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Government urges industry to pass on price cuts due to GST

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New Delhi, July 4: The government on Tuesday appealed to industry to pass on the benefit of a reduction in taxes under GST to consumers and announced the setting up of a Central Monitoring Committee (CMC) of 15 Secretaries to monitor the prices and supply situation following the roll-out of the new indirect tax regime.

“Prices have not gone up,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters following the first meeting of the CMC here headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

“I appeal to industry to help bring down prices, wherever there is a reduction in tax under GST,” he said.

Adhia informed the media that the CMC formed by the Cabinet Secretary includes the Secretaries of 15 departments of the government which have been instructed to attend to the issues faced by their individual client groups on account of the Goods and Services Tax that came into effect pan-India from July 1.

The CMC will meet once a week on every Tuesday, he added.

In this connection, the Secretary said his department had received 2,20,000 applications for new registrations under GST of which around half were fully completed.

“Of the completed applications, 39,000 have already been approved and the rest will be deemed approved in the next three working days, unless states raise objections on specific cases,” Adhia said.

He also said that the government is launching a GST monitoring exercise from Wednesday, which would involve assigning all districts of the country to senior officials for supervision. Four to five districts would be grouped together for monitoring by a Joint Secretary or Additional Secretary from here who would be linked to the field through a link official of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). There would be 175 top officials assigned to this job who would report on GST to the Cabinet Secretary, Adhia said.

Avinash Srivastava, Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs, said Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Paswan had allowed traders, manufacturers and packers three months till September 30 to dispose of old stocks by displaying the changed price according to a “methodology”.

According to this method, the particular business in question has to issue advertisements in two newspapers informing the new price for items. Besides, the item packaging has to display the new price on a sticker in a way that the old price is also visible.

Items which undergo a price reduction due to GST do not need to issue newspaper advertisements, but the sticker display of the new price on packing is the same for products whose prices have increased, Srivastava said.

As different from the GST implemented elsewhere, which generally have ‘standard’, ‘merit’ and ‘demerit’ rates, the new regime in India has a four-slab rate structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, respectively.

IANS

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Jio to invest Rs 10,000 crore in 3 years in UP: Mukesh Ambani

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Lucknow, Feb 21: Reliance Jio will invest another Rs 10,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh over the next three years, Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani said here on Wednesday.

“Today I am happy to inform this audience that Jio is one of the largest investors in Uttar Pradesh with investments of over Rs 20,000 crore. Jio is providing the highest quality data at the lowest price in the world to over 2 crore citizens of Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani said while addressing the Uc.

“I have come to Lucknow to assure the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister that Jio’s Digital Revolution is here to make the maximum contribution to UP’s development revolution,” he added.

While talking about affordable handsets, JioPhone, Ambani said: “Jio will make available over two crore JioPhones in UP within the next two months on a priority basis.”

He mentioned that Jio has already created over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

“Jio will establish a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the campus of a reputed university in Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani added.

IANS

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Moody’s places PNB’s ratings under review for downgrade

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New Delhi, Feb 20: Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday placed under review for downgrade Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) local and foreign currency deposit rating of Baa3/P-3 and foreign currency issuer rating Baa3, an official statement said here.

It said “likely financial impact of the fraudulent transactions is the key driver for the review for downgrade.”

At the same time, Moody’s has placed the bank’s Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA of ba3 and the Counterparty Risk Assessment (CRA) of Baa3(cr)/P-3(cr) under review for downgrade.

PNB, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches in Mumbai, which is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate. The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

“The primary driver for today’s rating action is the risk of weakening of the bank’s standalone credit profile, as a result of the discovery of a number of fraudulent transactions. On February 14, 2018, PNB announced to the Indian stock exchanges that the bank had discovered some fraudulent and unauthorized transactions amounting to Rs 113.9 billion ($1.8 billion),” Moody’s said.

The credit rating agency said the fraudulent transactions represent a contingent liability and the financial impact would be determined by the relevant law in India.

“Nevertheless, Moody’s expects that PNB will need to provide for at least a substantial portion of the exposure. As a result, the bank’s profitability will likely come under pressure, although the actual impact will depend on the timing and quantum of provisions that need to be made, as well as any prospects for recovery,” the statement said.

“The fraudulent transactions represent about 230 basis points of the bank’s risk-weighted assets as of 31 December 2017. As such, PNB’s capital position would deteriorate markedly, and fall below minimum regulatory requirements, if the bank is required to provide for the entire exposure. Consequently, PNB may need to raise capital externally – mainly from the government – to comply with the minimum Basel III capital requirement of an 8 per cent common equity tier 1 (CET1) ratio by March 31, 2019,” Moody’s said.

Moody’s said the review for downgrade will focus on: the timing and quantum of the financial impact of the fraudulent transactions; any management actions taken to improve the capitalisation profile of the bank, and any punitive actions taken by the regulator on the bank.

“Moody’s assumes a very high probability of government support for PNB in times of need, resulting in a three-notch uplift to its deposit and issuer ratings from its BCA. In the review for downgrade, Moody’s will also assess government support for the bank’s deposits and senior unsecured debt.”

Given the review for downgrade, Moody’s said it is unlikely to upgrade PNB’s ratings over the next 12-18 months.

“Nevertheless, Moody’s could affirm the ratings, if the financial impact of the fraudulent transactions is much smaller than what Moody’s anticipates in this rating action, and/or if the bank manages to strengthen its capital position to a level above the minimum regulatory requirements — including the capital conservation buffer — under Basel III standards, and/or the bank returns to profitability on a sustainable basis,” the statement added.

IANS

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Key Indian equity indices open flat

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 33,913.94 points, traded at 33,843.41 points (9.25 a.m.) — up 68.75 points or 0.20 per cent — from its previous session’s close.

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Mumbai, Feb 20: Key Indian equity indices traded on a flat note on Tuesday with marginal upward movement in both the indices.

The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded at 10,392.90 points, up 14.50 points or 0.14 per cent from the previous close.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 33,913.94 points, traded at 33,843.41 points (9.25 a.m.) — up 68.75 points or 0.20 per cent — from its previous session’s close.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 33,931.90 points and a low of 33,753.50 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was bearish with 603 declines and 466 advances.

IANS

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