QBiz: Reliance Industries Fined Rs 1,000 Cr; Banks Open Till 1 Apr

According to an earlier assessment, India is home to 101 billionaires and Mukesh Ambani tops the list.

1. SEBI Fines Reliance Industries Rs 1,000 Crore For Fraudulent Trades

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India has imposed a Rs 1,000-crore penalty on Reliance Industries, the largest in its over 20-year history.

In a case dating back to 2007, SEBI has found Reliance Industries and 12 related entities guilty of fraudulent and manipulative trades.

The SEBI order, published on its website on 24 March 2017, says Reliance Industries and the 12 other entities violated provisions of Section 12A of the SEBI Act, 1992 and SEBI (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices relating to the securities market) Regulations, 2003.

The regulator has prohibited the 13 entities, including Reliance Industries, “from dealing in equity derivatives in the F&O segment of the stock exchange, directly or indirectly for a period of one year”, from the date of the order.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

2. RBI Tells Banks to Remain Open Till 1 April

The Reserve Bank of India has directed banks to remain open on all days till 1 April 2017 to facilitate government receipt and payment functions including collection of taxes. Few select RBI offices will also remain open during the period.

“To facilitate government receipt and payment functions, all Agency Banks have been advised to keep all their bank branches dealing with government business open on all days in the current financial year and on 1 April 2017,” RBI said in a notification.

The regulator also said that the concerned departments of the Reserve Bank undertaking government business will also remain open on the above days.

(Source: Economic Times)

3. BSNL Offers 1 GB Free Data to Its Smartphone Users

In a statement on Friday, atate-owned telecom corporation Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) said it has “decided to give a special free offer for smartphone users to promote Digital India drive and to increase internet users in prepaid mobile services”.

The offer would be available on a pan India basis, it added. Free offers have been flying thick and fast from various telecom companies in an effort to beat the schemes and plans that Reliance Jio is offering and which have helped it poach millions of subscribers from its rivals.

“On pan India basis BSNL offers 1 GB free data for the smartphone users who are not using BSNL GSM data services. The intention of this offer is to promote number of internet users in BSNL network,” it added.

(Source: Financial Express)

4. Apple’s India Plans May Have to Wait for GST Rollout

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said Apple’s demand for tax incentives to set up a manufacturing unit in the country will have to be looked at after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is rolled out.

“GST will be coming soon. So, tax-related incentives demanded by Apple will have to be looked from a different angle,” Sitharaman told PTI on the sidelines of Chemexcil function in Mumbai. The government has not accepted most of the demands of the American iPhone maker, she added.

Apple plans to set up a manufacturing unit in Bengaluru this year, where it will assemble its products, probably only iPhone 6 and 6s models, according to reports in a section of the media.

(Source: Livemint)

5. IRCTC Profits Grew by 44% in FY 2015-16

The profit of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) grew by 44 percent in the financial year 2015-16 as compared to the previous year, official data released in the Lok Sabha stated.

In FY16, IRCTC earned a profit of Rs 189 crore which was Rs 58 crore more than its profit in FY15. This was due to the increase in the service tax and earnings from mobile pantry cars in trains, a senior IRCTC official said.

However, earnings are bound to drop in FY18 as the service charge has been waived by finance minister Arun Jaitley, the senior official said.

During the year 2015-16, a total of Rs 24,023 crore was collected towards the sale of train tickets on IRCTC portal.

(Source: Times of India)

6. Coal India to Pay Rs 591 Crore Penalty to CCI

The fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India has levied a penalty of ₹591.01 crore on public sector undertaking Coal India.

In its order, the CCI noted that the empowering clause reserving the right to unilaterally terminate the fuel supply agreements without any scope of review by any independent agency is unfair on the buyers. A government statement noted: “the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found Coal India Ltd (CIL) and its subsidiaries to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Competition Act, 2002, for imposing unfair/ discriminatory conditions in Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs) with the power producers for supply of non-coking coal.”

“Due to the statutory monopoly enjoyed by CIL and its subsidiaries, the buyers are heavily dependent upon the coal companies and insertion of such clause gives CIL through its subsidiaries an overpowering advantage in the relevant market, which is patently unfair”, the CCI order noted.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

7. Aadhaar Verification for Phones to Start Soon

A bulk of India’s 1.1 billion telecom subscribers will soon have to go through a fresh verification exercise based on their Aadhaar identification, following an order of the Supreme Court last month.

The industry estimates the process could cost at least Rs 1,000 crore at a time when companies are burdened with debt and fighting a tariff war.

“All licensees shall intimate their existing subscribers through advertisement in print/electronic media as well as SMS about the orders of the Supreme Court for re-verification activity and shall upload the complete details of this activity on their website,” said a notice issued by department of telecommunications on Thursday.

(Source: Economic Times)

8. Forex Reserves up $2.67 Billion to $366.78 Billion

India’s foreign exchange reserves surged by whopping $ 2.671 billion to $ 366.781 billion for the week ended 17 March on account of increase in foreign currency assets, the Reserve Bank said today. In the previous week, the reserves had risen by $ 98.6 million to $ 364.109 billion. Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves, rose by $ 2.645 billion to $ 343.101 billion in the reporting week, the RBI said.

Expressed in US dollar terms, FCAs include the effects of appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and the yen held in the reserves. Gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 19.914 billion.

(Source: Financial Express)

9. SBI to Raise $1.5 Billion From Overseas Bonds

The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on Friday said it will raise $1.5 billion from overseas bonds in one or more tranches to fund business expansion.

The Executive Committee of Central board approved “the issuance of Reg-S/ stand alone rule 144A senior unsecured debt up to $1.5 billion in multiple tranches or currencies with tenor not exceeding 5.5 years during current year and 2017-18,” SBI said in a regulatory filing to stock exchanges.

It also cleared proposal to issue and allot 13.63 crore shares of the SBI to eligible shareholders of SBBJ, SBM and SBT and to the Government of India for shareholding in Bhartiya Mahila Bank in terms of orders issued by Government of India, it said.

(Source: Economic Times)