Indian Digital App Ecosystem
- Group of leading technology entrepreneurs are joining hands to to petition the government seeking support to create an overarching Indian digital app ecosystem.
- This is to counter the dominance of US technology giants Google and Apple.
- To break the duopoly of Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store
- Tech companies are going to approach the RBI and FinMin seeking redressal for Google’s recent move to increase commission on purchases made on its app store.
- If India has net neutrality, why can’t we have app neutrality?
- If there is some kind of restriction imposed due to geopolitical tensions, an Indian app store can save the day for everyone.
- The group plans to approach the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) to push the case for an Indian app store while also approaching the Competition Commission of India, National Payments Corporation of India and the Central Board of Direct Taxes for other related grievances.
Chinese FDI Proposals
- More than 100 proposals involving foreign direct investment (FDI) from China are pending.
- India has set up a screening panel to vet all Chinese foreign investment proposals and those considered “non-controversial” could be approved.
- The screening panel is headed by the home secretary and has the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) secretary as a member.
- Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told ET in an interview on Tuesday that there was no ban on Chinese investments.
- Press Note 3: curbing opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions of Indian companies due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
- Prior government approval or clearance by the ministry of home affairs is required for investments in critical sectors including defence, satellites, mining, civil aviation, media, private security agencies and telecommunication.
- The government will have to determine the security criteria and also look at it from the perspective of data theft.
Credit Push by Banks
- Banks are putting in their best efforts to revive credit growth.
- Fee discounts – lower interest rates – quick loan processing
- Credit growth is languishing at multi-decade lows because of the pandemic.
- Large lenders such as the State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank have unveiled a host of special offers to take advantage of pent-up consumer demand during the festive season as they hope higher demand will make up for the lost first quarter.
- HDFC Bank announced halving of processing fees on auto, personal and business growth loans, while removing the fees all together for two-wheeler loans.
- HDFC is also offering special deals on various brands with credit and debit card purchases, in an attempt to boost consumption.
- “Our endeavour is to change mindsets, bring some positivity and help in spurring demand,” said Aditya Puri, managing director, HDFC Bank.
- “Covid-19 has come and will go, but life must go on and we are doing our bit. This is the second year we are running these offers and it will be bigger than last year.”
- “Retail was, and will remain, the growth engine for banks, as companies are still operating below capacity,” said CS Setty, managing director, retail and digital banking, SBI.
- The pandemic hit retail consumption hard and affected banks as retail demand was keeping credit growth going in the absence of corporate demand.
- Festive season is crucial for banks to achieve their credit targets.
- India’s core infrastructure sector shrank for the sixth straight month in August.
- Output of 8 core infrastructure sectors – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity – dropped 8.5% in August compared to 8% contraction in July.
- The July number has been revised upward from 9.6% contraction estimated earlier.
- During the April-August, the core sector contracted 17.8%.
- The eight core industries together have a 40% weight in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), suggesting somewhat comparable contraction in industrial production.
- Subsequent high frequency data, though, have shown that economy has picked up pace in September.
TV Panel Imports
- CBIC: Open cell television panel imports will attract 5% basic customs duty.
- The levy has been implemented despite repeated requests from the industry to defer it.
- The government aims to foster domestic manufacturing of open cells for televisions in India through this move, as it promotes the Atmanirbhar Bharat program.
- The sop was offered for a limited period of one year till September 30 in anticipation that the industry would build capacity for manufacturing critical components in India and move towards value addition from mere assembling, but that has not happened.
- Cinema owners feel that audiences will start coming back to theatres within 2-3 months after the government on Wednesday announced opening of theatres from October 15 with a condition of 50% of total capacity.
- The announcement has spread a huge cheer among the cinema owners as well as filmmakers, who have been lobbying to the central and state governments for permission to run.
- After the new guidelines (Unlock 5.0) from the ministry of home affairs (MHA), various state governments can now decide on when and how to open cinema theatres in their states.
- Some in the industry were of the view that there might be a supply crunch as many films have already been released on digital platforms.
- A good mix of large and mid-budget Bollywood films as well as big Hollywood titles are awaiting release.