UNCTAD on Global Trade
- The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) expects a 7-9% on-year drop in the value of global trade in 2020.
- This is despite signs of a rebound led by China
- Possible resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the coming months
- Sudden increases in trade restrictive policies is also a major reason for drop in global trade.
- Global Trade Update – UNCTAD – preliminary data for the third quarter suggest that global growth remained negative with a decline of about 4.5% on a year-on-year basis.
- Trade in home office equipment and medical supplies has increased in Q3, while it further weakened in the automotive and energy sectors.
- India’s exports declined 6.1% on-year for quarter ended September 30.
- Calls for deeper scrutiny into Google’s India business are likely to gather momentum following the US government’s decision to file an antitrust lawsuit against the internet behemoth.
- Industry observers say regulators here too may think afresh about some of Google’s business practices.
- The US Department of Justice (DoJ) on Tuesday said its investigators found Google acted unlawfully to maintain its dominant position in search and advertising on the internet.
- The lawsuit comes at a time when a group of Indian startup founders has approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and ministry of electronics and IT, complaining about Google’s “unfair” practices, via its dominance in the app ecosystem through Google Play store and the Android mobile platform.
- DoJ has clearly demonstrated Google abused its monopoly.
- We hope it is split into small entities.
- US lawsuit is bound to make Indian regulators sit up and take notice.
- The ongoing Android investigation by CCI is slightly different but may touch upon this aspect as well during the course of investigation.
- International Competition Network (ICN) is an informal, virtual network that seeks to facilitate cooperation between competition law authorities globally.
- The Google-Jio partnership is multi-pronged and the duo has entered a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry level affordable smartphone with optimizations to the Android operating system and Play Store.
‘Vaccine Rollout: No Budget Constraints’
- The government has adequate resources to ensure delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to everyone as and when they become available.
- Expenditure Secretary TV Somanathan: “We have our estimates… I can say very clearly, unequivocally, that the budget will not be a constraint on the rollout of the vaccine.”
- The assurance comes amid reports that vaccinating 1.3 billion Indians will be a challenge financially and logistically.
- Asked whether the vaccine would be free, he said the HEALTH MINISTRY will take a call on matters such as who gets it on priority and the costs.
- The rollout will only be dependent on when the vaccine is ready and cash will not be a worry.
PM to Meet Global Fund Houses’ Brass
- Economic Affairs Secretary, Tarun Bajaj: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon meet officials of 15 leading global fund houses amid heightened interest from foreign investors seeking stable returns in India.
- The government is also working with the central bank to get India included in global bond indices, which would lift flows into bond market.
- Bajaj said at a virtual conference hosted by CII: “Fund houses from all over the world are getting in touch with us and saying if you can provide us with some good assets which require patient capital and give not very high returns but stable returns.”
- Pension funds from Canada, the US, Europe and Australia have reached out to the government, Bajaj said.
- The Centre is also working with domestic insurance and pension fund regulators to tweak regulations, so that more stable capital flows towards infrastructure projects.
- The government was also working on ways to increase its expenditure to boost the economy and any additional support would be provided in the revised estimates of this year’s budget, Bajaj said.
- Bajaj expects Cabinet nod for privatisation of public sector units to come through soon.
Borrowers Likely to Get Compound Interest Waiver
- The Union Cabinet is understood to have given its go-ahead to the compound interest waiver for borrowers for the six-month moratorium period announced by the Reserve Bank, government sources said.
- The government had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the moratorium, stating that it would waive interest on interest on loans up to ₹2 crore for a select category of borrowers.
- The apex court has asked the government to present a clear plan on the scheme at the next hearing on November 2.
- The government will now inform the court about the approval from the Cabinet and subsequent directives in this regard.
- The Centre expects an expenditure of ₹5,500-6,000 crore on the proposed waiver.
Bonanza for Govt Employees
- The Union Cabinet approved a productivity and non-productivity linked bonus for 2019-2020, which will benefit over 3 million non-gazetted employees.
- The total financial implication will be ₹3,737 crore, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
- “This will boost demand, just ahead of the festive season… This was one major concern of the middle class, which has been addressed now,” he added.
- The bonus to 1.697 million non-gazetted employees of commercial establishments like railways, posts, defence production, Employees Provident Fund Office, Employees State Insurance Corporation, etc will have financial implication of ₹2,791 crore.