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Clampdown on black money curbing gold appetite

India's crackdown on undisclosed foreign assets and income is curbing demand for gold. Rising real interest rates and better returns from other financial markets are also hurting purchases. high. Unofficial estimates suggest that illegal deposits overseas account for about 10-30 per cent of the country's gold demand. Gold demand has also been hit by higher returns from other asset classes, like returns on equities and bonds at 12-13 per cent. The situation appears to change dramatically by the demonetisation  of resultingin a rush of gold!

RBI to conduct cybercrime audit on banks to check loopholes

RBI will scrutinize the security of banks, by roping in outside help which will installsystemsto try and exploit holes in IT systems to fortify them against similar breaches of security. The RBI had directed banks to submit a report on the security breach at their ATMs. There is already a team in place that would be headed by NandkumarSarvade, a retired IPS officer and an expert in bank fraud and terrorism cases. The RBI will also hire techies and involve certified cybersecurity companies.

Life Insurers' new business premium up 61 per cent in September 

Life insurers registered a rise of 61 per cent  year-on-year in their new business premium at Rs 16,767.41 crore for September. Their collective or new business premium during September 2015 stood at Rs 10,415.35 crore. Of the 24 life insurers, state-owned LIC collected new business premium that was up 65.3 per cent against last year's and all the rest together garnered a raise of 53.1 per cent . Among the private players, SBI Life's new business premium in September more than doubled and HDFC Standard Life's grew by 69.6 per, but ICICI Prudential Life registered a decline of 36.6 per cent .

Jobs disappearing. And seven million can disappear by 2050 

550 jobs have disappeared daily in last four years and if this trend continues, employment will shrink by 7 million by 2050 in India. Farmers, petty retail vendors, contract laborers and construction workers will be the most hit. India created only 1.35 lakh jobs in 2015 in comparison to 4.19 lakh in 2013 and 9 lakh in 2011. The rise in unemployment is because sectors which are the largest contributors are worst-affected – agriculture and the SME sector respectively employ 50 per cent and 40 per cent of the workforce.

Auto manufacturers to provide emission and noise pollution details for every vehicle

The government will make it mandatory for all vehicle manufacturers to provide details of emission and noise pollution of each vehicle. These norms will be made applicable from October 2017. The road transport and highways ministry intends to award five star ratings to vehicles based on their emission and noise pollution standards. These rules will apply to all vehicles run on petrol, CNG, LPG, electric, diesel, hybrid, agricultural and construction vehicles, e-rickshaws and e-carts.

Mercedes sees flat sales on uncertainty over diesel cars, GST

Mercedes-Benz India, which had record sales in 2015, expects the figures to be flat this year due to uncertainty about diesel vehicles and GST. In Q316, sales marginally slid to 3327 units from 3420 units a year ago. The company is to launch four more models before December and appoint three more dealers. The Supreme Court recently lifted a nine-month-old ban on sale of 2-litre and above diesel models in NCR after companies agreed to pay 1 per cent green cess. The 20,000-unit Pune plant has enough capacity to produce vehicles for the next 2-3 years.

NitiAayog drawing up blueprint for reforms in the farming sector

Reforms are finally coming to the neglected agriculture sector courtesy NitiAayog. Some of the proposed measures are: liberal contract farming, direct purchase from farmers by private players, direct sale by farmers to consumers, single trader licence, single point levy of taxes and taking fruits and vegetables out of the mandi laws. The reforms are part of NitiAayog reforms to double rural income in five years. The biggest changes include state-level agriculture marketing, land leasing and forestry reforms.

India new active zone for Chinese IT investors after US

India has become a popular zone for Chinese investors as the market attracted the second highest Chinese funding in IT products after the US. A huge internet population, rapid growth of mobile internet users, political stability, a thriving start-up ecosystem, renowned IT expertise and the promising market potential has made India an attractive investment destination. Ant Financial, internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd have already invested in Indian tech companies. In the first half of 2016, Chinese companies and VCs invested more than USD 6.26 billion in 60 tech-related projects overseas, including 10 in India.

Pensions need to be brought under one authority

Consolidating all the pension products under its umbrella is necessary according to an official of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. This would bring at least 20 per cent  of India’s population under its cover by 2021-22, from 13-14 per cent . He also reiterated that bringing about tax parity between the taxable National Pension Scheme and the tax-free EPF scheme would provide a boost to the subscriber base. PFRDA manages Rs 147,000 crore in pension products held by 13.7 million subscribers. The entity said its infrastructure and manpower are fully equipped to handle the increased amount after consolidation.

Banks planning to move out of UK before EU exit

Many leading banks in the UK could pull out of the country early next year because of uncertainty about Britain's exit from the EU. Increasing fears over the impending Brexit negotiations could result in smaller banks moving operations overseas as well. Banking is believed to be most affected by Brexit than any other sector of the economy. For banks, it is not only about additional tariffs, it is about whether they have the legal right to provide services. Banks had overwhelmingly campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU in the referendum.

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