QBiz: Ajay Tyagi Takes Over As SEBI Chief; Doubts Cast On GDP Data

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1. Ajay Tyagi Assumes Office As SEBI Chairman

Senior Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer Ajay Tyagi on Wednesday took charge as the chairman of market regulator SEBI.

He is the ninth chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and has taken over from UK Sinha, who completed his six-year tenure.

The appointment of 58-year-old Tyagi, who is known to keep a low profile, is for a period of three years.

A 1984 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, he has handled capital markets division in the Finance Ministry.

(Source: PTI)

2. “GDP Figures Don't Show Note Ban Impact on Informal Sector”

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday estimated that India's GDP for the third quarter ended December, at Rs 30.28 lakh crore, recorded a growth of 7 percent, compared with 7.3 percent in the previous quarter. The country had registered a Gross Domestic Product of Rs 28.31 lakh crore in the corresponding quarter of 2015-16.

"My sense is that once the informal sector numbers come in next year, we would probably see that (growth rate) going below six and a half per cent," former Chief Statistician Pronab Sen told BTVi in an interview.

Sen’s reasoning, seconded by other economists, is that the latest GDP figures do not incorporate data on the informal sector that has borne the brunt of the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes constituting 86 percent of cash in circulation.

According to Sen, the higher tax collections during November-December are explained by corporates paying excise on inventory they had sent out of factories and into retail outlets.

"There have been pre-payment of excise duty which is showing up in the difference between GDP and GVA (gross value added) growth," Sen said.

(Source: IANS)

3. Jio Extends Prime Benefits to Non-Members

Reliance Jio Infocomm has extended the benefits of its Prime membership plan to non-members at a much lower data usage rate per month across all plans as the Mukesh Ambani company begins charging consumers after six months of doling out freebies.

While prepaid users can choose from daily, monthly and year-long plans, ranging from Rs 19 to Rs 9,999, post-paid users have three plans atRs 303, Rs 499 and Rs 999. In both categories, users can opt for boosters when they exhaust their high-speed data limits.

From 1 April to 31 March, 2018, Jio’s current users and those who come on board between 1 March and 31 March will continue to get 1 GB of data a day plus all of Jio’s apps for Rs 303 a month and a one-time charge of Rs 99.

(Source: Economic Times)

4. Car Sales in February Show Auto Sector out of Demonetisation Blues

Passenger vehicle sales of most auto makers rose in February on the back of higher despatches to dealers before the end of the fiscal year. Sales were propped up by new models for some companies, according to monthly sales data released by auto firms on 1 March.

Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd led the charts with volumes rising 11.7 percent to 120,735 units from a year earlier. Sales of the company’s compact car models rose 9.4 percent, while those of entry-level models such as Alto and Wagon R declined 6.8 percent from last year. Utility vehicle models led by Vitara Brezza more than doubled to 17,863 units.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd, the second largest car maker, also saw sales increase 4 percent to 42,327 units, compared with last year’s. Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, attributed the growth to “improved customer confidence generated by the Union Budget” which in turn has positively impacted disposable incomes and overall business sentiment

(Source: Livemint)

5. Indian Techies Push Government to Make Resigning Easier

Indian information technology employees want the government to step in and make it easier for them to leave their jobs, at a time when they face the prospect of poor salary increases and slower job growth.

Over 28,000 professionals have signed an online petition asking the ministry of labour to stop IT companies from holding workers to a three-month non-negotiable notice period.

The petition reads:

“It is unrealistic for anyone to plan that far ahead for their future actions and resign in advance not knowing state of the issue in next three months

TCS, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, Capgemini, Accenture and IBM have three-month notice periods.

(Source: Economic Times)

6. How Ratan Tata Changed Track on Docomo to Lead Settlement Talks

The protracted dispute between Tata Sons Ltd and NTT Docomo Inc has traversed a long distance over the last seven months, from Ratan Tata considering legal action against the Japanese firm for defamation to the chairman emeritus leading settlement talks.

However, what is clear from documents filed by the Tatas and Cyrus Mistry in their ongoing case at the National Company Law Tribunal is that Ratan Tata and Tata Trusts were involved in the matter as early as from July, if not earlier.

The Tatas had always maintained they were open to paying the money to Docomo as long as it does not breach the laws of the land.

(Source: Livemint)

7. 40% Of Wealthy Indians May Invest In Property Over Next 2 Years, Survey Shows

Residential housing is the most-sought-after investment by rich Indians, with 40 percent of them likely to invest in housing in India over the next two years, a survey showed.

Nearly 25 percent are expected to buy residential property outside India, a report by property consultant Knight Frank India released on Wednesday said.

Knight Frank India ReportThe UHNWIs (ultra-high networth individuals) in India prefer countries like Singapore, UK, UAE, US and Hong Kong for owning a home. However, the global wealthy give more preference to European countries.

UHNWIs include individuals with $30 million or more in net assets, according to data provided by New World Wealth for the Knight Frank Wealth Report.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

8. Growth in UPI Transaction Value Eases to 3.6% in February

Transactions carried out through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) channel may have begun to plateau in February after clocking month-on-month growth figures of 137 percent and 677 percent in January and December, respectively, representative data released by the Reserve Bank of India showed.

UPI clocked 3.8 million transactions aggregating Rs 1,730 crore during February, up only 3.6 percent from the corresponding figure in January. Also, in a first since the announcement of demonetisation of high-value currency notes on November 8, UPI volumes fell on a month-on-month basis to 3.8 million in February from 4.2 million in January.

The data for February, it must be noted, account for the first 26 days of the month, while that for January captures numbers from 31 days of the month. The average ticket size for a UPI transaction rose marginally to about Rs 4,553 in February from about Rs 4,517 in January.

(Source: Financial Express)

9. Mahindra to Set up Another Base Outside India: MD Pawan Goenka

Auto maker Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) Ltd is looking to set up another base outside the country, which could be a full-fledged presence similar to its operation in India, in a bid to reduce its dependence on the local market, managing director Pawan Goenka said on Wednesday.

Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra and MahindraWe are looking at a second home base outside India,” said Pravin N Shah, president automotive sector at the firm. The move, currently under consideration, will help the firm hedge itself from uncertainties

The utility vehicle market leader is also working on several joint projects with its South Korean subsidiary Ssangyong Motor Co as it seeks to protect its core segment, which has been under pressure amid increasing competition from global carmakers, Goenka said at a media interaction during the Mahindra Automotive and Farm Leadership Council.

(Source: Livemint)