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QBiz: PSBs to Shut 1/3rd Foreign Branches; Wipro Bags $1bn IT Deal

1. Public Sector Banks Set to Close 1/3rd of Branches Outside India

Public Sector banks are expected to close down around 70 of their total 216 foreign branches and other operations by the end of this year in order to cut costs and preserve capital, a senior Finance Ministry official said. State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, IDBI Bank and Bank of India are among the state-owned banks leading the process of scaling down overseas operations.

Leaving aside profitable operations – for instance, remittance offices in Gulf countries such as Oman and UAE – those not generating enough revenues are being closed down.

(Source: The Indian Express)

2. Amazon, Myntra May Face Tax Audit on GST Rate Cuts

E-commerce companies such as Amazon and Myntra are likely to face an audit by tax authorities to check if they have passed on cuts in goods and services tax (GST) rates to consumers. The National Anti-Profiteering Authority has directed the director general, audit, to conduct the examination.

The GST Council had slashed tax rates on a host of household products such as chocolates, toothpaste, shampoo, washing powder and shaving creams to 18 percent from 28 percent in November last year. More products were shifted to a lower slab or fully exempted at the GST Council’s latest meeting.

(Source: The Economic Times)

3. Wipro Wins $1 Billion IT Deal from Alight

Wipro Ltd has won a $1 billion contract, the biggest such order in four years, from Alight Solutions, the former benefits administration and human-resources outsourcing business of Aon Plc, according to two people familiar with the development.

As part of the deal, Wipro is expected to get at least $70 million in additional revenue in the current financial year. Starting next year, Wipro is assured of at least $140 million in revenue, a shot in the arm for Abidali Neemuchwala, who since taking over as chief executive officer in February 2016 has been trying to put the Bengaluru-based company back on the growth path.

(Source: Livemint)

4. India Among Ten Asian Economies to See Robust GDP Growth by 2030: Report

The 10 major economies of Asia, including India, are expected to see robust growth and amount to over $28 trillion in real GDP terms on aggregate, more than the US by 2030, says a DBS report.

According to DBS, these 10 economies of Asia are China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

By 2030, Asia-10 economies will grow so robustly that they will, on aggregate, amount to over $28.35 trillion in real GDP (2010 constant dollars) terms, while for the United States will amount to $22.33 trillion.

(Source: Business Standard)

5. Rs 8,000 cr Solar Scheme May Help Indian Firms Boost Manufacturing

A new 12 gigawatts solar energy scheme, which has been deftly crafted to mandate local manufacturing without violating WTO’s trade rules, is in the final stages of approval, and will help local industry withstand the onslaught of cheap imports, senior government officials said. The Rs 8,000-crore scheme will be a significant boost for Indian manufacturers, who are also waiting for the imposition of a safeguards duty on solar gear.

The local industry has suffered because WTO, acting on a US complaint, ruled that India had violated trade rules by mandating use of locally made cells and modules in its national solar mission.

(Source: The Economic Times)

6. HDFC Bank Q1 Net Up 18% to Rs 4,601 cr

HDFC Bank today reported an 18.2 percent increase in its net profit at Rs 4,601.44 crore for the quarter ended June. The private sector lender had registered a net profit of Rs 3,893.84 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal 2017-18.

Total income for the quarter grew 18.8 percent to Rs 26,367 crore from Rs 22,185.40 crore in the quarter ended 30 June 2017, the bank said in a regulatory filing. Net revenues (net interest income plus other income) increased to Rs 14,631.60 crore from Rs 12,887.4 crore earlier.

(Source: PTI)

7. Sebi Norms: Infosys, TCS Among 291 Listed Firms Asked to Split CMD Post

Reliance Industries, Infosys, TCS and Bharti Airtel are among the 291 listed companies that will have to appoint a non-executive chairperson on their boards by 1 April, 2020, to comply with regulator Sebi's directive; most of these firms will need to split the roles of chairman and managing director for compliance.

Currently, many companies have merged the two posts as CMD (chairman-cum-managing director), leading to some overlapping of the board and management, which could lead to conflict of interest.

(Source: Business Standard)

8. Johnson & Johnson to Offer First TB drug in 40 Years for $900

US drug maker Johnson and Johnson will offer its new tuberculosis (TB) drug, Bedaquiline, at $900 (Rs 70,000) once its conditional access programme with the government of India ends in 2019, the company said in an interview to ET.

Used in the treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB, Bedaquiline antibiotic has come into the market after 40 years. J&J said India is eligible for the lowest global price and that it is working on a sustainable access strategy.

(Source: The Economic Times)

9. Petrol, Diesel Prices Cut for Fourth Straight Day

For the fourth consecutive day, oil marketing companies (OMCs) slashed the prices of petrol and diesel. On Sunday, according to the rate chart of IOC (Indian Oil Corporation), petrol is being sold at Rs 76.37 per litre in Delhi and Rs 83.82 per litre in Mumbai. Petrol prices in Kolkata and Chennai are at Rs 79.20 per litre and Rs 79.33 per litre respectively. Diesel can be purchased at Rs 67.98 per litre in Delhi. Diesel prices stand at Rs 72.17 per litre in Mumbai, Rs 70.63 per litre in Kolkata and Rs 71.79 per litre in Chennai, stated IOC, the nation's largest fuel retailer.

(Source: NDTV Profit)

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