Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2023-24: Key Information and Features
The Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme 2023-24, announced by the Government of India, offers individuals and eligible entities an opportunity to invest in gold in a convenient and secure manner. The SGBs are issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on behalf of the government, serving as an alternative to physical gold investments. Here are the essential details and features of the SGB Scheme 2023-24.
Eligibility: The SGBs are available for purchase to the following categories:
Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs)
Denomination: The SGBs are denominated in multiples of grams, with the basic unit being one gram of gold.
Tenor: The maturity period for SGBs is eight years. However, investors have the option of premature redemption after the fifth year, which can be exercised on the date when the interest is payable.
Investment Limit: The minimum permissible investment limit is one gram of gold. The maximum subscription limits for different entities are as follows:
Individuals: 4 kilograms per fiscal year (April-March)
HUFs: 4 kilograms per fiscal year
Trusts and similar entities: 20 kilograms per fiscal year
It’s important to note that these limits are subject to government notifications and include SGBs purchased from different tranches and the secondary market during the fiscal year.
Issue Price: The issue price of the SGBs is determined in Indian rupees based on the simple average of the closing price of gold with 999 purity. This average is calculated for the last three working days of the week preceding the subscription period. Investors who subscribe online and pay through digital mode receive a discount of Rs 50 per gram on the issue price.
Redemption Price: Upon maturity or premature redemption, the redemption price of the SGBs is determined in Indian rupees based on the simple average of the closing price of gold with 999 purity for the previous three working days, as published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Limited (IBJA).
Interest Rate: Investors in SGBs are entitled to a fixed interest rate of 2.50 percent per annum, payable semi-annually on the nominal value.
Tax Treatment: The interest earned on SGBs is taxable as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961). However, the capital gains tax arising from the redemption of SGBs by an individual is exempted. Additionally, indexation benefits are provided for long-term capital gains on the transfer of SGBs.
Collateral and Loan-to-Value Ratio: SGBs can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio applied to SGBs will be in line with the ordinary gold loan requirements mandated by the RBI.
Issuance and Trading: SGBs are sold through various channels, including scheduled commercial banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), Clearing Corporation of India Limited (CCIL), designated post offices, and recognized stock exchanges such as the National Stock Exchange of India Limited and the Bombay Stock Exchange Limited.
Fino Payments Bank Partners with Hubble to Introduce India’s First Spending Account
Fino Payments Bank has announced its collaboration with Sequoia Capital-backed fintech Hubble to launch India’s first spending account. This innovative offering allows customers to conveniently park their funds, make purchases across various categories such as food ordering, shopping, travel, and entertainment, and save up to 10 percent on all transactions made through the account.
A Unique and Rewarding Solution:
Fino Payments Bank aims to revolutionize the way individuals manage their finances with the introduction of the spending account. By integrating this account with their existing digital savings account operated through the FinoPay mobile app, customers gain access to a range of benefits and savings opportunities.
Efficient Expense Tracking:
One of the key features of the spending account is its integration with over 50 renowned brands partnered with Hubble. Users can easily monitor their spending across different categories, allowing for better budgeting and expense management. This functionality empowers individuals to take control of their financial habits while simultaneously providing them with valuable insights into their consumption patterns.
Generous Savings Potential:
The collaboration between Fino Payments Bank and Hubble presents an exciting opportunity for customers to enjoy significant savings on their purchases. By leveraging the spending account, users can accumulate savings of up to ₹20,000 per year. This impressive figure demonstrates the potential financial impact of this innovative solution, allowing customers to maximize their hard-earned money.
Competitive Interest Rates:
In addition to the attractive savings potential, customers who park their funds in the spending account also benefit from an interest rate of 2.75 percent per annum. This feature enhances the appeal of the account, as it offers customers a secure and convenient way to earn passive income on their deposited funds.
Positive Industry Response:
Mayank Bishnoi, Co-founder of Hubble, expressed enthusiasm for the initiative, highlighting the significance of providing individuals with an account tailored specifically for managing their lifestyle expenses. With a majority of people utilizing their own funds through UPI or debit cards for day-to-day spending, the collaboration between Fino Payments Bank and Hubble fulfills a pressing need in the market. By offering a comprehensive solution for budgeting and spend management, the initiative not only helps customers stay in control of their finances but also rewards them for their spending habits.
Ministry of Defence and Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Collaborate to Provide Job Opportunities to Veterans
In a significant initiative aimed at supporting and empowering ex-servicemen, the Ministry of Defence has partnered with Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Company Ltd. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Directorate General Resettlement (DGR), an arm of the Ministry of Defence, and Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Company Ltd. This collaboration seeks to create employment opportunities for veterans, enabling them to have a dignified second career in the corporate sector. The partnership aims to enhance the visibility of ex-servicemen in industries and facilitate the utilization of their skills and experience.
Enhancing Visibility and Skill Utilization:
Major General Sharad Kapur, Director General (Resettlement), expressed his optimism about the partnership, highlighting its potential to bring more visibility to ex-servicemen within the industry and corporate sectors. By forging this alliance, the Ministry of Defence aims to achieve its objectives of providing skilled manpower and offering a dignified second career to veterans who have served the nation with dedication and commitment.
Welfare and Rehabilitation Schemes:
The Kendriya Sainik Boards (KSB) and the Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR) serve as the implementing agencies for various welfare and rehabilitation schemes for ex-servicemen. These schemes include provisions for girl marriage grants, penury grants, and disabled children grants. The government annually allocates funds to support these initiatives. In the previous financial years of 2021-22 and 2020-21, the expenditure incurred by KSBs amounted to ₹234 crore and ₹420 crore, respectively. For the financial year 2022-23, a budget allocation of ₹150 crore was made. Similarly, the DGR’s financial year-wise figures for the previous years were ₹6.58 crore and ₹6.7 crore, with a budget allocation of ₹20 crore for the last financial year.
Challenges and Employment Opportunities:
A significant number of soldiers retire from active duty between the ages of 35 and 40, seeking to retain their youthful energy. The government strives to assist them in finding post-retirement employment and self-employment opportunities. While the government has reserved 10 percent of Group C jobs and 20 percent of Group D posts for ex-servicemen in the public sector, these vacancies often remain unfilled. In defense Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) alone, the re-employment rate of veterans has been relatively low. As of 2021, only 3.45 percent and 2.71 percent of veterans were employed in Group C and Group D positions, respectively.
Defence Minister’s Appeal:
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had previously appealed to corporates to support and assist veterans who make significant contributions to the country’s security. This collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance serves as a positive step towards fulfilling this vision. By leveraging the expertise and resources of the corporate sector, ex-servicemen can be effectively integrated into the workforce, enabling them to contribute their skills and experiences to the nation’s development.
Indian Oil Corp Partners with LanzaJet to Establish Aviation Fuel Plant in Haryana
Indian Oil Corp (IOC), one of India’s largest oil refiners, has announced its collaboration with LanzaJet, a leading sustainable fuels technology company, to establish an aviation fuel plant in Haryana. With an investment of approximately 23 billion rupees ($280.1 million), this strategic partnership aims to promote the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the country. IOC Chairman, S.M. Vaidya, shared this significant development during an industry event held in New Delhi.
Promoting Sustainable Aviation Fuel:
The proposed 80,000-tonne aviation fuel plant will contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the aviation industry by producing sustainable alternatives to traditional jet fuel. SAF, also known as biojet fuel, is produced from renewable sources such as agricultural and municipal waste, non-edible plant oils, and other sustainable feedstocks. By partnering with LanzaJet, which specializes in advanced biofuel technologies, IOC is emphasizing its commitment to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship in the aviation sector.
Investment in a Greener Future:
The substantial investment of 23 billion rupees underscores IOC’s dedication to driving the adoption of cleaner energy solutions. By venturing into sustainable aviation fuel production, the company aims to address the environmental challenges associated with the aviation industry, including carbon emissions and climate change. This initiative aligns with India’s national and international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve sustainable development goals.
Partnership with Praj Industries:
In addition to its collaboration with LanzaJet, IOC is actively involved in a pilot project for green fuel in partnership with Praj Industries. The pilot project is being implemented in Maharashtra, a western state in India. Praj Industries is a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable technologies, making it an ideal partner for IOC’s endeavors in the green fuel sector. This joint effort will enable IOC to explore and develop alternative fuel options beyond aviation, further supporting the nation’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
Driving the Transition to Sustainable Energy:
The establishment of the aviation fuel plant and the ongoing pilot project highlight IOC’s proactive approach in driving the transition towards sustainable energy solutions. By investing in advanced technologies and strategic collaborations, the company is positioning itself as a frontrunner in the development and production of clean and renewable energy sources. These initiatives not only contribute to India’s energy security but also reinforce the nation’s commitment to mitigating climate change and achieving a greener future.
New Zealand Slips into Recession as GDP Falls 0.1% in March Quarter
New Zealand’s economy has slipped into a recession, as the first-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 0.1 percent. This decline follows a revised 0.7 percent drop in GDP in the fourth quarter of 2022, meeting the technical definition of a recession. The country’s economic downturn can be attributed to a combination of factors, including measures taken by the central bank to combat inflation and the adverse effects of natural disasters.
Central Bank Measures Impact Manufacturing Sector:
New Zealand’s economy took a significant hit due to measures implemented by the country’s central bank to tame inflation. These measures included raising the interest rate to a 14-year high, which had a negative impact on the manufacturing sector. With borrowing costs becoming more expensive, businesses faced challenges in maintaining production levels and profitability. The tightening monetary policy was aimed at slowing down economic growth to combat inflation and inflation expectations.
Natural Disasters Amplify Economic Woes:
The first-quarter GDP decline was further exacerbated by the adverse effects of natural disasters. Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland flash floods caused extensive damage amounting to NZ$14 billion ($8.6 billion). The destruction led to reduced farm production, a decline in tourism, and a slowdown in consumer spending. The cyclones particularly impacted the horticulture and transport support services sectors, while also causing disruptions in education services.
Central Bank’s Perspective:
Despite the economic weakness, the central bank does not necessarily view it as negative. The recession aligns with the bank’s goal of slowing down economic growth to combat inflation and inflation expectations. Economists believe that this contraction will reinforce the belief that the cash rate has reached its peak. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has pursued an aggressive monetary policy tightening since October 2021, increasing the official cash rate by 525 basis points to 5.50 percent. However, the central bank has indicated that it has concluded its tightening measures.
Forecasts and Outlook:
Prior to the release of the first-quarter GDP data, the central bank had already projected a recession for the second quarter of 2023. However, the Treasury’s updated forecasts in May suggested that the country would avoid entering a recession. The economic indicators and the challenges faced by various sectors will be closely monitored to assess the overall health and recovery of the New Zealand economy. The impact of ongoing policies and the recovery from natural disasters will play a crucial role in shaping the country’s economic trajectory in the coming months.
Key Points about New Zealand:
Prime Minister: The Prime Minister of New Zealand is Chris Hipkins.
Capital City: The capital city of New Zealand is Wellington. It is located at the southern tip of the North Island and is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene.
Currency: The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). It is denoted by the symbol “$” or “NZ$”.
Official Language: The official languages of New Zealand are English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).
Geography: New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It comprises two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, along with numerous smaller islands. The country is known for its diverse landscapes, including mountains, beaches, fjords, and geothermal areas.
Population: As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, New Zealand had an estimated population of around 5 million people. However, please note that population figures may have changed since then.
Indigenous Culture: New Zealand has a rich indigenous culture, with the Māori people being the largest ethnic minority group. Māori culture plays a significant role in the country’s identity, arts, language, and traditions.
Economy: New Zealand has a mixed-market economy with a strong focus on agriculture, tourism, and services. It is known for its agricultural exports, including dairy products, meat, and wine. Tourism is also a significant contributor to the economy, attracting visitors to its stunning natural landscapes.
RBI Chief Shaktikanta Das Named ‘Governor Of The Year’ At London’s Central Banking Awards
Shaktikanta Das, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), was honored with the esteemed Governor of the Year Award for 2023. In his remarks, Das highlighted the evolving role of central banks in the monetary and financial systems, emphasizing that they are now tasked with significant responsibilities that go beyond their traditional mandates. The award was presented by Central Banking, a prominent organization that thoroughly covers and examines matters concerning central banks and financial regulators globally, during its summer meetings held in London.
The Central Banking Awards 2023 awards winners were announced in late March this year. Two top prizes went to the National Bank of Ukraine, the 2023 Central Bank of the Year, and the Reserve Bank of India’s Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Year.
Shaktikanta Das Education
Shaktikanta Das, the current governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), is a graduate in history. He holds a bachelor’s degree (BA) and a master’s degree (MA) in history from St. Stephen’s College at the University of Delhi. He also holds a diploma in financial management from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B).
Das’s educational background has been praised by some for giving him a strong foundation in economic and financial matters. However, others have criticized his lack of formal training in economics, arguing that it makes him ill-equipped to lead the RBI.
Here is a more detailed look at Das’s educational background
St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi: Bachelor’s degree (BA) and Master’s degree (MA) in history
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B): Diploma in financial management
Das has also received honorary doctorates from several universities, including Utkal University, the University of Madras, and the University of Mysore.
Shaktikanta Das Salary
The RBI Governor, Shaktikanta Das, receives a monthly salary of Rs 250,000. In addition to the salary, there is a range of allowances and benefits provided. These include Dearness Allowance, Grade Allowance, and reimbursements for expenses such as education, household, telephone, and medical expenses. The comprehensive salary package reflects the significant responsibilities associated with the position, including the authority to grant or revoke bank licenses in cases of violation.
Here is the tabular representation of RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das’s salary structure and allowances:
Name Of PostMonthly Salary AmountAllowancesGovernor Of Reserve Bank Of IndiaRs 2,50,000Rs 1,60,000 (basic pay) along with various allowances such as dearness allowance, grade allowance, educational allowance, educational allowance for children, fuel expenses, medical expenses, etc.
Please note that the values mentioned in the table are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect the exact figures.
Cyclone Biparjoy: IMD warns of flood, power disruption
Cyclone Biparjoy Live Location: The cyclone’s current position is approximately 1161 kilometers southeast of Masirah Island. Recent observations show that it has started moving in a northeasterly direction at a speed of 7 kilometers per hour. It is anticipated that the cyclone will reach its maximum intensity with winds reaching around 185 kilometers per hour. As a precautionary measure, warnings have been issued to people residing in coastal areas. The authorities have captured a three-dimensional image of the cyclone’s location, and personnel are actively engaged in monitoring and managing the situation.
Cyclone Biparjoy is classified as a tropical cyclone, characterized by anticipated wind speeds ranging from 125-135 kmph, with gusts potentially reaching 150 kmph upon landfall. The National Disaster Management Authority categorizes cyclones into two main types: extratropical cyclones and tropical cyclones.
Cyclone Biparjoy, Latest Update
UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi shared several images of Cyclone Biparjoy in the Arabian Sea on his Twitter account.
The coastal districts of Gujarat are experiencing intense rainfall until June 17, prompting the Chief Minister to lead a meeting to assess the state’s readiness. The government of Gujarat aims to evacuate approximately 55,000 individuals, with over 47,000 already relocated to secure locations.
Authorities evacuated approximately 30,000 individuals residing in coastal regions and relocated them to temporary shelters in preparation for the anticipated landfall of cyclone Biparjoy near Jakhau port in Gujarat’s Kutch district. The Army, in collaboration with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), is formulating relief strategies for the affected areas.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a storm surge warning for the coastal regions of Gujarat in anticipation of the approaching very severe cyclonic storm, Biparjoy. The IMD has cautioned that the low-lying areas of Kachchh, Devbhumi Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, and Morbi districts are at risk of being inundated. Although Biparjoy has weakened slightly from its previous intensity, experts have issued a stern warning that it could regain strength and potentially cause massive devastation in Gujarat through the occurrence of colossal storm surges.
Cyclone Biparjoy: India Issues Alerts
Cyclone Biparjoy is a low-pressure area that is currently forming over the Southeast Arabian Sea. It is expected to intensify into a depression in the next 48 hours and may reach cyclonic storm intensity in the subsequent 72 hours. The track of the cyclone is not yet clear, but it is likely to move towards the West Coast of India. Cyclone Biparjoy is the first cyclone to form in the Arabian Sea this season. The monsoon season in India typically begins in June and lasts until September.
The cyclone is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds to the West Coast of India. The heaviest rains are expected to fall in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. The strong winds could cause power outages and damage to property. People in the affected areas are advised to take precautions and stay safe.
Cyclone Biparjoy: IMD issues alert for fishermen
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has given a notice to all ports in Gujarat, directing them to raise the distant warning (DW II) signal as a deep depression in the Arabian Sea has developed into a cyclonic storm named “Biparjoy.” As per the IMD, the storm has changed its course towards the north and presents potential dangers to the coastal areas.
How Cyclone Biparjoy got its name?
The name Biparjoy was given to the cyclone by Bangladesh. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) names tropical cyclones in alphabetical order according to the names submitted by member countries. Bangladesh submitted the name Biparjoy, which means “Disaster” in Bengali.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is closely monitoring the cyclone and will issue advisories as needed. Residents of coastal areas are advised to be prepared for possible flooding and other impacts from the cyclone.
Here are some of the possible impacts of Cyclone Biparjoy:
Damage to property and infrastructure
Possible route for Cyclone Biparjoy
As of June 6, 2023, Cyclone Biparjoy is a low-pressure area over the southeast Arabian Sea. It is expected to intensify into a depression by June 8 and a cyclone by June 9. The cyclone is forecast to move northwards along the west coast of India and make landfall in Gujarat on June 10. After landfall, the cyclone is expected to weaken and move into Pakistan.
The following is a possible route for Cyclone Biparjoy
June 8: Low-pressure area intensifies into a depression over the southeast Arabian Sea.
June 9: Depression intensifies into a cyclone over the east-central Arabian Sea.
June 10: Cyclone makes landfall in Gujarat.
June 11: Cyclone weakens and moves into Pakistan.
How IMD decide cyclone named?
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) decides cyclone names in a collaborative effort with other countries in the region. Each country in the region submits a list of 13 names, and the names are then rotated through a pre-determined schedule. The names are chosen to be short, easy to pronounce, and gender-neutral. They are also chosen to be culturally sensitive and not offensive to any group of people.
The IMD uses a six-year cycle for its list of cyclone names. Once a name is used, it is retired and cannot be used again. The current list of cyclone names for the North Indian Ocean is as follows:
Akash (Sri Lanka)
How it will impact weather, monsoon in India?
The usual arrival of the southwest monsoon in Kerala on June 1, with a standard deviation of around seven days, has been delayed due to a low-pressure system in the Arabian Sea. However, scientists clarify that this delay does not necessarily mean that the monsoon will be late in other parts of the country, nor does it affect the overall rainfall during the season.
The Meteorological Department has stated that the cyclonic storm will significantly impact the progression of the monsoon towards the Kerala coast. Currently, no specific date has been provided for the monsoon’s arrival in Kerala. The private weather forecasting agency, Skymet Weather, suggests that it may occur on either June 8 or June 9, but with a relatively gentle and subdued onset.