GK Update: December 15th & 16th, 2015.

Jaitley holds talks with Cong leaders on GST Bill.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met Congress leaders in a bid to sort out differences for passage of the GST bill in Rajya Sabha and both sides agreed to meet further as the talks were inconclusive.

IL&FS Engineering bags Rs.375 cr. Metro Rail contract in Gujarat.

The IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company Ltd. has received a letter of acceptance (LoA) from Metro Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad for construction of a viaduct corridor.

ASCI upholds complaints against Airtel, HDFC, Flipkart.

Advertising industry watchdog ASCI has upheld complaints against 54 campaigns for misleading advertisements during September, including those of Bharti Airtel, HDFC and Flipkart.

Cyber attacks on Apple devices rise.

Cyber criminals are increasingly targetting Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads as these products gain popularity among consumers across the globe, including India, says a report by security solutions firm Symantec.

Textiles Ministry plans direct benefit transfer to cotton farmers.

The Ministry of Textiles plans to implement direct transfer of funds to cotton farmers’ accounts, on an experimental basis, if the price of cotton drops below the Minimum Support Price (MSP), says Textile Commissioner, Kavita Gupta.

Indian Railways to monetise land holdings.

The cash-strapped Indian Railways, that has proposed an ambitious Rs.8.56 lakh crore investment plan for the next five years, is working on a blueprint to monetise its vast land holdings, the government said.

No bargain on protection of poor farmers’ interests: India.

While African countries are keen to ensure that the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) ongoing Doha Development Round — aimed at a pact to open up global trade — does not come to a premature end at the global trade body’s Nairobi meet, India has made it clear that protection of poor farmers’ interests and its food security programmes are not up for any bargain at the negotiations.

LIC launches post-retirement plan Jeevan Akshay IV.

Life Insurance Corporation of India has launched an immediate annuity plan, Jeevan Akshay IV, for post-retirement planning. According to the plan, an individual aged between 30 years and 85 years can make a lump sum investment of minimum Rs.1 lakh. The plan offers various annuity options such as fixed regular income post-retirement, annuity payable for 5/10/15/20 years and annuity for life for self and spouse.

NSE to teach school kids on financial markets in AP, TS.

National Stock Exchange of India Limited is holding talks with the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to introduce teaching on financial markets to seventh and eight standard students. After evolving a 25-hour module to spread financial literacy among the youngsters, NSE has tied up with CBSE to teach on financial markets to 11th and 12th standards across the country. It has already started teaching 9th and 10th standard students under CBSE syllabus from current academic year.

PAN soon to be mandatory for cash transactions above Rs. 2 lakh.

In a bid to check generation of domestic black money, the government will soon issue a notification making quoting of PAN mandatory for all cash transactions beyond Rs. 2 lakh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

‘Investors won’t return if they lose money in primary market’.

Attributing better performance of recent initial public offerings (IPOs) to easier norms, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman, U. K Sinha, said retail investors may not invest again if they lose money in the primary market.

LoC traders buoyed by resumed India-Pak. talks.

Traders along the Line of Control in Kashmir, while expressing the hope that the resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue will ensure better conditions for them, put forward several demands at a conference on LoC trade in the national Capital. Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, MP and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and government officials participated in the interaction.

World Bank approves $1.5b to support clean India campaign.

The World Bank has approved a $1.5 billion loan for the ambitious clean India campaign to support the government in its efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.

Google to ramp up engineering capabilities in India.

Technology giant Google said the company will focus on developing products for India and invest in hiring more people to ramp up its engineering capabilities in the country. CEO Sundar Pichai added that the company will open a “huge new campus” in Hyderabad.