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  • Sensex bounces back 93 points higher in early trade

    Mumbai, Sep 20: The benchmark BSE Sensex rebounded by over 93 points in early trade on Wednesday on gains in bluechips such as RIL, L&T and ITC amid a rising trend in Asia. The 30-share index was trading higher by 93.02 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 32,495.39. Sectoral indices led by capital goods, power,consumer durables, realty, metal, healthcare and oil & gas were trading in the positive terrain by gaining up to 0.95 per cent. The gauge had shed 21.39 points in the previous session.

    The broader NSE Nifty rose by 23.50 points, or 0.23 per cent, to trade at 10,171.05. According to traders, buying activity picked up, mirroring positive cues from the rest of Asia after another record on the Wall Street on Tuesday.

    Reliance Industries, L&T, Tata Steel, Adani Ports, M&M, ITC Ltd, SBI, HDFC Bank, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's and ONGC gained up to 2.26 per cent. However, shares of telecom companies such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices fell up to 3.31 per cent after TRAI reduced mobile interconnection charges by more than half to 6 paise a minute. Mobile companies currently charge 14 paise a minute for allowing a domestic call from a rival operator to terminate on their network. There would be no such charge from January 1, 2020, the regulating body said.

    21st GST Council meeting underway in Hyderabad

    Hyderabad, Sep 9: The 21st meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has begun under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Hyderabad this morning. The day-long meeting will discuss several aspects relating to the implementation of the GST including the IT systems of the Goods and Services Tax Network, the problems being encountered during the tax return filing process and the difficulties faced by industry in filing GST returns.

    The council will also discuss during its deliberations over the demands for exempting unbranded agriculture produce and relief to branded agriculture produce from the current 5 per cent GST. Initially the Union Finance Minister held a meeting with the Finance Ministers of various states over the deliberations. GST council will also take a final call over the demands raised by several states like Telangana to further reduce the GST on public interest projects like irrigation and road development.

    NTPC disinvestment gets off to flying start

    New Delhi, Aug 29: The government's 5 per cent stake sale in NTPC on Tuesday got off to a flying start with 86 per cent of shares reserved for institutional investors getting subscribed by afternoon. The government is selling over 41.22 crore shares or 5 per cent stake in state-run power producer NTPC with an option to retain over-subscription of a similar amount. At the floor price of Rs 168 apiece, the sale of 5 per cent stake would fetch around Rs 7,000 crore to the exchequer. transitionary challenges from implementing GST.

    In Tuesday's offer for sale (OFS), the government is selling over 32.98 crore shares to institutional buyers. Institutional investors had placed bids for 28.4 crores (28,47,75,011) shares, or 86 per cent of total size, by 1200 hrs, the NSE data showed. The OFS issue will open for retail investors on Wednesday.

    Economic Survey Volume II admits achieving 7.5% growth target for this fiscal as tough

    New Delhi, Aug 11: The Economic Survey Volume two for the year 2016-17 was tabled today in Parliament. It said achieving the high end of the 6.75-7.5 per cent growth projected previously will be difficult due to appreciation of rupee, farm loan waivers and transitionary challenges from implementing GST.

    The survey, however, noticed a rekindled optimism on structural reforms in Indian economy riding on various factors such as launch of the GST; Positive impacts of demonetization; decision in principle to privatize Air India; further rationalization of energy subsidies and Actions to address the Twin Balance Sheet (TBS) challenge.

    The document also adds that a growing confidence that macro-economic stability has become entrenched is evident because of a series of government and RBI actions and because of structural changes in the oil market have reduced the risk of sustained price increases.

    Air India registers Improvement in Operational & Financial Performance

    New Delhi, Aug 2: Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha informed that Air India registered a remarkable improvement in both operational and financial performance since the introduction of the Turnaround Plan/Financial Restructuring Plan by the Govt.

    HIGHLIGHTS: Improvement in Operational Performance, The passenger load factor has improved to 75.6% in 2015-16 from the Seat Factor of 67.9% in 2011-12. The number of Revenue Passenger has increased from 13.4 Million in 2011-12 to 18.0 Million in 2015-16. Improvements in Financial Performance,

    The Operating Loss has consistently reduced since 2011-12 and infact in 2015-16 the company has achieved an Operating Profit of Rs 105 crores. The Operating Loss during 2011-12 was Rs 5138.69 crores. The Net Loss during 2015-16 is Rs.3836.77 crores as against loss of Rs.7559.74 Crores in 2011-12. The Company has turned EBIDTA positive by Rs 2413.29 crores as against the negative EBIDTA of Rs 2236.95 crores in 2011-12. Total Revenue increased by Rs.4622.77 crores i.e.29 % as compared to levels of 2011-12.

    The main reasons for the losses of Air India is that the company is facing financial pressure and earning less profits due to high debt burden as an offshoot of past accumulated losses. The debt servicing is at around Rs. 6000 crores per annum for Air India.

    Nifty forges ahead, touches fresh peak at 10,043

    Mumbai, Jul 31: The benchmark Nifty on Monday climbed to a fresh high of 10,043 and the Sensex surged over 133 points in the opening session, underpinned by a strong dose of better-than-expected corporate earnings. The rally came on buying in capital goods, metal, oil and gas, consumer durables and banking stocks. L&T, the engineering and construction conglomerate, rose 3.97 per cent after the company on Friday reported better- than-estimated earnings for the first quarter with a 50.59 per cent jump in consolidated net profit, which in turn helped the NSE index.

    The 50-share NSE Nifty surged 28.80 points, or 0.28 per cent, to scale a life high of 10,043.30, breaking its previous intra-day record 10,026.05 hit on July 28. The 30-share Sensex too was on song, rising 133.05 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 32,442.93. The gauge had lost 73.42 points in the previous session on Friday. Sectoral indices, led by capital goods and metal, registered gains of up to 1.79 per cent. Other big movers were ONGC, Kotak Bank, Tata Steel, PowerGrid and ICICI Bank.

    GST has transformed economy: PM in 'Mann Ki Baat'

    New Delhi, Jul 30: Hailing the roll out of GST as a historic achievement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it has been one month since GST was implemented and its benefits can be seen already. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said GST has transformed the economy and marks an example of cooperative federalism as states have been partners in all the decisions related to the new indirect tax regime. PM said that GST is not just a tax reform, it is a new economic order that will strengthen a new culture of honesty.

    He said the "smooth transition" of such a huge measure in a vast country involving crores of people was historic and can be a case study for universities around the world. The prime minister said the priority of the government, while ushering in the GST (Goods and Services Tax), has been that there should no burden on the plate of the poor man. “With the help of GST App, people can easily find products’ old and new prices. By introducing GST, the dream of ‘One Nation One Tax’ has been fulfilled,” he said.

    BHIM App download reaches 1.6 million

    New Delhi, Jul 29: The total downloads of BHIM App, have reached 1.6 million. The app which makes digital payments easy and simple, and has an active customer base of 40 lakh users. In order to promote and facilitate digital transactions, the government has eased payments through the mobile (BHIM) app. BHIM App is a common platform across the nation for making simple, easy and quick payments. The purpose behind launching the app was to provide a digital platform where people can easily buy and shop.

    National Payments Corporation of India NCPI said that the total download of its (BHIM) Bharat Interface Phone Money App has crossed 16 million mark. Currently, BHIM App's active customer base is Rs. 40 lakhs and its latest version will be released soon. According to NCPI, the transactions through BHIM is continuously increasing.

    The government also introduced the Referral Bonus Scheme with this app so that people share this app with as many friends as possible with their friends and relatives. Now the government is considering increasing BHIM App's Referral Bonus. Referral bonus was fixed as Rs. 10. That is, if you refer someone to this app and the person downloads it to your phone then you will get Rs. 10. Now the government is considering raising this amount from Rs 10 to Rs. 25. This app also work without internet connectivity where you just have to dial a # 99 and follow the instructions.

    Govt. closely monitoring implementation of GST

    New Delhi, Jul 5: Government agencies are keeping a close watch on GST implementation and awareness campaigns are also being conducted. A central monitoring committee, comprising of 15 top secretaries, will meet every Tuesday to take stock of the situation. Clearing misconceptions, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that small traders are not required to issue bills as they are covered under a composition scheme that requires them to pay a fixed tax.

    The government has said that there have been no reports of any disruptions post GST implementation. Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said about two lakh new registrations have been done since the registration reopened last week. Of these, 39,000 have already been approved. Govt is closely monitoring price and supply of goods, particularly essential and daily-use commodities, to ensure there are no disruptions post GST rollout.

    For goods manufactured before GST roll out, a revision in the rate has to be intimated through advertisement in at least two newspapers and thereafter additional stickers over and above the MRP can be used. Toll, mandi charges and fee on vehicle entry into states are not subsumed in the GST and will continue to be charged by local bodies or state governments. All other levies on entry of goods have been subsumed in the GST, thereby resulting in abolition of entry barriers in 22 states.

    PM warns of tough action against black money hoarders

    New Delhi, Jul 2: Warning of stringent action against black money hoarders, the Prime Minister said 37 thousand shell companies indulging in tax evasion have been detected and more than three lakh firms are under the scanner for suspicious dealings post demonetisation. Prime Minister said his government has taken several measures to curb corruption and proportion of black money of Indians in Swiss banks have declined considerably during the last three years.

    Prime Minister Modi said 37,000 shell companies indulging in tax evasion have been detected than three lakh firms are under the scanner for suspicious dealings post demonetisation.

    GST registration for businesses to reopen on June 25

    New Delhi, May 22: Registration on the GST Network will reopen on June 25. The registration is necessary for existing excise, service tax and VAT payers. 80 percent of the 80 lakh assesses have already migrated to GSTN. The rest are being given a fresh window to do so. If you have not yet registered under Goods and Services Tax, then you do not have to worry. Government has said that a new window for registration for goods and services tax will be open on June 25. Under this, businessmen can register, and after five days, GST will be implemented across the country from July 1.

    After GST is implemented, all existing taxes like entry tax, entertainment tax, service tax, VAT will come under a single tax called GST. Traders and businessmen can enrol themselves at www.gst.gov.in More than three fourth of the 8 million traders under current VAT, service tax and Central Excise Tax have been registered under GST. Two rounds of GST Enrolment have already taken place, the first started from 8th November 2016 till 30 April 2017. The second round closed on 15th June and was opened on June 1.

    Govt to set up Medical Tourism portal

    New Delhi, May 16: In a big relief to foreign tourists who visit India for medical and wellness tours, the government has decided to standardise the cost of such services in the country through a centralised web portal.

    The National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board, under the ministry of tourism, will come out with a draft Medical and Wellness Tourism Policy for the country on 21 June to streamline the niche travel segment so that tourists are not defrauded on such trips. The growth of medical and wellness tourism in the country has been between 23 to 25% in the country and there is a lot of potential.

    World Bank projects 7.2% growth rate for India in 2017

    New Delhi, May 5: World Bank has projected a strong 7(point)2 per cent growth rate for India this year against 6(point)8 per cent growth in 2016. World Bank revised India's growth figures by 0.4 percentage points as compared to its January forecast, noting it is recovering from the temporary adverse effects of demonetisation.

    It also said, despite the slight slump in growth rate India still remains the fastest growing major economy in the world. The growth projections for China remains unchanged at 6.5 per cent for 2017 and then 6.3 per cent for the next two years 2018 and 2019.

    NITI Aayog's achievements over last 3 years are immense: Arvind Panagariya

    New Delhi, May 2: NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya on Friday addressed media on state of the Economy over the past 3 years and achievements of NITI Aayog. He said that from drafting the 15-year Vision document to driving agricultural reforms, fostering Innovation, supporting States, NITI Aayog's achievements over last 3 years are immense.

    Listing achievements of the government, he exerted confidence that the growth in the current year will be around 7.5 per cent and it will be sustained at 8 per cent over the next 2 years. He categorically mentioned that the present government inherited a fragile economy from its predecessor. He said that GST is the biggest tax reform in the country and it will bring in more transparency.

    FM: Several factors responsible for decline in GDP growth

    New Delhi, Jun 1: Several factors including the global situation were responsible for decline in GDP growth to 6.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today, dismissing suggestions that it was on account of demonetisation. The minister further said some slowdown was visible even prior to demonetisation of Rs 500/1000 currency notes announced by the government on November 8 last year.

    "Seven-eight per cent growth is fairly reasonable level of growth and very good by global standard and reasonable by Indian standard," Jaitley said while addressing media on completion of three years of the Modi government. According to GDP data released yesterday, growth rate slipped to 6.1 per cent in the January-March quarter and 7.1 per cent, the lowest in the three years, during 2016-17.

    Referring to the challenges, he said the major ones include resolving the issue of bad loans in the banking sector and encouraging private sector investment. On privatisation of ailing national carrier Air India, Jaitley said Niti Aayog has already given its recommendations to the Civil Aviation Ministry to explore various options. "It is for the Civil Aviation Ministry to explore various options," he added.

    India will clock over 7.5% growth in 2017-18: Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa

    New Delhi, May 15: Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said in New York that India can clock a GDP growth of over 7(point)5 per cent in the fiscal 2017-18 and the country's macro-economic fundamentals, including fiscal deficit and inflation, are all very sound. Lavasa, who is visiting the US to attend a global investors conference, said that while there has been a general climate of economic slowdown in the last few years across the world, India has managed to maintain a healthy rate of growth.

    Going by the potential for additional consumption in India, driven by changing lifestyles and growing urbanisation, there are several positives in the Indian economy and the country will not only continue to grow at a healthy rate but it will continue to be a very attractive destination for many investors, he said. Lavasa said that predictions over demonetisation having an immense adverse effect on the country's economic growth turned out to be untrue.

    He, however, noted that certain sectors of the economy which largely depended on cash and some informal sectors did have a temporary setback when the highest denomination currencies of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 ceased to be legal tender.

    GST to push Indian growth to over 8%: IMF

    New Delhi, Apr 29: India will surpass Germany as the world's fourth-largest economy by 2022 and push UK out of the top five in 2017, according to an analysis of growth projections by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF has predicted a robust growth of Indian economy post GST implementation. The agency said that the ambitious Tax system once implemented from July 1st would help raise India's medium-term growth to above eight per cent as it will enhance production and the movement of goods and services across Indian states.

    IMF also lauded the work in terms of strong economic policies and said that it will pay off in terms of higher growth in the future. Observing that India is the "fastest growing emerging market economy" in a region that remains the strongest-growing in the world, IMF believes that India is going to continue to grow at a fast pace, with a projected 6.8 per cent rate for Financial Year 2016/17 and 7.2 per cent in 2017/18.

    FM Jaitley takes up H-1B visa issue with US Commerce Secretary

    US, Apr 22: During the ongoing US visit, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has "strongly raised" the H-1B visa issue with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The meet between Jaitley and Wilbur Ross is the first cabinet-level interaction. Taking up the case of Indian IT companies and professionals, Jaitley told Ross about the contribution of highly skilled Indians in the economic development of the United States and India and stressed that they should continue to do so, which is in the best interest of the two countries.

    World Bank optimistic about India's growth

    New Delhi, Apr 17: South Asia remains World's fastest-growing region', says a World Bank report World Bank seems to be optimistic about Indian economic growth story. According to a latest report by World Bank, India's economic growth is expected to pick up speed from 6.8% in 2016 to 7.2% by 2017. The report said growth is expected to further gather momentum by 2019 when the Indian economy is expected to expand by 7.7%.

    Report also says timely and smooth implementation of the GST could prove to a significant benefit to economic activity. However World bank says there are certain challenges in the growth path. It says India faces the challenge of further accelerating the responsiveness of poverty reduction to growth. The report also confirms that South Asia remains the fastest-growing region in the world, gradually widening its lead relative to East Asia.

    Govt inaugurates Multi-Sensor Aero-Geophysical Surveys for mineral exploration

    New Delhi, Apr 8: The conventional geological methods for mineral exploration based on surface manifestations in hard rock areas are getting exhausted gradually. There is a necessity for technology driven methodologies for the same. Keeping this in mind, Government has inaugurated Multi-Sensor Aero-Geophysical Surveys over Obvious Geological Potential Areas for mineral exploration which is both time efficient and cost effective.

    Minister of Mines Piyush Goyal has launched two aircrafts equipped with geophysical sensors from Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur for the aero-geophysical data acquisition. Geological Survey of India has planned to engage international agencies through global tender process. Under this project called National Aero-Geological Mapping program, around 8.13 lakh square km area for the survey is divided into 12 blocks.

    Four blocks have been taken up for the survey on a pilot basis. The total cost of the project is estimated as Rs 111.34 Cr. Speaking at the inauguration Minister of Mines Piyush Goyal said the data acquisition will be done at a rapid pace so that the identified blocks can be used for mining.

    SBI to penalise you for keeping low balance in account

    New Delhi, Apr 6: New financial year, State Bank of India brought in some new changes with respect to customer's minimum balance maintenance and transaction charges. It has been almost five years since country's largest lender State Bank of India levied charges on not maintaining minimum balance in the accounts. From the beginning of this financial year that is on April 1, State Bank of India started charging penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance in accounts. It has also has revised charges on other services, including ATMs.

    So according to the latest decisions, the customer in metro cities has to maintain a minimum balance of Rs 5,000. The customers in urban areas must maintain a minimum balance of Rs 3000, while the customers in semi-urban and rural areas will have to maintain a minimum balance of Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000, respectively. A penalty of up to Rs 100 plus service tax will be charged if the balance falls below 75% of the MAB of Rs 5,000. If the shortfall is 50% or less of the MAB, then the bank will charge Rs 50 plus service tax.

    On the other side Savings account holders are allowed to deposit cash in their accounts three times a month free of charge and a charge of Rs 50 plus service charge would be levied on every transaction beyond that. There are mixed opinions on the changes made by State Bank of India especially with respect to the maintenance of minimum balance. Analysts say that this move by SBI is not right especially in the time when other banks are offering zero balance accounts for the customers.

    On the other side SBI revised ATM transaction charges. Withdrawal of cash from ATMs will attract a charge of up to Rs 20 if the number of transactions exceeds three from different bank's ATM in a month and Rs 10 for more than five withdrawals from SBI ATMs. However, SBI will not levy any charge on withdrawals from its own ATMs if the balance exceeds Rs 25,000. In case of other banks' ATM there will be no charge if the balance exceeds Rs 1 lakh.

    SBI will charge Rs 15 for SMS alerts per quarter from debit card holders who maintain average quarterly balance of up to Rs 25,000 during the three months period. There will be no charge for UPI/ USSD transactions of up to Rs 1,000. Five associate banks and Bharateeya Mahila Bank have emerged with SBI from April 1. So that means the customers of these banks have now become the customers of SBI and all the changes are applicable to those who had accounts in these merged associate banks.

    Ministries, govt depts to get funds on 1st day of new financial year

    New Delhi, Apr 1: For the first time, government ministries and departments will get funds as per budgetary allocations on the first day of new financial year. Proponent of General Budget and merging of rail budget into it is one of the main reasons for this. Previously, allocations were made only after major part of first quarter of the new financial year was over.

    This resulted in delay in implementation of several government schemes and programs. Keeping this in view, Modi government not only merged the rail budget into the General Budget but also preponed the presentation of Budget by a month. As a result, by the end of previous financial year the required legislative process was over paving way for allocation of funds on the first day of new financial year. This would also mean that many goods and services will get cheaper from today while few other could cost more.

    Agricultural growth rate expected to remain at 4.4% during this financial year

    New Delhi, Mar 23: Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today said that the agricultural growth rate is expected to remain at 4 (point) 4 per cent during this financial year. Replying to a discussion on the Demands for Grants of Agriculture Ministry for 2017-18, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in the Lok Sabah that the NDA government has taken various steps for doubling of farmer’s income by 2022. He said, apart from focussing on agriculture sector, the government has paid adequate attention to the growth of allied sectors like fisheries and others.

    He said, the government has provided 100 crore rupees for deep sea fishing activities. He said under it , the Centre will provide 40 lakh rupees as subsidy for purchase of vessels suitable for deep sea fishing. Mr Singh said, the government has increased the budgetary provisions for agriculture sector as compared to the outlays made during UPA government.

    GST biggest reform in India: Jaitley

    New Delhi, Mar 22: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said he is hopeful of rolling out the biggest tax reform GST from July 1 which will make goods and services cheaper and tax evasion difficult. The Finance Minister also said achieving a growth rate of 7-8 per cent is plausible and if economies pick up globally then the country's growth rate can go up further.

    Demonetisation, Jaitley said, will act as a disincentive towards continuing to deal with shadow economy, and integration of informal with formal economy will increase the size of the GDP and make it cleaner.

    "The biggest taxation reform what we are trying to implement from July 1 is Goods and Services Tax. "It will increase the volume of taxation, there is no tax on tax and therefore makes goods, commodities and services little cheaper and far more convenient," Jaitley said at the 23rd Commonwealth Auditors General conference in New Delhi.

    He said the tax department is trying to make the I-T backbone so strong so that evasion becomes difficult and hence only limited number of cases are taken up for scrutiny. "The laws which enable this (GST) are now before Parliament which hopefully should get cleared and once they do get cleared then by the middle of this year we hope to see the implementation as far as this law is concerned," Jaitley said.

    Cabinet approves four GST related bills

    New Delhi, Mar 21: The Union Cabinet on Monday approved the GST supplementary and compensation bills. With this the govt. has reached the final stages before the roll out of the massive indirect tax reform, targeted for July 1. The bills will be sent to parliament later this week, while the state GST bill will be passed by each state legislature. The Goods and Services Tax is a comprehensive uniform indirect tax on goods and services across a country.

    The Union Cabinet approved four supporting legislations that would now be sent to Parliament and are likely to be presented in the Lok Sabha as money bills later this week. These four supporting legislations are Compensation Law, Central-GST, Integrated-GST and Union Territory-GST.

    The Central GST would replace Central Excise Duty, Service Tax, Additional Duties of Excise & Customs, Special Additional Duty of Customs, and cesses and surcharges on supply of goods and services. The IGST relates to taxation of inter-state transfer of goods and will provide for cross empowerment of state and central officers.

    State Taxes GST would replace VAT, Central Sales Tax, Purchase Tax, Entry Tax, Entertainment Tax, taxes on advertisements, lotteries, betting and gambling, and state cesses and surcharges. A four-tier rate structure has been cleared by the GST Council, but which commodities fit in these slabs would be done after March 31. The slabs are 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Items of daily needs will be taxed at 5% while luxury items will be taxed at the higher end. GST is also expected to disincentivize tax evasion, lower tax rates, and make business operations easier.

    Nifty closes at all-time high of 9,160

    Mumbai, Mar 18: The new-found optimism spurred stocks to new levels as the Nifty ended at a new peak of 9,160 on Friday and the Sensex notched up minor gains, with liquidity giving investors enough confidence. Fund inflows continued unabated after the BJP's sterling win in UP and Uttarakhand assembly elections. Buying activity picked up after the GST Council on Thursday paved the way for rollout of the new tax regime from July, triggering interest in FMCG stocks.

    The NSE Nifty crossed the key 9,200-mark for the first time in early hours to hit an all-time high of 9,218.40. But it settled at 9,160.05 -- a new high -- up 6.35 points, or 0.07 per cent, surpassing yesterday's close of 9,153.70. The Sensex closed up 63.14 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 29,648.99. On a weekly basis, the BSE Sensex rallied 702.76 points, or 2.42 per cent, and the Nifty 225.50 points, or 2.52 per cent, extending gains for the second straight week.

    ICICI Bank, SBI top bank frauds list: RBI

    New Delhi, Mar 14: RBI data says, ICICI Bank topped the list of banks that witnessed most number of frauds during April to December period of 2016 with state-owned SBI taking the second spot. During the first nine months of the current fiscal, as many as 455 fraud cases, involving 1 lakh rupees and above, were detected in ICICI Bank, closely followed by SBI with 429, Standard Chartered with 244 and HDFC Bank with 237.

    However, in value terms, frauds involving 2,237 crore rupees were reported in SBI, followed by Punjab National Bank with 2,250 crore rupees and Axis Bank with 1,998 crore rupees.

    Nokia 3310 relaunched; allows web browsing

    Barcelona/Spain, Feb 27: Finnish brand Nokia launched three new Android smartphones and unveiled a revamped version of its iconic 3310 model more than a decade after it was phased out.

    Unlike the original, which was known for its sturdiness, the new Nokia 3310 will allow web browsing. The new version will bring back its predecessor's popular "Snake" game and distinctive ringtones, said Arto Nummela, the head of Finnish start-up HMD Global which will produce the phone under a licensing agreement with Nokia.

    "The telephone will allow you to talk for 22 hours, ten times more than the original," he said during a presentation in Barcelona on the eve of the start of the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile phone show.

    Launched in 2000, Nokia's original 3310 sold nearly 120 million units worldwide before it was discontinued in 2005, making it one of the world's best-selling mobile phones. Analysts said resurrecting the popular model was a clever way for HMD Global to relaunch Nokia's brand.

    In addition to the new 3310, HMD presented three new smartphones, the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 which will sell for different prices. The Nokia 6 was already available in China and will now go on sale globally.

    "We think (Nokia) could take 5 percent of the global smartphone market by the end of 2019. But it needs to get big quick or it won't work," said CCS Insight's device specialist and chief of research, Ben Wood.

    Nokia was the world's top mobile maker between 1998 and 2011 but was overtaken by South Korean rival Samsung after failing to respond to the rapid rise of smartphones. Its telephone brand remains widely recognised, especially in developing markets.

    Seventh tranche of SGB to be launched on Feb 27

    New Delhi, Feb 25: The government will launch the 7th tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds on Monday. Applications for the bond will be accepted from February 27 to March 3. The bonds will be issued to eligible applicants on March 17, 2017. The bonds will be also sold through banks and designated post offices.

    The tenor of the bonds will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates. The maximum amount subscribed by an entity will not be more than 500 grams per person per fiscal year.

    An alternative mode of investment to physical gold, the SBG scheme was launched in November 2015. It provides investors a choice to diversify portfolio without the need to buy the metal in physical form. So far, the government has come out with six tranches of the SGB.

    Car sales up 11% and passenger vehicles up 14% in January

    New Delhi, Feb 10: Domestic passenger vehicle sales rose 14.4 per cent to 2,65,320 units in January from 2,31,917 units in the same month last year. Domestic car sales were up 10.83 per cent at 1,86,523 units as against 1,68,303 units in January last year, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

    Motorcycle sales declined 6.07 per cent to 8,19,386 units last month as against 8,72,323 units a year earlier. Total two-wheeler sales in January declined 7.39 per cent to 12,62,141 units as compared with 13,62,879 units in the year-ago month. Sales of commercial vehicles were down marginally at 61,239 units in January, SIAM said. Vehicle sales across categories registered a decline of 4.71 per cent to 16,20,045 units from 17,00,141 units in January 2016, it added.

    Economic survey predicts 7.1 % growth

    New Delhi, Feb 1: The economic survey has pegged GDP growth at constant market prices for the current year 2016-17 at 7.1 percent. It has projected GDP growth in the range of 6.75 to 7.5 percent for the next year. The Service sector is estimated to grow at 8.8 percent this fiscal. The major reform achievements listed are GST, Bankruptcy Bill, Monetary Policy committee, Aadhar Bill, FDI liberalisation, UPI interoperability and making M in JAM or Jan dhan aadhar mobile a reality, and promoting labour intensive sectors.

    Here is a report:

    India's economic growth has been pegged at 7.1 per cent for the current fiscal, but is expected to rebound in the range of 6.75-7.5 per cent in 2017-18.

    The Economic Survey for 2016-17, tabled in the Parliament also underlines the need for more reforms. For 2017-18, the GDP growth has been estimated at 6.75-7.5 per cent. It predicts the agriculture sector to grow at 4 per cent in the current year up from 1.2 per cent in 2015-16.

    The growth rate in industrial sector has been pegged at 5.2 percent and in the service sector 8.8 percent. The survey also estimates that inflation in the current fiscal can hover around 5 percent. According to the Economic survey, the major steps that the government has taken include:

    Govt's Major economic Achievements • GST bill • Passing of Bankruptcy bill • Constitution of Monetary policy committee of RBI • Passing of Aadhaar Bill • Relaxing Norms in FDI sector • Bringing all banking transaction on a single platform UPI • Promoting labour intensive sectors like textile and others

    The Survey calls demonetization a long term shot and says cash crunch will end by April 2017. The survey predicts that implementation of GST will pave the way for a shared market economy which will give a boost to investment and development sector.

    It also estimates that if stamp duty and real estate are made part of GST, Indian economy could soon outpace the other world economies. The survey also expresses concern over the rising level of NPA with PSU banks.

    Banks in India faces NPA at the rate of 12% of their total loan amount, which is way more than other economies of the world. It has been suggested constitution of Central agency with government backing that could overcome coordination and political issues on bad. The Survey advocated covering all citizens under Universal Basic income scheme. It also says that, rather than having different subsidy schemes state wise, a nationwide uniform subsidy mechanism should be created in place.

    Apparel and Leather industry key to generation of formal and productive jobs. The economic Survey stresses on the need to give more impetus on these labour intensive which can actually help stop migration to urban areas in search of employment.

    RBI lifts cash withdrawal limits from current accounts, ATMs

    New Delhi, Jan 31: Reserve Bank of India has lifted the per day cash withdrawal limits from current accounts, cash credit accounts and overdraft accounts with immediate effect on Monday. "Limits placed vide the circulars cited above on cash withdrawals from Current accounts/ Cash credit accounts/ Overdraft accounts stand withdrawn with immediate effect." a RBI release issued on Monday said.

    In the same order, the RBI said that the limits placed on cash withdrawals from ATMs would be lifted from February 1. This means the saving accounts holders would be able to withdraw Rs. 24,000 at one go using ATMs on a single day. But the weekly withdrawal limit from savings accounts remain Rs. 24,000.

    CMs’ panel submits report on digital payments to PM

    New Delhi, Jan 25: Committee of Chief Ministers on digital payments present its interim report to Prime Minister. Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim were also present. The committee made 5 recommendations.
    Panel's 5 Recommendations
    1. Relief to merchants making Digital Payments, no retrospective taxation
    2. Tax incentives to be extended to Micro ATMs, domestic production
    3. Tax refund and incentives to small merchants undertaking Digital Payments
    4. Abolition of MDR with an aim to make Digital Payments cheaper than cash
    5. Expand and strengthen origination, acceptance, connectivity and hardware infrastructure

    Prasad: India is emerging as Mobile manufacturing hub

    New Delhi, Jan 20: Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says National Informatics Centre plays a significant and a crucial role in digital India programme aimed at technologically empowering poor and underprivileged. He was addressing a 3-da national meet organised by NIC. Enhancement and development of the infrastructure of district National Informatics Centre offices to international standards is the priority and this was said by Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

    As a pilot project, 150 district NIC offices would be upgraded during 2017-18, while rest will follow soon. Minster also said Innovation is the need of the hour and National Informatics Cenre should bring in more innovation in its services. Addressing the three day National Meet on Grassroot Informatics - Weaving a Digital India organised by National Informatics Centre in the national capital, he said NIC is the technological bridge of India and it should contribute more in the current Digital payments revolution in the country.

    The National Meet on Grassroot Informatics is aimed at showcasing the various initiatives of NIC in creating and enhancing the Digital Infrastructure in the country. During the meet, Minister also launched two new portals - District Collector's Dashboard and NIC Service Desk. During the inaugural session Ravi Shankar Prasad also said NIC should work more proactively under Digital India which is basically meant for poor and underprivileged.

    Minister also announced the introduction of annual awards for the DIOs of the NIC for taking up exemplary innovative approach in their respective districts. The top three best innovators will get a reward of Rs 200,000, Rs 100,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.

    Post demonetisation,World Bank drops India's growth rate to 7 %

    New Delhi, Jan 12: The World Bank has decelerated India's growth for 2016-17 fiscal to 7 per cent from its previous estimate of 7.6 percent. In its latest report, the World Bank said, immediate withdrawal of a large volume of currency in circulation and subsequent replacement with new notes in November contributed to slowing growth.

    It said, the country would regain momentum in the following years with 7.6 and 7.8 per cent growth. The Bank said, various reform initiatives are expected to unlock domestic supply bottlenecks and raise productivity. According report India maintains the distinction of being the fastest growing emerging market economies of the world, bypassing China.

    PM launches various development projects in Gujarat

    Gandhinagar, Jan 10: PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit on Tuesday, unveils Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show on Monday, also inaugurates BSE's International Stock Exchange in GIFT city, lays stress on setting up an international financial hub.

    PM Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated various projects after his arrival in Gujarat, starting with the bhumi-pujan' ceremony for redevelopment of Gandhinagar Railway Station. Prime Minister, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, is scheduled to inaugurate 8th edition of 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit' on Tuesday.

    Delivering his address after 'Bhumi Pujan', the Prime Minister said that, Gandhinagar has the potential to become a global hub. PM Modi also said that the Government is focusing on state of the art technology and on the issue of railway safety.

    The Gandhinagar Railway Station will get a face-lift at a cost of Rs 250 crore and will have a five star hotel built on top of it to accommodate delegates coming Gujarat to attend next Vibrant Gujarat Summits, which is held every two years.

    PM Modi also inaugurated 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show' which is spread across 1.5 lakh sq meters of area, where over 15 lakh people are expected to visit over the course of five days. Around 1,500 entities are participating from India and abroad. After inaugurating the 'Trade Show', PM Modi also took a round of different pavilions at the trade show and interacted with businessmen.

    Continuing his packed schedule, Prime Minister also inagurated India's first international stock exchange 'India International exchange' at GIFT(Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) City being set up by BSE in Gandhinagar.

    Petrol pumps to continue accept credit cards

    New Delhi, Jan 9: Petrol pump owners have deferred their decision to not accept credit and debit card payments for fuel sales. This comes after the Petroleum Ministry's intervention. Banks have agreed to put off the move to levy the transaction charge that the petrol pump owners were objecting to. To promote cash-less transactions, the government had waived the Merchant Discount Rate on fuel purchase post demonetisation for consumers. But after the expiry of the 50-day window, banks re-imposed the levy MDR on petrol pump owners.

    Govt expects high FDI inflows in new year

    New Delhi, Jan 7: Pinning hopes on a slew of FDI reforms unveiled by the government in 2016, the government expects that the momentum of high FDI inflows will continue in the new year as well. Foreign direct investment grew 27% in the first seven months of the fiscal to $27.82 billion, from $21.87 billion a year ago.

    Mauritius is the top source for FDI for India, followed by Singapore, the UK, Japan, the Netherlands and the US. Aiming to create a conducive business climate in the country and attract investments, the government this year altered FDI caps in several sectors.

    Google's CEO unveils Digital Unlocked for Indian small businesses

    New Delhi, Jan 4: Google global CEO Sundar Pichai launches Digital Unlocked, a training program for Indian small business owners that will empower them with essential digital skills. India has 51 million small and medium businesses (SMBs) today that contribute 37% to India’s GDP. Out of these, only 32% are online or are leveraging the power of the digital. It is the balance 68% that Google India wants to digitally empower in 2017, according to global chief executive officer Sundar Pichai.

    Pichai, who was on a short trip to India, reaffirmed Google's commitment to SMBs at an event in New Delhi on Wednesday. Pichai said, “The internet and digital technology will be an engine of growth for the Indian economy. Today, anyone can become an entrepreneur, a developer, or a creator, but it is important that they have the right tools and skills to digitize. We believe it is important for us to invest in training and equipping these individuals and small businesses to accelerate their journey of growth.”

    State Bank of India cuts lending rate by 0.9%

    New Delhi, Jan 2: In a quick follow up of PM's New Year announcements, State Bank of India reduces its Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate by 0.90% across all the maturities from today; no change in interest rate on deposits; other PSU and private sector banks also expected to follow the suit.

    A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked banks to priorities lending towards poor and lower middle class, State Bank of India has cut marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) across various maturities by 0.9 per cent.

    Banks have moved to MCLR as their new benchmark lending rate from June, replacing the base rate system for new borrowers. It is calculated on the marginal cost of borrowing and return on net worth for banks.

    Petrol price hiked by Rs 1.29 a litre, diesel by 97 paise

    New Delhi, Jan 1: Petrol price was on Sunday hiked by Rs 1.29 a litre, and diesel rate was raised by 97 paise a litre. The increase in rates announced by oil firms is excluding state levies and the actual hike will be higher. The actual hike after considering VAT would be Rs 1.66 a litre in Delhi for petrol and Rs 1.14 for diesel. The hike will be effective from Sunday midnight.

    This is the third increase in petrol price in one month and the second in case of diesel in one fortnight. Petrol price was on December 17 hiked by Rs 2.21 a litre and diesel by Rs 1.79 per litre, excluding local levies. The actual hike after considering VAT came to Rs 2.84 per litre in Delhi for petrol and Rs 2.11 for diesel.

    After Sunday's hike, petrol in Delhi will now cost Rs 70.60 a litre from Monday as compared to Rs 68.94 currently. Similarly, a litre of diesel will from Monday cost Rs 57.82, up from Rs 56.68. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) revise rates on 1st and 16th of every month based on average international price in the previous fortnight.

    RBI raises ATM withdrawal limit to Rs 4,500 from January 1

    New Delhi, Dec 31: In a major step aimed at further easing situation arising due to demonetisation, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has raised the withdrawal limit from ATMS from Rs 2,500 per day to Rs 4,500 per day per card from January 1. However, there has been no change in the weekly withdrawal limit, which stands at Rs 24,000, including from ATM. Ever since the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, on November 8, there was curbs on withdrawal from ATMs at Rs 2,500 per day.

    "On a review of the position, the daily limit of withdrawal from ATMs has been increased (within the overall weekly limits specified) with effect from January 1, 2017, from the existing Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,500 per day per card," the central bank said in a notification. The Reserve Bank's notification further stated "there is no change in weekly withdrawal limits" and such disbursals "should predominantly be in the denomination of Rs 500".

    20,000 NGOs banned for FCRA violation

    New Delhi, Dec 28: Government has canceled the licenses of around 20,000 NGOs for violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) provisions. This means that these NGOs will be barred from receiving foreign funds. Now there are only 13,000 NGOs in the country are legally valid to receive foreign funds. The cancellation of the FCRA licenses of the NGOs has been done over a period of one year.

    Among the 13,000 valid NGOs, around 3,000 have submitted applications for renewal while Home Ministry received 2,000 new applications for registration under the FCRA for the first time. An additional 300 NGOs are currently under prior permission category but not registered under the FCRA. As per FCRA, if an NGO is put under prior permission category, it is barred to receive foreign funding from abroad without taking permission from the Home Ministry.

    GST Council clears drafts of 3 enabling bills including compensation for states

    New Delhi, Dec 24: State GST draft law needs to be approved by state legislatures while the CGST draft law needs to be approved by Parliament. Basic draft of Compensation law was also approved. Compensation law has to be approved by Parliament. The GST Compensation Bill will provide a legal backing to the Centre's accord to compensate the states to the full extent of 100% if their revenue growth rate falls below 14% in the first five years of GST roll out.

    The base year for calculating revenue of a state has been decided as 2015-16. But the council is yet to produce a solution to the tangled issues of dual control and cross empowerment. GST Council will next meet on Jan 3-4 to discuss dual control which are related to the approval of the integrated GST law needed to fix indirect taxation for inter-state trade.

    Finance Minister also said that the government is trying its best to implement GST from the 1st of April and that he'll also hold budget consultations with state finance ministers in the January 3-4 meeting. The GST Council has already decided on a 4-tier GST tax structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cents.

    RBI Governor to brief Parliamentary panel on demonetisation

    New Delhi, Dec 19: Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel will brief the Parliamentary Committee on Finance about the demonetisation process and its impact on Thursday, this has been said in a schedule posted on the Parliament website. Since banning of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes on the 8th of last month, the Government has taken a host of measures like Service Tax sops and incentives for promote digital payment and ease the problems arising out of less currency being available in the market.

    RBI last week said that 12.44 lakh crore rupees in demonetised notes have been collected at banks. Also, banks have issued 4.61 lakh crore rupees to the public since November 8-9 through ATMs and bank counters.

    Crackdown on Black Money continues across the country

    New Delhi, Dec 14: Police and investigating agencies have stepped up the drive against black money hoarders and middlemen trying to convert illegal money into new currency notes. The episodes are now coming to light from all corners of the country. In Goa, the police in Calangute arrested 3 people with Rs 24 lakh in new currency notes on Tuesday night. Enquiry is underway.

    In union territory of Chandigarh, enforcement Directorate seized Rs 2.18 crore cash after searches in suspected Hawala cases. Of the money recovered, Rs 18 lakh is in new currency notes.

    In capital city of Delhi, the income tax department and Delhi Police have recovered huge amount unaccounted cash in Delhi on Wednesday. On a tip off the joint action of Income tax & Inter State Crime Cell, Delhi Police conducted raids and in case of Sukhbir Shokeen who is a real estate agent. Unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 64 lakh 84 thousand was recovered out of which Rs 11 lakh 34 thousand was found in the denomination of Rs 2000 each. All the money has been seized. Besides, jewellery valued over Rs one crore has also been found. Further investigations is underway.

    Govt gives nod to plastic money

    New Delhi, Dec 10: Government has given go ahead to print plastic currency notes and procurement of material has started. The Reserve Bank for long has been planning to launch plastic currency note after field trials. Plastic notes have an average life span of about five years and are difficult to imitate. Also, currency notes made of plastic are cleaner than paper ones.

    RBI keeps rate unchanged at 6.25 pc; surprises mkts

    New Delhi, Dec 8: The Reserve Bank of India came out with its bimonthly monetary policy on Wednesday..It has left lending rates unchanged due to certain internal and external factors such as demonetisation, upcoming US fed monetary policy review and recent OPEC decision to cut oil production. Growth outlook too has been revised downwards by 0.5%.

    RBI has projected the The headline inflation at 5 % by March 2017. RBI also said that The effects of the Seventh Pay Commission are yet to be assessed. The Reserve Bank of India has announced the decision of its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy review.

    RBI to issue new Rs 50 & Rs 20 notes; old notes will remain valid

    New Delhi, Dec 5: The Reserve Bank of India will shortly issue ₹ 50 denomination banknotes without inset letter in both the number panels. The Reserve Bank of India has announced that it will issue new sets of Rs 50 and Rs 20 notes that would carry the year of printing, 2016, on the reverse side of the currency.

    All old Rs 50 and Rs 20 notes will continue to be legal tender. The Rs 20 banknote will have the inset letter 'L' in both number panels. The new notes would have numerals to be in ascending size in number panels, and without intaglio printing. The security features of both banknotes will continue to be similar to the currency in circulation at present.

    The apex bank will also issue new Rs 20 denomination banknotes with inset letter ‘L’ in both the number panels. The design and security features of these banknotes will be similar to the banknotes of Rs 20 and Rs 50 denomination with the ascending font of numerals in both the number panels. Though all the old banknotes in the denomination of Rs 20 and Rs 50 issued by the Bank in the past will continue to be legal tender.

    RBI: Adequate cash arrangements made ahead of Salary day

    New Delhi, Dec 01: The Reserve Bank of India has assured the union government that adequate cash arrangements have been made for people to be able to withdraw their salaries on the first salary day after demonetisation. Government is also taking additional measures to ensure minimum hassles for citizens and ensure maximum cash availability. RBI has told government that adequate arrangements for cash have been made for salary day and for the next 7-8 days.

    The government has also taken many steps to ensure that salary needs of people are adequately met. More money has been put into Banks and ATM's as well. RBI has enough cash available in its coffers to ensure day to day cash needs of people are satisfactorily met. The RBI also said that new 500 rupee notes will be pumped into the banking system and there is 150 percent more availability of 100 Rs. note as compared to the month of November.

    Demonetisation: RBI raises withdrawal limit

    New Delhi, Nov 29: The RBI has increased from the bank withdrawal limits beyond 24,000 rupees a week set by the Government on the midnight of November eight following demonetisation. These withdrawal can be done only after deposits made in the new notes of 500 rupees and 2000 rupees denomination. It said the step was being taken to increase the circulation of money which has been impeded due to the hesitation and on the part of the people to make deposits following the curtailment on withdrawals.

    The RBI circular noted the withdrawals of deposits can be made in current legal tender notes beyond the current limits. Preferably, available higher denominations bank notes of 2000 and 500 are to be issued for such withdrawals.

    Demonetisation: Deposits peak with Banks

    New Delhi, Nov 21: Nearly one third of the overall scrapped notes of 500 and 1000 deposited in banks since demonetisation; five lakh forty thousand crore scrapped notes deposited since 10 November; one lakh crore rupees taken out from banks and ATMs during the same period. Reserve Bank of India has eased loan norms post demonetisation. RBI has decided to give additional 60 days to repayment for small borrowers. Crop loan, over draft, Housing load, agriculture loan from any banks will be given additional time.

    The central bank had tweaked NPA classification norms in view of demonetisation exercise. This applies to dues payable between the 1st of November and 31st of December. The regular rules will be applied after the 31st of December.

    The RBI in a statement said people have exchanged and deposited over 5 lakh crore rupees worth of scrapped Rs 500/1,000 notes at different banks till November 18 following demonetisation. The banks also disbursed over one lakh crore over the counter and via ATMs between November 10 and November 18.

    IMF supports PM Modi's efforts to fight corruption

    New Delhi, Nov 11: International Monetary Fund has supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to fight corruption by demonetizing 500 and 1000 rupees notes. IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters in Washington that the global body supports Modi government's measures to fight corruption and illicit financial flows in India. He, however, said that the move has to be managed prudently to minimize possible disruptions keeping in mind the large role of cash in everyday transactions in Indian economy.

    Accept ₹500/1,000 notes only after careful scrutiny: RBI

    New Delhi, Oct 27: Reserve Bank of India has urged public to examine 500 rupees and 1000 rupees currency notes before accepting them in the usual course of transactions to avoid circulation of fake currency notes. RBI said, unscrupulous elements are putting into circulation Fake Indian Currency Notes of higher denominations.

    The central bank has cautioned the public to subject notes that are accepted to "careful scrutiny". RBI has asked public to make it a habit of looking at the notes before accepting them and help arrest the counterfeiting of Indian banknotes.

    Banks recall over 32 lakh debit cards, govt seeks details

    New Delhi, Oct 22: The government has taken swift action to contain the damage from the debit card data security breach crisis. It has ordered a probe and directed Reserve Bank and India and affected banks to submit a report on the breach which compromised nearly 3.25 crore debit cards in the country.

    The government has also assured customers that their stolen money will be returned and there is no need to panic, At a time when the use of plastic money and online transactions is rising in the country, the banking sector has been confronted with a major challenge. For the first time at such a large scale, data security of nearly 32 lakh debit and credit cards of 19 banks has been breached.

    After detection of the data breach, banks have either blocked these cards or asked their owners to change their pin numbers. The crisis was apparently triggered off due to security breach in a payment service provider. The govt has taken action after its detection urging people not to panic as the data breach has only affected 0.5% of the cardholders in the country.

    Aadhaar mandatory for availing LPG gas subsidies

    New Delhi, Oct 12: Government has made Aadhaar mandatory for availing LPG gas subsidies after November. Official sources said Petroleum Ministry has asked Oil marketing companies to facilitate enrollments of Aadhaar of the consumers to avail the subsidy.

    Currently, the government gives 12 cylinders at subsidised rates per household in a year. The subsidy on every cylinder is transferred directly into bank accounts of individuals.

    India 39th most competitive economy in the world: WEF

    Switzerland, Sep 28: India has climbed 16 places to the 39th rank on the Global Competitiveness Index prepared by the World Economic Forum as improved business sophistication and goods market efficiency pushed its ranking higher. For the eighth straight time, the list is topped by Switzerland as the most competitive economy. Singapore and the US are at the second and third positions, respectively. The jump of 16 places for India from last year's 55th place is the highest for any economy this year. India is also the second-most competitive among BRICS nations behind neighbouring China, which is ranked at the 28th position. On the index, India has a score of 4.52 while that of Switzerland is 5.81.

    At the fourth spot is Netherlands, followed by Germany (5), Sweden (6) and the UK (7), Japan (8), Hong Kong SAR (9) and Finland (10). India's "competitiveness has improved across the board, in particular in goods market efficiency, business sophistication, and innovation".

    "Thanks to improved monetary and fiscal policies as well as lower oil prices, the Indian economy has stabilised and now boasts of the highest growth among G20 countries," according to WEF's Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17.

    This year, 138 economies have been assessed for their competitiveness while there were 140 economies in the 2015-16 rankings. Globally, WEF said the degree to which economies are open to international trade in goods and service has been declining for 10 years and this could hurt prosperity in future.

    "Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth," WEF founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said.

    IIT-Madras earns Rs 174crore via consultancy, beats peers

    New Delhi, Sep 19: The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) bagged consultancy projects worth Rs 173.56 crore over the past three years, way ahead of other Indian engineering institutes. According to the Union HRD ministry's National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) report for 2016, Roorkee and Delhi are ranked second and third among the IITs vis-avis the worth of consultancy projects received. Together, the three IITs earned over Rs 396 crore through such projects.

    In all, eight branches of the premier institute earned more than Rs 5 crore individually in consultancy projects over the past three years. IIT-M leads Roorkee, second on the list, by over Rs 60 crore.The fact that it was the first IIT to set up an ' Industrial Consultancy Centre', way back in 1973, is perhaps the reason why IIT-M has emerged as the preferred choice for industry and government organisations for consultancy projects.

    Announce higher MSP for pulses, procure fast: CEA

    New Delhi, Sep 16: The report also recommended that the government should procure pulses on a "war footing", create buffer stock of 2 million tonnes, push states to delist pulses from APMC and promote development of GM technologies. It also prescribed subsidies to farmers for growing pulses. CEA Arvind Subramanian today submitted the report titled 'Incentivising Pulses Production Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Related Policies' to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The panel was set up in the wake of a recent surge in retail prices of pulses.

    "It is the strong view of this report that enhancing domestic productivity and production of pulses rapidly and sustainably is the only reliable way of minimising volatility in pulse market and safeguarding interests of farmers and consumers," it said. Among steps required to be taken immediately, the report further suggested that the government procurement machinery should be in "high gear" to ensure procurement of kharif pulses at this season's already-announced minimum support price (MSP).

    "Announce MSP of Rs 40/kg for gram for rabi 2016 and MSP of Rs 60/kg for both urad and tur for kharif 2017 (adjusted for inflation between 2016-17). Minimum support prices for other pulses should be increased by the same per cent as calculated in this report for tur, urad and gram," it said.

    For the kharif 2016, the government recently announced the MSP of arhar (tur) at Rs 5,500 a quintal and Rs 5,050 for urad dal. In the case of gram, the MSP for rabi 2015 was Rs 3,500, including a bonus of Rs 75 per quintal. It also said MSP should be increased to Rs 7,000 per quintal in 2018 when short duration kharif tur is ready for commercialisation.

    Indian economy to achieve over 8 % growth: Panagariya

    New Delhi, Sep 5: India's Sherpa For G20 Summit Arvind Panagariya in an exclusive conservation to DD NEWS has said that in this fiscal, due to good monsoon, Indian economy will achieve more than 8 percent growth rate. Arvind Panagadiya said that this time in the G20 Summit, India will raise the issue of remittances and labour mobility.

    Sensex hits fresh 16-month high; auto stocks drive rally

    Mumbai, Sep 3: After a day's pause, benchmark Sensex resumed its upward march by regaining almost 109 points to end at new 16-month high of 28,532.11 and the broader NSE Nifty reclaimed the 8,800-mark, driven by auto stocks on upbeat August sales data amid positive global cues. On a weekly basis, the Sensex climbed 749.86 points or 2.69 per cent and the NSE Nifty soared 237.10 points or 2.76 per cent, biggest weekly gains in over two months.

    The rupee strengthening by 10 paise to 66.85 (intra-day) against the dollar during the day also positively impacted trading sentiment. Country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki emerged as top gainer in the auto segment, surging 1.98 per cent to Rs 5,158.50 after the company posted a 12.2 per cent rise in total sales for August on Thursday.

    Telecom stocks such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communication staged a comeback after Thursday's plunge, rising up to 2.66 per cent. Telecom stocks suffered huge losses in Thursday's trade after Mukesh Ambani announced the launch of much-talked about Jio 4G service, offering free voice calls and national roaming.

    Indian economy grows at 7.1% in Q1

    New Delhi, Sep 1: Indian economy grew at 7.1 per cent in first quarter of the current fiscal. The economic activities which registered growth of over 7 per cent in the April-June quarter, over year-ago period, were manufacturing; electricity, gas, water supply; trade and hotels. The government has targeted the GDP growth to top 8 per cent this financial year on back of a normal monsoon season.

    Cabinet approves grant of Permanent Residency Status for Foreign Investors

    New Delhi, Aug 31: The Union Cabinet has approved the scheme for grant of Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors subject to the relevant conditions in the FDI Policy notified by the Government from time to time. The scheme is expected to encourage foreign investment in India and facilitate Make in India Programme. Under the scheme, suitable provisions will be incorporated in the Visa Manual to provide for the grant of PRS to foreign investors.

    The PRS will be granted for a period of ten years with multiple entry. This can be reviewed for another 10 years if the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice. The scheme will be applicable only to foreign investors fulfilling the prescribed eligibility conditions, his/her spouse and dependents. In order to avail this scheme, the foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of 10 crores rupees to be brought within 18 months or 25 crores rupees to be brought within 36 months.

    RBI report: Growth rate higher in 2016-17

    New Delhi, Aug 30: RBI's Annual Report for financial year 2015-16 was released on Monday. Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan observed that economic growth while showing signs of picking up was still below the level the country was capable of. On inflation, however, the outgoing central bank governor said projections were still at the upper limit of the RBI's inflation objective, constraining space for a reduction in interest rates.

    He said the short term macroeconomic priorities of the RBI continue to focus on bringing down inflation towards the government-set target of 4 per cent. On economic growth he said that Indian economy is showing signs of picking up but is still below the levels that the country is capable of.

    RBI asks banks to provide loans to women self-help groups in rural areas at 7% per annum

    New Delhi, Aug 26: RBI has asked banks to provide loans to women self-help groups in rural areas at 7 per cent per annum, as per the government's revised guidelines for the current financial year. The Reserve Bank said in a notification that all women self-help groups (SHGs) will be eligible for interest subvention on credit up to three lakh rupees at 7 per cent per annum under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission in 250 districts.

    It said, SHGs availing capital subsidy under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana in their existing credit outstanding will not be eligible for benefit under this scheme.

    RBI keeps key policy rates unchanged in monetary policy review

    New Delhi, Aug 9: On expected lines, the Reserve bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan, in his last bi-monthly monetary policy review, today kept the key policy rates unchanged while maintaining an accommodative policy stance.

    While announcing the monetary policy review at a meeting in Mumbai today, the RBI governor said that it has been decided to keep the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.5 per cent. Cash reserve ratio (CRR) has been kept unchanged at 4.0 per cent while the reverse repo rate remains unchanged at 6.0 per cent. The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate have been kept at 7.0 per cent.

    On GDP growth, RBI maintained its projection of 7.6 per cent on a gross value addition basis, saying the favourable monsoon which is 3 per cent above the average which raises agricultural growth and rural demand and higher consumption on the back of the 7th Pay Commission implementation will be aiding it.

    The central bank said the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill augurs well for the growing political consensus for economic reforms. It said that while timely implementation of GST will be challenging, there is no doubt that it should raise returns to investment across much of the economy, even while strengthening government finances over the medium-term. This should boost business sentiment and eventually investment.

    GST bill passed in Rajya Sabha : Govt

    New Delhi, Aug 4: The much-awaited biggest tax reform GST Bill passed in Rajya Sabha. A 7-hour discussion on 122nd constitutional amendment GST bill sees rare bonhomie between Govt and the opposition. The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed the 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill to facilitate rollout of the Goods and Services Tax -GST in the country.

    The GST Bill is aimed at bringing a uniform tax regime in the country by subsuming state levies. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier. It will now go back to the Lower House to incorporate amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha.

    The bill will also have to be approved by 50 per cent of all state assemblies. Thanking everyone for voting for the GST, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Govt's approach was to build a larger consensus and the government succeeded in it. The minister added that it will convert India into one unified market.

    Rajya Sabha takes up GST Bill for consideration and passage

    New Delhi, Aug 3: The Rajya Sabha has taken up discussion on the One Hundred Twenty Second Constitution Amendment Bill, 2014, also known as Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill. When the House re-assembled post lunch, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the bill for consideration and passage.

    Speaking on the bill, Mr. Jaitley termed the legislation as one of the most significant tax reforms in the history of the country. He said, the GST Bill will give a boost to the economy which is now at a critical stage and put in place a uniform economic market. Mr. Jaitley said, the bill will enable seamless transfer of goods across the country besides empowering the Centre and the states to increase their revenues.

    Finance Minister calls for more FDI

    New Delhi, Aug 2: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has called for more Foreign Direct Investment and emphasized on stable and credible tax system. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said there is a need to attract more global investments to India.

    Delivering 1st memorial lecture at Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture in New Delhi yesterday, Jaitley said, investments will help India build good business environment. He also advocated for credible politics to have good policies. His lecture focused on the vision of the man whom the country fondly remembered as people's president.

    PSU bank employees on strike, operations hit

    New Delhi, Jul 29: Services at around 80,000 bank branches in the country are hit today as employees of public sector banks are on a one-day strike to protest proposed merger of SBI's associate banks with SBI and banking reforms announced by the government.

    However, private sector banks are working as usual. Most of the public sector banks including SBI had earlier informed their customers of inconvenience if strike materialises. The United Forum of Banks Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of nine bank employees and officers unions representing 8 lakh staffers, has gone ahead with the strike.

    Foundation stone laid for MSME technology center in Visakhapatnam

    New Delhi, Jul 25: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, along with Union Ministers Kalraj Mishra and Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation of Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises technology centre at Pudi in Visakhapatnam district on Saturday. The Centre has decided to locate a world-class technology centre with an investment of up to Rs. 120 crore.
    Addressing the gathering after laying the foundation stone for the Centre-sponsored programme for setting up Technology Centre Systems Programme, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said industries would usher in economic growth and improve livelihood of people in the neighbourhood, besides providing jobs to the locals.
    He said industrial workers should not resort to strike and vitiate the atmosphere as it would send wrong signals to investors.

    India emerges as safe haven for investors around the world post-Brexit: Jaitley

    New Delhi, Jul 22: The government today said India has emerged as a safe haven for investors around the world even after the exit of Britain from the European Union. The country also avoided the adverse impacts of Brexit. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the rupee depreciated against the US dollar around one per cent for one day post-Brexit referendum while the currencies of emerging markets depreciated for many days. But, on a cumulative basis the rupee has actually appreciated by 0.3 per cent on 19th of July over 23rd of June this year. Mr. Jaitley also said as regards the stock market, the government and the SEBI are keeping a constant vigil.

    Govt allocates Rs 22,915 cr capital to 13 PSU banks for FY17

    New Delhi, Jul 19: Government has allocated 22,915 crore rupees capital to 13 public sector banks for the current fiscal. An official release said government has undertaken an exercise to assess the capitalization needs of Public Sector Banks in line with the announcements made under the Union Budget.

    The capital infusion exercise is based on an assessment of need as assessed from the Compound Annual Growth Rate of credit growth for the last five years, and banks' own projections of credit growth. Consequent upon the exercise, 75 percent of the amount collected for each bank is being released now to provide liquidity support for lending operations as also to enable banks to raise funds from the market. The remaining amount will be released later based on performance.

    NITI Aayog to create framework for ATL

    New Delhi, Jul 19: NITI Aayog to organize an Expert Consultative Group Meeting on Creating a Framework for Operationalizing 500 Atal Tinkering Labs, ATL in New Delhi. The consultations will provide a platform for exchange of ideas and knowledge among the experts to help create and put in place a framework for the 500 Atal Tinkering Labs that will be established in schools all across the country.

    This meeting will be followed by NITI Aayog signing a Statement of Interest (SoI) with Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd. to further innovation among school children. Atal Tinkering Labs' initiative is a part of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), which is an umbrella platform to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in India.

    India a bright spot, pleased with progress under Modi: Kim

    New Delhi, Jul 2: The World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday and discussed ways to increase funding in various projects, especially renewable energy sector.

    "We are extremely pleased with the progress that's been made in six priority areas. Prime Minister Modi and his entire Cabinet have set extremely difficult and important targets. I have been so pleasantly surprised how much progress that has been made," Kim told reporters. He said the World Bank lending has gone up tremendously over the last two years to over USD 5 billion and that would continue for the next few years.

    "India's growth that is now at 7.6 per cent is a true bright spot and one of the few bright spots in the global economy," Kim said, adding India can act as a lesson for both developing and even developed countries.

    World Bank President on a two-day visit to India

    New Delhi, Jun 28: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will arrive today on a two-day visit to India to explore knowledge and financing opportunities. He will seek government's help in dealing with endemic problems like malnutrition and reiterate the Bank's strong support to India's stated commitments to increase its reliance on renewable energy sources.

    Kim will also meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

    Govt okays Rs 1,742cr to revamp Gandhi Setu in Patna

    New Delhi, Jun 23: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday approved rehabilitation of four-lane 5.575-km long Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna at an estimated cost of Rs 1,742 crore. Announcing the decision, FM Arun Jaitley said this proposal to revamp the bridge, which is an important link between north and south Bihar, was pending for last 15 years and rehabilitation would help ease traffic woes.

    The proposal was also an important part of Bihar package earlier announced by PM Narendra Modi, he said. The work on the bridge is expected to start on August 15. Soon after the announcement, two Union Ministers hailing from the state Ram Vilas Paswan and Ravi Shankar Prasad, met Road Minister Nitin Gadkari and demanded strict monitoring of this project to prevent "minting of money by the state" under the garb of maintenance of the bridge.

    Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who is also from Bihar, also met Gadkari and hailed the decision. The bridge, which was constructed in 1980s in Patna- Hazipur region, is currently in a dilapidated condition in absence of proper maintenance.

    PM gives five point mantra ‘RAPID’ to tax administrators

    New Delhi, Jun 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a 5 point mantra to tax administrators on Thursday while inaugurating the two-day 'Rajasva Gyan Sangam', an annual conference of Central Board of Direct Taxes or CBDT and Central Board of Excise and Customs or CBEC) in Delhi.

    The 5 pillars of tax administration are RAPID- revenue, accountability, probity, information and digitisation. Prime Minister also emphasised on the need to remove fear of harassment by tax administrators from the minds of taxpayers and asked tax officials to engender trust in the taxation system.

    As Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two-day 'Rajasva Gyan Sangam' all officers were rather eager to hear his thoughts on the subject, but the Prime Minster instead started by inviting suggestions from the officers gathered there.

    Nonetheless, as the meeting progressed, Prime Minister motivated the revenue officers towards achieving high standards in taxpayer friendly service and put forth the new mantra of RAPID.

    The word stands for five essential pillars of tax administration - revenue, accountability, probity, information and digitization. The meet also focussed on the fact that over 92% of the tax is collected online via the TDS source and the officers have to make assessment for only the remaining 8%.

    That gives the question as to why over 4200 revenue officials cannot enlarge the tax coverage in the country. As of today, around 5 crore 43 lakh people pay taxes in India, while the target is to increase the figure to 10 crores.

    Petrol price hiked by 5 paise a litre, diesel by Rs1.26

    New Delhi, Jun 16: Diesel price has been hiked by one rupee 26 paise a litre and Petrol by just 5 paise including the VAT. The new rates came into effect last midnight. With this, diesel will cost 55 rupees 19 paise in Delhi, 57 rupees 39 paise in Kolkata, 60 rupees 55 paise in Mumbai and 56 rupees 78 paise in Chennai.
    For petrol, the consumer will have to pay 65 rupees 65 paise per litre in Delhi, 68 rupees 50 paise in Kolkata, 70 rupees 23 paise in Mumbai and 65 rupees 15 paise in Chennai. In a statement, Indian Oil Corporation said, the international prices of petrol and diesel and rupee- dollar exchange rate warrant an increase in petrol and diesel prices.

    GST gets consensus; all except TN onboard

    New Delhi, Jun 15: Centre's efforts to bring all states on board to get Goods and Services Tax bill implemented seem to be yielding results. All the states barring Tamil Nadu have supported the bill touted as the biggest tax reform in the country. The Empowered Committee of state Finance Ministers on GST is holding its two-day meet in Kolkata.

    Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that virtually all states have supported the idea of GST except Tamil Nadu which has "some reservations". Finance minister has also said that the issue of double taxation will be decided by the committee of finance ministers. He added that most states are unanimous in their opposition about fixing the rate of GST and including that in the bill. On the issue of compensating states on losses on account of implementating GST, finance minister said that he is open to discussion on that. The meeting is considered very imporatnt as Jaitley is pushing to get this bill passed in upcoming monsoon session of the parliament.

    The government had earlier targeted to roll out the nationwide single tax regime from April 1, 2016 but the Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha due to opposition by the Congress party. However the Centre expects some movement forward in the passage of the long-pending bill with the improvement in the BJP's strength in the Upper House and with support from parties which were earlier opposing it. TMC, SP, BSP, BJD and JDU have already expressed their support for GST.

    Arun Jaitley, State FMs taking part in two-day meet on GST bill

    Kolkata, Jun 14: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and all State Finance Ministers are taking part in a two-day meeting of the Empowered Committee on the Goods and Services Tax Bill which began in Kolkata today. West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra is presiding over the meeting. Presently, Mr Mitra is the Chairperson of the Empowered Committee on the GST. Sources said, during the meeting, efforts will be made to reach at a consensus among the states on GST Bill.

    It may be recalled that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee initially had opposed the GST Bill but now she has expressed her support to the bill. She has asked Mr Mitra to try for the speedy passage of the bill.

    RBI keeps key policy rate unchanged

    New Delhi, Jun 7: Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan today kept key policy rates unchanged. So the RBI's short-term lending rate, or repo rate, was retained at 6.5 percent, and the Cash Reserve Ratio at 4 per cent.

    In the bi-monthly monetary policy, the RBI governor said data since the April policy announcement show a sharper-than-anticipated upsurge in inflationary pressures emanating from a number of food items, and a reversal in commodity prices. He said rising crude prices and implementation of the seventh pay commission award are key risks. But Raghuram Rajan added that the central bank's policy stance will remain accommodative, provided data are supportive.

    Jaitley to hold performance review meeting of PSBs

    New Delhi, Jun 6: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will hold a quarterly performance review meeting today with the chief executive officers of Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions. During the day long meeting in New Delhi, Mr Jaitley will review the overall performance of Public Sector Banks during the last financial year as well as flow of credit to agriculture, insurance and Micro Small enterprises sectors.

    He will also review the progress and performance of the new initiatives of the NDA government including Stand Up India, MUDRA, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Surkasha Bima Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana. Apart from these, issues relating to Housing loan, Medium and Small Enterprises credit, financial inclusion and literacy are also likely to be discussed in the review meeting.

    FM delivers speech at Osaka university

    Japan, Jun 2: FM Arun Jaitley, who is on his 6 day tour of Japan delivered a Lecture on India: Political, Social and Economic Change at Osaka University in Japan today. He shared the story of India's rise with Japanese students as part of a Global Leaders Lecture Series.

    Osaka University has a Hindi department and 38 Indian students are studying there. Arun Jaitley interacted with students and faculty and was briefed by Prof Tomio Mizokami of Hindi studies. He will also participate and address the Make in India- Investment Promotion Seminar.

    Yesterday, while addressing top CEOs of Japanese companies the finance minister said the coming years will see even better numbers, improved ease of doing business and higher purchasing power. He also expressed hope that GST will be passed in the Monsoon session and it will boost economic growth further.

    Indian economy grows at 7.6 pc in FY'16, 7.9pc in Q4

    New Delhi, Jun 1: The Indian economy grew by 7.9 per cent in March quarter to consolidate India's position as the fastest growing major economy with a five-year high growth rate of 7.6 per cent for the full fiscal on robust manufacturing growth. The figures show that India maintained its lead over China, the world's second largest economy, where GDP growth slowed to a seven-year low of 6.7 per cent between January and March 2016.

    Enthused by the impressive numbers for 2015-16, as against 7.2 per cent in previous fiscal, the government said the growth rate can go up to 8 per cent in the current fiscal on the back of good monsoon. Government also said it has achieved the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent of GDP in 2015-16 and India continues to remain a bright spot in the world economy with solid macroeconomic parameters.

    Indian economy has grown at 7.6% for the financial year 2015-16. Quarter wise the growth has been above 7% throughout the year. Starting quarter Q1 when the country grew at 7.5% to 7.6% in Q2. In Q3 India grew at 7.2% but it was Q4 that saw stellar growth at 7.9%.

    FM Arun Jaitley promises more structural & market-oriented reforms

    Tokyo, May 31: FM Arun Jaitley today promised more structural and market-oriented reforms as well as stepping up infrastructure spending to accelerate economic growth beyond the current 7.6 per cent. He also promised to reform the tax structure to make it simpler, predictable and stable.

    Speaking at 'The Future of Asia' Conference organised by Nikkei Inc in Tokyo, he said India has been the fastest growing major economy in the last two years despite global slowdown. The Finance Minister added, the country has been able to perform despite adversities in two consecutive bad monsoons and some stress in the Indian private sector.

    Mr Jaitley said, a very large number of reforms have taken place over the last few years. He expressed hope the GST Bill that is stuck in the Rajya Sabha for months, will be passed by the Upper House in the ensuing monsoon session of Parliament.

    Japanese investors keen on India's growth story: FM

    Japan, May 30: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will hold bilateral meetings with Japanese Prime Minister and other ministers on Monday. The Finance Minister added that government is making all efforts to bring back black money stashed away in offshore accounts.The minister is in Tokyo on a six-day visit. He will also attend the 22nd International Conference on The Future of Asia.

    He began his visit with a meeting with Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group, which is eyeing big investments in solar power sector in India. Jaitley said that many investors are keen to invest in infrastructure sector to be part of the Indian growth story. CEO of SoftBank group said that India has a great future and that they are interested in investing for Internet companies, also for solar energy and would make a strong commitment.

    56 Indian firms feature in Forbes 'Global 2000'

    New Jersey, May 28: 56 Indian firms appeared on Forbes's annual list of the world's 2,000 largest and most powerful public companies. The number of Indian companies that feature in the 14th edition of the annual list of the biggest and most valuable public companies in the world remains the same as last year. However, many Indian firms have improved their rankings. Reliance Industries Limited leads the group of 56 Indian companies in The Forbes Global 2000 list.

    Overall, 586 US companies made the list, compared to 249 from China, mainland and Hong Kong, 219 from Japan, 92 from the United Kingdom and 67 from South Korea. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China held on to the top three spots in the list.

    Greece bailout: Eurozone deal unlocks €10.3bn

    Brussels, May 25: Greece has agreed a deal to unlock a further 10.3bn euros ($11.5bn; £7.8bn) in loans from its international creditors, after talks in Brussels. Eurozone finance ministers also agreed on debt relief for Greece, extending the repayment period and capping interest rates. Greece needed this tranche of cash to meet debt repayments due in July. The Greek government owes its creditors more than €300bn - about 180% of its annual economic output (GDP).

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been at odds with the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers for months over the issue of debt relief for Greece. The IMF considers debt relief essential, but Germany in particular was opposed. Now that a deal has been reached, the IMF will consider contributing to the bailout.

    The 19 ministers said the deal had been made possible by Greece's economic reforms and called it a "breakthrough". Wednesday's deal does not reduce the amount Greece will have to repay. Instead, debt relief will be phased in from 2018, after Germany's general election late next year. As such, the deal is being seen by many as a compromise intended to buy time.

    NALCO signs MoU with Iran govt to set up smelter plant in Chabahar

    New Delhi, May 24: The National Aluminium Company Ltd, NALCO has signed a MoU with Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization to explore the possibility of setting up a smelter on joint venture in Iran. An official release said for the proposed smelter plant in Chabahar Free Trade Zone, NALCO would supply alumina from its refinery in India.

    The MoU was signed yesterday between chairman-cum-managing director of NALCO and vice chairman of Iran's planning board in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. Among other things, the deal also proposed to look into other business collaborations as well.

    Another bilateral agreement signed included laying of a railway line to give India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Developing the Chabahar port at $500 mn is seen as crucial for India because it will not only allow New Delhi to bypass Pakistan and access global markets but also counter China’s expanding influence in the Indian ocean region.

    Rise in sugar price justified as millers selling it below cost of production

    New Delhi, May 23: The government has said it will consider lowering import duty on sugar and banning exports of the sweetener if prices spike further from the current level. Briefing the media after the States Food Minister's meeting in New Delhi, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, the Centre has taken several steps, including imposition of stock holding limits on sugar traders and withdrawal of sugar output subsidy of four rupees fifty paisa per kilogram to mills in the last few weeks to check the price rise.

    He said, the price rise in sugar was justified to some extent as millers were selling it below the cost of production. Paswan also said, he has written to Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to keep a close watch on sugar stocks to ensure availability in the domestic market.

    Retail sugar prices in past two months have crossed Rs 40 per kg due to fall in domestic sugar output in the ongoing 2015-16 season.

    We are not making the most but the best: Cook

    Hyderabad, May 21: Apps development facility in Bengaluru and Maps development centre in Hyderabad are only the beginning, said Apple chief Tim Cook during the inauguration of the Apple's high-tech Map development office in Hyderabad.
    In an interview to a news channel, Cook said, 'we are thinking about a really long innings in the country. We are here for next thousand years. 'We are planning to bring Apple Pay, a mobile payment and digital wallet service, to India,' he added.

    TRAI to hold talks on internet-based calls, throttling of internet speed, messaging

    New Delhi, May 18: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will start pre-consultation on net neutrality within two to three days. TRAI Chairman R S Sharma told reporters today that the telecom regulator has already resolved differential tariff issue, which is a major part of net neutrality.

    However, the subject did not cover other parts of net neutrality like framework for internet-based calls, messaging, throttling of internet speed on the basis of content or paid preferences.

    Wholesale inflation turns positive after 18 months; 0.34% in Apr

    New Delhi, May 17: Lifted by costlier food items, wholesale price-based inflation rose in April, ending 18 straight months of decline. Turning positive after a period of 18 months, wholesale inflation rose to 0.34 per cent in April this year. Wholesale inflation had stood at minus 0.85 per cent in March this year, and minus 2.43 per cent in April last year.

    Data from the Commerce and Industry ministry showed that food inflation rose to 4.23 per cent in April. Wholesale inflation in vegetables climbed to 2.21 per cent in April, and in pulses it increased to 36.36 per cent. Wholesale inflation in manufactured products was 0.71 per cent during the mont

    Aviation sector: Significant investment planned to maintain growth

    New Delhi, May 16: Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju has said that over 20% growth in domestic passenger traffic in India is highest in the world. He added that significant investment is planned to maintain the momentum of the growth in the sector.

    Significant investment has also been made to operationalize a number of airports:
    The airports operationalized include Durgapur international airportm Civil Air Terminal in Chandigarh, Tirupati airport terminal, Khajuraho airport terminal. The draft aviation policy is expected to boost the growth in the aviation sector. Meanwhile, Air India is showing signs of recovery as it has started making monthly operating profit after a gap of ten years.

    Developed nations must do their part in tackling corruption

    London, May 14: RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that he finds it easier to file his tax returns in India, as compared to the US. During a discussion at the Chicago Booth School of Business in London, Dr Rajan asserted that developed nations must do their part in tackling the problem of corruption as money taken out illegally from developing countries often find its way to places like London.
    Replying to a question on whether corruption in India remained a big issue, he said, it is an important tax on the system which impedes good decision making and impedes economic growth.
    Stating that it has come down significantly in India, Dr Rajan gave examples of railway ticketing and the tax department. He said, there is a very strong upsurge against corruption in India.
    Indicating his interest in a second term as RBI Governor, Rajan said, he has enjoyed every moment of the job but there is more to do. Dr Rajan's current three-year term as RBI Governor will end in September. The RBI Governor is currently on a visit to the UK for a series of lectures.

    India, Canada, Iceland, Israel, NZ & China sign pact on tax info

    Beijing, May 13: India has signed a multilateral pact for automatic exchange of information on tax issues and developing new tools to tackle the tax evasion. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a release yesterday said; India, Canada, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand and China signed the Multilateral Competent Authority agreement in efforts to boost transparency by multinational enterprises. The signing ceremony took place in Beijing yesterday.

    Other countries which have already signed the pact include Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Italy and the UK.

    The pact allows all signatories to bilaterally and automatically exchange Country-by-Country Reports with each other. The OECD release added, it will help ensure that the tax administrations obtain a complete understanding of how the multinational enterprises structure their operations, while also ensuring that the confidentiality of such information is safeguarded.

    RBI to make list of wilful defaulters public: Rajan

    New Delhi, May 10: Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that RBI is working on a new system to make public the list of wilful defaulters. Delivering a lecture in New Delhi last night, he said, the central bank, however, is in favour of protecting privacy in cases where there is no wrongdoing. He said, a blanket edict that everybody's name should be made public on the website might not be desirable.

    Dr Rajan said, RBI is also creating a structure for an out of court settlement of the disputes relating to bad debts. He said, the central bank is fine tuning this mechanism to ensure that it works. Dr Rajan said, if the banking system fails to deal with the problem of bad debt now, it will explode.

    Complimenting the government for passing Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill, he said, till recently Indian banks did not have enough powers to persuade promoters of companies to pay loans. He said, India is proceeding with the financial reforms in a steady manner. RBI Governor also warned against excessive banking regulation saying it may lead to activities shifting to shadow financial system. Dr Rajan said the central bank knows how to regulate banks but it does not know how to regulate the shadow financial system.

    No new products in commodities derivative market: SEBI

    Mumbai, May 7: Amid challenges from physical commodity markets, Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chairman UK Sinha said the regulator will not bring in new products in the commodities derivative market unless they have enough liquidity.

    The SEBI chief said that the regulator is continuously reviewing the risk management framework in the commodities segment and it would take a few more months to bring in the mechanism to the level of securities market. While talking to reporters on the sidelines of Thomson Reuters Risk Summit in Mumbai Sinha said that price discovery in this country is very complex as the physical market is controlled by the states and there are many obstacles and measures under the essential commodities Act.

    That is why SEBI has been very careful in allowing trading in new commodities. Unless SEBI is assured that there is enough liquidity in some commodities it will not go ahead. He added that the problems in physical market and also the stage of development of warehousing mechanism in the country doesn't give SEBI the comfort to progress on the same in a big way immediately.

    Noting that the surveillance and risk management framework in the commodity market is developing, Sinha said the process of bringing the system at par with the equities market would take a few months. He also noted that commodities market has huge potential of growth but it should be approached in a cautious manner.

    Air India posted profit of Rs 8 cr in 2015-16: Govt

    New Delhi, May 4: Air India reported an operating profit of Rs 8 crore in the last financial year 2015-16, informed civil aviation minister, Ashok Gajapathi in the Lok Sabhya on Tuesday. The minister was replying to a debate on demand for grants for the ministries of civil aviation and tourism. Last financial year 2014-15, the national carrier had incurred a loss of Rs 2,686 crore.

    There was a 12% rise in g rowth during the last two years. The Govt also said it will hold consultations with airlines to explore the possibility of curbing the menace of exorbitant air fares during emergency situations. There is a proposal to ensure that only Rs 2,500 is charged per ticket for one-hour flight, said the minister.

    FTA with New Zealand gathering pace: President

    Auckland, May 3: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has concluded his two-nation tour of Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. In New Zealand, Mukherjee discussed issues pertaining to inking of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and accommodating concerns of both the countries. FTA talks had begun in 2010.

    The President , the country has also come a long way in agriculture. The Indian Middle Class numbering nearly 300 million has developed an appetite for various goods.

    Outlining the outcome of his visit to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, he said, it has provided a new momentum to the foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific region. He said the visit has been able to take forward the government's Act East policy. Just before the departure of Mukherjee from Auckland, an MoU on an Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Chair of Indian Studies in the University of Victoria was signed.

    The New Zealand Government also announced a new scholarship scheme for Indian students, who constitute the fastest growing group of international students in the country.

    Just about one per cent of India's population is tax-payer

    New Delhi, May 2: Taxpayers account for just about one per cent of India's population, as per the latest data disclosed by the government for assessment year 2012-13. The data has been made public as part of a transparency drive. A total of 2 crore 87 lakhs individuals filed the Income Tax Returns for 20112-13, but one crore 62 lakhs of them did not pay any tax. It left the number of taxpayers at just about 1 crore 25 lakhs.

    The tax outgo was less than one lakh 50 thousand for a vast majority of nearly 89 per cent taxpayers. The three individuals in the top-bracket of 100 to 500 crore paid a total tax of 437 crore rupees.

    As many as 5,430 individuals paid income tax of over one crore rupees. As per the overall data, total income tax collections rose nine-fold to 2.86 lakh crore rupees in 2015-16, from 31,764 crore rupees in 2000-01.

    NABARD partners with German Govt for food security

    New Delhi, Apr 30: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has entered into collaboration with German government for a special programme on 'Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security'. A press release said that the programme is part of the German government's recently introduced special initiative 'One World, No Hunger' initiative.

    As part of the collaboration, NABARD is anchoring soil conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land programme in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It is also conducting innovation of watershed development and climate change adaptation programmes in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

    Germany’s 'One World, No Hunger' addresses areas such as food and nutrition security, promotion of innovation, protection and sustainable use of natural resources in rural areas and promotion of responsible land use and access to land.

    Sufficient stock of sugar to meet domestic consumption: Govt

    New Delhi, Apr 29: Government has said, there is no shortage of sugar stock in India, and the stock is sufficient to meet the domestic consumption. An official release said, India had a carryover stock of 9 million tonnes of sugar during the current Sugar season.

    The production of sugar has been estimated at about 25.3 million tonnes in the current season. While the domestic consumption is estimated at about 25.5 million tonnes and exports being low at about 1.5 million tonnes, the stock position at the close of the current sugar season in September will stand at 7.3 million tonnes. This will be carried forward for the next sugar season.

    The Cabinet had, on Wednesday, decided to allow states to impose and enforce stock limits on sugar to check its price rise in the market. It was noticed that wholesale and retail prices had gone up in spite of sufficient availability of sugar stocks with the Sugar Mills.

    IT dept to pay interest on Tax Deducted at Source refund

    New Delhi, Apr 27: Income Tax department will now add interest amount to a delayed refund made on excess Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) deductions and will also not litigate with the deductor on this issue in the future. Central Board of Direct Taxes yesterday issued a directive in this regard to the assessing officers of the IT department.

    Latest communication is based on a 2014 Supreme Court order where the apex court had made it clear that the taxman is bound to pay interest on refund made under the TDS category. TDS is primarily deducted by the employer from the salary paid to an employee.

    Rel partners with CRY to raise awareness against child labour

    New Delhi, Apr 19: Reliance General Insurance has partnered with Child Rights & You (CRY) to raise public awareness and help in the fight against child labour, the company said in a statement today.

    According to estimates, a staggering 5.8 million children, in the age group of 5-17 years, are currently employed as child labour, the highest among all the South Asian countries.

    In a bid to create widespread awareness against this issue of child labour, RGI, a subsidiary of Reliance Capital, has launched a twitter campaign

    Top maritime industries want to invest in Gujarat

    Mumbai, Apr 16: Top maritime industries gathered at the 1st Maritime India Summit-2016 in Mumbai have shown interest of nearly Rs.35,000 crore in Gujarat. Various business leaders of maritime industries have expressed their interest in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in Mumbai yesterday.

    Patel, leading a high-level delegation from Gujarat comprising senior officers of the State Government and industry, held one-to-one meeting during interactive session with senior managements of Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ), Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), A.P. Moller Maersk, IL&FS, Shapoorji Pallonji Group and Swan Energy. She made a detailed presentation on Gujarat Government’s proactive policies and incentives to explore huge opportunities of growth in the State.

    Gujarat, which is already known for pioneering the Vibrant Gujarat Investment Summits, got a fillip with port players collectively expressing their interest to invest nearly Rs.35,000- crore in various projects in Gujarat. Our Ahmedabad correspondent reports that the maritime industry has shown keen interest in future projects along the 1,600-km long coastline of Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the first Maritime India Summit-2016 in Mumbai yesterday.

    Spend more on development of infra, social & rural sectors: FM

    New Delhi, Apr 12: The Centre has asked the states to follow the path of fiscal discipline. Addressing the second meeting of the State Finance Secretaries in New Delhi yesterday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked the states to spend more on development of infrastructure, social and rural sectors.

    Saying that public expenditure is the main driver of the growth in view of challenging global situation, Jaitley said, the state governments should ensure optimum utilisation of resources without leakages. He said states' share in Union taxes has substantially gone up after the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission report that prescribed a record ten per cent increase in their share to 42 per cent.

    Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said, the Centre and the states have to work in complete cooperation to achieve the goal of common good and ensure that benefits of various schemes reach to the last man. Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal said despite the sluggish external scenario, the Indian economy has shown steady improvements in recent period. Rating agencies across world have also estimated that India would the engine of global growth.

    Three crore people given loans under MUDRA scheme

    New Delhi, Apr 6: About three crore people were given loans under the MUDRA scheme in the last fiscal. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in New Delhi that the target for the current fiscal will be much higher than the last year.

    The Minister further said that banks have given loans to 3.26 crore beneficiaries totalling 1.35 lakh crore rupees under Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana in 2015-16, which is more than the target of 1.22 lakh crore rupees fixed by the Prime Minister. The Finance Minister said, the government is trying to ease the business environment in the country.

    He said though the low oil prices have helped India, there are challenges created by global situation particularly in terms of shrinkage of exports. He said global trade is shrinking, there is volatility and unpredictability and no body knows how long this will last.

    In such a situation, Jaitley said India has to create firewalls around it to cushion the impact from global developments. He however added the challenges come from the agriculture sector in the wake of two continuous years of weak monsoons. He expressed hope that this year, the monsoon rains will be good and the agriculture sector growth will pick up.

    RBI cuts key interest rates;home, auto loans set to become cheaper

    New Delhi, Apr 5: Reserve Bank of India today cut key interest rates by 25 basis points in its first bi-monthly monetary policy review for the 2016-17 fiscal. With this, Home, auto and other loans are set to become cheaper. However, RBI has kept Cash Reserve Ratio unchanged at 4 per cent.

    The RBI also introduced number of measures to smoothen liquidity supply so that banks can lend to the productive sectors. Accordingly, the repo rate, at which RBI lends to the financial system, has come down to 6.5 per cent. The reverse repo rate, at which banks can keep excess funds with the RBI, was hiked to 6 per cent. The policy said the average overnight borrowings by banks have increased to Rs 1,935 billion in March from Rs 1,345 billion in January.

    Stating the inflation objectives to be closer to reality and price-rise will hover around the 5 per cent mark during current fiscal, Rajan reaffirmed that the monetary policy will continue to remain accommodative to address the growth concerns.

    Steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta to the rescue of the troubled Tata Steel

    London, Apr 4: UK-based Indian steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta has apparently come to the rescue of the troubled Tata Steel. Sanjeev Gupta has begun discussions with the current owners of the steel giant with a view to acquiring its plant at Port Talbot, which employs some 4,000 people.

    The 44-year-old founder of steel, commodities and property Group Liberty House, who has already saved a number of UK plants from closure, said that he is ready to discuss with the British government how to rescue the plants. Gupta will return to London from Dubai on Monday to meet government officials and the Tata leadership to gauge their support for a proposal to keep Britain's largest steel plant open.

    On the question of acquiring the State Steel plants at Port Talbot, Gupta was quoted by The Sunday Telegraph saying: "We would need a proper partnership with the Government."

    German bank to provide loan assistance for Nagpur Metro

    New Delhi, Apr 2: Germany's Development Bank KfW will provide loan assistance of three thousand and 750 crore rupees for the modern and sustainable metro system for Nagpur city being executed by Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited. An agreement in this regard was signed in New Delhi by Joint Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs S Selvaraj and Director General of KfW Roland Siller.

    The loan period is 20 years with a moratorium of five years and disbursal will be based on the progress of the project over three years. Costing 8,680 crore rupees, Nagpur Metro is the first metro to be financed under the Indo-German partnership for clean, socially inclusive and climate friendly mobility for people in cities.

    New ITRs notified, taxman eyes people earning over Rs 50 lakh

    New Delhi, Apr 1: People with an income of more than 50 lakh rupees per annum and owning costly movable assets will now have to disclose these assets, with the IT department notifying a new set of Income Tax Return (ITR) forms for assessment year 2016-17.

    Filing for the new forms begins with the onset of the new financial year today. The Finance Ministry published a gazette order in this regard on March 30 and taxpayers can file their ITRs till the stipulated deadline of July 31.

    The department has introduced a fresh reporting column in the new ITRs called 'Asset and Liability at the end of the year' which is applicable in cases where the total income exceeds Rs 50 lakhs. Individuals and entities coming under this income bracket will also have to mention the total cost of such assets.

    Also for the first time, the ITRs, keeping in spirit the government's flagship agenda of promoting startup businesses has brought out a separate column for earnings made from this sector.

    Arun Jaitley meets Australian PM Turnbull in Canberra; Stresses on high economic ties

    Canberra, Mar 31: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today met Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra and highlighted the large scope for higher economic exchanges between the two nations.

    During the meeting, Mr Turnbull expressed interest in cooperating with India in renewable energy sector where Australia has expertise. Mr.Jaitley also extended an invitation to the Australian Prime Minister to visit India. The Finance Minister also met his Australian counterpart Mathias Cormann at a luncheon meet.

    Mr. Jaitley reached the Australian capital after a two-day stay in Sydney where he inaugurated the 'Make in India' conference. The Finance Minister is scheduled to address the K R Narayanan Oration series for this year at the Australian National University later today.

    Mr. Jaitley's speech would review the potential of the government's policy initiatives to stimulate financial inclusion and reduce poverty and create job opportunities through people's enhanced participation.

    EPFO decision on inoperative accounts to benefit 9 cr account holders

    New Delhi, Mar 30: Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided to provide interest on inoperative accounts from 1st of next month. The move will benefit over nine crore such account-holders with a total deposits of over Rs 32,000 crore. The decision was taken by the EPFO apex decision making body Central Board of Trustees headed by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.

    Talking to reporters after the meeting in New Delhi, Mr Dattatreya said, the Ministry has decided to credit interest in inoperative accounts and there will not be any inoperative accounts. He said, UPA government which was claiming to be a pro-worker, had stopped the interest on inoperative accounts.

    Inoperative accounts are those wherein the contribution has not been received for 36 months. EPFO had stopped payment of interest to such accounts from 1st of April 2011.

    Ministries ignore trade bodies' concerns; FICCI seeks PM's help

    New Delhi, Mar 29: Industry body FICCI has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into various concerns raised by industry for reviving business activity and ease of doing business in the country.

    Welcoming Prime Minister's recent directive to Secretaries of Central Ministries on ease of doing business, co-chairman of National Committee on Transport Infrastructure and Chairman, International Road Federation, KK Kapila said it should be translated into action for removing hurdles from the economy.

    He said, most of specific concerns raised by Trade bodies and industry for easing of doing business in the country are ignored by the concerned ministries.

    BHEL commissions 600 MW Thermal Unit in Telangana

    New Delhi, Mar 25: Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it has successfully commissioned a 600 MW coal-based thermal power plant in Telangana.

    The unit has been commissioned at the upcoming 2x600 MW Singareni Thermal Power Project (TPP) located in Adilabad district in Telangana. The project is being developed by Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), India's second largest coal mining company. With the commissioning of this unit, SCCL has now successfully diversified into the power generation business.

    Cargo exports surge to 6075 MT from Tiruchirapalli Intl airport

    Tiruchirapalli, Mar 24: In Tamil Nadu, cargo exports have increased to 6075 Metric Tonnes from Tiruchirapalli International airport in this fiscal according to its director K Gunasekaran.

    The director said that efforts are being made to encourage imports of cargo items. Perishable items like vegetables, fruits, textiles are being exported as cargo to middle-east countries including Gulf nations, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The Trichy airport has targeted to achieve 6500 MT export by the end of this fiscal. The number of passengers in this fiscal has also increased to 1.2 million this year. Most of the passengers are from central Tamil Nadu who have used international flights to the Middle East and gulf nations.

    Expansion and modernization works for the Trichy international airport worth Rs 862 crore is going on smoothly, he added.

    Decision on interest cut to make economy more efficient

    New Delhi, Mar 22: Government today said the decision to cut the interest rates payable on small savings including PPF and Kisan Vikas Patra has been taken to make economy more efficient. Replying to a media query in New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the savings schemes are market linked and as debt has gone up, interest rates were slashed.

    Two days back, government had decided to cut the interest rates on PPF scheme from 8.7 per cent to 8.1 per cent from 1st of April. The interest rate on KVP has also been cut to 7.8 per cent from 8.7 per cent.

    Meanwhile, the country's current account deficit, CAD, narrowed to 1.3 per cent of GDP in the third quarter of the current fiscal, from 1.5 per cent in the year-ago quarter. Reserve Bank of India data showed that the contraction in CAD was mainly due to a lower trade deficit of 34 billion dollars during the review quarter, compared to 38.6 billion dollars in the year ago quarter.

    Foreign investors pump in Rs.11,000 cr into equities in March

    Mumbai, Mar 21: Foreign investors are raising their bets on Indian market pumping in over Rs 11,000 crore into the domestic equities so far this month on continued hopes that the RBI would bring down the monetary policy rate. However, they pulled out Rs 1,027 crore from the debt markets so far in March.

    Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have turned net buyers of equities in March after pulling out a massive Rs 16,648 crore from the market in the previous two months.

    According to the data available with depositories, FPIs invested Rs 11,166 crore in equities during March 1 to 18, while Rs 1,026 crore were withdrawn from the debt market in the same period, leading to a net inflow of Rs 10,140 crore.

    Post Office account holders can operate their accounts from any branch

    New Delhi, Mar 16: Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that customers with Post Office savings can now operate their accounts from more than 20000 branches as they have been connected with core banking facility.

    Department of Posts has decided to implement Core Banking Solution in all departmental post offices including provision of ATM and Internet banking facilities.

    The postal department has also received In-Principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India in September last year for setting up of the Payments Bank within 18 months. The Department of Posts is now providing core insurance solution at 25,406 post offices. It has installed ATMs at 576 post offices.

    SEBI issues norms to bar defaulters from capital market

    New Delhi, Mar 12: Jolted by the controversy over default of bank loans by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, stock market watchdog SEBI today issued guidelines to restrict access of willful defaulters to market for raising funds. The SEBI board approved the norms in its meeting here.

    "No issuer shall make a public issue of equity securities / debt securities / non-convertible redeemable preference shares, if the issuer company or its promoter or its director is in the list of the willful defaulters," say the guidelines. Meanwhile, continuing verbal offensive against the Modi Govt over the issue of bank loan defaulter Vijay Mallya, Congress has now sought explanation directly from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as to "why his promise of transparency and accountability has fallen flat".

    India best among EMs; clean up balance sheets of PSBs, advises IMF

    Mumbai, Mar 11: International Monetary Fund's financial counsellor Jose Vinals has stressed the need for cleaning up balance sheets of public sector banks in order to sustain robust growth and to control inflation. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai yesterday, he warned that deteriorating corporate and banking sector health can have adverse impacts on the banks' ability to lend for productive purposes.

    Mr. Vinals, however, singled out India to be best placed among emerging markets but he also underlined the problems that need urgent attention. He aid that actions on supply side and reforms in power and mining sectors will go a long way in propping-up the economy. The IMF counsellor added that India has taken right steps, like efforts to check inflation including a shift to inflation-targeting, commitment to fiscal consolidation and greater flexibility on forex rates.

    Govt to support every effort by banks to recover bad debts

    New Delhi, Mar 9: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that the banks must recover each penny they have lent to borrowers. Talking to a TV channel yesterday, he said, it's not only a legal but a moral obligation that every banking institution in India has to recover the last pie.

    Jaitley said, the government cannot accept a situation where 15 or 20 people are sitting on so much money of the banks that the ability of the banks to lend to thousands of others get severely impacted. He said, the government will support every effort by the banks to recover bad debts and the lenders to protect their interest as it involves public money.

    Talking about bad loans in the banking system, Jaitley said there are two kinds of Non Performing Assets (NPAs), one is because of economic slowdown, while the other emanates from questionable practices. Gross NPAs ratio of the public sector banks increased from 5.43 per cent in March 2015 to 7.30 per cent in December 2015.

    Drop in global oil prices windfall for Indian economy: IMF

    Washington, March 4: International Monetary Fund (IMF) has termed the slump in global oil prices as a large windfall for India. Paul Cashin, head of IMF team for India, said yesterday in Washington that the windfall has made room for more spending on goods and services. It helped improve the external and fiscal positions, and allowed a sharp decline in inflation. Crude prices have plunged around 70 per cent over the past 18 months to around 35 dollar a barrel.

    In its latest report, the IMF projected India's GDP growth from 7.3 per cent this fiscal year to 7.5 per cent next year even as the economic recovery has been uneven. On Monetary policy, report said, it remains appropriately tight for achieving near-term inflation objectives. However it said the central bank may require a tight monetary stance for longer period.

    The pick-up in the investment cycle is yet to gain strength, the banking system is weighed down by bad loans, and the weaker global economy has hit India's exports, it said. Cashin welcomed the RBI's recent steps toward more stringent recognition and more effective resolution of distressed bank loans as well as raising of banks' loan loss provisions.

    G20 seeks common ground to reboot a struggling economy

    Shanghai, Feb 29: Financial leaders from G20 nations have gathered in Shanghai for a two-day summit seeking common ground on how to reboot a struggling global economy.

    While the health of the world's second-largest economy, which hosts the G20 presidency this year, is a key talking point, the threat of the UK leaving the European Union and its political and economic implications have also surfaced as concerns among participants in the meeting.

    Finance ministers and central bankers have called for better policy coordination to counter a sputtering global economy and volatile financial markets, but disagreed about what steps to take, making it unlikely that concrete action points will emerge from the meeting.

    Germany's Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble rebuffed a recommendation from the IMF that the G20 should start planning now for a coordinated stimulus programme.

    China's central bank governor repeated assurances the country would not stage another devaluation of its currency, the yuan, to support the economy.

    EPFO tightens norms for withdrawal of Provident Fund

    New Delhi, Feb 26: Retirement fund body, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has tightened norms on withdrawal of provident fund as well investment of such amount in Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana for its over five crore subscribers. Now, the subscribers will not be able to claim withdrawal of their provident fund after attaining age of 54 years.

    According to an official, now the subscribers would have to wait till attaining the age 57 years. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has notified new rules. As per the earlier norms, EPFO subscribers were allowed to claim 90 per cent of their accumulations in their PF account at the age of 54 years and their claims were settled just one year before their retirement. The official said that the earlier clause was relevant because there were establishments where retirement age was 55 years or 56 years. "In today's scenario retirement age is 58 years.

    Plan new mechanisms to protect vulnerable countries: IMF

    Washington, Feb 25: International Monetary Fund has said the global economy has weakened further and warned it is highly vulnerable to adverse shocks. It said the weakening has come amid increasing financial turbulence and falling asset prices. The IMF report comes before the meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and central bank Governors in Shanghai later this week. It said, China's slowdown is adding to global economic growth concerns. China's economy, the second biggest in the world, is growing at the slowest rate in 25 years.

    The IMF also noted any future prospects for global growth could be derailed by market turbulence, the oil price crash and geopolitical conflicts. The agency has called on the G20 group to plan new mechanisms to protect the most vulnerable countries. Earlier this year, the IMF downgraded its forecast for global economic growth. It now expects economic activity to increase 3.4 per cent this year followed by 3.6 per cent in 2017.

    Maharashtra invites investments to the tune of Rs 8 lakh crore

    Mumbai, Feb 20: Investment of whopping Rs 15.20 lakh crore has been committed during the Make in India week that concluded in Mumbai. Briefing to media, Secretary of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Amithabh Kant said that the business enquiries of one lakh five thousand crore rupees have also been registered.

    The host state Maharashtra got lion's share in the Make in India Week. It attracted investment to the tune of eight lakh crore rupees in diverse areas. AIR correspondent reports that India’s biggest show of manufacturing prowess concluded on a high note. Make in India Week in Mumbai has successfully brought manufacturing, design and innovation to the centre-stage. 102 countries were represented in the mega expo.

    Over 1200 experts from various walks of life from ministers, chief ministers, policymakers, industrialists, academicians and spiritual gurus spoke on wide ranging issues concerning business and society. 17 Indian states and three countries - Germany, Sweden and Poland had their pavilions in the Make in India Centre.

    Uber car-hire app losing $1bn in China every year, says CEO

    Beijing, Feb 19: App-based car-hire service Uber is losing more than $1bn (£699m) a year in China, as it struggles against what it called a "fierce competitor". Uber CEO Travis Kalanick made the admission while speaking at a private event in Vancouver, according to Canadian tech news site Betakit.

    US-based Uber launched in China in 2014 and competes against the country's largest taxi app Didi Kuaidi. Uber is available in more than 40 cities in China. It announced last year that it would expand into 100 Chinese cities over the next 12 months. "We're profitable in the USA, but we're losing over $1bn a year in China," Betakit quoted Mr Kalanick as saying. Uber is available in 380 cities around the world, according to the website.

    Tax collections reach 72% of target at Rs 5.74 lakh crore

    New Delhi, Feb 18: Income Tax Department has mopped up 5.74 lakh crore rupees as direct taxes so far this fiscal from across the country, achieving over 72 per cent of its target of 7.96 lakh crore rupees for 2015-16. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Member Surabhi Sinha said on the sidelines of Make In India week in Mumbai that the I-T Department is hopeful of meeting its target by March this year.

    Ms. Sinha, who looks after personnel and vigilance at CBDT, said it is difficult to ascertain the impact of the proposed reduction in corporate tax on collections.

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget had said that the rates for corporate tax would be brought down to 25 per cent from 30 per cent over a period of four years, starting 2016-17.

    Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and head of Mumbai region of I-T department, D S Saksena, said Mumbai region has also collected tax in the range of 72-73 per cent so far, and is on course to meet its full fiscal target of 2.56 lakh crore rupees.

    8th Delhi dialogue: India seeks investments from ASEAN

    New Delhi, Feb 17: India has asked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to invest in the country saying enhancing trade is a priority area for it. Addressing the eighth Delhi Dialogue in New Delhi this morning, Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry Anil Wadhwa said the government is taking steps to improve business environment while liberalizing the trade norms including the Foreign Direct Investment regime.

    Stressing on infrastructure development, the Secretary said New Delhi is fully in favour of boosting cross border trade and new trade points would be established soon in some north eastern States including Arunachal Pradesh. Calling for better connectivity between India and ASEAN, Wadhwa said, Motor Vehicle Agreement is on final stage among India, Myanmar and Thailand. The completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is expected to expand trade and commerce opportunities.

    Nalco to invest Rs 20550 cr for expansion of alumina refinery

    Mumbai, Feb 16: The National Aluminium Company has announced investment of 20 thousand 550 crore rupees for expansion of its alumina refinery at Damanjodi and setting up an aluminium park at Angul in Odisha. Nalco Chairman-cum-Managing Director said this in the Odisha Investors' Meet at Make in India Week in Mumbai, yesterday. The aluminium major said, it was committed for boosting industrialisation in the state.

    Meanwhile, the government is leaving no stone unturned to showcase India's economic strength and potential during the Make in India Week. About one dozen ministers of Narendra Modi government arrived in Mumbai yesterday to attract the investors and address their issues. These ministers include Manohar Parrikar, Ravishankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari, Anant Geethe and Rajyawardhan Rathore.

    India moving at a fast pace in the digital era, says Chambers

    Mumbai, Feb 15: India is moving at a fast pace in the digital era, said Cisco executive chairman John Chambers at the CNN Asia Business Forum 2016 organised as part of ongoing Make in India (MII) Week here. He added, 'India as is in sync with the speed of innovation in the current digital age.' Noting that every company in this world would become technology-based, Chambers said 40% of non-tech companies running today will disappear in the next 10 years.

    India has the capability to become the manufacturing hub for Asia, Chambers added. He had said that Cisco, a US-based networking company is likely to set up its first manufacturing plant in Pune. Speaking at the forum, GE president and CEO (South Asia) Banmali Agrawala said, "India is a highly innovative place and we're pressing the pedal on getting digital".

    RBI announces liquidity measures for March 2016

    New Delhi, Feb 12: Reserve Bank of India has said it will inject adequate additional liquidity using a combination of appropriate instruments while continuing with its normal liquidity adjustment facility operations. The apex bank said this while announcing the liquidity measures for March 2016 Thursday.

    The RBI said, this will be done with a view to addressing the expected tightening of liquidity conditions next month on account of advance tax payments by corporate and in order to provide flexibility to the banking system in its liquidity management towards March-end 2016.

    Meanwhile, expecting global banks to weather the current turmoil, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has asked them to keep the Indian central bank informed about any liquidity drain from their operations in India.

    Energy cooperation defining feature of India-Australia tie-up

    Canberra, Feb 11: Union Minister of State for Power, Piyush Goyal had an Energy Security Dialogue with Australian Minister for Energy, Josh Frydenberg at Canberra. Goyal appraised about the extensive Business to Business roundtables and meetings held so far at Brisbane and Sydney.

    Goyal emphasised the need to make the Energy Dialogue a regular feature with alternate year meetings in each of the two countries . He also proposed that in order to have an outcome orientation during the dialogue, five new working groups be set up in the energy field viz 1) Renewables and grid integration; 2) Clean Coal technologies for efficient power generation; 3) Energy Skill development; 4) LNG and Coal Gasification including Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and 5) Energy efficiency and Smart grids. Mr Frydenberg welcomed the idea and asked the officials to prepare a blue print on the same.

    Highlighting the opportunities in the Indian energy sector, Goyal pointed out that if the price of LNG could be brought down to an affordable rate then India could provide an assured off-take for Australian Gas and this would also help safeguard Australian investments. In his response, Frydenberg said that while the Australian Govt could not determine prices of gas, a regulatory framework could be worked out which can facilitate lower prices through vertical integration.

    Throwing light on the power situation in India, Goyal said that more than 20% of the population did not have access to electricity and providing energy security for all through affordable energy was a priority. Therefore if other alternative sources of energy were not available at an affordable rate then India would have to continue relying on Coal. The poor of India cannot pay for more than 150 years of emissions by the developing world. Even now the per capita consumption of coal in India was at the levels of USA 150 years back in 1870. However, building a sustainable planet for future generations is a priority for PM Narendra Modi and India would lead the world in clean energy too, Goyal added.

    Welcoming Indian investments in Australia, Mr Frydenberg highlighted that the Australian Govt was looking at ways to address procedural issues faced by certain investors.

    GAIL pipelines to hurt livelihood of farmers, says TN CM

    Chennai, Feb 8: Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel the notifications for the GAIL gas pipeline project.

    The present alignment of the pipeline would cause irreparable damage to the agricultural property of thousands of farmers of these seven districts, the chief minister said adding an estimated 1.2 lakh fruit bearing trees would have to be uprooted for laying GAIL pipes in the state.

    The chief minister's request comes close on the heels of Supreme Court quashing the state's notification restraining GAIL from laying the pipeline in 310km in the state.

    The proposed pipeline will go through agricultural lands in seven districts in the state -- Tirupur, Erode, Coimbatore, Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri.

    PFRDA to allow online exit from NPS scheme from April 1

    New Delhi, Feb 6: Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) will allow online exit of subscribers from National Pension System from 1st of April this year. Speaking at a pension conclave in New Delhi today, PFRDA Chairman Hemant G Contractor said the regulator is constantly striving to improve the risk and reward profile of the investment portfolio.

    Over the last one year, the PRFDA has also spruced up the pension product, making it user friendly by introducing the online registration and contribution.

    He said at present, 16 banks are providing the facility and around 35 lenders are using the SBI payment gateway, which can facilitate the service to all citizens. The Chairman said efforts are required to meet the challenges facing the unorganised sector including low awareness and low income levels to save for the future.

    Govt to infuse Rs 5,000 cr capital in public sector banks

    New Delhi, Feb 3: The Government will infuse about Rs 5,000 crore capital in the public sector banks in the current fiscal to strengthen their balance sheet. Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal today said this on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi. Last year, the government had announced a revamp plan Indradhanush to infuse Rs 70,000 crore in state-owned banks over four years.

    Of the 25,000 crore rupees earmarked for 2015-16, the government has pumped in about 20,000 crore rupees in 13 public sector banks so far. Talking about various initiatives taken by the government to deepen social security net, Ms Duggal said banks are addressing last mile connectivity issues. She said, the Department of Financial Services is having discussion with banks on regular basis to sort out the issues.

    Auto Expo, focusing on electric, hybrid vehicles, opens Feb 3

    New Delhi, Feb 2: The biennial automotive show Auto Expo will kick off tomorrow at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, with over 80 new models slated to be unveiled in the next two days. While the first two days are open to media and business visitors.

    The expo will be open to the public from 5th to 9th of this month. The Expo has jointly organised by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and Automotive Components Manufacturers Association. An official said, the expo will focus on electric and hybrid vehicles with a theme of mobility for all. The show will see 65 exhibitors as against 55 in the previous edition which saw launch of around 70 products.

    MP Exportech ends with execution of transactions worth Rs 196 cr

    Gwalior, Feb 1: As many as 60 expressions of Interest (EOIs) worth Rs. 196.49 cr were signed at Reverse Buyer-Seller Meet at Exportech Facilitation centre on premises of Gwalior Trade Fair. The fair concluded on Sunday. As many as 92 entrepreneurs from Gwalior, Chambal and other regions of the state had put up 120 stalls at the Meet. 74 importers, buyers and business consultants from 21 countries executed commercial transactions. Foreign buyers executed transactions during one-to-one meetings with local sellers. Envoys of various countries also attended also the Meet.

    Buyers from Afghanistan executed transactions worth Rs. 123.24 cr, Bhutan Rs. 29.83 cr, Bangladesh Rs. 20.55 cr, Sri Lanka Rs. 7.66 cr, South Korea Rs. 4.28 cr, Bahrain about Rs. 4 cr, Vietnam over Rs. 3 cr, Bulgaria Rs. 1.60 cr, Hungary Rs. 82 lakh and buyers from UK executed transactions worth Rs. 68 lakh. Besides, buyers from Cambodia, Egypt, South Africa and Zimbabwe also executed transactions.

    Maximum transactions in food sector: • Processed and unprocessed food - Rs. 107.41 cr. Engineering goods - about Rs. 62 cr.• Pharmaceuticals - Rs. 9.51 cr. Textiles, handloom and handicraft - Rs. 7.59 cr.• Herbal and Ayurvedic products - Rs. 5.44 cr.• Stones and stoneware - Rs. 4.47 cr.

    Biggest deal for Gwalior's Ganesh Mill Biggest deal during the meet was made in processed and unprocessed food sector. In this category, Gwalior's Ganesh Mill struck a deal of about Rs. 68 crore with Afghanistan followed by Rs. 27 crore 20 lakh by Indore's LNL Auto and Jabalpur's Santiago Life Science Rs. 8 crore 16 lakh.

    India has the potential to provide low cost services: FM

    New Delhi, Jan 30: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said low cost manufacturing is key to sell one's products at international level. Addressing the National Cost Convention 2016 in New Delhi today, Jaitley said India has the potential to provide low cost services.

    He said in order to cut costs both at micro and larger level, various areas have to be tackled. Saying that India continues to be low cost manufacturing destination, he said cost has become key in both goods and services in global market.

    Meanwhile, Union Minister Sushma Swaraj pitched for a separate market for women entrepreneurs to enhance their incomes and advised them to scale up production of commodities they are selling. She was interacting with over 1,000 women entrepreneurs belonging to dozens of Mahila Bachat Guts (self-help groups) in Ghatkopar Friday.

    Labour dept rescues, rehabilitates 69 bonded labourers

    Bhopal, Jan 29: Labour Department has rescued and rehabilitated 69 bonded labourers during year 2015. These included 6 bonded labourers of the state and 63 of other states Labour officers rescued 18, 27 and 12 labourers from Morena on May 1, 6 and 7, respectively. Rescued labourers were rehabilitated at Uttar Pradesh's Kashiram Nagar, district Eta, Aligarh and Kasganj.

    One labourer was rescued from Delhi and rescued at Damoh, one from Harda at Harda, one rescued from Panna rehabilitated at Bijapur district Kondagaon (Chhattisgarh) and 4 labourers rescued from Beed in Maharashtra were rehabilitated at Sheopur in Madhya Pradesh. A vigilance committee exists in every district to abolish bonded labour system. Collectors have been directed to hold meetings of these committees every third month and reconstitute them on expiry of 2-year term.

    India overtakes Thailand as world's largest rice exporter

    New Delhi, Jan 28: India has overtaken Thailand as the world's largest rice exporter in 2015, shipping 10.23 million tonnes. Thai Rice Exporters Association Chairman Charoen Laodhammatas said in Bangkok that Thailand exported 9.8 million tonnes of rice in 2015.

    He attributed the downturn to the global economy's contraction, especially among countries with high rice demand, noting that the falling price of oil also impacted the buying power of such countries. Thailand ended 2015 behind India for rice exports. India sold 10.23 million tonnes of rice. Vietnam was third globally while China remained the number one importer of rice.

    India-France ink 16 pacts including Airbus- Mahindra chopper venture

    New Delhi, Jan 25: India and France have signed 16 agreements including an agreement between Airbus Group and Mahindra for manufacture of helicopters and three MoUs under the 'Smart City' theme. The agreements were signed at India-France Business Summit in Chandigarh yesterday. The agreements cover a wide range of sectors like urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.

    The MoUs were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, who began his three-day visit from Chandigarh yesterday. As part of 'Make in India' initiative, an agreement was signed between Airbus Group and Mahindra to manufacture helicopters. Three MoUs were signed under the 'Smart city' theme for city-specific urban development between French Development Agency with the state governments for the cities of Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry.

    A joint Venture between Indian SITAC group and EDF Energie Nouvelles was signed to acquire 50 per cent stake in its renewable energy business in Gujarat. This joint Venture investment is worth 155 Million Euros in 2016 and would generate 142 MW power. Its objective is to produce one gigawatts wind energy in five years period. A letter of intent between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and CG (Crompton Greaves) was also signed during the business summit.

    Another Letter of Intent was signed between CEA and Green Ventures. The CEA will work on off grid solar photovoltaic projects in the Indian rural areas with the aim to deliver tangible climate change benefits. Besides, nine French companies signed MoUs with Engineering Projects India (EPI) Ltd, a public sector company fully owned by the government of India.

    The MoUs between the nine companies and the EPI are in the field of new and cutting edge French technologies for smart and sustainable cities.

    Solar power tariff touches all-time low of Rs 4.34 paise a unit

    New Delhi, Jan 20: Union Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal has said that solar power tariff has touched an all-time low of Rs 4.34 paise per unit. In a tweet, he said, transparent auctions with a ready provision of land and transmission, has resulted in solar tariffs coming below thermal power cost. He further noted that the country is rapidly moving towards realising the clean energy vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The solar power tariff fell to an all-time low, with Finland-based energy firm Fortum Finnsurya Energy quoting 4.34 rupees to bag the mandate to set up a 70 Mega Watt solar plant under NTPC's Bhadla Solar Park tender. New and Renewable Energy Joint Secretary Tarun Kapoor said that low tariffs are a result of the confidence in the balance sheet of NTPC and solar parks that come with all clearances and confidence in the market.

    RBI to buy Rs 10,000 cr worth of Govt bonds to lift banks

    New Delhi, Jan 19: The Reserve Bank has said, it will purchase up to Rs 10,000 crore worth of government bonds through an auction to infuse long-term liquidity in the banking system. The auction scheduled for tomorrow is the second such auction in the current financial year.

    RBI has offered to buy four government securities for a total value of 10,000 crore rupees saying that the move is based on its assessment of prevailing and evolving liquidity conditions. The move has arrived at a time when liquidity deficit has risen to 1-1.5 trillion rupees and banks are borrowing heavily through term repos and daily repo tenders as well.

    Banks to launch 2nd tranche of gold bonds on Jan 18

    New Delhi, Jan 15: The second tranche of sovereign gold bond scheme, which is aimed at reducing demand for physical gold, will open for five days next week. The Finance Ministry said the scheme will be available for public subscription from 18th to 22nd January. The first tranche of the scheme, which was launched in Nov last year, had got a subscription for 915.95 kilogram gold amounting to Rs 246 cr. The Gold Bond scheme has an annual cap of 500 grams per person and such bonds will be issued for 5-7 years.

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked CMDs of banks to make their best efforts to reach out to potential investors to invest in the second tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds. During a video conferencing with the bank CMDs, Jaitley discussed their preparedness for the launch of the second tranche and said the govt is keen to expand the scheme in subsequent tranches as well.

    A Finance Ministry statement said the banks gave an assurance that they will do their best to activate their branch network to inform potential investors about the advantage of the bonds. It added that, to increase awareness among depositors, the government is continuing with the media campaign on AIR and FM radio, in print media and through mobile SMS campaign.

    Economists offer various suggestions for forthcoming budget

    New Delhi, Jan 14: Eminent economists have suggested to the government to bring changes in small savings rate and focus on increasing private and public investment. The economists made these suggestions before Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the pre-budget consultations in New Delhi. Some of the members proposed that the government should not to go for aggressive fiscal consolidation and continue on public spending.

    Some others were of the view that higher growth can be achieved even by following the path of fiscal consolidation and the Government should not compromise in fiscal measures. Other suggestions include focus on poverty reduction measures, increasing female labour participation in the growing economy and development measures for Tribal community.

    Cabinet approves proposal of new crop insurance scheme

    New Delhi, Jan 13: The Cabinet has approved the proposal of a new crop insurance scheme that aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of claim for the full sum insured.

    The new crop insurance scheme will replace the existing schemes, National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) which have inherent drawbacks.

    TCS Q3 net profit up 14.2 per cent at Rs. 6,083 crore

    Mumbai, Jan 13: Country's largest software exporter TCS yesterday reported 14.2 per cent jump in profit to Rs 6,083 crore for the third quarter of the current fiscal.

    The company had reported a net profit of Rs 5,328 crore in the October-December period of last fiscal. The operating profit was at Rs 7,276 crore in the reported quarter.

    Its revenues were up 11.7 per cent to Rs 27,364 crore in the third quarter, 2015-16, from Rs 24,501 crore in the corresponding period of 2014-15.

    "All our industry segments have exhibited growth in a traditionally weak quarter, additionally accentuated by the impact of the Chennai floods," TCS Managing Director and Chief Executive N Chandrasekaran said.

    "Our international business has grown smartly in constant currency terms with North America and Europe leading the way among major markets and Latin America among growth markets," he said.

    Earlier, shares of TCS closed 1.65 per cent down at Rs 2,324.05 on the BSE today. The scrip hit a new 52-week low of Rs 2,301.10 during the day.

    Railways seek suggestions to formulate holistic hawker policy

    New Delhi, Jan 12: Railways have sought suggestions to formulate a holistic hawker policy for the public transporter. The policy should aim at providing social justice to the hawkers and at the same time not lead to operational bottlenecks, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

    Suggestions can be posted at hawkerpolicy2016@gmai1.com up to 31st March. Railways have also sought stakeholders' views on setting up of Rail Development Authority.

    Complete revival of postal department top most priority

    Mumbai, Jan 11: India Post expects to collect 1500 crore rupees through cash-on-delivery this fiscal. Talking to a news agency, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Department of Posts has already collected Rs 1000 cr through cash-on-delivery till December. He said his top most priority is complete revival of the postal department. The Minister said he wants to make India as a big hub of ecommerce, delivery and digital services. The department has partnered with e-retailers, including Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, for delivering pre-paid as well as Cash on Delivery orders.

    The minister informed that as many as 40 domestic and multinational financial giants, including Citigroup, Barclays and ICICI Bank, have sought to partner India Post for its upcoming payments bank. Prasad said that some of the requests are for selling insurance, while some seek to provide government-to-citizen and company-to-citizen services.

    He added that the department is aiming to get the bank operational by March 2017. The Minister further said that the Department's reach, spanning over 1.54 lakh points across the country, is its strength and the employees should leverage it for maximising revenue.

    Discrepancies identified, new crop insurance scheme soon

    New Delhi, Jan 9: The government will launch new crop insurance scheme in 2016-17. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told reporters in New Delhi Friday that discrepancies in the existing scheme have been identified and ministry has come out with new crop insurance scheme.

    He said, new technologies, including drones, will be used to assess crop damage faster. Under the proposed crop insurance scheme, the premium to be charged from farmers will be kept lower and focus will be on early settlement of claims.

    New software for agriculture markets in country soon

    New Delhi, Jan 8: Government will soon launch new software to enable E-connectivity of Agricultural markets in the country. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, the new software will break the virtual and connectivity barriers of Agricultural Markets and will benefit the farmers in getting fair prices.

    He was speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticulture University, in Telangana. Mr Singh said Karnataka is able to bring 50 Agricultural Markets on one platform for the benefit of farmers.

    The Minister informed that the growth and development of agriculture in the country is considerably driven by the institutions of higher agricultural education and research.

    He said, 12 states including Telangana have sent proposals regarding this and the Centre will sanction Rs 30 lakh to each Agricultural market.

    He said, India has one of the largest agricultural education and research systems in the world with the largest number of scientific personnel of any developing country except China. Mr Singh said, the research system includes approximately 30,000 scientists and more than one lakh supporting staff actively engaged in teaching and research related to agriculture.

    Cabinet approves creation of a Credit Guarantee Fund for MUDRA loans

    New Delhi, Jan 6: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for the creation of a Credit Guarantee Fund for Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) loans and to convert MUDRA Ltd. into MUDRA Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) Bank as a wholly owned subsidiary of SIDBI.

    The Fund is expected to guarantee more than Rs 1,00,000 crore worth of loans to micro and small units in the first instance. The salient features of the scheme are as follows:

    (i) Establishment of Credit Guarantee Fund for MUDRA Units(CGFMU) for guaranteeing loans sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana with effect from 8th April, 2015 with the objective to reduce the credit risk to Banks / NBFCs / MFIs / other financial intermediaries, who are Member Lending Institutions (MLIs).

    (ii) The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd. (NCGTC Ltd.), a wholly-owned company of Government of India, constituted under the Companies Act, 1956 (2013) to manage and operate various credit guarantee funds, shall be the Trustee of the Fund.

    (iii) The guarantee would be provided on portfolio basis to a maximum extent of 50% of Amount in Default in the portfolio.

    The MUDRA (SIDBI) Bank will undertake refinance operations and provide support services with focus on portal management; data analysis etc. apart from any other activity entrusted/ advised by Government of India.

    160 villages electrified last week; 42% increase over week before

    New Delhi, Jan 4: Ministry of Power has electrified 160 villages last week (ending on 2nd Jan 2016) in the country. Out of these electrified villages, 57 villages in Chhattisgarh, 40 in Odisha, 27 in Bihar, 16 in Rajasthan, 9 in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh each and one village falls in states of Tripura and Assam each.

    Electrification of 160 villages resulted in overall increase of 42 percent over the week before of ongoing electrification process under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna( DDUGJY). In his tweet, Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy said, "Happy to share that we electrified 160 villages last week, an increase of 42% over the week before".

    India outpaces China as world's fastest growing economy

    New Delhi, Jan 2: Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has said that India has emerged as the world's fastest growing economy notwithstanding global demand slowdown and four droughts. In a series of tweets, he said there has been improvement in quality of spending toward capital and agriculture, fiscal consolidation at central and state levels and improvement in indirect tax efficiency.
    Mr Subramanian also said that the commentary on Mid-Year Economic Analysis, presented in Parliament last month, has focused on challenges. India had outpaced China as the world's fastest growing economy in 2015

    No LPG subsidy for taxpayers earning more than Rs 10 lakh per year

    New Delhi, Dec 29: In a major move towards curbing the supply of subsidised cooking gas, the NDA government has announced that taxpayers with an annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh will not get subsidised LPG cylinders from the new year.

    At present, all households are entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rate of Rs 419.26, while the market price of each cylinder is Rs 608. In the assessment year 2014-15, a total of 20.26 lakh assesses were reported as having a taxable income above Rs 10 lakh, according to the Central Board of Direct Taxes data.

    Justifying the latest move, a statement issued by the Union Petroleum Ministry said "the government has decided that the benefit of the LPG subsidy will not be available for LPG consumers if the consumer or his/her spouse had taxable income of more than Rs 10 lakh during the previous financial year computed as per the Income Tax Act, 1961."

    Women, CNG cars exempted from Delhi's odd-even scheme

    New Delhi, Dec 24: Delhi government has decided to exempt emergency vehicles, CNG cars, vehicles carrying patients, only women drivers, women drivers with child below 12 years of age from the even-odd scheme in the national capital. The even -odd formula will not be applicable on Sunday.

    Addressing media persons in New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, the government has arranged around 5000 more buses and also increased the metro frequency in the city to handle the rush of passengers . A fine of Rs. 2000 willl be imposed against the violators.

    Mr. Kejriwal said all approvals for the implementation of odd-even car plan have been taken from the concerned authorities. The Chief Minister said, if the public transport is able to bear the pressure then the government will continue the scheme but in a phased manner.

    He said odd-even formula can not be forcefully implemented but the government will try to make it a people's movement. The Formal notification for Odd-Even Formula will be out on Monday.

    Govt crackdown on black money brings results

    New Delhi, Dec 23: The Union government crackdown on black money has yielded results with the detection of undisclosed income of over Rs 16,000 crore since March 2014. The measures included a one-time 90-day window to come clean on undisclosed wealth. This resulted in declaration worth over Rs 4,000 crores.

    The requirement of mandatory furnishing of PAN for money transactions above certain limits is a way of making people report their income legitimately.

    In addition, the government will initiate enforcement action in a big way in those cases where it gets definite information.

    RBI working towards harmonizing regulations for NBFCs

    Mumbai, Dec 22: The Reserve Bank Deputy Governor R Gandhi said that the RBI is working towards harmonizing regulations for Non-Banking Financial Companies -NBFCs to reduce the number of categories in the sector. He was speaking at an event organised in Mumbai by the industry body CII.

    He said however that the central bank is aligned to the developmental needs of the economy and therefore will continue to approve of new kinds of NBFCs if the economy requires them.

    He also added that the RBI is actively studying the peer-to-peer lending arrangements that are slowly gaining traction. He said RBI, based on demand, is looking at revisiting the norms relating to core investment companies.

    Govt should talk to stakeholders to resolve H-1B issue: Murthy

    New Delhi, Dec 19: Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy on Friday called on communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Discussing the issue of increased visa fee for software professionals working in US, Murthy suggested such issues should be discussed and resolved with stakeholders.

    The US Congress on Wednesday doubled special fee on the H-1B and L-1 visas to $4,000 (Almost Rs 2.7 lakh) and $4,500 (over Rs 3 lakh) to fund a 9/11 healthcare act and a biometric tracking system.

    Murthy has agreed to provide critical and constructive inputs on policy decisions taken on IT and telecom sectors. 300% rise in H-2B visa for unskilled workers: Meanwhile, with a view to meet the demand of blue collar non-farm jobs in hotels, restaurants, construction, truck driving and other occupations, the US has decided to increase the quota for H-2B visas meant for unskilled foreign workers by nearly 300 per cent.

    All banks to follow uniform methodology from April next year: RBI

    New Delhi, Dec 18: Reserve Bank of India, RBI, has said that all banks will have to follow a new and uniform methodology from April next year to calculate base rate as per the marginal cost of funds. In a press release, the RBI said that apart from helping borrowers reap the benefit of lower rates, the step would also improve transparency in the methodology followed by banks for determining interest rates on advances.

    It added the guidelines are also expected to ensure availability of bank credit at interest rates, which are fair to the borrowers as well as the banks. As per the final guidelines of the apex bank, all rupee loans sanctioned and credit limits renewed with effect from 1st April 2016 will be priced with reference to the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) which will be the internal benchmark for such purposes.

    Meanwhile, State Bank of India,SBI, which controls close to quarter of the financial system welcomed the new RBI guidelines, saying that the domestic banking sector has moved closer to global practices. Chairperson of the SBI, Arundhati Bhattacharya said that though the Reserve Bank directive on the new pricing methodology is for fresh loan pricing only, existing SBI customers could migrate to the latest system.

    India well prepared to deal with US rate hike: FinMin

    New Delhi, Dec 17: Finance Ministry today said India is well prepared to deal with the impact of the US Federal Reserve interest rate hike. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das tweeted that the end of uncertainties will actually help policy makers in emerging economies. He said the rate hike and reference to gradualism are on expected lines.

    The Economic Affairs Secretary further said that the Federal's confidence on recovery is good news for India's exports, especially for the IT sector.
    The US Federal Reserve last night hiked interest rates by 0.25 per cent. This is the first hike in about a decade, signaling a recovery in the US economy.

    India to participate in UN mission against ISIS

    New Delhi, Dec 16: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that if United Nations approves a resolution and there is a UN mission against ISIS, India will definitely participate in it. Speaking to media on the idelines of a function in New Delhi, Mr Parrikar said there is no change in India's policy in this regard.
    He said, India has been sharing intelligence and if required it will enhance the sharing. Replying to a query, Mr Parrikar said, Defence Ministry will soon submit a detailed report to Prime Minister on the issues he raised during Combined Commanders Conference yesterday including Defence Management.

    2016: Job market hiring to come from e-commerce, 'Make in India'

    New Delhi, Dec 14: According to the experts, job market in the year 2016 promises pay hikes in the range of 10-30%. A push will need to come from e-commerce and 'Make in India'. Another boost can come from the 7th Pay Commission.
    Experts said the job market remained a mixed bag in 2015 but it was definitely better than the previous year and the promises of a better investment climate and the government push to manufacturing industry will soon start bearing fruit.
    Executive search firm GlobalHunt MD Sunil Goel said, "Though there is lot of back-end work happening to bring the 'good days', it is still reflected at sentiment level only. It may start reflecting on ground level in year 2016."

    RBI forms committee to check menace of Chit-fund companies

    Kolkata, Dec 12: The Reserve Bank of India, RBI, has set-up a committee to check the menace of Chit-fund and various financial irregularities in the country. This Committee will work in coordination with the State governments regularly. This was stated by the RBI Governor Mr. Raghuram Rajan in a press conference in Kolkata.
    Mr. Rajan said that a sub-committee has also been formed to take necessary action against the Chit-funds including Sardah Reality Estate. With a view to control the money scams, the newly formed Committee has been asked to organize meetings regularly and the banks have been alerted about any financial irregularities or lapses.

    CBI probes Mallya on Rs 900 cr loan default

    New Delhi, Dec 11: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today examined UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya in connection with its probe into alleged loan default of 900 crore rupees taken from IDBI bank. The sources said Mallya was called to agency Headquarters in New Delhi in connection with the case where the team of Banking Securities Fraud Cell carried out his detailed questioning.
    CBI has registered a case against Mallya, Director of defunct Kingfisher Airlines, A Raghunathan, Chief Financial Officer of the Airlines, and unknown officials of IDBI Bank. It is alleged that the loan was sanctioned in violation of norms regarding credit limits.

    Oil prices fall to near seven-year low

    Saudi Arabia, Dec 9: Following yesterday's more than 6 percent fall, global crude oil prices declined again. Brent crude oil futures were down 2.1 percent, to 39.88 dollars a barrel--its lowest level in almost 7 years. U.S. crude oil slipped below 37 dollars a barrel--also its lowest in almost 7 years.
    Oil fell after OPEC effectively abandoned any limits on crude output, prompting speculation that a record global glut will continue.
    Oil has slumped about 40 percent since Saudi Arabia led the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision, a year ago, to maintain output and defend market share by pressuring higher-cost producers.

    Singapore outsmarts Mauritius in FDI investment in India

    New Delhi, Dec 7: Singapore has displaced Mauritius as the top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in India during the first half of this fiscal.
    As per the figures released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion during April-September, India attracted $6.69 billion (Rs 43,096 crore) FDI from Singapore and $3.66 billion (Rs 23,490 crore) from Mauritius. FDI from Singapore has more than doubled from $2.41 billion in the year-ago period.
    According to experts, the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA).