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18% GST disappoints Telecom sector

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New Delhi, May 19: GST slab rates announced today, it disappoints Telecom sector with 18 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates.

“Telecom industry hails GST as an iconic reform but we are disappointed with announced rate of 18 per cent. We had submitted to the government that consideration must be given to the present financial condition of the sector and any rate beyond the existing rate of 15 per cent makes the telecom services more expensive for the consumer.

“It will augment the existing burden of the industry further. This is also likely to slowdown the planned rollout of infrastructure across the country and will have an impact on flagship government initiatives like Digital India, cashless India and others,” said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI).

“As an essential service, the telecom industry needs some benefits and tax relaxation in order to provide a seamless and hassle-free service. The industry has worked tirelessly and has fulfilled its motto of connecting everyone till the last mile connectivity,” Mathews added.

The operators have already initiated the registration process after the announcement of GST.

However, the telecom industry body is still on the hope for the clarity on certain rules which requires sufficient time.

The GST Council concluded its latest round of meetings on Friday with the four tax rate slabs for services as well as for goods, exempting, healthcare and educational services.

The next meeting will be held on June 3.

Wefornews Bureau

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Nearly 4% of GDP is lost due to malnutrition: Report

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New Delhi, Jan 21: India loses about 4 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) to malnutrition and the trend can be reversed by focusing “on production diversity as well as food fortification at a macro level”, a research paper revealed on Sunday.

According to a joint paper published by industry body Assocham and consultancy firm EY, nearly four per cent of the GDP is lost due to different forms of malnutrition and that “women and children deserve a better deal in expenditure outlay”.

The report outlined that the country hosts 50 per cent of the world’s under-nourished children.

The paper quoted data from the National Family Health Survey-4 which showed that close to 60 per cent of children aged between 6 and 59 months are anaemic.

“It is only about 10 per cent of the country’s total children who are receiving adequate diet,” the research report said.

“The women and girl child, for whom the NDA Government has launched flagship programmes, are no better in terms of their daily nutrition intake. About 55 per cent of non-pregnant women and 58 per cent of pregnant women aged between 15-49 years are anaemic.”

Commenting upon the finding, Assocham’s Secretary General D.S. Rawat said the government needs to pursue policies which “focus on removing health and social inequities. Programmes and policies that aim to address the nutrition burden present a double-win situation”.

On the remedy-front, the paper said that in order to cater to the large unmet needs of micro-nutrients, “it is imperative to focus on production diversity as well as food fortification at a macro level”.

“For instance, millets are three to five times more nutritious than rice and wheat in terms of proteins, minerals and vitamins. They are cost effective crops as well; yet considered as poor people’s crop while rice and wheat are preferred over them,” the paper noted.

“Millets are rich in Vitamin B, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and are gluten-free. They are suitable for people with gluten allergies or those with high blood sugar levels.”

IANS

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Republic Day sales: Amazon, Flipkart fight it out with big discounts

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New Delhi, Jan 21: Top e-commerce players Amazon India and Flipkart are deepening their range of offerings at extreme discounts in the first online sale of the year starting today. While Amazon’s Great Indian Sale will go on till January 24, Flipkart’s Republic Day sale will shut shop earlier by 23 Jan.

With e-commerce becoming the default shopping choice for many, this season – last the previous editions – will see an influx of shoppers logging in to tap the online-exclusive deals.

The hard-to-miss offers this week will include: Mobile phones, Fashion & lifestyle, Home & dining and Large appliances.

Amazon, as usual, offered 12-hours early access to its Prime members starting the sale from Saturday afternoon (January 20).

Industry players believe that cash crunch at the end of the month remains no longer a problem with almost all e-commerce platforms and banks offering extra cashbacks and easy EMI options for customers to have a hassle-free shopping experience.

“Republic Day sales every year serve as a great way to kick start shopping in the new year. Marketing around the sale attracts consumers and encourages impulsive purchases,” Rohan Bhargava, co-founder of CashKaro.com, told IANS.

CashKaro is a partner to more than 1,500 e-commerce sites and provides its members with cashback offers on their online shopping at various sites like Flipkart, Amazon.in, Paytm and Shopclues.

“Even though it is the month-end, given the additional benefits around the sale, it is usually not a deterrent to purchases. Many banks give extra cashback and there are easy EMI options available through which customers can pay in installments,” Bhargava added.

Online marketplace ShopClues had already begun its sixth anniversary “Acche Din Sale” from January 19 targetting Republic Day to end the sale.

“Over 20 lakh products with whopping discounts, upwards of 66 per cent will be on offer, spread across categories like fashion and lifestyle, mobile phones, electronics and accessories, home and kitchen, and even its exclusive labels — Meia, Digimate and Homeberry,” ShopClues said in a statement.

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ONGC to buy government’s 51.11% stake in HPCL for Rs 36,915 cr

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New Delhi, Jan 20: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) will acquire the government’s 51.11 per cent equity share-holding in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) at a consideration of Rs 36,915 crore.

Through the single share sale, the Centre would be able to meet half of its disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore for 2017-18.

“The Government of India has entered into an agreement with ONGC today (Saturday) for strategic sale of its 51.11 per cent equity share-holding in HPCL at a consideration of Rs 36,915 crore,” a statement said.

In line with the budget announcement, ONGC had proposed to acquire the Centre’s existing equity shareholding in HPCL.

Accordingly, the Union Cabinet, in its meeting held in July last year, gave “in-principle” approval to the proposal and decided to set up an alternative mechanism to decide on the price, timing and the terms and conditions of the strategic sale.

“The Alternative mechanism under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) in its meeting today (Saturday) approved the price bid of ONGC and the terms and conditions of the sale,” it said.

Through this acquisition, ONGC will become India’s first vertically integrated “oil major” company, having presence across the entire value chain.

According to the statement, the integrated entity will have advantage of having enhanced capacity to bear higher risks, take higher investment decisions and neutralising the impact of volatility of global crude oil prices.

“In this process, ONGC has acquired significant mid-stream and downstream capacity and will attain economies of scale at various levels of operations,” it said.

Through this economic consolidation, HPCL will join as a member of an integrated oil and gas major group. This will help it in further leveraging synergy at various levels of vertical value chains and look for economic consolidation within and outside the group.

HPCL will continue to be a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE).

In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had underlined the need of efficient management of government investments in CPSEs during the review in February 2016.

The centre accordingly expanded the approach from disinvestment to investment and public asset management.

As part of investment management strategy, Government decided to explore possibilities of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions within CPSE space.

IANS

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