1. Finance Ministry Notifies 1 April As Date For Availing Increased GST Exemption Limit
The government on Thursday, 7 March, notified 1 April as the date for the implementation of doubling of GST exemption limit to Rs 40 lakh, which will benefit small and medium enterprises.
Besides, the effective date for availing higher turnover cap of Rs 1.5 crore for availing composition scheme by traders has also been fixed as 1 April.
Also, service providers and suppliers of both goods and services with a turnover of up to Rs 50 lakh would be eligible to opt for the GST composition scheme and pay a tax of 6 percent from the beginning of next fiscal.
These decisions were taken by the GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising his state counterparts, on 10 January.
(Source: Financial Express)
2. RBI Penalty: Swift Blames Short-Comings In Automated Payment Processes At Banks
Global financial messaging cooperative Swift on Thursday, 7 March, blamed the shortcomings in banks’ automated payment processes and also reconciliations for the regulatory penalties on 19 of them over the past few past week and said it’s not their job to police the lenders.
Over the past week, the Reserve Bank has penalised 19 banks, including SBI and ICICI Bank, for non-compliance with the Swift system – the virtual connection between India and the rest of the world when it comes to financial messaging. The penalty amounts ranged between Rs 1 and Rs 4 crore and the overall penalty totals Rs 40 crore.
Alain Raes, Swift chief executive for Asia Pacific and EMEA, however, refused to comment on the penalised banks’ contention that such shortcomings are “minor” in nature.
(Source: Financial Express)
3. Government To Set Up Committee For Easing Investments, Says Suresh Prabhu
Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday, 7 March, said that a new committee will be set-up for easing the investments in Indian businesses as “India is going to be the next largest growth engine of the world.”
“I have directed the (commerce) secretary to set up a committee for new regulations to take collective action immediately while I will be dealing with the angel tax issue on real time basis,” Suresh Prabhu said at the IVCA Conclave.
Prabhu also said that he has already directed the commerce secretary to prepare a new ‘matrix’ for ‘please of doing business’.
(Source: Financial Express)
4. Rupee Closes At Its Highest In Two Months
The Indian rupee gained for the third straight session to close at its highest level in two months aided by strong foreign inflows.
The domestic currency today appreciated 28 paise over its previous trade to close at 70.005 against the greenback.
It had strengthened below the 70-a-dollar mark intra-day for the first time since 8 January 2019. The rupee gained 91 paise in the past three trading sessions.
5. US Trade Deficit With India Falls, PM Modi To Raise Issue With Trump
Days after the US cut off India’s duty-free access to the American market under its largest preferential trade scheme, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), official figures from Washington DC showed that its trade deficit with the country has fallen over the past two years, slipping to $21.3 billion in 2018. In 2017, the US’ trade deficit with India was $22.3 billion, down from $24.4 billion in the previous year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to point this out to US President Donald Trump in a letter on the matter soon, Business Standard has learnt.
The latest figure, released by the United States Census Bureau, under the Department of Commerce, on Thursday, 7 March, comes three days after Trump notified US Congress of his intent to remove India from the list of beneficiaries of the GSP programme for not granting American producers “reasonable access” to its markets.
Senior Indian government officials, however, have argued that the dominance of US firms in several sectors showed that India had suitably opened up its market to foreign industry.
(Source: Business Standard)
6. Despite Threat of US Sanctions, India Inks $3 Billion Deal With Russia For Nuclear Submarine
India on Thursday, 7 March, inked yet another mega defence deal worth over $3 billion for the lease of a nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia, despite the threat of US financial sanctions still looming over the earlier $5.4 billion contract inked for Russian S-400 Triumf missile systems in October last year.
Defence sources said the over $3 billion (around Rs 21,000 crore) contract for the Akula-1 class submarine, which will be ready by around 2025, includes a comprehensive package for refurbishment of the nuclear boat lying mothballed at Severodvinsk, its sustenance and spares support for 10 years, as well as training and technical infrastructure for its operations.
(Source: The Times of India)
7. NGT Slaps ₹500 Crore Fine On Volkswagen; Company To Move SC
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday, 7 March, slapped a fine of ₹500 crore on German auto major Volkswagen for damaging the environment through the use of “cheat device” in its diesel cars in India.
A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the carmaker to deposit the amount within two months.
Volkswagen will challenge the ruling. “The Volkswagen Group in India reiterates that all cars from the group are compliant with the emission norms defined in India,” Volkswagen Group India said in a statement. Volkswagen plans to contest the order in the Supreme Court.
8. RBI Notifies 2% Interest Subsidy Scheme For Short-Term Crop Loans
The Reserve Bank of India notified the norms for banks with regards to two percent interest subvention or subsidy for short-term crop loans during 2018-19 and 2019-20. The Centre has already approved the scheme. To provide short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh to farmers at an interest rate of 7 percent, the RBI said, it has been decided to offer interest subvention of 2 percent per annum to lending institutions.
9. Cabinet Offers Relief To Struggling Power Firms
The union cabinet has allowed power producers, saddled with ₹36,000 crore of unpaid dues, to end supply contracts with defaulting power distribution companies (discoms), as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, in possibly its last cabinet meeting, addressed a pressing concern for the industry.
On Thursday, 7 March, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved recommendations made by a ministerial panel that allowed power generators to retain coal allocations linked to a supply contract even if the agreement is terminated because of payment defaults by power discoms.