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Current Affairs - 08 August 2017

General Affairs 

Why everyone is suddenly talking about Article 35A and how it will impact Kashmir
  • Repealing Article 370 has been on the agenda of the BJP and RSS for decades. For long the BJP said that the day it came to power in New Delhi on its own, it would resolve the Kashmir issue. Its pet prescription has been doing away with Article 370 of the Constitution, which was inserted in after the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir signed the instrument of accession with India in 1947 following invasion by Pakistan.
    Now that the BJP is heading the strongest government at the Centre in 30 years after having secured majority of its own in the last Lok Sabha elections, the clamour for repeal of Article 370 has been growing in the Sangh parivar. But, it is easier said than done.
    So, it seems, the focus has shifted to another provision of the Constitution - Article 35A. It was inserted in the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954. Article 35A did not have the assent of Parliament. Hence, it was placed in the Appendices of the Constitution. But, Article 35A has formed an important link between New Delhi and Srinagar.
    Article 35A accords special power to Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for framing laws to give privileges and rights to the residents of the state. It entitles the Assembly to define Permanent Residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
    Such laws framed exercising the powers under Article 35A cannot be challenged for being in violation of fundamental right to equality of Indian citizens from other states.
    Exercising its powers under Article 35A, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly defined Permanent Resident as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954 or who had been a resident of the state for 10 years and has "lawfully acquired immovable property in the state."
    A person who is not a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir is not allowed to vote in state Assembly election or contest election to the state Assembly.
    The state also framed laws exercising powers granted by Article 35A to bar an outsider from buying property in or from settling in Jammu and Kashmir. Such a person cannot get a job in the Jammu and Kashmir government.
    In effect, Article 35A has given Jammu and Kashmir its present demographic composition making it the only Indian state with Muslim majority. The RSS believes that the Kashmir issue can only be resolved by changing the demographic composition of the state, effectively of the Valley.
    Article 35A has become the point of debate after the Supreme Court recently decided to set up a three-judge bench to hear the constitutionality of the Presidential Order, 1954, which has been amended over 40 times since.
    The Supreme Court is likely to hear the matter later this month. The matter reached the Supreme Court through a PIL that was filed in December, 2015 by an RSS-linked NGO 'We the Citizen'. The petitioner sought repeal of Article 35A on the ground of constitutionality.
    While responding to the Supreme Court notice on the matter, the Centre has said that it involves complex issues of constitutionality. The government also said that it was open for debate on the issue as it has no view on the matter. The Centre further suggested that it would appropriate for the Supreme Court to decide the matter.
    Jammu and Kashmir, however, had taken a different view saying that since Article 35A had been in use for over sixty, it was as good as an established law.
    Repeal of Article 35A - by Supreme Court verdict or Parliament's decision - may have some far reaching implications. It will immediately nullify all the 41 subsequent Presidential Orders.
    Prior to insertion of Article 35A, the Governor and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir were addressed as the Sadr-e-Riyasat (President) and Wazir-e-Azam (Prime Minister). Its repeal would lead back to the same arrangement.
    The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India would also be curtailed. The legal control of the Centre over Jammu and Kashmir would be limited to only in the matters of Defence, External Affairs and Communication.

Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: NCP keeps Congress guessing on extending support
  • Senior NCP leader Praful Patel today said his party has not decided yet about extending support to any party in the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.
    The Sharad Pawar-led party, which had a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the 2012 Assembly polls in the state, currently has two MLAs- Kandhal Jadeja and Jayant Patel.
    These two MLAs had said they voted for the joint opposition's presidential candidate Meira Kumar. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the high-profile political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, is seeking a fifth Rajya Sabha term from Gujarat.
    The election has become interesting since the exit of Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela and resignation of six MLAs of the party in the last few days, bringing down its tally in the 182-member House from 57 to 51. Three of these MLAs later joined the BJP, which has fielded one of them in the RS polls.
    Patel, the NCP in-charge for Gujarat, said people are now "searching" for the two MLAs of his party given the current scenario where each vote is crucial.
    "Though the NCP was part of the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, there is no such alliance at present. Though we are a small party with only two MLAs, we have suddenly become important and people are now searching for these two legislators," he told reporters in Anand.
    Patel said the decision about supporting any party in the Rajya Sabha polls would be taken in consultation with Pawar.
    "Our two MLAs, along with other leaders of the party from Gujarat, would discuss this issue with Sharad Pawarji who would then take a call on supporting a particular party," the former Union minister said.
    When asked about Congress shifting its 44 MLAs to Bengaluru to "protect" them from the BJP ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, Patel said the party itself was responsible for the current scenario.
    "Usually, Rajya Sabha MPs used to get elected unopposed.
    It is just because of the Congress that a contest is taking place this time. 14 of their MLAs have either left the party or have made up their mind not to vote for the Congress candidate," he said.
    In the August 8 polls, the BJP has fielded its president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani on two seats, and Congress defector Balwantsinh Rajput on the third against Ahmed Patel.
    Patel requires 45 votes to win the election.
    Though the Congress has claimed it has the support of 44 MLAs, remaining seven of the party's 51 legislators, who are not in Bengaluru, have not put their cards on table yet.
    The BJP, with 121 MLAs in the House, can easily get Shah and Irani elected. However, the party falls 14 short of the 45 votes required for Rajput's victory.

Maharashtra ATS recovers huge cache of explosives from Thane, 3 detained
  • The Maharashtra ATS today detained three people and recovered huge cache of explosives from a scrap godown at Mumbra in Thane. In the joint operation conducted by the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Thane police, the forces recovered at least 15 kg ammonium nitrate and nine detonator sticks.
    The team carried out the operation based on a tip-off which revealed that high explosive materials had been kept at a godown in Kausa, Mumbra. The joint team of RPF personnel, RPF crime branch, Mumbai and ATS conducted the raid and recovered of at least 15 kg ammonium nitrate and 9 detonators.

Don't underestimate resolve to defend territorial sovereignty: Chinese media
  • In what has now become a daily practice, Chinese media today once again criticised India over the ongoing Doklam standoff, which is nearing the two-month mark.
    The People's Daily, the Communist party's official publication, today carried an opinion piece titled 'China's resolve to defend its territorial sovereignty should not be underestimated' in which it called India's actions on the Doklam plateau "totally illegal".
    The commentary was published under the pen name 'Zhong Sheng', which stands for Voice of China, and said that Beijing would take "all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate and lawful rights and interests."
    The article was the latest in a series of Chinese articles that have sought to project India as the one to blame for the ongoing standoff near the India-China-Bhutan trijunction. The People's Daily article, however, was comparatively tamer than the rhetoric-laden pieces on Doklam published in the more hawkish Global Times.
    Today's article drew majorly from the 15-page document "The Facts and China's Position Concerning the Indian Border Troops" that Chinese government released last week to say that Indian soldiers illegally crossed into Chinese territory and have been illegally staying in Chinese territory ever since the standoff began mid-June.
    What India did, which can be defined as an illegal act in nature, that aims at nothing but making trouble, the article said, reiterating Beijing's stand the Doklam area is "indisputably Chinese territory".
    This claim is the major driver behind the current standoff - the region is actually disputed between Bhutan and China. The face-off between Indian and Chinese troops began after Bhutanese troops noticed Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers attempting to construct a metal road near the Doklam plateau.  
    India, which later labelled the Chinese construction activity a security threat, intervened to stop the construction and ever since then soldiers from the two nuclear-armed nations have engaged in a face-off meters away from each other.     
    The People's Daily commentary noted that the 15-page document released by Beijing showed that India's actions were "very reckless and rude" and are against "basic principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations".
    The article explains that India's border with China in the Sikkim sector has been delimited and that is what makes the Doklam standoff so exception from previously face-offs that have usually taken places in border areas that are contested by both sides.
    The article also brings up the 1890 Convention between then China and Great Britain. The agreement must be replaced with a fresh one in India and China's names, the article admits, adding that that doesn't alter the nature of the boundary along the Sikkim sector having being delimited. So, India cannot use this as an "excuse" for "illegal trespass", the article says.
    The article also slammed India saying that Chinese construction activity in the Doklam area was a matter of national security for New Delhi, calling the concern "ill-founded". 
    India's so-called "security concerns" over China's road-building activities is clearly ill-founded. If a country takes "security concerns" as an excuse to justify its boundary-crossing and entry into other countries, it is putting world and regional peace at stake, the article said.
    India's intrusion into the Chinese territory under the pretext of Bhutan has not only violated China's territorial sovereignty but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence, the article further said.

First partial lunar eclipse of the year tonight, will be visible across Asia. All you need to know
  • This year's first partial lunar eclipse will take place tonight and will be visible from across the country.
    "Starting from 10.52 pm, the full moon will enter the Earth's shadow in space and create a spectacular celestial phenomenon, which is commonly known as partial lunar eclipse. This will be the first properly visible lunar eclipse this year," Debiprosad Duari, Director Research and Academic, MP Birla Planetarium, told PTI.
    "On February 11 this year there was a penumbral eclipse of the moon. It was an event where the moon passed not through the direct shadow of the earth but through its periphery and thus it could not be discernible by most of the population," he said.
    The partial lunar eclipse this time would be visible from the whole of Asia and Australia and most parts of Europe and Africa, Duari said adding "People in North and South America will be not be able to see it because it will be daytime there.
    The lunar eclipse will start around 10.52 pm and will continue till 00.48 am IST.
    "The greatest eclipse, that is when the moon will be covered to the maximum extent will be around 11.50 pm. The magnitude of the eclipse, which means the fraction of the lunar diameter, will be eclipsed at the greatest eclipse moment at around 0.25 magnitude. The duration of the eclipse will be around 1 hour 55 minutes," he said.
    "In India, the entire total eclipse will be visible from every place. For Kolkata the moon rise will be around 5.58 pm and it will be setting on 4.34 am next day," Duari said.
    A lunar eclipse takes place only at full moon. When the sun, earth and moon come in a perfect straight line and as the Sun's rays falls on the Earth and its (Earth's) shadow falls onto a patch of space and the moon enters that patch, a lunar eclipse is seen, he said.
    The shadow is composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer shadow or penumbra is a zone where Earth shadow is partial and blocks some, but not all of the Sun's rays.
    In contrast, the inner shadow or umbra is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.
    It is only when a part of the Moon passes through the umbra, a partial lunar eclipse is seen.
    If the entire Moon passes through the umbral shadow, then a total eclipse of the Moon will be possible.
    The next lunar eclipse will be on January 31, 2018 and it will be total. It will also be visible from all parts of the Indian sub-continent, Duari said.
    "Lunar eclipses are completely safe to view with the naked eye. No special filters are required to protect your eyes like those used for solar eclipses. One does not need a telescope to watch the eclipse, although a good pair of binoculars will enhance the experience," he said.
    "The sky permitting, since it is the rainy season and the sky remains overcast most of the time, it will be an wonderful opportunity to experience this celestial event and to take photographs if possible," he added.

Business Affairs

Demonetisation effect: Income tax returns rise by 25%, collections up by 41%
  • Income tax returns filed in the current fiscal year saw an increase of 25 per cent, according to a statement by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Substantial rise was also seen in direct tax collections during the same time period, with advance tax collections of personal income tax growing by 41 per cent.
    The growth in tax collection was referred to demonetisation of high denomination currency notes in 2016 and Operation Clean Money launched earlier this year. Both initiatives were carried out with the motive of curbing black money.
    "As a result of demonetisation and Operation Clean Money, there is a substantial increase in the number of Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filed. The number of Returns filed as on August 05, 2017 stands at 2,82,92,955 as against 2,26,97,843 filed during the corresponding period of financial year 2016-2017, registering an increase of 24.7 per cent compared to growth rate of 9.9 per cent in the previous year," read a statement by Ministry of Finance.
    The ITRs filed by individuals also saw an increase of 25.3 per cent with 2.79 crores received till the revised deadline. Self-Assessment Tax (apart from Corporate Tax) also rose by 34.25 per cent till August 05, 2017 over the corresponding period in fiscal year 2016-17.
    "The growth in returns filed by Individuals is 25.3 per cent with 2,79,39,083 returns having been received up to August 05, 2017 as against 2,22,92,864 returns in the corresponding period of financial year 2016-2017. This clearly shows that substantial number of new tax payers have been brought into the tax net subsequent to demonetisation," said the ministry statement.
    The effect of demonetisation is also clearly visible in the growth in Direct Tax Collections, the ministry said. "Advance Tax collections of Personal Income Tax (i.e. other than Corporate Tax) as on August 05, 2017 showed a growth of about 41.79 per cent over the corresponding period in financial year 2016-2017. Personal Income Tax under Self Assessment Tax (SAT) grew at 34.25 per cent over the corresponding period in financial year 2016-2017," the statement said.
    The deadline to file income tax returns was extended from July 31, 2017 to August 5 after taxpayers complained of technical glitches hindering e-filing of income tax returns through the income tax e-filing website.

Will banks cut lending rates if funding costs are down? Here's what top bankers say
  • Over the past 18 months, banks have been reducing lending rates due to a sharp cut in the policy rates or the repo rate by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow from the RBI for their short-term fund mismatches and currently stands at 6 per cent. The reduction in interest rates is prominent in the retail segment (especially in the home loan segment or small-ticket loans) because of stiff competition among the banks. In fact, retail banking came to the rescue of many large banks due to the low growth in the corporate book. The liquidity in the post-demonetisation period also created a conducive environment for softening lending rates. Will banks cut lending rates after the central bank's repo rate cut by 25 basis points last week? Here is what top bankers from public, private and foreign banks think.
    Dinabandhu Mohapatra, MD and CEO, Bank of India
    There will be some reduction in lending rates going forward. The banks are re-examining their portfolios. Different banks are facing different challenges, have different liquidity positions, and also different business goals. Currently, alternative sources are also available to corporate houses for getting the best rates from the market. They are not dependent on banks alone.
    Shanti Ekambaram, President (Consumer Banking), Kotak Mahindra Bank
    There has been a significant transmission of interest rates in the past four-five months. Be it a home loan, personal loan, or working capital, we have seen a lowering of interest rates. Of course, the capital market has been offering better interest rates (for corporates). In retail banking, due to sluggish growth in credit and surplus liquidity, there is a higher supply of money, and we have seen the transmission of interest rates. I think the banks, based on their cost of funds and liquidity, have already been transmitting the interest rates without necessarily needing a rate cut. As you know, there have been virtually no rate cuts over the past 10 months, but the rates have been coming down. The rates have come down significantly in the home loan segment and small-ticket loans. I think there may be a little or marginal reduction in interest rates. The system, as a whole, has been transmitting rates.
    Stuart P Milne, CEO, HSBC India
    First, we need to see a further decline in funding costs for the interest rates, especially the marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR), to decline further. It is because most banks want to protect their existing interest margin, which is a key element of revenue. While there will be some scope for banks to follow the State Bank of India (in reducing savings rate), at the same time, we do not expect the current surplus liquidity situation to normalise over the rest of the year. It implies that deposit rates will stabilise from here. Putting all things together, we do not anticipate that MCLR will fall significantly over the remainder of 2017 although borrowers switching from base-rate linked borrowing to MCLR-based borrowing will see their borrowing costs decline.
    Rajkiran Rai G, Managing Director and CEO, Union Bank of India
    There is a possibility for some cut in the lending rates. The RBI is already talking tough on the transmission of interest rates by banks. If banks keep savings rate rigid at 4 per cent, there is no scope for rate cuts. Today, MCLR is linked to deposit rates; there is a direct correlation. I cannot bring down the deposit rates drastically because of the small savings rates, which are higher. The banks will moderate the rates to an extent because the government-regulated small savings rates also come in the way of reducing deposit rates.
    Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, MD and CEO, Bandhan Bank
    The direction is clear for softening of interest rates, but interest rates also depend on a host of other factors such as the cost of funds, the cost of operations and margins. Each bank will take a call based on its funding mix. We have seen a large bank reducing savings rates, which also results in a reduction in the cost of funds and, hence, reduction in interest rates. As I said, the decision to cut rates will purely be on the basis of the cost of funds. The cost of fund has to go down.
    R.P. Marathe, MD and CEO, Bank of Maharashtra
    The interest rate is not linked to policy rates, but to the cost of deposits. Today, 85 per cent of the banks' liabilities are in the form of deposits. Their borrowing from the RBI (and hence, the impact of repo rates) are only to bridge the mismatches. I am sure banks will take a call on reducing retail deposit rates. The SBI has done it. There may be banks increasing savings rates or maintaining the status quo to gain market share of deposits. There are many banks with lower CASA (current account, savings account) ratio, who will look for an opportunity. We have to see how the market behaves or evolves.

Have you settled your PF, fixed deposits, LIC policy? Here's how you can reclaim such funds
  • More often than not people park their money in several instruments to fulfil their financial commitments and fetch returns. Some part of the investment such as EPF is mandatory and others such as debentures, fixed deposits are optional .
    But you will be surprised to know, nearly Rs 70,000 crore is lying unclaimed in various kind of accounts in the country. Investors have parked their money in stocks, insurance policies, provident funds and seem to have forgotten all about it.  We look at several accounts where funds are lying unclaimed and steps needed to reclaim such funds.

    Rs 43,000 crore in inoperative accounts with EPFO
    Every year, you deposit a certain portion of your salary in employees provident fund organisation (EPFO).  EPFO is among the world's largest social security organisation. Currently, it operates more than 15 crore accounts.
    Around Rs 43,000 crore is lying unclaimed in inoperative accounts with the EPFO. If you too have idle funds lying in dormant provident fund accounts, then it's time that you should reclaim such funds.
    A dormant account is the one in which no amount has been deposited in over 36 months. Usually, account gets dormant when the employee has not transferred his old account to the new employer and forgets about the previous contributions.
    If you want to claim EPF funds, there are two options.
    1.            Withdraw funds
    You should ideally withdraw your funds after five years of the EPF account opening.  For this, you have to download the claims form from the EPFO website, fill it and submit it at the nearest EPF office in person or through post. Once EPFO processes your claims form, the funds will be transferred to the bank account you mentioned in the form.
    2.            Transfer funds to current EPF account
    You can also transfer funds to existing EPF account. This option is suitable for those whose EPF accounts are less than five years old.  That's because withdrawal from PPF accounts lesser than five years old will attract taxes in form of tax deducted at source (TDS). If the account is older than five years, no taxes will be deducted on withdrawal.

    Rs 9,100 crore as unclaimed and unpaid dividends, matured deposits and debentures
    There are instances when investors misplace their share certificates or miss dividend announcements. They may also tend to forget about their investments during a longer duration of time.
    Firms also send out dividend warrants to shareholders.  If investors don't encash them within 30 days, the money is transferred to another account and categorised as unclaimed dividend in the annual report.
    After seven years, this account is transferred from the company to Investor Education and Protection fund.
    In order to get this amount back, you should write to the registrar of companies and share transfer agent informing about the missed dividend, stock folio number and date of purchase. You should give your bank account details for direct transfer.
    Rs 11,668 crore as unclaimed amount of policyholders with insurers  
    With a large number of private insurers and public sector behemoth LIC catering to the needs of the Indian population, cases such as policy benefits paid out but not encashed by policyholders, maturity benefits lying unclaimed or death claims not filed by nominees are very common.
    Insurance companies hold these types of funds for a long time but they don't pay any interest on such amounts since investors then might make it a habit to forget matters related to such policies.
    In case of death of the policyholder, one should file death claims as soon as possible.
    If you have the policy number and documents, you should approach the branch from the policy was bought. In case, you are staying in a different city, you can take help of an agent or approach the zonal officer.
    Keep a record of the policies and do inform your family numbers about them.  Also, mention a nominee in the insurance document and inform the same to the person concerned.
    Rs 1,916 crore in dormant savings account 
    If there  is no transaction in your savings account for two years, the bank will deem it inoperative.
    This account will have restrictions for several transactions including ATM withdrawal, internet or phone banking, issuing new cheque books, etc in order to ensure the safety of accountholder's money.
    In order to reactivate such account, you can submit an application along with identity proof and passbook or cheque book to your bank, stating the reasons for absence of valid transactions.
    The bank will start KYC formalities afresh and will usually put the account in active mode within 24 hours.
    There is no reactivation charge on a dormant account.
    Rs 5,000 crore plus in bank deposits
    With Rs 5,000 crore plus amount lying in 1.33 crore bank accounts, the task to return these funds to their right owners is cumbersome.
    If you too have forgotten your money in a bank deposit, you can claim it along with interest after maturity of the instrument.  In such case, you will get back savings rate from the amount of maturity. In case you reinvest the proceeds into bank deposits, you will get the applicable rate of interest.
    After 10 years of maturity, the money is transferred into unclaimed money account. 

Equity mutual funds see record Rs 12,727-crore inflow in July
  • Equity mutual funds saw a record inflow of Rs 12,727 crore in July primarily due to a rally in the stock markets and hopes of rate cut by the Reserve Bank.
    This also marks the 16th straight month of inflows into equity schemes. Prior to that, such funds had witnessed a pullout of Rs 1,370 crore in March 2016.
    The strong inflows have pushed the asset base of equity mutual funds (MFs) by more than 6 per cent to Rs 6.3 lakh crore at the end of July from Rs 5.91 lakh crore in the preceding month.
    According to data from the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi), equity funds, which also include equity-linked saving schemes (ELSS), saw net inflows of Rs 12,727 crore in July, higher than Rs 8,164 crore in the preceding month.
    Stock markets have been on an upswing, touching new highs this year.
    "The continuing rally in equity markets and hopes of a rate cut by RBI in its August 2 monetary policy meet were primary reasons for the robust inflows in equity oriented funds in July.
    "Successful implementation of GST with no major business disruptions being reported, drove investors into equity mutual funds. The quarterly results have been better than expected from most businesses and this helped sentiments," Bajaj Capital Chief Executive Rahul Parikh said.
    According to Vidya Bala, head of MF Research at, advertising campaigns started by markets regulator Sebi and industry body Amfi have helped in increasing penetration of mutual funds in the country.
    "Decline in interest income from fixed income products such as bank FDs is attracting investors towards equity. Further, gold and real estate are not giving good returns over the past few years, making the investors move towards equity mutual funds," she said.
    Bala said that Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) have been the preferred route for many investors to invest in mutual funds. SIP is an investment vehicle that allows investors to invest in small amounts periodically instead of lumpsums. The frequency of investment is usually weekly, monthly or quarterly. 

Britannia expects overseas markets to account for 12% of its revenue in 5 years
  • Britannia expects around 10-12 per cent of its revenue to come from overseas markets in the next 3-5 years and plans to set up a plant in Nepal as part of global business expansion, says Britannia MD Varun Berry.
    The FMCG major is also looking to build its presence further in the African market and Myanmar.
    In the domestic market, the company is keen to expand its footprint in Hindi-speaking belts and venture into more segments to fill the gaps in its offerings.
    "We would like our international market to grow at faster pace than the India business. Over next 3-5 years, our international business contribution is expected to be double digits at 10-12 per cent of our revenue," Berry told PTI.
    He hoped that contribution from the international market in Britannias overall revenue would go up every year.
    In 2016-17, Britannia Industries had clocked consolidated net sales of Rs 9,232.30 crore and around 7 per cent came in from overseas markets.
    A reasonable chunk is accounted for by the Middle-East, where the company has two overseas manufacturing units in Dubai and Oman.
    "We are looking to create a hub-and-spoke model to get into more and more markets like Myanmar and the African continent," Berry said, adding that "we would have one new country every year".
    Britannia is lining up nearly Rs 55 crore to set up its first overseas greenfield facility in Nepal to cater to the local demand. The company already has a business in Nepal, based on exports from India.
    "This would bring our prices down and (helping us) grow more aggressively once we have a manufacturing facility there," he added.
    It is venturing into snacking segment, along with Greek baker Chipita.
    "Thats not the final stop. It is just one of the products which we are looking at. We are also evaluating other micro-snacking category. If something works for us, we would launch products," he added.
    Asked whether the company would cross Rs 10,000 revenue mark this year, Berry said: "I think so." 

General Awareness

Government revises the base year of All-India Wholesale Price Index (WPI) from 2004-05 to 2011-12

  • On August 4, 2017, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs stated that Government has revised the base year of All-India Wholesale Price Index (WPI) from 2004-05 to 2011-12. 
    Background Information:
    The revision of the base year of the macroeconomic indicators is a regular exercise to capture structural changes in the economy and to improve the quality, coverage and representativeness of the indices.
    • The base year revision of WPI has aligned the series with the base year of other macroeconomic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
    • It is to be noted that Government has modernized the data collection methods by adopting international norms and global best practices such as submission of data online through web portals and use of computer assisted personal interviewing methods.
    Salient Features of new series of Wholesale Price Index (WPI):
    In the revised series, WPI will continue to constitute three Major Groups namely Primary Articles, Fuel & Power and Manufactured Products.
    • The new series has 697 items as compared to 676 items in old series and is more representative with increase in number of quotations from 5482 to 833
    • New series of WPI does not include indirect taxes. This is in consonance with international practices and will make the new WPI conceptually closer to Producer Price Index.
    • Weightage of manufactured items, fuel and power has decreased, whereas weightage for primary articles has increased.
    • Anew “Food Index” has been compiled combining the “Food Articles” under “Primary  Articles” and “Food Products” under “Manufactured Products”. Together with the Consumer Food Price Index released by Central Statistics Office, this would help monitor the price situation of food items better.
    • Seasonality of fruits and vegetables has been updated to account for more months as they are now available for longer duration.
    • Item level aggregates for new WPI are compiled using Geometric Mean (GM) instead of Arithmetic Mean.
    • technical review committee has been established which will identify new items to be included so as to keep the series relevant.

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