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Finance Bill to be passed before March 31: Jaitley

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New Delhi, March 7: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that the Finance Bill 2017 will be passed by Parliament before March 31 so that ministries could avail funds from April 1. 

“This would help the ministries to remain in stage of readiness as funds would be available with effect from April 1,” he said.

He also inaugurated the Financial Advisers’ Meeting at Delhi today and released Revised General Financial Rules (GFR)-2017.

A Finance bill is a secret bill which is introduced in the Lok Sabha immediately after the Presentation of the Union Budget. The bill gives effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the following financial year.

Once passed by Parliament and assent is given by President, it enables the government to enact many proposals including excise, customs and service tax related proposals.

“Earlier the Finance Bill used to be passed in May or June, creating challenges for businesses to make changes in between the year. Now, if the Bill is passed in March, then like income tax, even indirect tax changes could be effective from very first month of the financial year. This could be seen as a step towards ease of doing business,” tax expert Pritam Mahure told IANS.

Jaitley also released the revised General Financial Rules (GFR) 2017 and also applauded the efforts that went into bringing it out within a short span of time.

In his speech at the conference, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said that the Revised GFR -2017 aims to provide a framework within which an organisation manages its business in a financially prudent manner without compromising its flexibility to deal with varied situations.

“The new GFR 2017 will enable an improved, efficient and effective framework of fiscal management while providing the necessary flexibility to facilitate timely delivery of services,” he said.

The GFRs are rules and orders dealing with matters involving public finances. General Financial Rules were issued for the first time in 1947 bringing together in one place all existing orders and instructions pertaining to financial matters. These have subsequently been modified and issued as GFRs 1963 and GFRs 2005.

Reforms in the government budgeting like removal of distinction in non-plan and plan expenditure, merger of Railway Budget with General Budget, focusing on outcomes through an improved Outcome Budget document, all needed to be reflected in the GFRs.

“Increased focus on Public Finance Management System (PFMS), reliance on the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme to ensure efficient delivery of entitlements, introduction of new e-sites like Central Public Procurement portal, Government e-Marketing (GeM) portal, Non-Tax Revenue portal have necessitated revision of the existing GFRs to keep them in tune with the changing business environment,” said the Finance Ministry in a statement.

“The objective was to make the GFRs facilitate efficiency while following principles of accountability and procedures of financial discipline and administrative due diligence. New rules on non-tax revenues, user charges, e-receipts portal have been added in addition to the manner in which autonomous bodies are run,” it said.

The conference also deliberated upon the various challenges and opportunities before financial advisors and their key role in the implementation of the schemes of the government and providing innovative solutions in the changed environment in public financial management.

Conference of Financial Advisors is a forum through which Finance Secretary and Secretary, Expenditure hold detailed deliberations with all the financial advisors posted in various ministries and departments.

Wefornews Bureau

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Govt to levy interest on late payment to MSMEs for GeM purchase

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, July 3 : Government departments and agencies will have to pay interest on late payment to vendors, largely MSMEs, for products procured through the Government e-Martketplace (GeM), starting October 1.

Through an office memorandum, the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance on Friday said that if the payment is not made within 10 days of the Consignee Receipt and Acceptance Certificate (CRAC) being auto generated or issued by the buyer, the concerned department will have to pay interest at the rate of one per cent per month for the delayed payment.

However, this very interest will not go to the MSMEs concerned and instead, will deposited in an account maintained by the GeM, which will be used only for the education of buyers and sellers or public procurement with the prior approval of the Department of Expenditure, said the office memorandum.

“ln order to promote greater discipline and timeliness in payment to vendors, especially #MSMEs, the government has issued an order to levy interest on late payment to vendors on the government e-marketplace. #AatmaNirbharBharat,” said a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman”s office.

The order will be effective on orders made from October 1, 2020.

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Tomato prices skyrocket to Rs 70/kg in Delhi-NCR

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

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Tomato

New Delhi, July 3 : With the onset of the monsoon tomato prices soared to Rs 70 per kg in New Delhi and its surrounding areas on Friday.

Crop failure in the rainy season and the late arrival of tomatoes in the mandis (wholesale markets) have led to the price hike. However, the prices are expected to fall after the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh next week.

A month ago, the price of tomatoes in Delhi’s Azadpur mandi was between Rs 1.25 and Rs 4.75 per kg, while the wholesale price on Friday was Rs 6.44 per kg.

The model rate of tomato was Rs 3 per kg in Azadpur mandi on June 3, which has increased by 10 times to Rs 29 per kg. On July 2, the wholesale price of tomatoes rose to Rs 52 per kg in the mandi, which means there has been an increase of about 995% in the last one month. Due to the rise in wholesale prices, tomatoes were sold at Rs 80 per kg on Thursday in Delhi-NCR and Rs 50.70 per kg in Greater Noida.

Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan said prices have gone up due to late arrival of tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes received at Azadpur mandi was 528.2 tonne on June 3 while on July 3 it was 281.6 tonne. The quantity has thus been reduced by nearly 50 per cent in a month. Only 241.9 tonne were received on July 2 due to which the wholesale price was Rs 6.52 per kg while the model rate was Rs 32 per kg, Khan added.

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

From next week, the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh will lead to a decline in the prices of tomatoes. He said at present 90 per cent of the tomatoes in Delhi arrive from Himachal Pradesh while only 10 per cent are received from Haryana and Karnataka.

The consumption of all green vegetables, tomatoes and onions has declined during the past few months because of the shutdown of hotels, restaurants, canteens and dhabas following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the corona pandemic. This led to a marked fall in prices. The wholesale price of tomatoes had come down to less than one rupee per kg.

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JioMeet takes on Zoom, can support up to 100 participants

JioMeet offers unlimited meetings per day and each meeting can go uninterrupted up to 24 hours.

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JioMeet

New Delhi, July 2 : Amid growing calls for ”Made in India” digital tools, Reliance Jio has launched a free video-conferencing application called JioMeet, taking on US-based Zoom platform.

According to the JioMeet description on Google Play Store, the application can be used for 1:1 video calls and hosting meetings with up to 100 participants with enterprise-grade host controls.

Other highlights include easy sign up with either mobile number or email ID, meeting in HD audio and video quality.

The application can be used for creating instant meetings to chat with friends and also to schedule a meeting in advance and share meeting details with invitees.

JioMeet offers unlimited meetings per day and each meeting can go uninterrupted up to 24 hours.

The application can be used on Android, Windows, iOS, Mac, SIP/H.323 systems.

JioMeet has already been downloaded for over 10,000 times from Google Play Store.

Each meeting is password protected and the host can enable a “Waiting Room” to ensure no participant joins without permission, JioMeet said.

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