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India economy & business news in brief for Jan 31: ED issues 5th summons to Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (Photo by BIJU BORO/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

HERE are news in brief on Indian economy and business for Wednesday, January 31, 2024:

India’s economic crime-fighting agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a fresh and the fifth summons to Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of the northern state of Delhi and a major opposition leader in India, for questioning in the Delhi excise policy-linked money-laundering case, official sources said Wednesday. Kejriwal, also the national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), had skipped four earlier summons issued by the federal agency over the last four months. While it is understood that the fresh summons was for February 2, an official confirmation was awaited. The 55-year-old politician, a former Indian Revenue Service officer, has always called these notices “illegal”. By issuing the fresh notice, the ED has again rejected Kejriwal’s contention that the summons issued to him were “not in consonance with the law” and hence should be withdrawn.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday ordered Paytm Payments Bank to not onboard new customers and also not to undertake further deposits or credit transactions after February 29. In a press release dated March 11, 2022, the central bank, in exercise of its powers under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, had directed Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) to stop onboarding new customers with immediate effect. The Comprehensive System Audit report and subsequent compliance validation report of the external auditors revealed persistent non-compliances and continued material supervisory concerns in the bank, warranting further supervisory action.

India and Oman on Wednesday signed a pact, enhancing collaboration in the defence sector, covering new areas such as military equipment procurement. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was finalised during a meeting of the India-Oman joint military cooperation committee in Muscat. Discussions also included a thorough review of existing defence cooperation, with emphasis on potential collaboration in the defence-industrial sector. The Indian side was led by the country’s defence secretary Giridhar Aramane. The talks addressed security concerns in West Asia, particularly Houthi militant targeting of cargo vessels in the Red Sea recently. The defence ministry acknowledged and appreciated the robust defence cooperation between the two nations.

Bhagwant Mann, the chief minister of the northern Indian state of Punjab, on Wednesday held a high-level meeting with deputy commissioners of all districts of the state to review implementation of various citizen-centric schemes. Mann, who is from the Aam Aadmi Party, expressed satisfaction that most districts are performing well in implementing an ambitious scheme that aims to provide 43 citizen-centric services at people’s doorsteps. According to an official statement, Mann said 664 Aam Aadmi Clinics are functional in the state and about 98 lakh (9.8 million) people have so far availed of its services. Medicines costing Rs 40.50 crore (£3.8 million) have been provided for free to patients while laboratory tests worth Rs 5.77 crore (£546,284) have also been conducted free of cost.

Ahead of the presentation of the interim budget by the Narendra Modi government on Thursday (1), Mukesh Aghi, president and CEO of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), said that India’s growth story is the result of having a responsible budget over the last decade. He underlined how the budget has always remained focused on a balanced fiscal deficit. “Well, India’s growth story is the result of the last 10 years of having a responsible budget that is focused on a balanced fiscal deficit, controlling inflation and investing more and more in capital. And that growth story will continue with capital spending,” Aghi told Asian News International in an interview. ISPF chief also highlighted the role of the Indian diaspora in driving India’s growth story on the global stage.

India’s eight core sectors registered a growth of 3.8 per cent in December 2023, data released by the country’s ministry of commerce and industry on Wednesday showed. The December growth percentage in the sectors of coal, crude oil, steel, cement, electricity, fertilisers, refinery products and natural gas was the lowest in 14 months. In the month of November 2023, core sector growth had printed at 7.8 per cent. The ministry on Wednesday revised the figure slightly up to 7.9 per cent. The output of the eight sectors had grown by 8.3 percent in December the previous year. In April-December period, the output of India’s eight core industries was 8.1 per cent higher year-on-year, the same as in the first nine months of 2022-23.

(With agencies)

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