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GST could raise solar tariffs by 10%: Report

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New Delhi, February 15: Solar tariffs in India may rise by nearly 10 percent if current tax exemptions are curtailed under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, a local think-tank dealing with energy and environment issues has said.

India’s emerging solar sector could see tariffs rise by nearly 10 per cent if current tax exemptions were curtailed in the roll out of the GST,” the Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) said in a statement on Tuesday, citing its study.

 

This comes in the backdrop of solar tariffs falling to record lows last week when major players, including foreign firms, won separate contracts for building a 750 MW solar plant in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, with bids to supply power at less than Rs 3 per unit.

 

The GST could possibly increase capital cost of a solar project by Rs4.5 million per megawatt if current tax exemptions were curtailed, setting back the sector in terms of cost competitiveness by about 18 months, the CEEW study said.

Multiple GST rates and their uncertain applicability to different equipments and services for solar projects is a growing concern from solar project developers and investors,” it said.

“GST could also impact the pace of the second phase of solar park development for additional 20,000 MW capacity announced in the recent budget,” it said.

“The increase in solar tariffs would also vary across states; higher for states such as Rajasthan where VAT and Entry Tax exemptions are currently provided for solar equipment, as opposed to Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat where VAT and Entry Tax exemptions are not provided,” it added.

CEEW said that solar project developers have already approached the government with requests to ensure that the current tax exemptions applicable to the sector continue.

The study found that GST will give a boost to the government’s Make in India initiative, helping to improve the competitiveness of Indian manufacturers of solar cells, panels and modules, eliminate the cascading effect of the existing tax structure, and introduce an input tax credit.

“Increased competitiveness of domestic solar manufacturers could create an additional 37,000 new jobs in the solar manufacturing sector by 2022,” it said.

“GST offers many long term benefits, but the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited and other related agencies must provide clear guidelines regarding the applicable GST slab for upcoming solar power projects and introduce government mechanisms to offset the short term negative impacts of GST,” CEEW Chief Executive Arunabha Ghosh said in the statement.

Ghosh also said that if current tax exemptions are curtailed, the impact of the increase in solar tariffs could be partially offset by policy instruments, such as accelerated depreciation benefits or viability gap funding for projects incurring increased capital investments.

IANS

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Nepal, China to enhance cooperation under Belt & Road Initiative

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Belt and Road initiative

Beijing, June 22 (IANS) Nepal and China have agreed to execute projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to enhance connectivity that encompasses ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the overarching framework of Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.

In a joint statement issued during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, the two sides agreed to take practical measures to promote cooperation in all fields mentioned in the MOUs that included conducting a feasibility study of Kerung-Kathmandu railway, reconstruction of two friendship fridges, protocol on the utilization of Tibetan highways for cargo transport and investment and cooperation on production capacity.

On the railway pact that aims to extend the Chinese railway network to Kathmandu, the joint statement said: “Nepal and China underscored it as the most significant initiative in the history of bilateral cooperation and believed that it would herald a new era of cross-border connectivity.

Other pacts reached during Oli’s visit from June 19-24 were setting up of a mechanism for facilitation on the implementation of China-Nepal Cooperation Programmes and Projects in the Himalayan nation, MOUs on strengthening cooperation between their Foreign Ministries, cooperation in fields of energy and human resource development.

Beijing and Kathmandu also agreed to work together in areas of economy, trade, investment, industrial capacity, post-disaster reconstruction and other mutually beneficial areas, according to the statement.

Another takeaway of the visit was an early finalization of the joint feasibility study on the China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement (FTA), establishing cross-border economic cooperation zones and an agreement on completing the post disaster recovery of two frontier inspection stations on Nepal-China border.

Beijing agreed to support the Chinese-funded banks for opening their branches in Nepal. It said that it was ready to negotiate the financing modalities of the projects on road, railway connectivity, hydropower and transmission lines, among others, proposed by Nepal.

The two sides will also boost cooperation between the law enforcement agencies on information exchanges, capacity building and training. They will negotiate the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Treaty on Extradition to fight against illegal border crossing and transnational crimes.

There will be more exchanges and cooperation between China and Nepal in areas of education, culture, tourism, media, think tanks, youth and people-to-people relations.

China said it will provide more government scholarships every year to Nepal, whereas Kathmandu said it will facilitate the teaching programme of volunteer Chinese language teachers.

“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral forums and to safeguard common interests of developing, least developed and landlocked developing countries in particular,” the joint statement added.

The two countries will also view and support each other’s participation in the regional cooperation process and enhance coordination and cooperation within the SCO, SAARC and other regional cooperation mechanisms within the agreed frameworks and guidelines.

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Banking, healthcare stocks help equity indices end in green

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Sensex Nifty Equity

Mumbai, June 22: Last hour buying in banking, healthcare and auto stocks lifted the key equity indices after a largely choppy trade on Friday.

Broadly positive European markets also supported the Indian indices, analysts said.

At 3.30 p.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) provisionally closed at 10,821.85 points, up 80.75 points or 0.75 per cent from the previous close of 10,741.10 points.

Similarly, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had opened at 35,428.42 points, closed (3.30 p.m.) at 35,689.60 points (3.30 p.m.) — up 257.21 points or 0.73 per cent — from its previous session’s close of 35,432.39 points.

The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 35,741.26 and a low of 35,344.49 points. The BSE market breadth, however, was bearish with 1,411 declines and 1,167 advances.

The top gainers on the Sensex were Sun Pharma, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), HDFC, Axis Bank and State Bank of India whereas Reliance Industries, Wipro, Coal India, Tata Consultancy Services and ONGC were the major losers.

On the NSE, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Pharma and M&M were the highest gainers while Reliance Industries, Hindustan Petroleum and UPL lost the most.

IANS

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Key Indian equity indices open in green

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SENSEX-

Mumbai, June 21: Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened higher.

The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 35,547.33 points on Wednesday, opened higher at 35,644.05 points.

Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 35,631.42 points, up by 84.09 points, or 0.24 per cent.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 51-scrip Nifty, which had closed at 10,772.05 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 10,798.80 points, up by 26.75 points or 0.25 per cent.

Broadly positive global cues had lifted the key Indian equity indices on Wednesday and according to analysts, banking, metal and auto stocks witnessed healthy buying activity.

The Sensex was up by 260.59 points or 0.74 per cent at the Wednesday’s closing. In the day’s trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 35,571.37 points and a low of 35,329.51 points. The Nifty, too, was up by 61.60 points or 0.58 per cent.

On Thursday, Asian indices were showing mixed trend. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was quoting in green, up by 0.79 per cent, while Hang Seng was down by 0.07 per cent, and South Korea’s Kospi was down by 0.29 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite index was trading in green, up by 0.40 per cent.

Overnight, Nasdaq closed in green, up by 0.72 per cent while FTSE 100 was also up by 0.31 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.

IANS

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