towards CSR initiatives.
Additionally, two percent of the total CSR expenses will be dedicated to project monitoring by the ports.
This allocation ensures effective implementation and monitoring of the respective CSR projects undertaken by the ports.
20% of CSR expenses must be earmarked to Sainik Kalyan Board at district level, National Maritime Heritage Complex and National Youth Development Fund.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Under CSR, companies integrate social and environmental concerns with their business partners with their stakeholders.
It is regulated under Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013.
India is the first country in the world to make CSR mandatory.
The provision of CSR is applicable to companies whose net worth is more than ₹ 500 crores or turnover is more than ₹ 1000 crores or net profit is more than ₹ 5 crores.
Certain categories of profitable companies are required to spend at least two per cent of their annual average net profit for three years on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
Promotion of education
Gender equality and women empowerment
Eradication of poverty and hunger
Preparing to fight HIV and other diseases
Ensuring environmental balance
Improvement in infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate in the country.
Contribution to Prime Minister's National Relief Fund
Promoting sports, Slum area development etc.
9. CCI approves acquisition of TCNS Clothing by Aditya Birla Fashion
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on 27th June approved the acquisition of TCNS Clothing Co Limited by Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited.
An overview of the news
ABFRL is a listed company and a part of the Aditya Birla group of companies.
It operates in the retail industry, specifically in the apparel, footwear, and accessories segments.
The company sells branded products through various channels, including retail stores, online platforms, and e-commerce marketplaces.
TCNS Clothing is another listed company that specializes in the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of women's apparel, jewelry, footwear, and beauty products.
It owns several brands such as W, Aurelia, Wishful, Elleven, and Folk Song.
In May of the current year, ABFRL announced its plan to acquire a 51% stake in TCNS Clothing.
The deal involved a combination of cash and equity and valued the promoter stake at approximately Rs 1,650 crore.
ABFRL reported a loss of Rs 186.94 crore in the fiscal fourth quarter of FY 2022-23, compared to a profit of Rs 43.59 crore in the same quarter of the previous year.
Competition Commission of India (CCI)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the chief national competition regulator in India.
It was set up under the Competition Act, 2002
It comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
It promotes healthy market competition and prevents activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India.
CCI also approves combinations under the act so that two merging entities do not overtake the market.
Headquarter - New Delhi
Current Chairman - Ravneet Kaur
10. Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare signed a MOU with Pixxel Space India Pvt Limited
The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Pixxel Space India Pvt Limited.
An overview of the news
The MOU aims to develop various geospatial solutions for the Indian Agriculture Ecosystem using Pixxel's hyperspectral dataset.
The project focuses on utilizing Pixxel's pathfinder satellites' hyperspectral data to develop analytics models for crop mapping, crop stage discrimination, crop health monitoring, and soil organic carbon assessments.
The collaboration will enable the Government to leverage hyperspectral dataprovided by Pixxel for developing use cases and implementing suitable methodologies.
The adoption of new technology will reduce dependence on manual surveys and measurements, which are time-consuming and prone to errors.
The collaboration is expected to benefit millions of farmers by providing improved crop risk management solutions and strengthening the current advisory system of the Government.
Hyperspectral remote sensing technology
Hyperspectral remote sensing technology, which involves spectral measurements in narrow wavelength bands by satellites, offers unique capabilities for monitoring agriculture.
The application of hyperspectral data includes crop health monitoring, early detection of crop stress, accurate diagnostics of crop stress due to pests/diseases or water, and soil nutrient mapping, particularly soil organic carbon assessments.
The collaboration with a young startup like Pixxel will help in developing innovative geospatial solutions using advanced satellite imaging technology.