GK Update: February 25th & February 26th, 2016.

Manufacturing sector growth returns to expansion in Feb: SBI Index.

Manufacturing activity in the country bounced back and entered the expansion territory in February, says a report. The yearly SBI Composite Index for February is at 51.3, compared to last month index of 47.3. Meanwhile, the monthly Index declined to 49.5 in February, from 52.4 in January 2016.

ALSTOM GE’s open offer for Alstom India draws a blank.

U.S. giant GE’s Rs. 770 crore open offer to acquire 1.74 crore publicly-held shares in Alstom India has elicited a poor response, with just 13,789 shares getting tendered. General Electric’s open offer for Alstom T&D has also met with a similar fate.

GST crucial for growth of online marketplaces: IAMAI.

With Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill stuck in Parliament, Internet and Mobile Association of India said the crucial Bill once passed will not only simply tax rules for online marketplaces, but make movement of goods across states a lot easier, thus benefiting sellers as well as consumers.

Telecom Ministry seeks 250% rise in planned Budget.

The Telecom Ministry has sought a planned Budget outlay of Rs. 18,214.32 crore for the financial year 2016-17, an increase of over 250 per cent year-on-year.

Naspers to invest $250 mn. in Ibibo.

Online travel services provider ibibo Group today said Internet and media firm Naspers, the principal share owner in the company, will invest another $250 million (around Rs.1,715 crore) in the group.

Cabinet nod to incentivise cashless transactions.

The Union Cabinet approved several steps to promote cashless transactions, which include mandatory card-based or electronic payments beyond a prescribed threshold.

India may appeal against WTO’s panel ruling in solar case.

India is likely to appeal against the WTO’s panel ruling that the country’s power purchase agreements with solar firms were “inconsistent” with international norms. The rulings of the WTO’s dispute settlement panel can be challenged in the WTO’s appellate body.

Complying with FBI demand is ‘bad for America’, says Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook that it would be “bad for America” if his company complied with the FBI’s demand for help unlocking an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Cook said he’s prepared to take the dispute to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also said he would try to make his case directly to President Barack Obama, although he did not say when or where they would meet.

Railway budget proposes two rail corridors for Mumbai.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu proposed two new rail corridors an elevated on from Churchgate to Virar and CST to Panvel for the city’ suburban network. A special purpose vehicle will be formed for the proposed bullet train project along the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail corridor.

Vijay Mallya steps down as USL chairman.

UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya has resigned as the non-executive chairman of Unites Spirits Limited (USL) with immediate effect. The announcement was made by Mr Mallya through a statement. Recently there were various allegations and uncertainties regarding Mr Mallya’s relationship with Diageo the majority stakeholder of USL. British alcoholic beverages company Diageo had purchased majority stake of about 54 per cent in USL in July 2014 and since then there was tussle between Mr Mallya and Diageo.

Railway budget: Apps, wi-fi services in pipeline.

From connectivity to safety, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has placed his bets on technology to make train travel more comfortable for travellers. “For ensuring delivery of quality services to its customers, Indian Railways needs to be equipped with modern and cutting edge technology”, he told Parliament.

Reliance Industries tops CSR spending chart: Govt.

Reliance Industries has emerged as the top company in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), having spent over Rs. 760 crore, followed by state-owned ONGC and IT giant Infosys, Parliament was informed. In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said a total of 460 listed firms have so far disclosed spending Rs. 6,337.36 crore in 2014-15. This included 51 PSUs that spent Rs. 2,386.60 crore.