RBI Mandates Banks to Not Charge NEFT Transaction Fees, Tencent Acquires 10% Stake in PolicyBazaar, Mastodon Takes On Twitter

RBI asks banks to not charge saving account customers NEFT transaction fees. Increasing number of users are logging out of Twitter and singing in to Mastodon. Tencent acquires 10% stake in PolicyBazaar. WhatsApp Business introduces "catalogs" feature. BSNL expected to roll out 4G services in six months.

 

CONSUMER INTEREST

RBI mandates banks to not charge savings account customers NEFT transaction fees.

Go Digital: In a bid to promote digital transactions in the country, the Reserve Bank of India has mandated banks to not charge savings bank account customers any NEFT transaction fees. 

 

While several major banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, and YES Bank, currently do not charge for online NEFT transactions, some like Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India charge INR2.25, excluding the GST, for such transfers up to INR10,000.

 

Zooming Out: The RBI had earlier this year waived the charges it levied on banks for transactions through NEFT and RTGS and asked the banks to pass on the benefit to the customers. Firstpost

 

Increasing number of users are logging out of Twitter to join the Mastodon.

Earlier this week, several Twitter users began migrating to an alternate social networking platform followin a protest that began with Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde’s Twitter account suspension, moving on to a larger conversation about Twitter's discriminatory policies.

 

Developed by a German coder, Mastodon positions itself as a “decentralised alternative to commercial platforms”. This means that no single entity (server or company) owns the data on the site. The platform allows users to post text, images, videos, and links, and also follow other people. Everything you post on the platform is "community-owned and ad-free", it claims.

 

On Mastodon, tweets are 'toots' and retweets are 'boosts'. Each toot can be 500-character long compared to a tweet's 280-character limit. Yourstory

 

BSNL

BSNL expected to roll out 4G services in the next six months. 

Coming Soon...: State-controlled telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is expected to roll out 4G services in the next six months, said BSNL chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar.

 

Towards this effort, BSNL is looking at upgrading the existing equipment, and identifying the locations to make services available soonest. It is also aiming for a tendering process. ET Telecom

Over 60,000 BSNL, MTNL employees have opted for VRS so far.

Over 6,000 employees of state-run BSNL and MTNL have opted for VRS in the last few days, noted Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash. He also said that the response was "unprecedented", and that government's overall target stood at 94,000.

 

FYI: The government last month had approved a INR69,000cr revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetising their assets and offering VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years. Moneycontrol

 

TECH

Tencent acquires 10% stake in PolicyBazaar.

Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings has reportedly acquired a minority stake in Indian online insurance aggregator Policybazaar.com, valuing it at $1.5bn.

 

Other companies in Tencent’s India portfolio include messaging app WeChat, which has a minor presence in India, besides unicorns Ola, BYJU’s and Swiggy. Livemint

 

WhatsApp introduces "catalogs” feature for WhatsApp Business. 

Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has launched a “catalogs” feature on its WhatsApp Business app that will allow the businesses to showcase and share their products and services to potential customers, who can browse photos, view prices and read product descriptions to help inform their purchase decisions.

 

These catalogs function as mobile storefront for businesses to showcase and share their goods - one that can be operated without the need for a web page at all. TechCrunch

 

TARIFFS

US won't impose tariffs on European cars, said EU Chief.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing president of the European Commission, has said that the US won't be announcing tariffs on European cars next week. 

 

US President Donald Trump has until November 13 to decide whether to apply new duties on European carmakers. The news comes after Trump argued in May that US imports of European autos pose a national security threat to the US.

 

Donald Trump had last year announced steel and aluminium tariffs on Europe to which the EU had retaliated a few months later with duties on 2.8 billion euros of US goods.

 

More recently, in October, the US announced tariffs on $7.5bn of European goods following a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over subsidies to airlines. CNBC

Donald Trump refuses to having agreed to roll back tariffs imposed on China

President Donald Trump on Friday said that he has not agreed to rollback US tariffs on China.

 

The development comes shortly after officials from both countries on Thursday had said China and the US have agreed to roll back tariffs on each others' goods in a "phase one" trade deal. Livemint

 

 

WEEKEND READ

"Hide the Pain Harold" shares his experience as he witnessed his face become a meme.

András Arató, an electrical engineer based out of Budapest, nine-years ago did a reverse image search on a photograph of his and was shocked to discover that it had become a meme.

 

In this fascinating piece he recalls his experience of witnessing his images, initially meant to be used as stock pictures by business being overlaid with text and converted into memes, talking about their wives leaving them, or saying their identity had been stolen and their bank account emptied.

 

He recounts how he realised that it was rather impossible to stop people from making memes, and thus he decided to leverage the entire situation. Henceforth, his life changed drastically.

 

On November 9, 1989, many otherwise unremarkable East Germans made world history—often largely by accident. Here's a look at the "ordinary" people who brought down the Berlin Wall.