Latest News Today: RBI Imposes Penalty of INR11cr on Seven PSU Banks, Instagram, WhatsApp to Be Re-Branded

 

Govt rolls out measures to ensure easy access to credit. Seven PSU Banks penalized for violating norms regarding operating the customers’ current accounts and use of funds. Expenditure on R&D by Indian companies declines to its lowest level in six years. Summer crop planting declines 6.6% due to weak start to monsoon. WhatsApp and Instagram to be rebranded. Apple stops allowing contractors to listen to Siri voice commands. Amazon allows users to opt out of human review of Alexa recordings.

 

Moving on to the top Business news of the day.

 

 CREDIT 

 
Govt rolls out measures to ensure easy access to credit. Seven PSU Banks penalized for violating norms regarding operating the customers’ current accounts and use of funds.
 
 
Move it Move it: In an attempt to accelerate growth and spur the slowing economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced a slew of measures to boost industry’s access to credit, including a INR10,000cr liquidity window for HFCs.
 
 
Sitharaman is also set to meet the chiefs of all state-run as well as private sector banks on Monday to discuss issues related to credit growth in key segments of the economy, including automobile, retail, small businesses, affordable housing NBFCs and HFCs. 
 
 
Caught Red-Handed: The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of INR11cr on seven PSU banks, including Allahabad Bank and Bank of Baroda for violating norms regarding operating the customers’ current accounts and use of funds.
 
 
 AUTO 
 
Maruti Suzuki cuts temporary workforce by 6% on back of sinking sales. High import duties will make Tesla electric cars unaffordable in India, says Elon Musk.

 
We’re Sorry!: In a first, Maruti Suzuki has reported to have cut 6% of its temporary workforce on back of sinking sales. 

 
The automaker employed 18,845 temporary workers on an average during the six months ended June 30, down 6%, or 1,181 people, from the same period last year.
 

The job cuts had accelerated since April following rapid decline in vehicle sales. 

 
Out of Your League: Elon Musk in a tweet earlier this year had said that if not this year, Tesla would definitely arrive in India by 2020. However, in his latest interaction with some netizens, Musk noted that India has extremely high (up to 100%) import duties even for electric cars, which would make Tesla electric cars unaffordable in India.

 
Tesla electric vehicle (EV) range currently comprises of Model 3, Model S and Model X. The entry-level Tesla Model 3 is available in three trims - Standard Plus, Long Range and Performance. The Standard Plus is priced at $38,990, Long Range at $47,990 and Performance at $54,990.
 
 
 RULES 
  
SC asks RBI to file compliance report on Whatsapp payment service ahead of its roll out. Startups may lose immunity against angel tax if they opt for M&As.

 
We Agree My Lord!: The SC has asked the RBI to submit a report regarding WhatsApp’s compliance with the data localisation requirements within six weeks. 
 

The apex court has also asked the government to make clear, within six weeks, its position on whether the company’s grievance officer should be based in India. Currently, WhatsApp has a California-based grievance officer who handles India-related issues.
 

The move comes shortly after WhatsApp announced the launched of its payments system later this year, starting in India, where it has over 400 million users.

 
Previously: The Facebook-owned messaging platform had rolled out WhatsApp Payments to a select user base of 1 million users in India last February.

 
Hobson’s Choice: Following the latest conditions laid out for seeking immunity from angel tax, startups fears that their M&A plans may hit a roadblock.
 

As per experts, if startups acquire another company or a stake, they lose immunity from angel tax. 
 
 
More on the matter here. 
 
 
 INDIA 

Expenditure on R&D by Indian companies declines to its lowest level in six years. Summer crop planting declines 6.6% due to weak start to monsoon. 
 
The What: Expenditure on research and development (R&D) by Indian companies has declined to its lowest level in six years.
 

An analysis of 98 firms, of the 500 S&P BSE companies revealed that their R&D expenditure, on average, came in at 0.54% of net sales - the lowest since 2012-13. 
 
 
The slump may be on account of the lower expenditure by pharmaceutical companies following an increase in pricing pressure in the US, which has made them cautious of their R&D spend, pushed them to rationalise product portfolios and discontinue non-remunerative products. 
 
 
It is rather interesting to note here that the cut in spending comes even as the most innovative companies of the world have increased their R&D expenditure to record highs.
 
 
In Other News: Indian farmers have planted 78.8 million hectares with summer-sown crops so far, down 6.6% from last year mainly due to a weak start to the monsoon, as per data by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
 
 
However, with more showers being expected in the months of August and September, the sowing is likely to pick up.
 
 
 TECH 

WhatsApp and Instagram to be rebranded. Apple stops allowing contractors to listen to Siri voice commands. Amazon allows users to opt out of human review of Alexa recordings.
 
What’s in the Name?: Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp and image-sharing app Instagram are set to be rebranded as 'WhatsApp from Facebook' and 'Instagram from Facebook' respectively. 

 
Where and How: The new name will show up in app stores and inside the apps. They won’t be displayed on the users’ home screens though. 
 

The name change comes as Facebook faces an antitrust investigation from the FTC over its acquisition of rival apps. 
 

 
Contractors are employed by Apple to analyse daily user interactions with Siri in order assess the quality of the response and improve its service. 

 
To Each His Own: While Google and Apple have temporarily paused the human review of recordings from their respective digital assistants, Amazon is offering an opt-out setting to Alexa users.
 

Additionally, the platform has also updated the language around what checking certain boxes will do.
 
 
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