The centre is reconsidering a plan to widen the social security net
The centre is reconsidering a plan to widen the social security net for
workers by bringing more factories under the provident fund coverage.
The Cabinet Secretariat has pointed out a few contradictions in the
Labour Ministry’s proposal to amend the Employees’ Provident Fund and
Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 1952.
The Labour Ministry had proposed to bring down the threshold limit for
coverage of firms under the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) to factories
with at least 10 workers. At present, the EPF Act is applicable to factories
with minimum 20 workers.
The proposal to decrease the threshold limit was found to be
contradictory with another proposal in the Act to give an option to workers
to switch to the NPS, managed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development
In his Union Budget 2015-16 speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had
proposed allowing EPF subscribers to opt for NPS and to make EPF
contributions optional for workers below a certain income threshold.
In June this year, Centre proposed making EPF optional for textile
workers earning less than Rs 15,000 a month as a part of a special package
for the garments sector.
The government’s proposal to bring factories with at least 10 workers
under the EPF fold can bring 50 lakh additional workers under the social
At present, 8.7 crore workers are subscribing to the EPFO out of which
around 3.77 crore workers have been making active contributions to their
provident fund account till 2015-16, data showed.
The proposal to cover factories with at least tenworkers under the
Employee Provident Fund Act was one of the recommendations of the 44th
Indian Labour Conference Session which was held in February 2012.
Govt received Bids of 53000 crore
The government received bids worth more than Rs.53,000 crore on the
first day of the biggest ever auction of the country’s telecom spectrum,
according to sources. A total of 2,300 MHz of spectrum worth Rs.5.6 lakh
crore has been put up for sale.
Five rounds of bidding were completed. No bids were received for the
much-touted 700 MHz band, which is being put up for auction for the first
While 700 MHz is considered most suitable for offering high speed
broadband services, industry players have been complaining about its high
pan-India reserve price of about Rs.11,500 crore per MHz.
Seven firms — Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications,
Aircel, Reliance Jio Infocom, and Tata Teleservices —are in the fray to
acquire spectrum in seven bands.
The government had raked in Rs 1.1 lakh crore from the last spectrum
auction held in March 2015. It had sold spectrum across 800 MHz, 900 MHz,
1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands.
To Boost BRICS trade, India will organise trade fair for BRICS
To boost trade among the BRICS nations, India, for the first time, will
organise a trade fair for the bloc that also includes Brazil, Russia, China
and South Africa.
Intra-BRICS trade in 2014 was just $297 billion — less than five per
cent of the $6.5 trillion worth trade that the five countries had with the
world that year.
Goods imports from the world into the BRICS countries were $3.03
trillion in 2014, while global goods exports of BRICS countries were $3.47
trillion that year.
The first BRICS Trade Fair & Exhibition will be held from October 12-14
in the national capital, ahead of the BRICS political summit in Goa. This
initiative was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.
The focus of the Fair is ‘Building BRICS – Innovation for
Collaboration’. The Fair is meant to give an impetus to intra-BRICS economic
engagement. It will showcase about 20 key sectors.
Besides established companies, start-ups and innovators from BRICS will
showcase their offerings to help technology solution providers share
knowledge in dealing with challenges in healthcare, education, energy
efficiency, waste management etc.
Leaders from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand
have been invited for meetings at the Fair.
PMI in sept saw a slight dip
The country's manufacturing growth has lost momentum with the Nikkei
India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a measure of
manufacturing performance, falling to 52.1 in September from 52.6 in August.
This development comes just ahead of the RBI's monetary policy review on
October 4 and amid India Inc. clamouring for an interest rate cut even as
the central bank has had concerns over rising inflation.
An index reading above 50 indicates an expansion, while a reading below
50 shows an overall decrease or contraction.
Output is still rising at a decent clip and the sector looks likely to
have delivered a stronger contribution to GDP growth in Q2 2016-17, with the
quarterly reading for the PMI’s Output Index up from 51.4 during April-June
Although inflation rates edged higher, these remain weak by historical
standards and indicate that one may still see the RBI loosening monetary
policy in 2016.
Country’s services sector business activity softer in September
The expansion of the country’s services sector business activity was
softer in September vis-à-vis August as the level of new business placed
with Indian services firms increased moderately.
The headline seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services Business Activity
Index registered 52.0 in September, down from August’s 43-month high of
54.7. An index reading above 50 indicates an expansion, while below 50 a
Reflecting softer expansions in activity at both service providers and
manufacturers, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Composite PMI Output
Index fell from August’s 42-month high of 54.6 to 52.4 in September.
World Economic Forum says India and Pak problem will not impact regional
The current standoff between New Delhi and Islamabad will not impact the
growth prospects of the South Asian region including India, the Geneva-based
‘World Economic Forum’ said.
Chief economist and member of the executive committee, WEF, said South
Asia was the world’s fastest growing region and there was no reason to
believe that the recent geopolitical tension would impact the region’s
Director-general, CII, also said the economy and business in India and
South Asia would not get affected due to the tension at the India-Pakistan
India Economic Summit’s focus area includes the digital economy, travel
& tourism, energy, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, start-ups, skill
development, gender equity, urbanisation, boosting manufacturing and
India is examining mechanisms to offset higher emissions
India is examining possible mechanisms to offset higher emissions from
rising civil aviation traffic, even as it has firmly opposed a global pact
for curbing aviation emissions proposed by International Civil Aviation
“India’s aviation sector is growing at 22 per cent to 23 per cent over
the last year and we expect it to continue to grow very rapidly over the
next decade and a half, so emissions would rise,” said Minister of State for
India has ratified the COP21 accord on climate change, but while
approving its ratification, the Union Cabinet had last week empowered the
civil aviation ministry to flag India’s concerns about the proposed aviation
Capping emissions from aviation would be unfair for developing countries
where the civil aviation market is not mature and the number of airlines is
limited compared to the developed world
BASIC countries had met in New Delhi and opposed the ICAO accord as one
that could be forced upon developing nations. Aviation is estimated to
account for two per cent of global greenhouse emissions.
But air travel volumes are expected to double by 2030. About 58 out of
the 191 countries participating at the ICAO meet have backed the pact so
India’s foreign exchange reserves scaled to a new high
India’s foreign exchange reserves scaled a new high of $371.99 billion,
up $1.223 billion for the week to September 30, as per the Reserve Bank
The increase was on account of a $1.468-billion surge in the foreign
currency assets. In the previous week, the reserves had risen by $1.166
billion to $370.766 billion.
Previously, they had touched a high of $371.279 billion in the week to
September 9. Foreign currency assets which are a major component of the
overall reserves surged by $1.468 billion to $346.71 billion, the Reserve
Telecom secretary says despite low response in spectrum govt will meet
With the government expected to receive about Rs.32,000 crore in the
current fiscal as upfront payment for the spectrum sold in the recently
concluded auctions, Telecom Secretary said the Telecom Ministry is on course
to meet its budgetary target.
As per the Budget documents, the revenue target from the telecom sector
this fiscal is Rs.98,994.93 crore. Mr. Deepak said the figure agreed to
between the two ministries was Rs.70,000 crore, which they will be able to
Experts had pointed out that the ministry is unlikely to meet its budget
target as premium 700 MHz band saw no demand, leading to revenues of
Rs.65,789 crore for the government as against spectrum worth Rs 5.6 lakh
crore put on sale.
The 700 MHz spectrum was alone worth about Rs.4 lakh crore.
As per the Union Budget 2016-17, the government is expected to raise at
least Rs.64,000 crore from the auction of about 2,354.55 megahertz (MHz) of
spectrum and a total of Rs.98,995 crore from various levies and services in
the telecom sector in the current financial year.
The spectrum auction started on October 1 and ended on October 6,
wherein about 965 megahertz (MHz) was sold out of 2,300MHz on offer.
The government will only collect about Rs.32,000 crore in the current
financial year as the rest will be spread over a period of 10 years after a
Government to give push to stalled hydro projects
In a bid to boost hydro power sector, the government is planning to
formulate a policy to push stalled projects and extend the benefits for
renewable sources like wind and solar to hydro projects beyond 25 MW
According to a proposal of the Power ministry, projects with capacities
of up to 25 MW have been categorised as small hydro-power projects and would
get the benefits as extended to other renewable energy projects.
Hydro power potential in the country has been estimated at about 150 GW,
with 50 GW coming from Arunachal Pradesh alone.
The Power ministry had earlier said that the planned hydro power
generation capacity addition of 4,371 MW out of the total target of 10,897
MW in the 12th Plan will not be completed.
A federal appeals court reinstated a $120 million jury award for Apple
A federal appeals court reinstated a $120 million jury award for Apple
Inc. against Samsung, marking the latest twist in the fierce patent war
between the world's top smartphone manufacturers.
The court said that there was substantial evidence for the jury verdict
related to Samsung's infringement of Apple patents on its slide-to-unlock
and autocorrect features, as well as quick links.
The three-judge panel did not follow U.S. Supreme Court limits on the
scope of its review, because it examined evidence outside the record of the
Representatives for Samsung and Apple could not immediately be reached
Infringement of the quick links feature accounted for nearly $99 million
of the damages.