1. Ambiguity Remains for Several Products Under GST
Several companies may face challenges on product categorisation under the goods and services tax (GST), experts said. This could revolve around possible questions such as whether Pepsi’s Nimbooz is lemonade or pulp juice, Appy Fizz is an aerated or juice-based drink, and Red Bull is an aerated or energy drink, they said.
That’s due to lack of clarity on how to tax some products and a backlog of cases regarding classification ambiguities, the experts said. The answers to those questions will determine the tax rate. For instance, lemonade is taxed at 28 percent but pulp juice at 12 percent.
(Source: Economic Times)
2. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes May Get a Bigger Slice of Pie This Budget
The upcoming budget could see a sharp increase in the allocation for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, giving a boost to the government’s pro-poor initiatives ahead of the next general elections.
The Niti Aayog has drawn up a plan that is expected to raise spending on scheduled castes and tribes that account for more than 25 percent of India’s population.
The finance ministry has told all ministries and departments that this will form the basis for enhancing allocations in the FY19 budget that will likely be presented early February.
(Source: Economic Times)
3. Reliance Industries To Be Among Top 20 Global Firms, Says Mukesh Ambani
Oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. aims to be among the top 20 companies in the world and become a leading provider of clean energy as well as leverage artificial intelligence and block-chain, its chairman Mukesh Ambani said.
At a function organised on Saturday evening at the Reliance Corporate Park to commemorate founder Dhirubhai Ambani’s birthday and celebrate the company’s 40 years in existence, Ambani outlined the future of RIL.
Ambani set five aims for the company and expected the young generation of RIL to make them a reality.
4. RBI, Government Step In To Stem Speculation On Weak Banks
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government, on Friday, stepped in to stem rumours swirling around the fate of weak public sector banks. In separate statements, they said that the government has no intention of closing down any banks and added that corrective actions being taken are only intended to strengthen the banks.
RBI, the country’s banking regulator, said that banks being put under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework does not impact their daily functioning.
The Reserve Bank has clarified that the PCA framework is not intended to constrain normal operations of the banks for the general public, it said in a reiteration of its earlier stance.
5. PSU Banks’ NPAs Hit Rs 7.34 Lakh Crore At September-End
Bad loans of public sector banks stood at Rs 7.34 lakh crore by the end of second quarter this fiscal, a bulk of which came from corporate defaulters, according to Reserve Bank data.
However, on the other hand private sector bank’s non- performing assets were considerably low at Rs 1.03 lakh crore by 30 September.
“The gross non-performing assets of public sector and private sector banks as on 30 September, 2017 were Rs 7,33,974 crore, Rs 1,02,808 crore, respectively,” the Finance Ministry said citing RBI data.
6. Myntra Banks On Kirana Stores To Push Sales In Smaller Cities
Myntra, India’s largest online fashion retailer, is banking on offline retailers to push sales in smaller cities during its annual year-end discount season that kicked off on Friday.
The company signed up around 3,600 mom-and-pop stores, almost five-fold compared to last year, to speed up deliveries to customers in tier-2 and 3 cities, Ananth Narayanan, chief executive officer of Myntra and Jabong, told BloombergQuint in an interview. “We are aiming 25 percent faster deliveries this sale season and kirana stores help us to do that as they are local and know the area and customers.”
Myntra, owned by Flipkart Internet Pvt., kicked off its seventh edition of annual four-day offer season, called ‘End of Reason Sale’, giving discounts of up to 60 percent and aims to add 5 lakh new customers. It’s eyeing a growth of 50 percent over the year-ago event.
7. 213 Railway Projects Report Cost Overrun Of Rs 1.61 Lakh Crore
Sixty percent of the Indian Railways’ total 353 central sector projects are facing huge cost overrun due to various reasons, according to a government report.
As many as 213 railway projects are facing total cost overrun of Rs 1.6 lakh crore, as per a flash report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) for September, 2017.
The MOSPI monitors central sector projects envisaging an expenditure of Rs 150 crore and above each on regular basis.
8. Narayana Murthy Trashes AI as Hype, Asks IT Leaders to Be Less Greedy
Corporate thought-leader and Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy has flayed the high wage hikes that senior managements have been apportioning to themselves when the software industry is in trying times and has advised them to make “sacrifices” to maintain common man’s faith in capitalism.
Conceding that times are difficult for the IT services sector, Murthy dismissed the commonly attributed threats of artificial intelligence and automation as “more hype than reality”.
Terming the trend of no hikes for juniors and freshers as “worrisome,” Murthy rued that the senior level people have been taking handsome hikes.
“I think that is not the way to make capitalism acceptable to the larger masses in a country that has huge poverty,” he said, speaking at the IIT-Bombay over the weekend.
(Source: Business Standard)
9. Parliamentary Panel to Centre: Appoint Full-Time Chairman for Spices Board
An apex parliamentary committee has expressed concern over the Centre’s inability to appoint a full-time chairman to the Spices Board and fill up positions of board members that have been lying vacant for a while.
The Centre should take immediate steps to appoint a person with experience in trade and export promotion as its full-time chairman, said a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce in a report tabled in Parliament last week.
Since February 2014, Marine Products Export Development Authority Chairman A Jayathilak has been doubling up as Spices Board Chairman. The committee, headed by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Bhupender Yadav, said the Commerce Ministry has also failed to appoint new members to the Board despite the terms of most earlier members came to an end many months back.