Jio to charge customers INR6paisa/min for calls to other telcos. SBI cut savings rate to 3.25% and slashes FD rates to 6.9%. RBI rejects Lakshmi Vilas Bank-Indiabulls Housing Finance merger plan. 16 Countries to meet in Bangkok to debate RCEP deal. Joining RCEP could have an adverse impact India's data localisation rules. Only 20 Cos are behind one third of all carbon emission. Some firms are finding ways to convert food waste to useful products. UK economy shrank last month. Apple removes a tracking app as China builds pressure.
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Pay Through The Nose: Telecom operator Reliance Jio has said that it will start charging its customers for voice calls made to other networks such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea at INR6paise a minute.
The development comes as an attempt to recover the interconnect usage charge (IUC) applicable on calls made to other networks, also known as off-net calls.
Analysts estimate about 15% rise in average revenue per user and a quarterly rise in revenue of c. INR1,800cr for Jio based on the data for the June quarter. India Today
For Some Perspective: Jio paid INR851cr to Airtel, Vodafone Idea and BSNL last quarter as IUC.
What Does This Mean?: Existing customers as well as new customers will now have to top up with INR10-INR100 to pay for IUC. They will, however, get an equivalent amount of free data — 1 GB to 10 GB.
Meanwhile, the operator also said this new expense for customers would be a temporary one until telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) decides to do away with the IUC. Livemint
Slashed: The State Bank of India (SBI) has reduced the interest rate on its savings account for balances below INR1L to a historic low of merely 3.25% from 3.50%.
This is the sixth reduction in the lending rates by the largest lender since April. News18
The state lender also cut the FD rates for senior citizens for 1-2 years bracket to 6.9% from 7%. The move is likely to affect over 4 crore senior citizens. ToI
This Ain’t Happening: The RBI has rejected the first ever proposal to merge a non-bank lender with a bank. The Central Bank has rejected the proposed merger between Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) and Indiabulls Housing Finance.
The rejection is a particularly hard blow to LVB, as the merger would have brought in capital and helped the bank get out of lending restrictions imposed by the RBI following a rise in bad loans. CNBC TV18
RCEP for Dummies: RCEP is a proposed FTA that would include 10 ASEAN countries and six partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 and talks and summits to reach a deal have been held every year since. If enforced with all members in play, RCEP would be world’s largest economic bloc, covering half the global economy.
Don’t Tread On Me: Trade representatives from 16 countries will be in Bangkok this week (Oct 10-13) to try to finalise the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year. Domestic opposition to RCEP is considerable, though, with critics fearing it would lead to Indian markets being flooded by cheap Chinese goods while supporters arguing it would be more beneficial for the national economy to be in the bloc rather than out of it. ET
Goodbye, Localisation?: If negotiations are successful and the trade bloc does indeed become a reality, one casualty could be India’s norms on data localisation. As per Chapter 10 of the bloc’s proposed rules on e-commerce, India would not be able to impose data localisation rules on companies looking to do business in the country. According to the RBI’s rules, “all system providers shall ensure that the entire data relating to payment systems operated by them are stored in a system only in India”. The Hindu
Climate Crisis Culprits: New data from the Climate Accountability Institute has shown that just 20 fossil fuel companies are responsible for more than a third of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide. 12 of these companies are state-owned while the rest are investor owned. The latter includes names like Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell. State-owned firms include Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, National Iranian Oil and Coal India. 90% of the emissions attributed to these companies come from the use of their products (like petrol, jet fuel, thermal coal, natural gas etc.) while the remaining come from extracting, refining and transporting the fuels. Guardian
Right to Recycle: Speaking of companies harming the environment, some are finding ways to not do so. Food waste is a serious issue, and tackling it creatively, some firms think, can develop a new business model altogether. Mondelez International, Starbucks and AB InBev are among the industry giants who are processing discarded food waste to convert them into a variety of new products from food to fabrics, With consumers increasingly demanding that businesses waste less and conserve more, the market for such ideas seems ripe. WSJ
Oh Brexit: The UK economy shrank in August as Brexit fears mount with the October 31 deadline nearing. While GDP growth increased 0.4% in July, it contracted by 0.1% last month. Although these numbers are bad news, the country is likely to avoid a recession as long as output doesn’t plunge by around 1.5% in September, thereby leading to two consecutive quarters of contraction, a decline last seen in 2012. Bloomberg
How To Tame Your Dragon: PwC, EY, Deloitte, KPMG, Cathay and the National Basketball Association. These are just some of the companies that have faced Beijing’s rebukes in the past few weeks as pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong escalate. The companies were forced to choose between their employees, who were taking to the streets to protest Beijing’s tightening grip on the island, and the Chinese government, which isn’t known for being tolerant of dissenting views. NYT
Apple in the Line of Fire: The latest company to fall on the Communist Party’s bad side is Apple. China’s government-run media recently lambasted the tech giant for permitting HKmap.Live, a crowd-sourced mapping app, onto its App Store. HKmap.Live has been widely used by Hong Kong residents to mark the locations of police and street closures. Apple had rejected HKmap.Live from the App Store earlier this month, then reversed its decision, and now it has reversed its reversal. This comes on the heels of Apple removing the news app Quartz, which has been actively covering the protests, from China’s App Store. Verge
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