Here are the Policy and Finance headlines from 1st March 2017.

Policy News

Get all accounts on net banking by 31st March – Govt to banks. 

The ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has asked to get all accounts enabled with Net Banking by March 31st this year. A third of all bank accounts across the country are not linked to the internet yet, the government said. One lakh common service centers launched by the government will help the banks on the move.

During his first Presidential address to the Congress today, US President Donald Trump said, “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.” He stated, “America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path,” adding, “But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict”

Govt notifies law to criminalize possession of banned notes

The government has notified a law that makes the possession of more than 10 scrapped notes by individuals a criminal offence. Having over 25 pieces of old notes for research purposes will also be considered a criminal offence. The law prohibits the holding, transferring or receiving of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes from December 31, 2016, and imposes fines on offenders.

Compiled by Aayush Makharia

Finance News

CSO estimate: India GDP growth at 7% in Q3, economy bucks the note ban.

– Going by the Q3 India GDP growth rate numbers released by Central Statistics Office (CSO), the impact of demonetization seems to have been negligible on Indian economy.

– CSO’s estimate of real gross domestic product (GDP) for the December quarter came in at a robust 7%, while growth in gross value added (GVA) was 6.6%.

– These numbers suggest that the impact of demonetization, which had resulted in the withdrawal of a huge portion of currency in circulation, was negligible.

(Source: Livemint)

2) World Bank pledges $1 billion for urban transport, agriculture in Maharashtra.

– World Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kristalina Georgieva, who is on a visit to Mumbai, has agreed to lend $1 billion to Maharashtra for two projects in the areas of urban transport and climate change.

-This is the highest assistance that World Bank has committed to any Indian state.

– The lending would be extended at Libor-plus rate for a period of 18 to 20 years.

– The assistance would be used to fund the third phase of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), and a climate resilient agriculture programme in dry-land regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada.

– Over the last five years, the World Bank has invested over $1.4 billion in Maharashtra in the areas of urban transport, rural water supply, and agriculture.

– Apart from the direct assistance of $1 billion, the organization would also help Maharashtra draw in funding from other multilateral lending agencies and private sector.

(Source: Livemint)

3) SEBI’s charge – from U K Sinha to Ajay Tyagi.

– U.K. Sinha’s six-year term (with two extensions) as head of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) ends on 2 March.

– The 1976-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from the Bihar cadre leaves behind a stellar legacy with incredible results in all markets under the supervision of the regulator.

– Ajay Tyagi, ex-Finance Ministry official, will replace him as the Chairman.

– The new Chairman will be have to deal with old issues like refunding the Sahara investors as well as new challenges like high-frequency trading.

(Source: Livemint)

4) China’s Central Bank faces a delicate balancing act.

– China’s central bank faces a dilemma: whether to raise borrowing costs and potentially undermine the nascent economic recovery, or hold firm and risk spurring capital outflows.

– The People’s Bank of China is trying to take the middle road, boosting money-market rates as well as increasing capital controls.

(Source: Bloomberg)

5) Sydney home prices surge at fastest annual pace since 2002.

– Despite tighter lending restrictions aimed at discouraging speculative buying by landlords, the runaway housing market shows few signs of easing.

– Housing values in Australia’s largest city Sydney have risen at the fastest annual pace in 14-years in February as record-low interest rates outweighed regulatory efforts to avert a housing bubble.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Compiled by Pradnya Nerkar