• According to BCG-IBA Report - EASE Reforms for Public Sector Banks, released by Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs,PNB secured the top spot among all public sector banks in the implementation of ‘Reforms agenda’. PNB which topped the list with a score of 78.4 out of 100 in the EASE-index was followed by BoB (77.8), SBI (74.6), and Oriental Bank of Commerce (69).
  • The RBI approved merger of Singapore-based DBS Bank's Indian unit with its wholly owned local subsidiary, DBS Bank India Ltd. DBS presently operates 12 branches in India as a franchise. DBS was the first bank in India to launch digital-only operations as Digibank in 2016. The wholly-owned subsidiary model allows foreign lenders to be treated as a local bank, removing certain restrictions they face such as those on opening new branches. 
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has committed $500 million to a fund that will be managed by Kotak Investment Advisors Limited. It will target a range of Non-Performing Loan (NPL) opportunities in India.  
  • RBI have signed a bilateral swap agreement with the Bank of Japan. The Swap agreement will provide India access to 75 billion US dollars against the 50 billion dollars under earlier BSA. The currency swap makes it easier to improve liquidity conditions. Currency swap agreements help when the economic crisis arises. 
  • Union Bank of India, the State-run lender, said it had reduced the Marginal Cost of funds-based Lending Rate (MCLR) by 10 basis points across all tenors. The bank has set the new six-month MCLR at 8.50% and two-year at 8.70%.
  • IRCTC launched its own digital payment aggregator called 'IRCTC iPay'. With iPay, passengers will not need any third-party platforms as it will provide payment options like credit card, debit card, unified payment interface and international card.
  • RBI has constituted an eight-member task force on offshore rupee markets, headed by Usha Thorat former Deputy Governor, to look into issues related to the markets and recommend appropriate policy measures to ensure the stability of the external value of the rupee.
  • According to Moody’s, Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.3 percent in the calendar year 2019 and 2020, and the government spending announced ahead of elections this year which will support near-term growth.
  • The Centre and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a 926 million dollar loan agreement to operationalize two lines of the Mumbai Metro Rail System.It is the single largest infrastructure project loan in ADB history approved by the ADB Board. 
  • A loan agreement of USD 455 million was signed between the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Government of India for financing the Andhra Pradesh Rural Roads Projects.
  • ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), which is one of the apex trade associations of India has conferred ‘Non-Life Insurer of the Year Award 2019′ to Bharti AXA General Insurance.
  • IFFCO Tokio General Insurance has launched ‘bank locker protector policy’, the first stand-alone bank locker cover offered by any insurance company with a plan to protect the contents of a bank locker such as jewelry, title documents, and other valuables. The policy offers a cover against various risks including fire, earthquake, burglary, holdup or any act of terrorism.
  •  Indian Bank, a Public Sector Bank (PSB), headquartered at Chennai, Tamil Nadu has been awarded the Best Bank Award by the Tamil Nadu government for successfully meeting the needs of women’s self-help groups (SHGs).
  • BOB become one of the first public sector banks to launch a crèche/child day-care facility for children of its employees. The day-care facility has been launched at its Mumbai corporate office in Bandra Kurla Complex and is being mulled further on being implemented at the head office in Vadodara, Gujarat. The bank will bear 60% of the cost incurred every month and rest 40% will be borne by the parents.
  • The World Bank will provide a $250-million loan for the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) to help women in rural households develop viable enterprises for farm and non-farm products. An agreement in this regard was signed between the World Bank and the Government of India.
  • SBI and Hitachi Payment Services Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd has launched their merchant-acquiring joint venture, SBI Payment Services Pvt Ltd (SBIPSPL) in Mumbai for establishing a digital payments platform for India and other countries in the region.
  • The GOI, the State Government of Chhattisgarh and the World Bank signed a $25.2 Million Loan Agreement to support the State’s Reforms in Expenditure Management. This support will cover Expenditure Planning, Investment Management, Budget Execution, Public Procurement, and Accountability.
  • India has signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for 96 Million USD for additional financing of Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project. 
  • The Centre has announced a new Rs 20 coin which will come in 12-edged polygon (dodecagon) shape. The Finance Ministry stated that the new Rs 20 coin will be made in copper, zinc and nickel. It will be 27mm (millimeters) and weigh 8.54 grams. The Lion Capitol symbol of Ashoka Pillar with the legend “Satyamev Jayate” below it will be inscribed on its front side. The words “Bharat” in Hindi and “INDIA” in English will be there on the right and left-hand side of the symbol respectively.
  • The National Green Tribunal has slapped a fine of Rs 500 crore on German auto major Volkswagen for damaging the environment through the use of “cheat device” in its diesel cars in India.
  • IRDAI and the National Health Authority (NHA) have formed a working group on the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY). The joint working group, to be chaired by Dinesh Arora, Deputy CEO of NHA, will have 10 members from both the organisations. In six months, it will submit a report on how to detect and deter fraud through a common repository and capacity-building.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation & Development(OECD) forecast in its interim outlook report that the world economy would grow 3.3 percent in 2019 and 3.4 percent in 2020.
  • Google has unveiled a new app ‘Bolo’ that aims to help children in primary school learn to read in Hindi and English. The free app, which is being launched in India first, uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.It features an animated character ‘Diya’, who encourages children to read stories aloud and helps if the child is unable to pronounce a word. It also lauds the reader when he/she completes the reading.
  • GOI  and the ADB signed in New Delhi a $26 Million Loan Agreement to provide additional financing for improving drainage infrastructure in Dibrugarh town of Assam under the ongoing Assam Urban Infrastructure Investment Program.
  • The World Bank, GOI and representatives of 5 States of Government of India and Implementing Agencies signed in New Delhi the Loan Agreement for Additional Financing of $137 Million for the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP). This agreement will help rehabilitate and modernize over 220 selected large dams in the States of Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand. 
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has signed a Cooperation Agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group (WBG).It will enable IFC to assist IBBI to further build the capacity of insolvency professionals, and insolvency professional agencies for the purposes of the Code. 
  • Korea Exim Bank has come forward to extend a Rs 4,100 crore loan for Visakhapatnam (VIZAG) Metro Rail project .The state government had earlier sent a proposal in this regard to the Central government, which in turn forwarded it to Korea Exim Bank. 
  • SBI has become the first domestic bank to link the interest rate it offers on savings account deposits to an external benchmark -RBI's repo rate.SBI announced the following changes:
  1. Savings accounts with deposits above Rs 1 lakh would be priced at 2.75% below the prevailing repo rate of 6.25%. The effective rate works out to be 3.5%, which is unchanged from the prevailing rate on savings accounts.
  2. Cash credit accounts and overdraft facilities over Rs 1 lakh would be priced at 2.25% over the repo rate. At the prevailing repo rate of 6.25%, this would mean a floor price of 8.5%.
  3. For all other floating rate products, including retail and corporate loans, the impact of SBI’s decision to link savings account deposit rates to the repo rate will be felt indirectly. These loans will continue to be linked to the 1-year MCLR (marginal cost lending rate). 
  4. For savings account holders with balances up to Rs 1 lakh and borrowers with cash credit and overdraft limits up to Rs 1 lakh, interest rates will remain fixed. 
  • PNB has sanctioned loans worth Rs 689 crore to over 1,600 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through the psbloansin59minutes.com portal as part of its effort to promote such industries. 
  • The Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the Rs 42,000-crore resolution plan submitted by ArcelorMittal for the debt-ridden Essar Steel Ltd. 
  • HDFC Bank Ltd crossed the Rs 6 trillion market capitalization mark for the first time, making it only the third Indian firm—after Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)—to achieve the milestone.  
    RIL is the most valued company in India with a market cap of Rs 8.50 trillion, followed by TCS at Rs 7.48 trillion.
  • SEBI withdrew the 20% limit on investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors in corporate bonds of an entity. The regulator stated that the restriction is being withdrawn in accordance with a circular issued by the RBI.
  • India has extended a grant assistance of up to USD 250 million to Nepal for the reconstruction of infrastructures in the areas of housing, education, health and cultural heritage that was destroyed during the devastating April 2015 earthquake which saw the death of over 9,000 people.
  • SBI has launched doorstep banking service for senior citizens over 70 years of age and differently-abled customers. Eligible customers can avail this service at a nominal fee of 100 rupees per transaction for financial transactions and 60 rupees for non-financial transactions.Doorstep banking services are available to KYC- compliant account holders, with a valid mobile number registered with the bank and residing within 5 kilometers radius from their home branch. 
  • As per RBI notification, IDBI Bank has been categorized as a private sector lender following the acquisition of majority stake by LIC.IDBI bank has been under PCA framework of RBI that bans it from corporate lending & branch expansions, salary hikes. 
  • RBI has decided to use a new tool for the first time to enhance liquidity in the system using which it will buy $5 billion from the banks in a swap deal that is capable of injecting around Rs. 35,000 crores into the system.

  • Aviva Life Insurance announced the launch of ‘Wings’, a specially designed mentorship program to empower the female workforce. 
    Wings program is an initiative of the SHE division of Aviva Life Insurance for mentoring all the women employees in Aviva. SHE was started in 2016 by Aviva India’s Women Network.
  • RBI named SBI, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs), which in other words mean banks that are too big to fail. As per the norms, these banks will have to set aside more capital for their continued operation. Inclusion in D-SIB indicates that failure of any of these banks would have a cascading effect on the Indian financial system.
  • SBI has launched a new service called ‘YONO Cash’ for its customers using which customers can withdraw money from ATMs without using debit cards. This facility is available over 16,500 of its ATMs through the You Only Need One (YONO),mobile app platform for the first time in the country. The ATMs enabled for this service will be called as YONO Cash Point.
  • Microsoft has announced that it has partnered with The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to promote its ProjectSangamwhich is developed to accelerate Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in India.Project Sangam is a cloud-hosted, mobile-first community learning platform.
  • RBI provided no objection to Bandhan Bank for the proposed acquisition of Gruh Finance. Gruh Finance Limited is an Ahmedabad headquartered Subsidiary of HDFC Limited.  It is a Housing Finance Company (HFC) recognized by the National Housing Bank (NHB) and it was taken over in January by Bandhan Bank in a share-swap deal. 
  • ICICI Lombard and Mobikwik announced a strategic partnership to provide cyber-insurance cover. The relationship aims to provide protection against unauthorized and fraudulent transactions online, across bank accounts, debit and credit cards. and mobile wallets. MobiKwik users can avail the commercial cyber-insurance policy underwritten by ICICI Lombard and enjoy the benefit of stress-free and secured transactions.

  • GST council approved a transition plan for new GST rates on residential properties under which developers of under-construction buildings may either opt to shift to the revised lower rates without input tax credit or stick to the previous rates. Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey informed that for housing projects launched on or after the first of April 2019, the developers will have to adhere to the new GST rates recommended by the council.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) has inked an agreement to invest USD 50 million in solar energy project developer Avaada Energy Pvt Ltd to help the company scale up rapidly. The investment will come equally from ADB's Ordinary Capital Resources and Leading Asia's Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP). 
  • The country’s largest lender SBI has signed a pact with the Bank of China to boost business opportunities.  Through this pact, both SBI and BoC will gain direct access to their respective markets of operation. Both banks’ clients will be able to use the vast combined network to expand their businesses abroad. SBI has a branch in Shanghai and BOC is opening its branch in Mumbai.
  • Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat PetroResources Ltd. (BPRL), a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), acting jointly as a consortium through Urja Bharat Pte Ltd. has acquired an oil block in Abu Dhabi, where the two will invest $170 million. 
  • Fitch Ratings cut India’s economic growth forecast for the next financial year starting April 1, to 6.8% from its previous estimate of 7%, on weaker than expected momentum in the economy. 
  • Indian low-cost airlines SpiceJet has joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA). SpiceJet is the first Indian budget carrier to join the IATA. The membership of IATA will allow SpiceJet to explore and grow its collaborations with international member airlines of IATA through interlining and code shares and also enables to seamlessly expand the network options for its passengers in future.
  • RBI  has fined a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations. 
  • The first Forex swap auction by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was aimed at infusing primary liquidity, received $16.31 billion bidding by banks. In turn, RBI infused Rs.34,561 crore rupee liquidity. 
  • EXIM bank signed a loan agreement on behalf of the government of USD 83.11 million to Congo for financing three solar power projects in the central African country. It aims to provide support for financing three solar photovoltaic power projects with a total capacity of 35 megawatts in the three provinces — Karawa, Mbandaka, and Lusambo.
  • SBI announced it had raised Rs.1,251.30 crore by issuing Basel III-compliant bonds. 
  • Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has claimed that its portfolio of nine ports and terminals handled 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cargo in 2018-19, becoming the first Indian port operator to achieve the milestone. 
  • US-based e-commerce platform eBay has partnered with Google to offer Google Pay as a form of payment option in its new “managed payments” plan.  The collaboration will enhance customer experience tailored to their personal preferences. 
  • RBI appointed 5-member committee under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani to strengthen digital payments as well as to boost financial inclusion through Financial Technology. 
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) set up a committee under former SEBI Chairman UK Sinha to address issues regarding the sustainability of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). 
  • Apple Inc & Goldman Sachs Group Inc jointly launched the Apple Card credit card foriPhones. The card is tied to Apple Pay, a service that allows people to load banking information and pay in store or use it for purchases online.
  • Social Media giant, Facebook has launched two new India-specific tools viz. “Candidate Connect” and “Share You Voted” to boost civic engagement on its platform during the Lok Sabha elections 2019 that commence in April.  Both these tools will be made available in 12 local languages.
  • Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, and Roland-Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament, also called the French Open, announced a three-year strategic technology partnership.The partnership aims to re-imagine the tennis experience for the fans and the players globally.
  • Bank of Baroda has signed an MoU with agriculture services companies to develop an agriculture digital platform, Baroda Kisan, which will provide solutions for agricultural requirements.
  • The Finance Ministry has decided to infuse Rs 5,042 crore into state-owned Bank of Baroda (BoB) ahead of the merger of two other public sector lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with BoB. 
  • Punjab National Bank (PNB) had sold stake in its housing finance arm, PNB Housing Finance (PNBHF) to General Atlantic Group and VardePartners for Rs 1,851 crore at Rs 850 per share. 
  • Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has completed the acquisition of majority stake in REC Ltd by transferring Rs 14,500 crore to the government. This acquisition and merger will make PFC second-largest government-owned financial player in the country based on the current market capital after SBI and also PFC will be the third-highest profit-making financial player in India.
  • The Finance Ministry has decided to keep the interest rate unchanged on small savings schemes for the three-month period beginning April 1.  The unchanged interest rate means the NSC (5 years) and the PPF (15 years) will fetch 8% interest, while money deposited in KVP will double in little over nine years. At the same time, if one is parking money in a fixed deposit with a maturity of five years with the State Bank of India, he/she will get 6.85%. Senior citizens will get half a percent more: 7.35%.
  • The amalgamation of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank into the Bank of Baroda (BoB) has come into effect and all branches of the former two will function as branches of BoB. The merged entity would also receive Rs 5,042 crore fund infusion from the government.
  • RBI set the average base rate to be charged from borrowers by NBFC and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) at 9.21% for the first quarter of the next fiscal (April-June).