NRIs can use international numbers for UPI payments

Non-resident Indians (NRI) from ten countries can soon transfer funds online using the unified payments interface (UPI) with their international mobile numbers. NRIs from United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong will have to use Non-Resident (External) Rupee (NRE) or Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) bank accounts for the same. They can make these digital payments without having to get an Indian mobile number.

  • According to the National Payments Corporation of India, accounts like NRE/NRO (Non Resident External and Non resident Ordinary) with international mobile numbers can transact using UPI.
  • The Payments Corporation has given partner banks time till April 30th to comply with the directions.
  • An NRE account helps NRIs transfer foreign earnings to India, while an NRO account helps them manage the income earned in India.
  • The UPI move will help international students, family living abroad and local businesses.

Govt approves incentive scheme for promotion of RuPay Debit Cards

The Union Cabinet today gave its nod to the incentive scheme for the promotion of RuPay Debit Cards and low-value BHIM-UPI transactions. The scheme has a financial outlay of two thousand six hundred crore rupees. The decision will help in building a robust digital payment system.

Besides, the Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval of renaming the National Centre for Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Quality at Joka, Kolkata as Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee National Institution of Water and Sanitation.

India surpasses Japan to become world’s 3rd largest auto market

  • According to the Nikkei Asia report, India has surpassed Japan to become the third-largest auto market for the first time.
  • As per the report, the India’s sales of new vehicles totalled at least 4.25 million units, based on preliminary results, topping the 4.2 million sold in Japan.
  • According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, New vehicles delivered in India totalled 4.13 million between January and November 2022
  • China has topped the list, followed by US.

RBI to issue green bonds in two tranches of Rs 8,000 crore each

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced that first Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) would be issued in two tranches for an aggregate amount of Rs 16,000 crore.
  • The proceeds will be utilised for funding public sector projects seeking to reduce carbon emissions.
  • The first auction would be done on January 25, 2023 while the second on February 9, 2023
  • SGrBs will be issued through uniform price auction and 5% of the notified amount of sale will be reserved for retail investors

India, ADB sign $125 million loan to improve Urban Services in Tamil Nadu

The Government of India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $125 million loan to develop climate-resilient sewage collection and treatment, and drainage and water supply systems in three cities in the state of Tamil Nadu.

The signatories to the tranche 3 loan for Tamil Nadu Urban Flagship Investment Program were Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed for the Government of India, and Hoe Yun Jeong, Officer-in-Charge of ADBs India Resident Mission who signed for ADB.

The financing is the third and the last tranche of the $500 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for the Program approved by ADB in 2018 to build priority water supply, sewerage, and drainage infrastructure in strategic industrial corridors across 10 cities in the state. The tranche 3 loan covers Coimbatore, Madurai, and Thoothukudi.

After signing the loan agreement, Mr Mishra said that the ADB financing will help ensure universal access to basic water and sanitation services and improve resilience against floods in the project target areas which are also the industrial hubs of Tamil Nadu.

Through this project, ADB continues to support developing and improving urban services in the state by deploying new approaches such as build and operate modality, automatic meters for bulk water users, and real-time monitoring through supervisory control and data acquisition systems,” said Mr. Jeong. ADBs urban investments are aligned to support strategic industrial corridor development in Tamil Nadu.”

The financing will support the development of two sewage treatment plants in Coimbatore with 529 kilometers (km) of sewage collection pipelines, install 14 pump and lift stations and build 14 km of sewage pumping mains. In Thoothukudi, climate-resilient stormwater drainage system will be developed.

In Madurai, the project will support the commissioning of 813 km of new water supply distribution pipelines that will connect 163,958 households to 115 newly established district metered area with smart water features to reduce nonrevenue water. In Coimbatore and Madurai, two all-female self-help groups will be trained on the benefits of household connection to sewage collection system, water conservation, sanitation, and health and hygiene.

IPL Turns Decacorn As Valuation Crosses $10 Billion

The Indian Premier League (IPL) continues it’s rapid growth as among the most lucrative and profitable sporting leagues in the world globally. As per the latest estimation, the value of the tournament is now a whopping $10.9 billion dollars, easily surpassing the $10 billion criteria for it to qualify as a Decacorn. The same has been claimed in a report carried by the D & P Advisory.

The same report suggests that the valuation of the entire IPL ecosystem has witnessed an increase by 75% since 2020. Apart from being a decacorn, IPL has also become the second largest sporting league globally, which is quite an achievement in itself considering the inaugural season of the competition was played only in 2008.

Indian Premier League (IPL)

  • The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a men’s T20 franchise cricket league of India.
  • It is annually contested by ten teams based out of seven Indian cities and three Indian states.
  • The league was founded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2007.
  • The IPL is the most-attended cricket league in the world and in 2014 was ranked sixth by average attendance among all sports leagues.
  • In 2010, the IPL became the first sporting event in the world to be broadcast live on YouTube.
  • The brand value of the IPL in 2022 was ₹90,038 crore (US$11 billion).
  • According to BCCI, the 2015 IPL season contributed ₹1,150 crore (US$140 million) to the GDP of the Indian economy.


Urban G20 logo, website and social media handle

In Gujarat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has unveiled the logo, website and social media handles of the Urban-20 conference in Gandhinagar. The UNESCO heritage city Ahmedabad will host the Urban 20 cycles as part of G20 meetings between February to July. The logo unveiling event in Gandhinagar was attended by senior officials of the Gujarat government and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

IIT Madras gets $1 million from Google to develop ‘Responsible AI Centre’

  • Google has granted a fund of $1 million to IIT Madras to build India’s first Responsible AI center.
  • In addition, Google has also planned to collaborate with Indian Institute of Science (IISC) for project Vaani.
  • Furthermore, under the partnership, Google aims to build an artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) model to collect language samples from 773 districts across India.
  • Project Vaani aims to ensure the collected and produced data will be open-source.

RBI signs Currency Swap Agreement with Maldives Monetary Authority

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed a Currency Swap Agreement with the Maldives Monetary Authority under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework.

This agreement will enable the Maldives authority to make drawals in multiple tranches up to a maximum of 200 million dollars from the RBI. The agreement will provide swap support as a backstop line of funding for short-term foreign exchange liquidity requirements.

Govt permits 100 % Work From Home for SEZ units till Dec 2023

The Central Government has permitted Work From Home up to the 31st of December, 2023 for 100 per cent of employees of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) units. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the decision was made after duly noting the genuine needs of the industry and the scope of benefits to economies of Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. It has also issued a Standard Operating Procedure to streamline the implementation of amended rules across all SEZs.

Special Economic Zones (SEZ)

A special economic zone (SEZ) is an area in which the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. SEZs are located within a country’s national borders, and their aims include increasing trade balance, employment, increased investment, job creation and effective administration. To encourage businesses to set up in the zone, financial policies are introduced. These policies typically encompass investing, taxation, trading, quotas, customs and labour regulations. Additionally, companies may be offered tax holidays, where upon establishing themselves in a zone, they are granted a period of lower taxation.

The creation of special economic zones by the host country may be motivated by the desire to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). The benefits a company gains by being in a special economic zone may mean that it can produce and trade goods at a lower price, aimed at being globally competitive. In some countries, the zones have been criticized for being little more than labor camps, with workers denied fundamental labor rights.

The term special economic zone[8][9] can include:

  • Free-trade zones (FTZ)
  • Export processing zones (EPZ)
  • Free zones/ Free economic zones (FZ/ FEZ)
  • Industrial parks / industrial estates (IE)
  • Free ports
  • Bonded logistics parks (BLP)
  • Urban enterprise zones