Economy Current Affairs

Indian Economy Current Affairs, important for Competitive Exams.

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2023-24 Series II opens until 15 September

Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) are open for subscription until September 15th, marking the second series of the scheme for the fiscal year 2023-24.

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set the price of the gold bonds at 5,923 rupees per gram.
  2. Online applicants will receive a discount of 50 rupees per gram less than the nominal value when paying digitally, making the issue price for online investors 5,873 rupees per gram.
  3. The minimum investment allowed in a gold bond is one gram, while the maximum subscription limit is set at 4 kg for individuals and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal year.
  4. SGB offers a safer alternative to physical gold and an additional income source, making it an attractive investment option.
  5. The Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme was initiated by the government in November 2015, under the Gold Monetisation Scheme.

Q.: Which government scheme introduced the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme in November 2015?

a) Gold Reserve Scheme
b) Gold Monetisation Scheme
c) Gold Investment Initiative
d) Gold Security Program

Ans : b) Gold Monetisation Scheme

RBI Gradually Reduces Incremental Cash Reserve Ratio (ICRR) to Manage Liquidity

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will gradually reduce its requirement for banks to park an additional 10% of their fresh deposits with the central bank. The reduction of this requirement, known as the incremental cash reserve ratio (ICRR), will occur in stages.

  • Starting on 9 September 2023, 25% of the ICRR will be released.
  • Another 25% will be released on 23 September.
  • The remaining 50% of the ICRR will be released on 7 October.
  1. The ICRR was initially introduced to address a surge in liquidity resulting from the return of 90% of ₹2,000 notes into the banking system.
  2. The RBI aims to release the ICRR gradually to prevent sudden shocks to system liquidity and to maintain orderly money market functioning.
  3. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had mentioned that withdrawing the ICRR could remove approximately ₹1 trillion in liquidity from the banking system.
  4. The current surplus liquidity in the system is ₹76,000 crore, which is lower than the earlier surplus of ₹3.5 trillion.
  5. The RBI’s objective is to control liquidity to prevent excess liquidity from contributing to inflation, aiming to keep system liquidity at around ₹1 trillion.
  6. The reduction in ICRR is designed not to significantly impact system liquidity, with other factors like currency in circulation and forex intervention compensating for the incremental money from the ICRR reduction.

Q.: What is the primary reason for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gradually reducing the incremental cash reserve ratio (ICRR) requirement for banks?

A) To encourage banks to deposit more funds with RBI.
B) To address a shortage of liquidity in the banking system.
C) To prevent excess liquidity from contributing to inflation.
D) To generate more revenue for the central bank.

Answer: C) To prevent excess liquidity from contributing to inflation.

New UPI Payment Options Launched by NPCI for Inclusive Digital Payments

On September 7, 2023, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) introduced several new payment options on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das announced these options at the ongoing Global Fintech Festival in Mumbai. The new options are :

  1. Hello! UPI for voice-enabled payments.
  2. Credit Line on UPI for instant loans.
  3. UPI LITE X for low-cost smartphones.
  4. Tap & Pay for contactless payments.

These additions aim to create an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable digital payments ecosystem and contribute to UPI’s goal of achieving 100 billion transactions per month.

Question: Which organization introduced new payment options on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI)?

A) Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
B) National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
C) Indian Ministry of Finance
D) State Bank of India (SBI)

Answer: B) National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

India is the largest source of raw material for Human Hair globally

India is the largest source of raw material for Human Hair globally. The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, provided this information in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on 11 August 2023.

  1. In the last fiscal year, India exported Human Hair worth 169.23 million dollars.
  2. The PLEX Council is collaborating with the industry to participate in international trade shows.
  3. The council is also partnering with the government to train Indian exporters to produce high-value products like wigs.

Q.: What is true about India’s role in the Human Hair industry?

a) India is the largest importer of Human Hair.
b) India is the primary consumer of Human Hair products.
c) India is the largest source of raw material for Human Hair in the world.
d) India is the leading manufacturer of Human Hair products.

Ans : c) India is the largest source of raw material for Human Hair in the world.

RBI Keeps Key Interest Rate Unchanged, Introduces Borrower-Friendly Framework

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has maintained the key interest rate unchanged for the third consecutive time. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) unanimously decided on 10 August 2023, to keep the repo rate steady at 6.5 percent.

  1. The repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends money to commercial banks.
  2. The standing deposit facility (SDF) rate is unchanged at 6.25 percent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate remain at 6.75 percent.
  3. The MPC’s focus is on gradually withdrawing accommodation to align inflation with the target while supporting economic growth.
  4. RBI has revised the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation target for the current fiscal to 5.4 percent.
  5. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das projected a real GDP growth of 6.5 percent for the fiscal year 2023-24.
  6. RBI will introduce a framework allowing borrowers to switch from floating to fixed interest rates, benefiting home, auto, and other loan borrowers.
  7. Lenders will need to clearly communicate with borrowers about tenor and Equated Monthly Installments (EMI) under this framework.
  8. The decision to introduce the framework follows supervisory reviews that revealed instances of lenders extending floating rate loan tenors without proper communication or borrower consent.

Q.: What is the repo rate, as defined in the context of the RBI’s monetary policy?

a) The rate at which banks lend money to RBI
b) The rate at which RBI lends money to banks
c) The rate at which RBI lends money to the government
d) The rate at which banks lend money to each other

Ans : b) The rate at which RBI lends money to banks

Record 6.77 Crore Income Tax Returns Filed for 2023-24, 16% Increase Over Previous Year

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) informed on 1 August 2023 that over 6.77 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) have been filed for the financial year 2023-24.

  1. The total number of ITRs filed this year is 16% higher than the previous year, which saw 5 crore 83 lakh filings.
  2. On the last day of filing, over 64 lakh ITRs were filed, indicating a significant surge in last-minute submissions.
  3. The Income Tax Department received over 53 lakh ITRs from first-time filers, suggesting an increase in the number of new taxpayers.
  4. More than 46% of the filed ITRs were submitted using the online ITR utility available on the e-filing portal.

Question: How many Income Tax Returns (ITRs) were filed for the financial year 2023-24?

A) 5.83 crore
B) 6.64 crore
C) 6.77 crore
D) 7.46 crore

Answer: C) 6.77 crore

28% GST on Casinos and Online Gaming

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on 2nd August 2023 that a 28 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be levied on casinos and online gaming based on their face value.

  1. The implementation of the 28 percent GST on online gaming and casinos is scheduled to begin from the 1st of October.
  2. The GST Council will review the implementation after six months.
  3. In the previous meeting, the GST Council recommended taxing actionable claims supplied in Casinos, Horse racing, and Online gaming at 28 percent, regardless of whether they involve a game of skill or chance.
  4. The Council also suggested amending the CGST Act 2017 and IGST Act 2017 to provide clarity on the taxation of supplies in casinos, horse racing, and online gaming.
  5. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary, Finance Ministers of States and UTs, and senior officers of the Ministry of Finance.

Question: From which date will the 28% GST on casinos and online gaming be implemented?

A) 1st of November 2023
B) 1st of September 2023
C) 1st of October 2023
D) 1st of December 2023

Answer: C) 1st of October 2023

IMF raises India’s GDP growth forecast to 6.1% for current fiscal

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest World Economic Outlook report released on 25 July 2023, has raised India’s growth forecast for the current fiscal year, projecting a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 6.1 percent. This is a revision from the previous projection of 5.9 percent in the World Economic Outlook released in April.

  1. The upward revision of 0.2 percentage points is attributed to the momentum from stronger-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter of 2022, driven by increased domestic investment.
  2. The IMF has maintained the GDP growth projection for the fiscal year 2024-2025 at 6.3 percent.
  3. India continues to hold the title of the fastest-growing economy, with neighboring China estimated to grow at 5.2 percent in 2023 and 4.5 percent in 2024.
  4. The IMF has also revised the projection for global growth output to 3 percent in 2023, up from its previous forecast of 2.8 percent. However, the decline in growth from 2022 to 2023 is driven by weaker manufacturing and idiosyncratic factors, despite stronger services activity.
  5. Global headline inflation is expected to decrease to 6.8 percent in 2023 and further to 5.2 percent in 2024, compared to 8.7 percent in 2022.

Q.: According to the latest report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), what is the projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate for India in the current fiscal year (2023-2024) ?

a) 5.9 percent
b) 6.1 percent
c) 6.3 percent
d) 6.5 percent

Ans : b) 6.1 percent

India and Bangladesh Launch Rupee-Based Bilateral Trade

India and Bangladesh have initiated bilateral trade in Indian rupees. The launch event was organized by Bangladesh Bank and the High Commission of India in Dhaka on July 11, 2023.

  • Trade settlement in Indian rupees will be applicable to export amounts from Bangladesh, while imports from India will still be settled in US dollars.
  • The Eastern Bank and Sonali Bank Ltd will handle trade and transactions from the Bangladesh side, while the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank will handle operations from the Indian side.
  • Bangladesh is India’s largest trade partner in South Asia, and India is the second largest trade partner of Bangladesh in Asia.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has permitted banks from 18 countries, including Germany, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Myanmar, and Oman, to trade in rupees.
  • With this development, Bangladesh becomes the 19th country to engage in trade with India using rupees.

Q.: Which of the following statements is true?
a) Bangladesh is India’s largest trade partner in Asia.
b) India is Bangladesh’s largest trade partner in South Asia.
c) India and Bangladesh do not engage in bilateral trade.
d) India and Bangladesh trade only in US dollars.

Ans : b) India is Bangladesh’s largest trade partner in South Asia.

SGX Nifty is now Gift Nifty : Trading Shifts to GIFT City in Gandhinagar

The SGX Nifty has started trading as GIFT Nifty at GIFT City in Gandhinagar on July 3, 2023. NSE’s international contracts, previously traded in Singapore, will now be traded at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).

The migration of GIFT-NIFTY to GIFT City will strengthen GIFT-IFSC as a global hub for international financial products and services.

GIFT Nifty will have two trading sessions: the first session from 6:30 am to 3:40 pm IST and the second session from 5 pm to 2:45 am.

Nifty stands for ‘National Stock Exchange Fifty’ and is the index for the National Stock Exchange. SGX stands for Singapore Exchange (SGX).

Q.: Where will the trading of NSE’s international contracts, previously done in Singapore, take place now?
a) Singapore Stock Exchange
b) Mumbai Stock Exchange
c) GIFT City in Gandhinagar
d) International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA)

Answer: c) GIFT City in Gandhinagar

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