The government of India sold over £110 million worth of Wipro shares. The shares were lying with the Union home ministry’s institution, Custodian of Enemy Property of India (CEPI). The shares, belonging to Pakistani nationals, were seized by India under the Enemy Property Act passed in 1968, following the conflicts with Pakistan and China in the 1960s. CEPI sold 43 million shares in the Azim Premji-owned company for Rs 258 apiece. Most of it, 39 million, was bought by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). An estimated £300 million in shares and over £10 billion in immovable property (mostly land) are said to be with Custodian of Enemy Property. The sale of Wipro shares became possible following an amendment to the Enemy Property Act in 2017 to ensure that successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during partition would have no claim over the properties left behind in India.
RBI reduces key lending rate by 25 bps
The Reserve Bank of India once again reduced the benchmark lending rate by 0.25 percentage points to 6 per cent. Four members of the monetary policy committee (MPC) voted in favour of the rate cut, while Deputy Governor Viral Acharya and Chetan Ghate voted for maintaining the status quo. The central bank has maintained 'Neutral' stance on the monetary policy. The MPC noted that the output gap remained negative and domestic economy was facing headwinds, especially on the global front. "There is need to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring private investment which remained sluggish," the RBI said. While projecting the gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2019-20 at 7.2 per cent, the RBI revised downward retail inflation estimate to 2.4 per cent in Q4 FY-19.
India set to grow at 7.2 pc this fiscal: ADB
India's growth is set to pick up and is expected to grow at 7.2 per cent in the current fiscal on strengthening consumption, Asian Development Bank said in its report. "Growth slowed from 7.2 per cent in fiscal 2017 to 7 per cent in 2018, with weaker agricultural output and consumption growth curtailed by higher global oil prices and lower government expenditure," according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2019. It is expected to rebound to 7.2 per cent in 2019 and 7.3 per cent in 2020 as policy rates are cut and farmers receive income support, bolstering domestic demand, the report stated adding that sub-region wise, southeast Asia will sustain growth at close to 5 per cent this year and the next. Strengthening domestic demand will offset weaker export growth. Strong consumption, spurred by rising incomes, subdued inflation, and robust remittances, should boost economic activity in the sub-region, it said.
David Malpass named World Bank president
Top Trump administration official David Malpass was selected as the 13th president of the World Bank. The World Bank’s executive board unanimously selected 63-year-old Malpass, who is currently under secretary of treasury for international affairs, as the bank’s 13th President for a five-year term beginning April 9. All 13 presidents of the of the development lender have been American men. The World Bank president is chair of boards of directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA). The president is also ex officio chair of boards of directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).