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The repo rate and reverse repo rate will remain at 4% and 3.35 percent, respectively, according to the RBI.

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its main policy rates unchanged on Friday, for the sixth time in a row and at record lows, as part of its “accommodative approach to revive and maintain growth on a sustainable basis” as the coronavirus pandemic entered its second wave. “The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to retain the status quo, which means the repo rate will remain at 4%.MPC also agreed to keep its accommodative stance for as long as it is required to revive and maintain growth on a long-term basis, as well as to mitigate the effect of Covid on the economy,” RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said after the three-day meeting in Mumbai.

“At this juncture, the MPC believes that policy support from all sides is needed to reclaim the growth momentum seen in the second half of 2021 and to nurture the recovery once it has taken root,” Das said.

Das added that the RBI held the reverse repo rate, or borrowing rate, at 3.35 percent. Owing to the effects of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the central bank lowered its forecast for economic growth for the current fiscal year to 9.5 percent from a previous outlook of 10.5 percent. Bank rates and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate were also held at 4.25 percent.

Since March2020, the RBI has cut the repo rate, or main lending rate, by a total of 115 basis points (bps) to cushion the blow of the coronavirus pandemic. On June1, the MPC, the RBI’s rate-setting council, began its three-day monetary policy deliberations.

On May22,2020, the central bank cut its policy rate to a historic low in an off-policy period to boost demand. “The conduct of monetary policy in 2021-22 will be driven by changing macroeconomic conditions, with a bias to remain supportive of growth until it gains traction on a durable basis while ensuring that inflation remains within the target,” the RBI said in its annual report released last month.

The central bank will also ensure that system-level liquidity remains comfortable during2021-22, in line with the stance of monetary policy, and that monetary transmission continues unhindered while financial stability is maintained, according to the study.

The Indian economy grew by 1.6 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, but contracted by 7.3 percent for the entire fiscal year, the worst in more than 40 years.

Bitcoin suffers a setback as a result of Elon Musk’s tweet, but a weekly gain is anticipated.

Bitcoin fell more than 3% on Friday after Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted at a split with the cryptocurrency in a tweet, but it is still on track for its best weekly gain in about a month as it seeks to recover from the crash in May.

Bitcoin was last trading at$37,809, down about 3.6 percent. Above a meme that seemed to show a couple discussing their breakup, Musk tweeted “#Bitcoin” and a heartbreak emoji. This week, Bitcoin has gained 6.3 percent.

Musk has long been a proponent of cryptocurrencies, but his support for bitcoin has waned after Tesla’s decision to stop accepting it as a form of payment for cars due to doubts about its energy use.

SoftBank is planning a $700 million investment in Flipkart.

SoftBank Group Corp. is in negotiations with Flipkart to invest $700 million in the internet retailer, according to two people familiar with the matter. SoftBank sold its entire interest in Flipkart to Walmart Inc. three years ago.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 is considering a $1.2-1.5 billion investment in Flipkart, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Flipkart is expected to be valued at $28 billion in the acquisition, according to one source, with the deal expected to close in 3-4 months.

Depending on the final group of buyers, the deal may be worth as much as $30 billion, according to the second person. According to the people, Prosus Ventures, the investment arm of South African conglomerate Naspers, and other established investors can increase their stakes.

According to the first individual, the deal will take place before the Indian e-commerce giant’s planned listing, which is expected to happen within the next 12-18 months. According to the second person, investors who have signed up for the current round expect Flipkart’s valuation to grow to about $35-40 billion by then, with online sales surging due to the pandemic.

According to the second person, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and Canadian pension fund CPPIB are also in talks to invest in Flipkart. The Economic Times was the first to announce this on May 11.

According to the sources mentioned above, Flipkart is unlikely to seek additional funding before its IPO. Flipkart’s transaction is being handled by investment banks JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

SoftBank is the company’s second investment in Flipkart. It left the organisation in May of this year. The proposed deal is also almost twice as expensive as when it sold its interest three years earlier.

In August2017, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 1 invested $2.5 billion in Flipkart, but sold its roughly 20% stake a year later after Walmart agreed to purchase a majority stake in the startup for $16 billion. SoftBank made a $1.5 billion profit after selling its share for $4 billion. According to Business Standard, the exit allowed the Japanese investor to pay a steep 43 percent short-term capital gains tax, for which the fund had set aside $648 million.

This year, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 has made some bold bets in India. It is now planning to invest in food delivery unicorn Swiggy, marking the company’s first foray into the foodtech sector.

Last month, SoftBank invested more than $1 billion in banking technology company Zeta. Its planned investment in OfBusiness is also expected to propel the B2B marketplace into unicorn territory.

JP Morgan and SoftBank declined to comment. On Thursday evening, Flipkart, Goldman Sachs Ventures, Prosus, GIC, and CPPIB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, SoftBank is considering selling $1.5 billion in shares as the first tranche of dilution in the planned initial share sale of One97 Communications Ltd, the company that operates Paytm.

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Open Network for digital commerce

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How ONDC aims to change the Indian e-commerce industry.

Khushi Shah – Mumbai Uncensored, 3rd June 2022

The lockdown brought about a dramatic growth of e-commerce in the past few years, which has hampered the business of physical retailers.With super high class companies who have invested billions of dollars in research and development in India we have been going through the abuse of ‘aggregator superpower’ a monopolising model of e-commerce. Allegations by CAIT and others have ranged from predatory pricing and prioritising certain sellers to the foreign ownership of Amazon and Flipkart. 

An attempt by the Indian government is being made to break down giant monopolies like amazon, flip kart, swiggy and so on with the introduction of ONDC which is supposed to be as revolutionary as UPI itself. It will not just be limited to products but also to services such as mobility, grocery, food order and delivery, hotel booking and travel, and many others. 

ONDC is an open technology network based on open protocol which is expected to digitise the entire value chain, standardise operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and enhance value for consumers.

 The official government note was circumspect. “ONDC is a globally first-of-its-kind initiative that aims to democratise digital commerce, moving it from a platform-centric model to an open network,” it said. “[It] will enable buyers and sellers to be digitally visible and transact through an open network. No matter what platform or application they use.”

E-commerce is a complex business where every business has its unique supply chain and processes and standardisation is a challenge. It would require reconfiguration, including a complete revamp of their systems and losing advantages like control over the user interface and consumer behaviour insights. For the government however it will provide better control over what is sold and bought. In UPI, a recent government stipulation set a market share limit of 40 per cent for any service provider, which immediately dampens the growth of a market leader PhonePe which is owned by Walmart outside India.

In a marketplace-centric model, a buyer first selects a platform and then searches for a product there where then platform acts as an intermediary for the buyer and seller. In the new model, the buyer will search for the product first and then pick the right seller offering that item. The platform the seller is on becomes secondary. It aims at promoting open networks developed on open-sourced methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols independent of any specific platform. This provides all the small and medium fishes in the ocean with an opportunity to grow big, and simultaneously give a boost to Make in India.

“It’s (Open Network for Digital Commerce) an idea whose time has come. We owe it to the millions of small sellers to show an easy way to participate in the new high-growth area of digital commerce,” Nilekani, the co-founder and non-executive chairman of Infosys, himself supported this platform. 

This makes it the most potent weapon the ruling dispensation has yet unleashed on India’s e-commerce duopoly.

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Pet breeders stand to lose license if unregistered

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Khushi Shah – Mumbai Uncensored, 24th May 2022

More than three years after the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, making it mandatory for pet shops to be registered with the respective State Animal Welfare Board (SAWB) companies still go one to flout laws.

On June 13, 2021 Corporation officials said they are now keeping a close eye on the pet trade and are ready to seize the shops if the owners do not get valid registration and trade licences.

As per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, no person should sell or trade in pet animals, whether retail or wholesale, or establish operate a pet shop, or any other establishment engaged in sale, purchase or exchange of pets without obtaining a certificate of registration from the State Animal Welfare Board (AWB).

On 26th august 2021 the petitioner’s counsel Sanjukta Dey told the bench that she had visited shops in Crawford Market and Kurla as recently as three days ago and found violations of the earlier high court order, which had directed immediate closure of such illegal shops. The shops require permission from the State Animal Welfare Board and they had seen puppies being drugged and animals kept out in the sun or out in the rain with no food or water. Due to the continued lack of regulation, illegal pet shops have mushroomed all over the city. It is alleged that such establishments are keeping animals domesticated as well as wildlife from India and abroad in “utterly unhygienic conditions” and the life and liberty of thousands of animals are at stake as they languish and die in miserable conditions in unlicensed and unregulated pet shops. They are also often taken away from mothers a a young age.

May 23 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the Delhi government’s stand on a public interest litigation seeking directions on dealing with unregulated, unlicensed and illegal pet shops operating in the city.

“The non-implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018 is a complete dereliction of duty by the respondents (authorities), and by doing so, the respondents’ actions are affecting animal welfare negatively and preventing the compliance of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972,” the petition filed through lawyers Supriya Juneja and Aditya Singla said.

Many pet shops and breeders operating in Mumbai are not licensed and the state urges pet owners to bring home pets only from licensed breeders.

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Govt. Plans to Cut Cooking Oil Tax

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The Indian market after seeing an unprecedented rise in the prices of edible oils plans to cut taxes on edible oil to keep the prices in check.

Khushi shah – Mumbai Uncensored, 5th May 2022

The war, combined with weather disruptions that limited harvests in other vegetable oil-producing regions, led to a supply shortage of sunflower oil. The ban by the world’s biggest palm oil producer and exporter on 28th April 2022, on the export on the widely used edible oil and all the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine that already upended the global agricultural trade in the world, sent oil prices skyrocketing in the market.

India is particularly sensitive to rising vegetable oil prices as it is dependent on imports for 60% of its needs. Inorder to keep the prices in check ,India, the world’s top importer of vegetable oils is planning to cut taxes on some edible oils to cool the domestic market after the war in Ukraine. 

India has tried to reduce prices in the past, including reducing import duties on palm, soybean oil and sunflower oil, and limiting inventory to prevent stocking the oil.[ In September 2021] The import taxes on palm oil had been slashed to 2.5% from 10 %, while soy oil and sunflower oil had been reduced to 2.5 per cent from 7.5 per cent. 

The reduction in these taxes were aimed at bringing down prices of the edible oils in India and boost consumption, effectively increasing overseas buying by the south Asian country.It would also bring down edible oil prices ahead of key festivals, when edible oil demand rises in the country

However, The moves so far have not been effective enough to cut down the rates of oil in the market 

India, the world’s top importer of vegetable oils, wants to reduce the agricultural infrastructure and development cess on imports of crude palm oil to below 5% . According to reports, it is said that the government is now considering reducing import duties on crude varieties of canola oil, olive oil, rice bran oil and palm kernel oil from 35% to 5% to help boost domestic supplies. The new tax amount is still being deliberated The cess is levied over and above basic tax rates on certain items, and is used to finance agriculture infrastructure projects. The base import duty on crude palm oil has already been scrapped.

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