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Income tax rates, slabs changed; those earning up to Rs 15 lakh benefit

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New Delhi, Feb 1 : In a major relief to middle class, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed to cut income tax rates and change slabs to lower tax incidence for those earning upto Rs 15 lakh a year.

The Minister has proposed a 10 per cent tax on income between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh from the current 20 per cent now.

Income between Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh will also attract a lower tax of 15 per cent. For annual income between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 12.5 lakh, the income tax rate has been reduced to 20 per cent from 30 per cent.

Those earning Rs 12.5 lakhs to Rs 15 lakhs will pay 25 per cent tax. The Finance Minister said that those earning over Rs 15 lakh would continue to pay the tax at the current rate of 30 per cent.

“A person earning Rs 15 lakh per annum and not availing any deductions will now pay Rs 1.95 lakh tax in place of Rs 2.73 lakh,” the Finance Minister said while presenting her second Union budget in the Lok Sabha.

Terming the new tax rates and slabs as simplified one, she said that the new reduced rates would apply for those who agree to forego all other exemptions available under the Income Tax Act.

At present, those earning upto Rs 2.5 lakh a year are exempted from income tax. The current income tax rate for those earning from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh is 5 per cent but availing the deductions and exemptions, they can bring down their tax liability to nil.

The reduction in tax rates is set to boost sentiments and add to the purchasing power of the people. The measures are aimed at addressing the demand side concerns.

On account of lower income tax rates, the government would forego a total revenue of Rs 40,000 crore in a year.

Many experts had earlier said that most measures announced by the government to boost the economy were aimed at addressing the supply side concerns while there was a need to take measures to push consumption demand.

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Govt proposes to amend FCRA, make Aadhar mandatory for NGOs to receive foreign funds

The bill to amend the FCRA has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. It seeks to limit the use of foreign funds for administrative purposes from the current limit of 50 per cent to 20 per cent.

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The Centre on Sunday proposed amendments in the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act or FCRA through a bill it introduced in the Lok Sabha or lower house of Parliament.

According to the government, the proposed amendments “seek to streamline the provisions of the FCRA by strengthening the compliance mechanism, enhancing transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution worth thousands of crores of rupees every year”.

The proposed amendments seek to bar public servants from receiving foreign funding.

The amendments seek to make Aadhar mandatory for all office bearers of NGOs and other organisations which are seeking foreign contributions.

The bill also seeks to limit the use of foreign funds received under FCRA for administrative purposes from the current limit of 50 per cent to 20 per cent.

“The annual inflow of foreign contribution has almost doubled between the years 2010 and 2019, but many recipients of foreign contribution have not utilised the same for the purpose for which they were registered or granted prior permission under the said Act. Many of them were also found wanting in ensuring basic statutory compliances such as submission of annual returns and maintenance of proper accounts,” according to the proposed amendment.

“This has led to a situation where the central government had to cancel certificates of registration of more than 19,000 recipient organisations, including non-governmental organisations, during the period between 2011 and 2019,” it further says.

The bill, if passed, will empower the government to ask a violator to not use the funds by holding a “summary inquiry”.

After the amendments are passed, no organisation will be able to transfer foreign contribution to any association/person under Section 7 of the FCRA.

“Every person who has been granted certificate or prior permission for foreign funding shall receive foreign contribution only in an account designated as “FCRA Account” which shall be opened by him in such branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi, as the Central Government may, by notification, specify and for other consequential matters relating thereto,” the proposed amendment says.

The FCRA was enacted to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The act came into force on the May 1, 2011, and has been amended twice since then. The first amendment was made by Section 236 of the Finance Act, 2016 and the second amendment was made by Section 220 of the Finance Act, 2018.

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Focus to shift to Primary market – Market Watch

The Indian Rupee gained Rs 0.10 or 0.14 per cent to close at Rs 73.44. Dow Jones too ended flat for the week losing 8.22 points or 0.03 per cent to close at 27,657.42 points.

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Indian Rupees Sensex Economy

The week gone by had plenty of action and was volatile. While the benchmark indices were just about flat, BSEHEALTHCARE and BSEIT gained significant ground and helped the benchmark indices. Similarly post the SEBI announcement on multi-cap funds being directed to match the allocation of stocks based on their definition of large cap, midcap and Smallcap at 25 per cent each as a threshold level, we saw BSEMIDCAP and BSESMALLCAP indices gain substantially.

BSESESEX lost 8.73 points or 0.02 per cent to close at 38,845.82 points while NIFTY gained 40.50 points or 0.35 per cent to close at 11,504.95 points. The broader market saw BSE100, BSE200 and BSE500 gain 0.67 per cent, 0.92 per cent and 1.22 per cent respectively. BSEMIDCAP gained 2.65 per cent while BSESMALLCAP was up 5.09 per cent. Clearly market breadth gained while the benchmark indices were flat. BSEHEALTHCARE had a huge gain of 9.14 per cent lead by Dr Reddy which was up 21.04 per cent and supported by Lupin 12.31 per cent and Cipla 11.16 per cent. Even BSEIT gained 6.19 per cent. The laggard was BSEBANKEX which was down 1.84 per cent with the banking pack losing for the third consecutive week. SBI was down 4.98 per cent for the week.

The Indian Rupee gained Rs 0.10 or 0.14 per cent to close at Rs 73.44. Dow Jones too ended flat for the week losing 8.22 points or 0.03 per cent to close at 27,657.42 points.

From the above movement one can infer that there is some fatigue factor setting in among the benchmark indices stocks. The rally which was earlier led buy one single stock Reliance has now shifted to a handful of pharma and IT stocks. With their weightage being significantly lower, the net effect is not here to be seen. The gains are offset by losses in the BFSI space. In the broader markets there is a wider participation in small and midcap stocks and people seem to be mis-reading the SEBI circular. How long this optimism remains is anybody’s guess.

There is plenty of action in the primary markets. Shares of Happiest Mind Technologies listed on Thursday and had a dream debut with the stock price gaining a massive 123.49 per cent to close at Rs 371, against the issue price of Rs 166. Considering the non-anchor portion which has a lock-in of 30 days, delivery on day one was to the extent of 92.99 per cent of the IPO size. This indicates that almost all except 7 per cent of the investors whether they be QIB, HNI or Retail sold on day one. The share closed at Rs 358.45 for the week, a gain of 115.93 per cent. Effectively we have new investors in Happiest Mind who have invested at Rs 370 instead of Rs 166.

Shares of Route Mobile Limited would list on Monday, September 21.

The week ahead sees two primary market issues open on Monday and one open on Tuesday, making a total of three issues for the week. It seems September has suddenly brought the primary markets alive and there is a strong possibility that the last week of September may see a couple of more issues opening.

The first issue opening on Monday and closing on Wednesday, September 23 is from Computer Age Management Services Limited (better known as CAMS). The issue is an offer for sale from NSE Investment for 1.82 crore shares in a price band of Rs 1,229-1,230. The company’s primary business is being an RTA (Registrar and Transfer Agent) for mutual funds. The EPS for the year ended March 2020 is Rs 35.54 and the price earning multiple at which shares are being issued is 34.58-34.61. The asking price is rich in valuation and may not offer much scope for appreciation after listing. The expected listing price is likely to be in the region of Rs 1,560-1,600.

The second issue is from Chemcon Speciality Chemicals Limited which is into the business of speciality chemicals in the pharmaceutical and completion fluids for the oil well industry. One of the raw materials for the company is the bromide family which is a hazardous chemical and a difficult material and chemistry to handle. One of the recently listed peers in the similar field in Neogen Chemicals which also processes Bromide for different application. The issue opens on Monday, September 21 and closes on Wednesday, September 23. The price band is Rs 338-340. The EPS for the year ended March 2020 is Rs 15.37 and the PE multiple is between 21.99-22.12 times. The issue consists of a fresh issue of Rs 165 crore and an offer for sale of 45 lakh shares.

The third and final issue for the week is from Angel Broking Limited which opens on Tuesday, September 22 and closes on Thursday, September 24. The company is issuing fresh shares for Rs 300 crore and an offer for sale of Rs 300 crore. The price band is Rs 305-306. The EPS for the year ended March 2020 is Rs 11.44. The PE multiple for the company based on this EPS for March 2020 is 26.66-26.75 times. Even considering the fact that the April-June quarter was a great period for the broking industry during the Covid-19 pandemic time, it is difficult to expect the good times to continue. Margin rules being changed have affected volumes at the bourses and volumes have slipped from peak levels. Secondly, while the company had garnered new clients with a massive drop and restructuring of broking rates, the newness and effectiveness of the growth on account of the same is wearing off. At the asking PE, the share is more expensive than listed players from the industry, challenging the logic to subscribe.

The week ahead sees September futures expire on Thursday, September 24. The current level of NIFTY of 11,504.95 points means that the series is lower by 54.30 points or 0.47 per cent. While the loss is marginal, the law of averages may play catch up as we have been seeing monthly gains for the last three months from June 20 expiry onwards.

Covid-19 front saw the world have 3,09,92,980 patients, 9,61,475 deaths and 2,25,87,905 people recover. In India the number of patients has increased to 54,00,619 patients, 86,774 deaths and 43.03,043 people having recovered. Compared to the previous week the world saw 20,46,352 new patients, 36,865 deaths and 17,74,755 people recovering. In India the number of new patients has increased by 6,46,263 people, 8,160 deaths and 6,00,448 people recovering.

The week ahead would see the focus shifting to the primary markets with three new issues and one new listing. Further the euphoria in the small and midcap space would in all probability reduce and people take a breather. Also, the huge rally in HealthCare and IT stocks could also see profit taking while BFSI space is likely to see some value buying. Considering all of these factors including September futures expiry, expect markets to be choppy, volatile, two sided sharp movements and mixed. Trend determination may be difficult in the week and one must be prepared to see a correction which is long overdue. Caution is drawn to people asking them to refrain from shorting the market on an overnight basis and use sharp rallies to sell and equally sharp dips to buy. Be patient.

(Arun Kejriwal is the founder of Kejriwal Research and Investment Services. The views expressed are personal)

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MTNL plans to sell assets in Mumbai through DIPAM

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MTNL chairman Purwar

New Delhi, Sep 19 : State-run telecom operator MTNL has submitted a set of assets for monetisation through the framework of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which comes under the Finance Ministry.

The assets proposed for sale include land, staff quarters and telephone exchange in Mumbai, said Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

“MTNL has submitted a set of assets for monetisation through the DIPAM Framework…. No property in Delhi is presently under monetisation through the DIPAM Framework,” he said.

He informed the Lok Sabha that international property consultants have been appointed for end-to-end transaction advice on monetisation of these properties.

Noting that the asset monetisation process is a complex one involving multiple stakeholders and agencies, he said that a specific time frame for the completion of these monetisation transactions cannot be defined at present.

The value at which the assets would be monetised would depend on the feasibility of monetisation of the asset, the monetisation model and the market conditions prevailing at the time of monetisation, Thakur said, adding that it would be difficult to anticipate the sale proceeds presently.

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