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Facebook employees to work from home until July 2021 due to coronavirus outbreak; get $1,000 for home offices

“In addition, we are giving employees an additional $1,000 for home office needs,” it added.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Inc will allow employees to work from home until July 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak and will give them $1,000 for home office needs, a spokeswoman for the social media giant said on Thursday.

The company joins other big technology firms that have taken similar steps recently.

Late in July, Alphabet Inc’s Google said it would allow employees who do not need to be in the office to work from home until the end of June 2021, while Twitter Inc had proposed remote work indefinitely for some of its employees.

“Based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions about these matters, we are allowing employees to continue voluntarily working from home until July 2021”, a Facebook spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

“In addition, we are giving employees an additional $1,000 for home office needs,” it added.

Facebook also said that the company will continue reopening offices in a restricted capacity where government guidance permits and where virus mitigation has taken place for about two months.

However, the company added that it was unlikely many locations will reopen in the United States and Latin America before the end of the year, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases.

Business

Govt may consider halving cess on domestic crude

The changes would also provide a level playing field to domestic companies as imported crude does not attract cess.

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New Delhi: The government may give a ‘Make in India’ push to oil and gas explorers, as it is considering a proposal to halve cess on domestic crude oil to encourage exploration activity and allow Covid-hit oil producers to protect their margins at a time when a glut in the market and suppressed demand is pushing down prices.

Cess on domestic crude is currently levied at the rate of 20 per cent of the value of oil. Official sources said that this may come to 10 per cent if a proposal given by the industry and the Oil Ministry is accepted by the Finance Ministry.

A top Oil Ministry official said that they are looking at extending tax concessions, along with reduction in oil cess and the Finance Ministry has been apprised of the matter for action.

Though the larger view is in favour of halving the cess, the exact quantum would be worked out later. The reduction in the levy has huge revenue implications as ONGC alone pays cess in excess of Rs 10,000 crore annually.

The changes would also provide a level playing field to domestic companies as imported crude does not attract cess.

“Cess is levied only on crude oil produced domestically. Thus, it places domestic crude oil production vis-a-vis imported crude oil at a significant disadvantage as imported crude does not attract such duty. This levy is against the spirit of ‘Make in India’,” industry chamber FICCI had said in its memorandum given to the Finance Ministry earlier.

The Finance Ministry had revised oil cess in the FY17 Union Budget, shifting it from specific charge of Rs 4,500 per tonne of crude to an ad valorem rate of 20 per cent. This was done to help the exploration firms from higher cess burden at a time when crude oil prices were falling.

Though oil prices are moving at over $40 a barrel for some time now, fluctuations in pricing always puts domestic crude producers at a disadvantage.

The problem is magnified as cess incurred by producers is not recoverable from refineries and forms part of cost of production of crude oil. The Oil Industry (Development) Act, 1974, provides for collection of cess as a duty of excise on indigenous crude oil. This adds to loss of revenue for exploration companies.

The government is looking to reduce tax burden on oil companies to push up domestic production that has stagnated for past several years at around 30-34 million tonne.

The reduction in oil cess would benefit upstream companies such as ONGC and Cairn India whose production is subjected to the oil industry development cess levied on an ad valorem basis.

But under the new open acreage licensing policy (OALP), which provides pricing and marketing freedom to operators along with the power to select the block for exploration, does not attract oil cess. This puts the older oil and gas blocks at a disadvantage to any new hydrocarbon finds.

Currently, state-owned ONGC and OIL pay a cess on crude oil they produce from their allotted fields on a nomination basis. Cairn India has to pay the same cess for oil from the Rajasthan block.

Most of crude oil produced in India comes from pre-NELP and nomination blocks and is liable for payment of cess. NELP blocks like Reliance Industries’ KG-D6 are exempt from payment of cess while pre-NELP discovered blocks like Panna/Mukta and Tapti and Ravva pay a fixed rate of cess of Rs 900 per tonne.

The cess was levied at Rs 60 per tonne in July 1974 and subsequently revised from time to time. In 2005-06, when the crude oil prices had increased from an average of $40 per barrel to $60, the OID cess was raised from Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,500 per tonne from March 1, 2006. Again, when the crude prices climbed to over $100, the rate of cess went up to Rs 4,500 ($12 per barrel) with effect from March 17, 2012.

–IANS

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Entertainment

Shooting at NOIDA Film City to begin in 3-4 months, officials inspect site

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently approved a proposal to set up the Film City in 1,000 acre of land along the Yamuna Expressway, near Noida

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Film City NOIDA

Shooting at the upcoming Film City in Gautam Buddh Nagar can begin in three to four months from now, senior government official Awanish Awasthi said Sunday, according to BJP MLA Dhirendra Singh.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Information Awanish Awasthi inspected the site in the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority’s (YEIDA’s) Sector 21 and instructed officials to submit a detailed project report (DPR) soon.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently approved a proposal to set up the Film City in 1,000 acre of land along the Yamuna Expressway, near Noida.

Jewar MLA Dhirendra Singh tweeted in Hindi, Additional Chief Secretary to UP government Awanish Awasthi toured the proposed film city site in Sector 21 of Yamuna Authority. He said that shooting will begin at this location in 3 to 4 months.

YEIDA’s officer on special duty Shailendra Bhatia said Awasthi observed the road connectivity and development adjacent to the site and in the areas nearby. He also instructed YEIDA to prepare the DPR for the film city.

Asked as to by when a DPR could be submitted, Bhatia told PTI: As soon as possible.

Awasthi, also the chairman of Film Bandhu, the nodal agency of the state government for cinema-related activities, was joined by YEIDA CEO Arun Vir Singh during the site inspection.

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Business

Finance Ministry to provide capital support from Rs 20k cr fund to some PSBs in Q3

The fund infusion would be for meeting regulatory capital requirements if the need arises in October-December quarter, sources said

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The Finance Ministry is likely to provide capital support from the Rs 20,000 crore fund approved by Parliament in recently concluded session to some Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in the third quarter itself.

Parliament approved Rs 20,000 crore for PSB capital infusion as part of the first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2020-21 which sought additional spending of a record Rs 2.35 trillion primarily to meet expenses for combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund infusion would be for meeting regulatory capital requirements if the need arises in October-December quarter, sources said.

The second quarter result will give an idea as to which bank may require regulatory capital and accordingly recapitalisation bonds would be issued to them, sources said.

Besides, state-owned banks already have shareholders’ approval for raising capital through a mix of equity and bonds during the current fiscal.

It is to be noted that the government refrained from committing any capital in the Budget 2020-21 for PSBs, hoping that lenders will raise funds from the market depending on the requirement.

In 2019-20, the government infused Rs 70,000 crore into PSBs to boost credit for a strong impetus to the economy.

In the last financial year, Punjab National Bank got Rs 16,091 crore, Union Bank of India received Rs 11,768 crore while Canara Bank and Indian Bank got Rs 6,571 crore and Rs 2,534 crore, respectively.

Allahabad Bank received Rs 2,153 crore, United Bank of India got Rs 1,666 crore and Andhra Bank received Rs 200 crore. These three lenders have been merged with various PSBs.

Besides, Bank of Baroda got a capital infusion of Rs 7,000 crore, Indian Overseas Bank received Rs 4,360 crore and UCO Bank got Rs 2,142 crore. Punjab & Sind Bank received Rs 787 crore and Central Bank of India got Rs 3,353 crore.

In addition, LIC-controlled IDBI Bank received additional capital of Rs 4,557 crore.

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