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India will see boom in urbanisation

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New Delhi, April 8:India will see a huge upturn in urbanisation while it has ended in the US and Europe, told by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog  (National Institution for Transforming India).

During his speech at The Taj Luxury Symposium 2017 on Friday, Kant said luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes are doing well in the country.

Talking about digital platforms transforming luxury, he said: “Digital technology is going to bring a lot of immersive virtual reality and that is going to create a vast amount of unique experiences.”

“This will happen because India will see a huge upsurge in terms of e-commerce. India will see 300 per cent growth in the next four to five years in terms of e-commerce transaction.”

According to Kant an e-commerce company needs to spread out into rural areas as well.

“It’s nearing its completion in China. In India, it has just begun. India will see a huge upsurge in urbanisation. The second thing is the middle class is moving to the upper end of the market. India is creating a huge middle class.”

And the middle class, he says, is essentially an aspirational class.

“If you look at UK, the latest cars, perfumes and jewellery… The consumption boom was driven by the aspirational middle class. That is what is going to happen to India in the coming years and that will be driven digitally,” said Kant.

In fact, physical banking in India will be dead in the next five years, he says.

But Umang Bedi, Managing Director – India and South Asia at Facebook, feels that luxury brands are yet to build digital commerce strategy.

“It will take them sometime,” he said.

“The consumer is looking for a real story and looks beyond packaging. They want to know how the product is made, where it is made,” Bedi said.
Wefornews Bureau

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Looting tax payers’ money has become Modi government’s ‘Takiya Kalam’: Congress

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New Delhi, June 25: Congress on Monday revealed another bank scam amounting to Rs 7000 crore involving Faridabad -based SRS group under the Modi government. Also accused the Centre of jeopardizing 38 Crore LIC policyholders by forcing it to purchase the failing IDBI bank. 

Addressing media, Senior Congress Randeep Singh Surjewala said “Today we are presenting another bank scam worth Rs 7000 Crore. Criminal conspiracy and fraud by Faridabad-based company SRS Group, has resulted in 113 cases registered against them”.

“Whistleblowers have presented a list of 251 shell companies of SRS group were used for money laundering”.

Surjewala accused the Centre of not taking any action against the Faridabad based group.

“Despite complaints, no government agency, including Prime Minister Office, has taken action against this group”, he stated.

Why did the banks not refer the matter of huge default by SRS Group to CBI/ED/RBI or other agencies, despite all the loans became NPA by the end of FY 2015-16, Surjewala asked.

Taking a jibe at the Centre, he said Looting tax payers’ money has become Modi government’s ‘Takiya Kalam’.

Besides this, the Congress leader said that Central government is also jeopardizing 38 Crore LIC policyholders by forcing it to purchase the failing IDBI bank, despite it being worst performing public sector bank.

Banking scams under Modi government has now crossed Rs 70000 Crore. How will PM Modi recover this money from the fraudsters?, Congress leader poised a question.

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With 90% tax on petrol & diesel, bringing them under GST impractical: NITI Aayog VC

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Rajiv Kumar

New Delhi, June 25: Petroleum is the taxation milch cow for the central and the state governments and it is unlikely to be brought under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) any time soon.

That’s also the view of the Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog, Rajiv Kumar. Several senior ministers have demanded that petroleum products — basically petrol and diesel — be brought under the new taxation regime.

But says Kumar: “It (oil) can’t be brought under GST. That’s because the total state and central taxes on petrol put together are around 90 per cent right now.”

He told IANS in an interview here: “I can’t see how any state will take a cut so huge as the highest rate under the GST is 28 per cent. A new GST band will have to be opened up — and that will be an enormous exercise.”

While supporting “in principle” the idea of bringing all items under the new indirect tax system, he said those talking about doing it now have not thought this through.

“The better way to do this is to first start reducing taxes (on petroleum products) as I have said many times in public. States impose ad-valorem tax on oil and so they all had a windfall gain (when prices rose). There is a need to rationalise it,” he said, adding “states should especially cut taxes.”

Kumar said that both the central and the state governments should start the process of weaning themselves away from their dependence on oil taxation.

According to him, the Central government collects Rs 2.5 lakh crore as tax on oil while almost Rs 2 lakh crore is collected by the states. “From where will they compensate it?” he asks adding that if the taxes are reduced gradually, the burden on the economy will get reduced.

“Higher oil prices are like a tax on the economy. If oil prices are brought down, economic activity will also improve,” Kumar said.

“Once that is achieved, once the revenues have gone up from other sources and the economy has picked up, then you can think of bringing oil under GST. It’s not that easy,” he added.

Ever since the new tax legislation was rolled out on July 1 last year, there had been talk of bringing it under the GST with top government officials and ministers supporting the need for such a move. The Opposition parties, of course, have been clamouring for it.

In December last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had told the Rajya Sabha that the Central government was in favour of bringing petroleum products under the ambit of GST after building a consensus with states.

More recently, in April, when the international crude oil prices were going up sharply, pushing the domestic petrol prices to record levels, BJP President Amit Shah told a rally in Mumbai that efforts were on to bring petrol and diesel under the GST.

From Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to Petroleum and Naural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, almost every senior BJP minister has favoured bringing petroleum products under the GST.

Among states, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has also expressed willingness to bring petrol and diesel under GST in his state if a consensus was brought about on it.

Kumar says he was in favour of such a change, but it has to be thought through in practical terms.

“I am just simply saying that let’s not try to hurry it because you would only run into problems as there is a huge dependence on oil,” he said.

“Even electricity should be brought under GST. Everything should be under GST. But I am not sure whether it is worked out yet. Let’s agree to bring it under GST but over a period of time as is practical,” he said.

IANS

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Live: India, Seychelles Sign Six MoUs after PM Modi’s talks with Faure

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New Delhi, June 25 : Following talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Danny Faure on Monday, , India and Seychelles signed six Memorandums of Understanding at Hyderabad House.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Welcoming the esteemed guest at Hyderabad House! PM @narendramodi received the President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure for bilateral talks. Special ties with a maritime neighbour.” Faure, who is on his first bilateral visit to India, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Modi this morning.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on the visiting leader and discussed with him expanding bilateral cooperation in key areas, including capacity building and human resource development.

Sushma Swaraj met President  and termed the relationship between both the countries as deep-rooted & historical.

“The relationship which is deep-rooted & historical! EAM @SushmaSwaraj calls on President of #Seychelles Danny Faure in New Delhi. Good discussion on expanding bilateral cooperation in all areas, specially capacity building, human resource development and people-to-people contacts,” Kumar said in a tweet.

 

President of the Republic of Seychelles Danny Faure received ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi on Monday. He was received by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan, to hold bilateral talks soon.

Seychelles President Danny Faure, who is on six-day visit to India, will hold crucial bilateral talks focussing on defence and security issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday.

Mutually beneficial relationship based on shared values and commitment to the ideals of democracy and development! President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure was accorded a ceremonial welcome @Rashtrapatibhvn by President Ram Nath Kovind and PM @narendramodi, tweets MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

His visit to India comes days after Faure government rejected India’s plan to  develop a naval base jointly at Assumption Island in his country. Seychelles signed an agreement with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at the island which would have given New Delhi a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region.

Faure, who landed in Gujarat on Friday, has arrived in Delhi on Monday after visiting Ahmedabad and Goa, was received by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar.

“Connected by ‘SAGAR’ – Security and Growth for All in the Region”! President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure warmly received by MoS @mjakbar at Delhi airport on his first bilateral visit to India,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

He visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Saturday, where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1930.

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