1. International Finance Corporation (IFC) has given a $400 million loan to HDFC.
- IFC has given this loan to boost green affordable housing finance in India.
- This funding will help HDFC focus on its green affordable housing portfolio. 75% ($300 million) of the proceeds are earmarked for this sector.
- The funding will also help HDFC to on-lend to borrowers. This will ensure they can afford such housing.
- 275 million people in India (22% of the population) do not have access to adequate housing. Rural housing shortage is twice that of urban areas.
- HDFC Ltd is one of leading housing finance companies of India.
- International Finance Corporation (IFC):
- IFC is a member of the World Bank Group. India is one of the founder members of the IFC. It was established in 1956. It is headquartered in Washington, US.
- It was established to promote the private sector growth which would led to the economic development of its member countries. It finances investments.
Topic: Banking System
2. Karnataka Bank is now available on Indian Customs Electronic Gateway (ICEGATE).
- The bank has recently gone live on ICEGATE. This has enabled banks’ customers to pay customs duty online.
- All its individual and corporate customers can pay customs duty at their convenience.
- Karnataka Bank is a Scheduled Commercial Bank based in Mangaluru, Karnataka. It is a private sector bank. Mahabaleshwara M. S is its MD and CEO.
- ICEGATE is the national portal of Indian Customs of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.
- Recently, ICEGATE has won platinum award at Digital India Awards 2022 in the category Public Digital Platforms - Central Ministries, Departments.
Topic: Reports and Indices
3. India’s economic outlook is likely to be complicated by global economic developments in the upcoming year.
- According to the finance ministry’s monthly economic review for November, a diverging rate hike cycle across economies may act as a challenge for India.
- The report has been prepared by Economic Affairs Department. It has been released at a time when several economies are in recession. Exception has been Japan which has upped its growth projection.
- As per the report, India needs to focus on medium-term challenges such as securing technology and resources for energy transition and skilling its youth for the 21st-century economy.
- GDP has grown by 6.3% in July-September quarter aided by robust domestic demand and steady investment activity.
- Q2 of 2022-23 also marked a post-recovery growth for the Indian economy.
- The report notes that CPI-based retail inflation came within upper limit of 6% in November after a gap of 10 months.
- The report says that core inflation, however, remained at high level of 6% in November.
- The report highlighted that the real investment rate during Q2 of 2022-23 remained at high level of 34.6%.
- As per the report, this shows government’s continued commitment towards asset creation.
- Capital expenditure of centre expanded by 61.5% during the first seven months of 2022-23. It reached to Rs 4.1 lakh crore, which is 54.6% of the available budget.
Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market
4. Beta testing of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) began in Meerut.
- ONDC is now moving forward to make the network live in Meerut after the initial beta test in Bengaluru.
- Meerut is the first tier-2 city targeted for network expansion. Meerut’s seller density ideal for beta testing.
- For the Meerut beta launch, four live buyer applications that allow consumers to transact on ONDC are IDFC First Bank, Mystore, Paytm, and Spice Money.
- ONDC had its alpha rollout in April 2022 in five cities to test live transactions with a closed group of sellers and buyers.
- On 30 September, ONDC went live to public users in Bengaluru in the grocery and F&B categories with five buyer applications, 12 seller applications and two logistics providers.
- Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is an initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce.
Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market
5. Engineering goods export has fallen for the fifth continuous month in November.
- Engineering goods export has declined marginally 0.30% (year-on-year) to $8.07 billion in November 2022.
- As per Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC), it has declined due to continued slowdown in China and the EU.
- Engineering goods exports to China has fallen 40% in November. 14% increase in exports to the US only partly compensated it.
- However, exports may perform better in the coming months due to the government’s recent decision of withdrawing the 15% export duty on steel.
- Total engineering exports for April-November 2022-23 declined 1.8%, over the April-November 2021-22, to $70.71 billion.
- In the first seven months of this fiscal, engineering exports achieved 55.68% of the $127 billion target fixed by government for the entire fiscal.
6. Government has approved free food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) till December 2023.
- Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal informed that 81 crores 35 lakh people will now get food grains free of cost under NFSA.
- An additional expenditure of Rs 2 lakh crore will be incurred on this, which will be borne by the Central Government.
- Under the NFSA, the government currently provides 5 kg of food grains per person per month at Rs 2-3 per kg.
- During COVID-19 pandemic, the government had distributed free ration to poor people under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana launched in April 2020. The government has decided not to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which is to expire on December 31.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has also approved the minimum support price of copra for the year 2023.
- I&B Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said that the minimum support price for the milling copra of average quality has been fixed at Rs 10, 860 per quintal.
- The minimum support price for ball copra will be Rs 11, 750 per quintal.
- Mr. Thakur said that compared to the last season, the MSP for the milling copra has been increased by Rs 270 per quintal and for the ball copra by Rs 750 per quintal.
- The Union Cabinet has approved pension reforms for ex-servicemen and family pensioners under the One Rank One Pension Scheme.
- Mr. Anurag Singh Thakur said that now the number of ex-servicemen and family pensioners will increase to more than 25 lakhs 13 thousand.
- Presently their number is 20 lakh 60 thousand.
- He said that Rs.8,450 crore would be spent on this every year.
- The benefit of the revised pension will be available from July 1, 2019, and the dues would be paid in four half-yearly installments.
- However, arrears to all family pensioners, including special and liberalized family pensioners and gallantry award winners, will be paid in a single installment.
- The pension of the previous pensioners will be determined afresh in the year 2018 on the basis of the average of the minimum and maximum pension of the retired servicemen of the same rank and with the same length of service.
7. Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) has found that some Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) are not following corporate governance norms.
- It found that out of 72 listed CPSEs, 37 have independent directors on their board. They do not have women directors on their board.
- As of March 31, 2021, 717 CPSEs came under the audit jurisdiction of C&AG.
- C&AG said that non-executive directors were less than 50% of the board strength in 32 CPSEs out of 72 listed CPSEs.
- It found that the required number of independent directors had not been appointed in 59 CPSEs (82%).
- As per SEBI, Board of Directors of the top 2,000 listed entities shall comprise not less than six directors.
- This criteria was not met in 15 out of 70 listed CPSEs (part of the top 2000 listed entities).
- Under the provisions of Companies Act 2013, it is mandated one woman should be appointed as director on the board of listed companies.
- SEBI rules also prescribe that the board of directors of the top 1,000 listed entities shall appoint at least one independent woman director by April 1, 2020.
- Where the Chairman of the Board is a Non-Executive Director, at least one-third of the Board should comprise Independent directors.
- If the Chairman of the Board is an Executive Director, at least half of the Board should comprise of independent Directors.
Topic: Infrastructure and Energy
8. India’s crude oil production will grow by 10% to 34 million tonnes in the next financial year.
- Oil Minister HS Puri said the government is working on the overhauling the policy framework of the Exploration and Production (E&P) sector.
- He said this during his address at a build-up event to the India Energy Week 2023, organised by Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL).
- The India Energy Week 2023 is scheduled to be held in Bangalore from February 6-8.
- The Minister said that India’s gas production has increased by 18% from FY21 to FY22. It is expected to grow further to 36 BCM in FY23.
- He said that India achieved 10% blending of ethanol in petrol in June 2022, ahead of the November 2022 deadline.
- He said that E20 fuel has been launched in 11 states/UTs. The launch has been effective from December 15, 2022. Fifteen cities will be covered under phase 1.
- Oil Minister said government is targeting a phased rollout of E20 in whole country till April 2025. E20 fuel is a blend of 20% of ethanol with gasoline.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
9. UIDAI HQ building received the top Green Building Award.
- The GRIHA Exemplary Performance Award 2022 has been awarded to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Headquarters in New Delhi.
- It is the top national-level green building award. GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) is the national rating system for green buildings in India.
- The Unique Identification Authority of India Headquarters has been declared the winner in the current Highest Rated Building category.
- UIDAI believes in and promotes the idea of recycling and reusing to reduce the carbon footprint.
- It is using solar energy to meet a part of its energy consumption.
- It is recycling and reusing water and following sustainable waste management practices.
- On average, 25 to 30 percent of its daily water consumption is coming from recycled water.
- Similarly, the UIDAI Headquarters building is also recharging 3590 kiloliters of groundwater on average every year.
- In October 2022, nominations for the award were made from GRIHA-rated buildings across the country.
- UIDAI Headquarters Building participated in the competition, considering 100 points rating system out of 34 parameters.
- In 2021, the UIDAI Headquarters building was declared the runner-up.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
10. NHPC Limited has won the award for ‘Best Globally Competitive Power Company of India – Hydropower and Renewable Energy Sector’.
- It has won this award at PRAKASHmay ‘15th Enertia Awards 2022’.
- Shri U.S. Sahi, Executive Director (EMS/CC/CSR), NHPC received the award on behalf of NHPC at a function held on 22nd December 2022.
- Shri V.M. Bansal, Chairman, of New Delhi Institute of Management gave the award.
- The award recognizes NHPC’s leadership in the hydropower sector with a gross asset class renewable energy capacity of more than 7000 MW.
- The award also recognizes that NHPC has more than 5000 MW of projects under construction.
- It also recognizes that NHPC has 7000 MW plus plan for Solar capacity addition.
- NHPC Limited is a Scheduled ‘A’ Mini Ratna Public Sector Enterprise incorporated in 1975 and headquartered in Faridabad, Haryana.