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Economy & Policy
AP Shah Committee to look into ONGC, RIL dispute on KG gas fields:
The Union Ministry of Petroleum and  Natural Gas on 15 December 2015 appointed a single member committee to look into the dispute between Oil and Natural  Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Krishna Godavari (KG) gas fields.  The committee will be headed by the Chairman of the 20th Law Commission of India justice (retd) AjitPrakash Shah.  The committee will look into acts of omission and commission and recommend compensation to ONGC from the RIL on account of undue advantage the latter has received due to enrichment of its gas fields from the adjacent blocks belonging to ONGC.
·       In the Krishna-Godavari Basin, ONGC owns Krishna Godavari basin KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5) and the Godavari-PML gas fields.  These two fields are connected with Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1 & D3) fields located in the KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6) Block of RIL.
·       In 2014, the ONGC contended that RIL’s fields were being enriched due to migration of gas from its idle fields.  Against this backdrop, the Union Government appointed the US-based consultant DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D & M) to look into the matter.
·       D & M which submitted its report on 30 November 2015, concluded that out of the 58.68 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas produced from KG-D6 block between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2015, 49.69 bcm belongs to RIL and the rest 8.981 bcm could have come from ONGC’s fields.
Quick Estimates of IIP and Use-Based Index for October 2015 released:
The Central Statistics and Programme Implementation, on11 December 2015, released the Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Use Based Index with the base year 2004-05 for the month of October 2015.
Main highlights of Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
·       IIP for October 2015 stood at 181.3, which is 9.8% higher as compared to the level in October 2014 , in September 2015 (month-on-month), IIP growth rate stood at 3.6 percent.
·       The cumulative growth for the period April-October 2015-16 over the corresponding period of the 2014-15 stood at 4.8%.
·       The IIP for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for October 2015 stood at 130.0, 188.1 and 201.6 respectively, with the corresponding growth rates of 4.7%, 10.6% and 9.0% as compared to October 2014.
·       The cumulative growth in the three sectors during April-October 2015-16 over the corresponding period of 2014-15 was 2.0%, 5.1% and 5.2% respectively.
·       In terms of industries, seventeen (17) out of the twenty two (22) industry groups (as per 2-digit NIC-2004) in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during the month of October 2015 as compared to the October 2014.
·       The industry group Furniture; manufacturing, recorded the highest positive growth of 138.9%, followed by 48.4% in office, accounting & computing machinery and 47.5% in Radio, TV and communication equipment & apparatus.
·       The industry group Publishing printing & reproduction of recorded media recorded the highest negative growth of (-) 10.2% followed by (-) 6.8% in `Medical, precision & optical instruments, watches and clocks’ and (-) 2.9% in `Coke, refined petroleum products & nuclear fuel.
ONGC joins World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative:
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited on 7 December 2015 joined Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative of the World Bank on the sidelines of Conference of Parties-21 (COP-21) of UNFCCC in Paris.  With this joining, ONGC has become the first oil company from India to join the global initiative that is aimed at curbing routine gas flaring at oil production sites around the world by 2030.  Along with ONGC, 19 other entities endorsed the initiative taking the number of total countries or companies or development institutions to 45 since its inception in April 2015.
Features of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030
·       It encourages oil companies to seek economically viable solutions to eliminate ongoing “legacy” flaring as soon as possible and no later than 2030.
·       It will ensure that when oil fields are developed, plans include gas utilization soulutions that do not involve gas flaring or venting.
·       It will end routine gas flaring that stops millions of tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere every year.
·       The institute, once successful,  will contribute to improving the life of the people who live around gas flare sites.
Singapore replaces Mauritius as top source of FDI into India:
Singapore replaced Mauritius as top source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India during April-September of 2015-16 financial years.  An announcement in this regard was made by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of Ministry of Commerce and industry in December 2015.  As per the data, between 15 April and 15 September 2015.
·       India received 430% crore rupees as FDI from Singapore.  In the same period FDI from Mauritius was 23490 crore rupees.  In the same period, While Netherlands was at number three with 7017 crore rupees of investment, the USA stood at the stood fourth with 5435 crore rupees.
·       However in terms of cumulative inflows between April 2000 and September 2015 Mauritius still leads the investment list.  While Mauritius contributed to 34 percent of total FDI investments, it was only 15 percent in the same period.
NTC signs Integrity Pact with Transparency International India: National Textile Corporation (NTC) Limited, on 3 December 2015, signed a MoU with Transparency International India (TII) for adopting Integrity Pact (IP) With this, NTC became the 51st Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and 49th Central PSU to sign a MoU with TII.
·       What is Integrity Pact? Integrity Pact is a tool which ensures that all activities and transactions between a Company or Government Department and their Suppliers are handled in a fair, transparent and corruption-free manner.
·       It also prohibits any kind of bribing, favour or any other unethical practice, which is closely monitored by honorary Independent External Monitors (IEMs).  The IEMs.
AnantGeete flags off 3 Cities Fame India Eco Drive in New Delhi: Union Cabinet Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises AnantGeete, on 26 November 2015, flagged off the 3-Cities Fame India Eco Drive from Red Fort, New Delhi.
GAIL launches Bhuvan-GAIL Portal for satellite monitoring of Pipelines: GAIL (India) Limited, in November 2015, launched an innovative surveillance geo-portal called Bhuvan-GAIL portal for monitoring the pipeline Right of Use (RoU) through space technology.  The portal was launched in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) a unit of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
·       Gail has over 13000 km of Pipeline network wherein monthly monitoring of pipeline ROU was carried out through Helicopter surveys.  But, with the use of space technology, GAIL will start live satellite monitoring of the pipeline RoU by January 2016.
·       The company is also looking for alternative methods like advance Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) which can also be integrated with this system.
Turkmenistan starts work on gas pipeline to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline:  Vice President Hamid Ansari, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghanistan, on 13 December 2015, broke the ground for the ambitious USD 7.6 billion TAPI  pipeline project which will provide energy-hungry India gas to run its power plants.  Ansari flew to the ancient city of Mary, 311 km from the capital Ashgabat, which was part of the old Silk Route, to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the 1800-kilometre-long TAPI gas pipeline in the presence of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Turkmenistan President GurbangulyBerdimuhamedow.
Tapi Gas Pipeline
·       The TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for a 30-year period. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.
·       Besides the gas pipeline, the four countries will be connected by fibre optic cable.  A power transmission line will also connect Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
·       India’s state gas utility GAIL has signed a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Turkmengaz for import of 38 mmscmd of natural gas for 30 years.  However, with Afghanistan agreeing to take approx 1.5-4 mmscmd against the original agreed volume of 14 mmscmd, the Indian volumes may increase to 43-44.25 mmscmd.
Union Cabinet approves revised Model Text for Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty:
The Union Cabinet, presided by the Prime Minister NarendraModi, on 16 December 2015 gave its approval for the revised Model Text for he Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).  The revised Indin model text for BIT will replace the existing Indian Model BIT.  It will be used for re-negotiation of existing BITs and negotiation of future BITs and investment chapters in Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreements (CECAs)/ Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs)/ Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
Rupee skids to 2 year low of #67.10:
The rupee breached the 67mark to close at a new two-year low on 14 December 2015 on expectation that the US Fed will up its policy rate for the first time in nearly a decade.
Industrial output climbs to 5-year high:
As per data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in Decem 2015, with 17 of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showing a positive growth, the industrial output in October 2015 recorded a five-year high of 9.8 er cent year-on-year.
India rejects `artificial deadlines’ for WTO deal:
India, on 11 December 2015, said it will neither agree to `artificial deadlines’ to conclude the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Round negotiations aimed at liberalizing global trade, nor concur with rich nations’ attempts to expand the ambit of the talks by introducing ”new” issued without completely fulfilling the Round’s `development’ dimension.  The Doha Round talks had begun in 2001 and has since missed several deadlines for concluding it, due to persisting differences between the developed and developing world on a host of issues related to trade liberalization and granting market opening commitments.
·       Some of the issues include the reduction of `huge and trade distorting’ agribusiness subsides in developed countries, an effective Special Safeguard Mechanism (a trade remedy allowing developing countries to temporarily hike duties on farm products to counter sudden import surges and price falls, thereby protecting the interests of poor farmers), and a permanent solution to the issue of public food stockholding in developing countries for the purpose of food security.

·       The `new issues pertain to labour practices, environmental standards, global value chains and promotion of supply chains, e-commerce, competition and clean and green energy, transparency in government procurement as well as on state-owned enterprises and designated monopolies.
Facebook says Free Basics initiative `non-discriminatory’:
A day after telecom regulator sought views on differential pricing for data services with an emphasis on ensuring non-discrimination, transparency, affordable Interest access.  Facebook, on 11 December 2015, said that its “Free Basic’ initiative, originally known as Internet.Org, is “non-discriminatory”.
Indirect tax collections grow 34% in April-November:
Reflecting improvement in industrial activity, indirect tax collection jumped 34.3 per cent to Rs.4,38,291 the Finance Ministry in December 2015, the government had collected Rs.3,26,273 crore from indirect taxes during April-November period of last fiscal.  So far, the collection is 67.8 per cent of budget estimated (BE) for 2015-16.
Solar capacity crosses 5,000 MW:
According to a report by according to Bridge to India’s solar consulting firm in December 2015, India’s total installed capacity of solar power has crossed the 5 GW mark.  The total commissioned utility solar capacity in the country stands at about 4.7 GW, while rooftop capacity is 525 MW.  During last fiscal, a total capacity of 1,112 MW of grid connected solar power projects and 44.5 MW of rooftop projects were installed.  For the current fiscal, 827 MW of solar capacity has been added so far.  As per the report.
·       Rajasthan, Gujarat and MP  have historically been the front runners in solar power capacity addition, but the four southern India states are expected to dominate the marked over next two years.
·       As of today, the country has a solar project pipeline of 15.7 GW.
·       The fiscal year 2016-2017 will be Indian solar market’s transition year, annual capacity addition could top 6 GW with India becoming one of the leading solar nations globally.
Government completes 26 per cent of National Highways target:
According to a statement by the Roads Ministry on 2 December 2015, the government has completed only 26 per cent of the National Highways construction target, with four moths left in this financial year.  It targeted to complete 10,950 km of National Highways during 2015-16.
Government’s call intercept system to be ready by end of fiscal year:
Telecome Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in December 2015, said in a written reply to LokSabha that the Government’s electronic intelligence monitoring system the Central Monitoring System (CMS), will become operational by March 2016.  The Cabinet Committee on Security has also approved the CMS project with government funding of Rs.400 crore.
GE, Alstom bag Rs.40,000crore order:
GE Global Sourcing India Pvt.Ltd. and Alstom Manufacturing India Ltd., recently got contracts worth Rs.40,000 crore for two locomotive projects in Bihar, the largest foreign investment in the railways sector and the biggest Make-in-India initiative so far.
India needs to grow at 8% for creating more jobs: Sinha:
Minister of State for Finance, JayantSinha, on 28 November 2015, said that India needs to grow at 8 per cent for decades so as to create the required amount of employment for the country’s working-age population.  The Minister also outlined six ‘game-changers’ that were already in place.
Six Game Changers
·       The first, an initiative Mr Sinha called revolutionary, was putting in place universal social security through the JAM trinity (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile).
·       The second was the various schemes and initiatives such as the Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and providing agri-credit and crop insurance, the government has undertaken for the upliftment of farmers.
·       The third was in its endeavour to create employment through its Skill India mission.  He also said that the government would soon be launching a major initiative around start-ups, a Startups Yojana of sorts.
·       The fourth game changer is that Public investment is pouring into transportation, including railways during this government’s term.
·       The Indradhanush revamp plan, the fifth game changer, is doing more for banks than anything  since nationalization.
·       Finally, the government has to do with overhauling the fiscal architecture of the country.  The involves empowering the States in terms of the devolution of taxes.  The government has taken the devolution share from 32 per cent to 42 per cent a change of 10 per cent.
Transport of coal by inland waterways can save Rs.10,000 crore:
Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, in November 2015, said that Inland waterways can not only boost the movement of goods and passengers across the country but will also help in saving about Rs.10,000 crore annually in transporting coal. The waterways is a cheaper and environment friendly medium for transporting of goods, he said.
One HP moves 150 kg on road, 500 kg on rail and 105 tonne/km on water.
India among 4 nations to sign trade pact: Sri Lanks, India, Malta and Mauritius, in November 2015, came together to establish a Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility to boost trade and investment flows, particularly for developing nations of the Commonwealth.  The four countries inked the document, Declaration of Intent, as anchor investors at the Commonwealth Summit in Malta.
Government slashes Minimum Export Price of onions:  The Union Government, on 10 December 2015, slashed the Minimum Export Price (MEP) of onions to 400 US dollars per tonne from 700 dollars a tonne.  MEP is the rate below which no traders are allowed to export their goods.  The rise in MEP restricts exports and improves domestic supply.
Government launches portal for small traders e-laka:  Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, on 23 November 2015, inaugurated e-lala, an e-commerce portal of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in New Delhi.  The e0lala initiative is aimed at promoting the interests of 5.77 crore small businesses in the context of rapid expansion of e-commerce in the country.
·       E-lala will enable physical stores to have their own online stores enabling them to retain their customer base besides additional source of growth in business.
·       E-lala a city and location based portal, seeks to promote business and trader-to-customer transactions in a city.
·       It seeks to eliminate middlemen and resulting in reduced cost of goods and services.
·       With the emerging global threat from e-commerce to small traders e-lala initiative will address the problem with proper outreach and marketing strategies.
·       E-lala’s distinctive features include a specially corner promoting unique products associated with each city.
Operation Smile-II to start from 1st January, 2016 throughout the country:
The Government of India recently requested the States/ UTs to start “Operation Smile II” from 1st January, 2016 to 31st January 2016 to be rolled out throughout the country as a follow up of the earlier campaign to rescue/ rehabilitate the missing children.  The States have so far reported that 9146 children under Operation “Smile” and 19742 children under Operation Muskaan were rescued/ rehabilitated.
Activities under Operation Smile:
·       During this operation, all children residing in shelter homes, platforms, bus stands, roads, religious places, etc., are to be screened by trained police personnel.
·       Before 1st January, 2016, the Police Personnel from each state are to be properly trained in methodology to extract information from such children tactfully without their getting intimidated, as well as in various provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) JJ Act, Protection of Child Right Act, relevant sections of Cr.PC & IPC and Advisories issued by MHA etc.,
Gujarat Becomes 10th State to Join Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana:
Gujarat, in December 2015, became the 10th State to Join the UDAY Scheme (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Punjab and Rajasthan have already joined UDAY Scheme.
Uday Scheme
·       The Scheme – UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) has been launched to improve financial and operational efficiencies of power distribution companies (DISCOMs).
·       It envisages to reduce interest burden, cost of power and AT & C losses, Consequently, DISCOM would become sustainable to supply adequate and reliable power enabling 24 x 7 power supply.
·       The schedule provides that States would take over 75% debt of Discoms, as on 30th September, 2015 in two years.
·       UDAY has inbuilt incentives encouraging State Governments to voluntarily restructure their debts.  These incentives include taking over of DISCOM debt the States outside the fiscal deficit limits; reduction in the cost of power through various measures such as coal linkage rationalization, liberal coal swaps, coal price rationalization, correction in coal grade slippage, allocation of coal linkages at notified prices; priority / additional funding through schemes of MoP & MNRE; and reduction in interest burden.

2016: UK-India year of Education Research and Innovation” Launched:
India and United Kingdom, on 9 December 2015, launched a joint initiative “2016: UK-INDIA year of Education, Research and Innovation” in New Delhi.  Under this scheme, areas of mutual interest in research could be picked up out of the ten research priority areas under IMPRINT (IMPacting Research Innovation and Technology).
·       UKIERI-III will provide a basic framework for the bilateral cooperation between India and UK over the next 5 years.  It will focus on leadership and faculty development, integration of skills in the education system, e-partnership & research incubation, and enhancing mobility.
Union Government approves setting up of 6 new IITs:
The Union Cabinet, on 2 December 2015, approved setting up and operationlization of six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa Jammu, Kerala and Karnataka.  The cabinet also gave its approval for operationalization of these IITs initially by forming of Socieities under the Socieites Registration Act, 1860 togive a legal status to them till the amendment for their incorporation in The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 is enacted.
World Bank approval $1.5 billion loan to support Clean India Campaign:
The World Bank, on 15 December 2015, approved a 1.5 billion US dollar loan for the ambitious Clean India Campaign (Swachh Bharat Mission).  The loan was granted to support the government in its efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation end the practice of open defecation by 2019.  The loan will be used for Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project.
Government of India signs MoU to establish three IIITs on PPP mode:
The Union Government, on 12 December 2015, signed MoU and documentation for establishing three Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) at Ranchi, Nagpur and Pune.
Union Cabinet approves Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015:
The Union Cabinet, on 9 December 2015, approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015.  The bill is based on the recommendations of the select committee of Rajya Sabha that had examined the bill pending in the upper house of the parliament.
Salient Features of the Bill
·       Applicable both for commercial and residential real estate projects.
·       Establishment of `Real Estate Regulatory Authority’ in States / UTs to regulate real estate transactions.
·       Registration of real estate projects and real estate agents with the Authority
·       Mandatory disclosure of all registered projects, including details of the promoter, project, layout plan, land status, approvals, agreements along with details of real estate agents, contractors, architect, structural engineer etc.,
·       Deposit of specified amount in a separate bank account to cover the construction cost of the project for timely completion of the project.
·       Establishment of fast tract dispute resolution mechanisms for settlement of disputes through adjudicating officers and Appellate Tribunal.
·       Civil courts jurisdiction prohibited from taking up matters defined in Bill, however, consumer court allowed to hear real estate matters.
Union Government and NTC sign MoU for establishing a Technology Centre at Kanpur:
The Union Ministry of Textiles, Union Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) and National Textile Corporation (NTC), on 8 December 2015, signed MoU to set up a Technology Centre (Tool Room) at Kanpur.
Ministry of Railways flags off first double decker Goa Mumbai Train:
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on 6 December 2015 flagged off the first Goa to Mumbai double-decker Shatabdi train through video conference from Panaji, Goa.  The fully air-conditioned double-decker train is the first-of-its-kind in India.
·       The train will run thrice a week between Margao and the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in Mumbai.
·       The double decker train will cover the distance in around 12 hours.
·       It has eight compartments with a seating capacity of 120 in each compartment.
Lok Sabha passes bill to establish BIS as National Standards Body:
The Lok Sabha, on 3 December 2015, passed the Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 to  establish the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) as a National Standards Body.  The bill seeks to establish harmonious development of standardization and assessment and quality assurance of goods, processes and services.
·       The bill broadens BIS ambit, and allow the Union Government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles and processes to carry the standard mark.
·       It allows multiple types of conformity assessment schemes in tune with best global practices.
·       It contains provision to make misuse of Standard mark as a cognizable offence.
·       Contravention of provisions of the law will attract imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine of at least one lakh rupees.

Ministry of Railways, TERI University sign MoU to set up Railway Chair on Sustainable Mobility:
The Ministry of Railways and TERI University, on 23 November 2015, signed MoU to set up Railway Chair on Sustainable Mobility at the premises of TERI University.  The Chair would focus and promote research on issues of sustainable mobility, use of energy efficient technology and green energy initiatives.
Ministry of Railways sign AOT agreements with SAIL-RITES Bengal Wagon Industry Pvt.Ltd.
The Ministry of Railways, on 24 November 2015, signed the Assured Off Take Agreements (AOT) with SAIL-RITES Bengal Wagon Industry Pvt.Ltd. (SRBWIPL) for manufacturing and rehabilitation of wagons at Kulti, West Bengal.  The project was announced in 2010-2011 and subsequently a Joint Venture SRBWIPL (50% : 50%) was set up between two major PSUs SAIL and RITES.  SRBWIPL has already been awarded ISO: 9001-2008 certification for its Quality Management System and its ISO 14001 for Environment Management System is expected by January 2016.
·       With the signing of the agreement, two major PSUs namely RITES of Ministry of Railways and SAIL of Union Ministry of Steel will form a joint venture SRBWIPL.
·       The Joint ventures is a 2500 Crore rupees Make in India Initiative.
Lok Sabha passes Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill, 2015:
The Lok Sabha on 9 December 2015 passed the Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill, 2015 by voice vote.  The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Trust Act, 1882 to remove the archaic provisions from the 133 year old legislation that have no relevance anymore.  It seeks to do away with the seven categories of securities in which trust money can be invested as stated in the Act.  It enables the Union Government to notify securities or class of securities for investment by trusts.
·       Indian Trusts Act, 1882 regulates the functioning of private trusts and trustees in India.  It also outlines the procedure for investment of surplus funds of the trust for future use.
BSE to introduce auto-cancellation of reversal trades:
To ensure safety of the securities markets, top bourse BSE, on 19 December 2015, announced to introduce soon a mechanism that will automatically cancel reversal trades executed on its by a broker for a particular client for a specific quantity, there is a corresponding sale transaction, which takes place during the day for the same quantity between the same set of broker/ clients and vice-versa.  Earlier, BSE had implemented self-trade prevention check functionality and periodic price bands to curb manipulation in the capital markets.

Transactions above Rs.2 lakhs  need PAN from January 1 to curb black money:
The government in December 2015, made it mandatory to quote PAN (permanent account number) for all transactions in excess of Rs.2 lakh, regardless of the mode of payment, to curb black money.
New Rules on PAN-related transactions
·       The new rule, effective from January 1, will cover purchases of all goods or services.  This includes all payments made through cash, cheques or debit or credit cards.
·       In the case of immovable property, where quoting PAN is currently required for transactions of Rs.5 lakh, the government has decided to raise the monetary limits to Rs.10 lakh.
·       It raised the monetary limit to Rs.50,000 from Rs.25,000 in the case of hotel or restaurant bills paid at any one time, and for bills on account of overseas travel.
·       The limit is being raised to Rs.1 lakh from Rs.50,000 for purchase or sale of shares of an unlisted company.
·       Opening of a no-frills bank account, such as a Jan Dhan account, will not require PAN. Other than that, the requirement of PAN applies to opening  of all bank accounts including the co-operative banks.  Those who do not hold PAN would have to fill a form and furnish any one of a specified list of documents to establish their identity.
Centre to set up 12 petrochemical complexes:
Union Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar, on 4 December 2015, said that the Government is working on a policy to establish 12 more petrochemical complexes in order to have one complex in each 16 refineries, a move which could entail few lakh crore of investment.  At present, there are four Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) or petrochemical complexes in the country.
Centre to set up 12 petrochemical complexes:
Union Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar, on 4 December 2015, said that the Government is working on a policy to establish 12 more petrochemical complexes in order to have one complex in each 16 refineries, a move which could entail few lakh crore of investment.  At present, there are four Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) or petrochemical complexes in the country.
Centre approves pacts with Germany for solar energy, CG sector:
The government, on 2 December 2015, approved a post facto agreement with Germany to expand bilateral cooperation in the field of solar energy.  Under the agreement, Germany would provide concessional loans in the range of one billion Euros over the next five years through Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW).  The funds of KfW will also be utilized for providing soft loans to the end-users through partner banks.
Airtel to invest Rs.60,000 crore `Project Leap’:
India’s largest telecom services, provider, Bharti Airtel, on 30 November 2015, announced that it will invest Rs.60,000 crore over the next three years under the Project Leap Program to upgrade its networks to provide quality services amid increasing competition.  Large parts of this investment will improve voice and data services.
Aircraft import norms eased:
According to a government statement issued on 28 November 2015, carriers requiring to import aircraft will now only have to get the initial approval of the regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), instead of the ministry.  The Ministry of Civil Aviation has delegated the power to grant initial No Objection Certificate or in-principle approval for import or acquisition of aircraft to the DGCA, after the RBI relaxed norms of aircraft, helicopters and other aviation related purchases by airlines.
·       As per the existing procedure, Scheduled Operators (airlines) and Regional Operators (airlines) and Regional Scheduled Operators have to seek approval from the ministry for import of aircraft.
Government Infra projects to boost construction equipment business:
Union Minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari recently announced plans to increase the length of national highways to 1,50,000 km from the present 96,000 km including expressways.  The Government has also set a target of constructing 30 km of National Highways a day.
·       The Government has also announced four major corridor development projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, Amritsar-Kolkata, Vizag-Chennai and Bangalore – Mumbai.
Government advances roll out of BS-V and BS-VI norms for 4-wheelers:
The government, on 28 November 2015, advanced the date for implementation of the roll out of Bharat Stage (BS) stage V and VI norms for four-wheelers by three years.  According to the roadmap earlier laid down by the Auto Fuel Policy, BS-V norms were to be implemented from April 1, 2022 and BS-VI from April 1, 2024.  Accordingly, the ministry has decided to implement BS-V norms from April 1, 2019.  BS-VI norms, which aim at substantial reduction in NOx/4C levels will be implemented from April 1, 2021.
Government panel to evaluate candidates for RBI Deputy Governor Post:
As per an announcement made in November 2015, a government appointed panel will interview candidates next month for the post of Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India as the term of Urjit Patel, the central bank’s incumbent in charge of monetary policy, expires in January 2016.  Two of the RBI’s Executive Directors, Michael D Patra and Deepak Mohanty, have been called for the interview, apart from Mr. Patel, who is eligible for re-appointement, according to banking industry sources who did not wish to be named as the information is confidential.
·       A Central Bank Deputy Governor can be appointed for a term with a maximum of five years or till the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
·       The RBI has provision for 12 Executive Directors, which was increased from nine following the appointment of three new officials in 2014.
Government.extends RuPay insurance cover period:
The government, on 26 November 2015, extended the usage criterion of the RuPay debit cards in order to avail of the in-built insurance cover.  Earlier, cardholders had to use the card within 45 days prior to claim the insurance claim.  This has now been extended to 90 days.  Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana 16.54 crore accounts have been provided a RuPay debit card.
EPFO to invest in AA+rated private bank bonds:
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO), the country’s largest retirement fund with over Rs.8 lakh crore under its watch, on November 2015, decided to begin investments in bonds rated AA+ or higher issued by private sector banks.
·       Under a new investment pattern adopted in April 215, it is required to park 35 per cent to 45 per cent of its fresh accruals into corporate bonds, higher than the previous threshold of 10 per cent.
·       With the EPFO board, ratifying investments in bonds rated AA+ or higher, PF savings can  now be invested in bonds issued by private banks with a tenure of 10 years, with an upper limit of 20 per cent of each bank’s net worth.
Reliance Defence gets conditional approval for 12 industrial licenses:

Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence, in November 2015, received conditional approval for 12 industrial licenses for eight of its subsidiaries for making defence equipment including aircraft, helicopters, missiles, night vision gear and naval and land systems.

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