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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-15th September 2023

Yes Bank And BriskPe Partner To Enable Seamless Cross-Border Payments For MSMEs

In a groundbreaking collaboration, BriskPe, a pioneering cross-border payments FinTech company, has teamed up with YES BANK to introduce “BriskPe A2A,” a cutting-edge suite of solutions designed to empower exporters and importers. This strategic partnership marks a significant milestone in the realm of cross-border payments, offering a seamless and efficient platform for Indian businesses to navigate the complexities of international trade and bolster their global competitiveness.

Seamless Cross-Border Payments

One of the key highlights of this partnership is the ability for BriskPe’s customers to seamlessly collect payments in over 36 foreign currencies, spanning across more than 180 countries. These funds can then be efficiently converted into Indian Rupees (INR) and settled directly into their local bank accounts in India within a single business day. This streamlined process eliminates the hassles and delays associated with traditional cross-border transactions, providing a much-needed boost to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the manufacturing and services sectors.

About YES BANK

YES BANK is a full-service commercial bank that provides a complete range of products, services, and technology-driven digital offerings, catering to retail, MSME, and corporate clients. Headquartered in Mumbai, it has a Pan-India presence, including an IBU at GIFT City and a Representative Office in Abu Dhabi. YES BANK operates its investment banking, merchant banking, and brokerage businesses through YES SECURITIES, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank.

About BriskPe

Headquartered in Mumbai, India, BriskPe operates within the regulatory framework of RBI’s OPGSP (Online Payment Gateway Service Providers). It’s a dynamic cross-border payments fintech enterprise with a mission to revolutionize (Small and medium-sized enterprises) SME/SMB ( small-to-medium sized business) payments. BriskPe is unwavering in its commitment to enhancing accessibility, tracking, and compliance. Offering pioneering solutions and a robust support ecosystem, it empowers enterprises and reshapes the cross-border payments landscape. This steadfast commitment enables Indian exporters to achieve unprecedented success on the global stage by simplifying and improving foreign exchange remittances for MSMEs.

GSITI Signs MoU With ISRO For Five Years

The Geological Survey of India Training Institute (GSITI), located in Hyderabad, recently forged a significant collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), headquartered in Bengaluru. This momentous partnership was sealed through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on September 11, marking the initiation of a five-year partnership under the National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) programme. The MoU signing event was attended by key representatives from both organizations, emphasizing the commitment to enhancing expertise in critical areas.

The Scope of the Project

The overarching aim of this collaborative project is to provide comprehensive training programs that bolster capacity building in the fields of mineral resources and disaster management, all under the umbrella of the (National Natural Resources Management System) NNRMS programme. The project’s core objectives are centered around the development of skilled human resources capable of addressing critical challenges. Some of the key areas of focus within this project include:

1. Application of Digital Image Processing and GIS in Mineral Exploration

Harnessing the power of digital image processing and geographic information systems (GIS) is vital for efficient mineral exploration. The partnership between GSITI and ISRO will facilitate training programs in this domain, equipping participants with the knowledge and tools to leverage these technologies for resource identification and management.

2. Advanced Remote Sensing Techniques in Mineral Exploration

Remote sensing techniques play a pivotal role in the identification and evaluation of mineral resources. The collaborative effort will provide training on advanced remote sensing methods, enabling participants to use cutting-edge technologies for enhanced mineral exploration.

3. Applications of Geo-informatics for Disaster Management

Geo-informatics, coupled with remote sensing and GIS, has become indispensable in disaster management. This project will deliver training programs designed to enhance the capabilities of individuals and organizations involved in disaster management. The emphasis will be on leveraging geo-informatics for improved disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.

Beneficiaries and Training Programs

The PGRS Division at GSITI, Hyderabad, is set to lead this initiative by organizing a total of 15 training programs over the course of the next five years. These programs will cater to a diverse group of approximately 300 participants, including representatives from Central and State Government Departments, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), faculty members, and research scholars from academic institutions. The wide-ranging scope of the training programs ensures that a broad spectrum of stakeholders will benefit from the expertise and knowledge exchange facilitated by this collaboration between GSITI and ISRO.

BAE Systems, L&T Join Hands To Bring All-Terrain Vehicle To India

A groundbreaking collaboration between global defense and security company BAE Systems and India’s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is set to revolutionize the Indian defense landscape. The partnership aims to introduce the world-leading Articulated All-Terrain Vehicle (AATV), known as the ‘BvS10,’ to the Indian armed forces. This venture, operating under the ‘Make in India’ program, holds the promise of enhanced capabilities and bolstered defense preparedness for the nation.

Bringing the BvS10 to India

Under this partnership, Larsen & Toubro will take the lead as the prime bidder for the Indian market, with the invaluable support of BAE Systems Hagglunds, the renowned Swedish manufacturer of the highly successful BvS10 family of vehicles. This synergy between a global defense giant and a formidable Indian industrial conglomerate promises to redefine defense manufacturing in the country.

Customized for Indian Armed Forces: Introducing the ‘BvS10-Sindhu

In a move to meet the specific requirements of the Indian armed forces, BAE Systems and L&T have undertaken the task of upgrading the BvS10. The result of this joint effort is a new variant named the ‘BvS10-Sindhu.’ This innovative vehicle is designed to excel in the demanding terrains and climatic conditions frequently encountered in India.

AATV Program: Delivering Excellence from Hazira

The AATV (Articulated All-Terrain Vehicle) program is slated to deliver these state-of-the-art vehicles from L&T’s Armoured Systems Complex, located in Hazira, Gujarat. This commitment goes beyond just the vehicles; it includes comprehensive integrated logistic support (ILS) to ensure the seamless operation of the BvS10-Sindhu.

Elevating Indian Defense Capabilities with the BvS10-Sindhu

The BvS10 all-terrain vehicle is poised to showcase the essential capabilities required by the Indian Army during its upcoming trials this month. Central to the design of the BvS10-Sindhu are its unmatched mobility, adaptability, and proficiency in operating under extreme climatic conditions. These qualities are anticipated to position the BvS10-Sindhu as a transformative asset for the Indian armed forces.

L&T’s Strategic Outlook: Leveraging Manufacturing Strength and Regional Impact

Larsen & Toubro views this partnership as a significant opportunity for its Armoured Systems business to build upon its robust manufacturing and design capabilities, further bolstered by the extensive experience of BAE Systems. This collaboration between BAE Systems and Larsen & Toubro also carries the potential for broader regional impact. This move aligns with India’s growing importance as a strategic player in the region.

Advanced Features: Mobile Short Range Air Defence System (MSHORAD)

Notably, the BvS10 vehicle showcased at the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London includes a Mobile Short Range Air Defence system (MSHORAD) configuration. This feature enhances its versatility and effectiveness in modern combat scenarios.

India Achieves Milestone as the 13th Nation to Issue Globally Recognized OIML Certificates

In a significant development, India has joined the ranks of countries authorized to issue International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML) certificates. The announcement was made by the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry on September 14 in New Delhi, marking a pivotal moment in India’s metrological capabilities.

India’s New Authority:

Consumer Affairs Secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh, revealed that this newfound authority would have far-reaching implications. Here’s how:

1. Encouraging Weighing and Measuring Instrument Makers:

  • Singh emphasized that this move would serve as an invitation to weighing and measuring instrument manufacturers to operate in India.

  • Both domestic and global manufacturers can now have their weighing and measuring instruments tested within the country, opening doors for international market sales.

  • Previously, testing had to be conducted in one of the 12 countries, including China and Japan.

2. Economic Benefits:

  • This development is expected to generate significant economic advantages for India.

  • Singh highlighted that by offering testing facilities for international manufacturers, India would not only generate revenue but also create employment opportunities.

3. Long-standing Membership with OIML:

  • India’s membership with the OIML dates back to 1956, demonstrating the country’s commitment to international metrological standards.

  • With this new authority, India can issue internationally accepted OIML certificates for weights and measures, enabling the sale of such products worldwide.

4. Facilitating International Trade:

  • OIML Pattern Approval certificates are mandatory for selling weights and measures in the international market.

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs in India can now issue these certificates, streamlining the process for domestic and international manufacturers.

5. Cost Savings for Domestic Manufacturers:

  • A significant benefit for domestic manufacturers is the ability to export their weighing and measuring instruments globally without incurring additional testing fees.

  • This translates to substantial cost savings, making Indian products more competitive in the international market.

LIC Delivers Dividend Cheque of ₹1,831 Crore to Finance Minister

LIC Chairman Siddhartha Mohanty presented a significant dividend cheque of ₹1,831.09 crore to Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This dividend represents the Centre’s share for the fiscal year 2022-23. It was officially approved by LIC’s shareholders during the Annual General Meeting held on August 22 of the same year.

Government’s Majority Stake

As of the end of June in the current year, the Indian government held an impressive equity stake of 96.5 percent in LIC, making it the majority shareholder.

Dividend Amount and Shareholders’ Approval

The final dividend declared for the fiscal year 2022-23 amounted to ₹3 per share, and it was agreed upon by LIC’s shareholders.

Mega IPO and Current Share Performance

In May of the previous year, LIC, as the country’s largest insurer, made headlines by launching its colossal ₹21,000 crore initial public offering (IPO). This IPO marked the most substantial public issue in the country’s history up to that point.

Despite its initial issue price of ₹949 per share during the IPO, LIC’s shares are currently trading at ₹660.80 on the stock exchanges.

Robust Profit Growth

Benefiting from a substantial increase in net investment income, LIC reported a remarkable surge in net profit for the first quarter ending on June 30, 2023, reaching ₹9,544 crore, compared to the previous year’s ₹683 crore.

Former SBI Chief Rajnish Kumar appointed Chairman of Mastercard India

Mastercard, the global financial services corporation, has made a significant appointment in its Indian operations by naming Rajnish Kumar as the Chairman of Mastercard India. This move reflects Mastercard’s commitment to strengthening its presence in India and navigating the dynamic landscape of domestic payments. Kumar, the former Chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI), brings a wealth of experience to the role.

A Seasoned Banking Veteran

Rajnish Kumar’s career spans nearly four decades in India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India. During his tenure, he held various leadership positions and played a pivotal role in managing critical operations not only in India but also in the UK and Canada. His contributions to the banking sector are well-acknowledged, with one of his notable achievements being the spearheading of the YONO platform, a groundbreaking digital banking initiative.

Transition from SBI Chairman to Mastercard India

Kumar concluded his three-year term as the Chairman of SBI in October 2020, leaving behind a legacy of banking excellence. Now, he steps into a new role at Mastercard India, where he will provide guidance and leadership to Mastercard’s South Asia executive team. This team is headed by Gautam Aggarwal, Division President for South Asia & Country Corporate Officer, India.

Mastercard’s Strategic Focus on India

Mastercard has long recognized the potential of India as a key growth market for its services. The company has made significant investments in the country, channeling $2 billion since 2014 into initiatives aimed at building technology centers and fostering innovation in digital payments.

Regulatory Hurdles Overcome

Mastercard’s journey in India hasn’t been without challenges. In 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed regulatory restrictions on the company, preventing it from issuing debit and credit cards to new domestic customers. These measures were rooted in compliance concerns regarding the storage of payment system data. However, in June 2022, the RBI lifted this ban, signaling a positive turn of events for Mastercard in the Indian market.

Mastercard’s Global Footprint

Mastercard is a global leader in payment transaction processing and related services, including travel-related payments and bookings. With a presence in 210 countries, the company continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of digital payments worldwide.

In appointing Rajnish Kumar as Chairman, Mastercard India demonstrates its commitment to leveraging local expertise and leadership to drive innovation and growth in the dynamic Indian payments ecosystem. Rajnish Kumar’s wealth of experience and leadership acumen is expected to contribute significantly to Mastercard’s endeavors in India, further strengthening its position in the country’s financial landscape.

Decline in Wholesale Prices Continues for Fifth Consecutive Month, Reaching -0.52% in August

On September 14, the Indian government unveiled the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data for the month of August, revealing a persistent trend of declining wholesale inflation. In August, the wholesale inflation rate plummeted to -0.52 percent, marking the fifth consecutive month in which it has remained in the negative territory. Notably, in July, the wholesale inflation rate had been -1.36 percent, and in June, it had reached as low as -4.12 percent.

Understanding Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

The Wholesale Price Index, or WPI, serves as a crucial indicator that measures the fluctuations in prices of goods traded and sold in bulk by wholesale businesses to other companies. Unlike the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks prices of goods and services directly purchased by consumers, the WPI focuses on factory gate prices before they reach the retail level.

Factors Contributing to Negative Inflation

Decline in Wholesale Prices Continues for Fifth Consecutive Month, Reaching -0.52% in August

The government attributed the persistently negative inflation rate to a range of factors, including the decline in prices of mineral oils, basic metals, chemical and chemical products, textiles, and food products when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Analysis of WPI Inflation Internals (Year-On-Year)

Primary Articles:

  • In June 2023: -2.98%

  • In July 2023: 7.57%

  • In August 2023: 6.34%

Fuel & Power:

  • In June 2023: -12.51%

  • In July 2023: -12.79%

  • In August 2023: -6.03%

Manufactured Products:

  • In June 2023: -2.78%

  • In July 2023: -2.51%

  • In August 2023: -2.37%

Food Index:

  • In June 2023: -1.30%

  • In July 2023: 7.75%

  • In August 2023: 5.62%

Core Inflation Remains Stable

The core inflation rate, a key indicator, remained unchanged in August, holding at -2.2 percent.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has continued its negative trend for the fifth consecutive month in August, reaching -0.52 percent.

  • WPI tracks changes in prices of goods traded in bulk by wholesale businesses before they reach retail consumers.

  • Contributing factors to negative inflation include decreased prices in mineral oils, basic metals, chemical products, textiles, and food items compared to the previous year.

  • Notable changes in inflation rates were observed in primary articles, fuel & power, manufactured products, and the food index.

  • Core inflation remained stable at -2.2 percent in August.

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