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RBI fines Rs 1 crore on SBI

State Bank of India on Thursday said that the Reserve Bank of India has slapped Rs 1 crore penalty on the country’s largest lender for violating norms. RBI “in exercise of powers conferred under Section 47 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 has levied a penalty of Rupees one crore on the bank for not monitoring the end use of funds in respect of one of its borrowers,” SBI said in a regulatory filing. SBI, however, did not share details of the borrower and the loan amount given to the borrower.

Just 50 pc of country’s PAN cards linked with Aadhaar

Even as the Supreme Court made it mandatory for income-tax returns to be filed with Aadhaar and fixed March 31 as deadline for linking Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar, only 23 crore PAN card holders have so far linked the two.

“The I-T department has so far issued 42 crore PAN accounts, of which 23 crore have been linked with Aadhaar,” said Central Board of Direct Taxes chairman Sushil Chandra.

“By linking with Aadhaar, we will know whether there are any duplicate PAN or not. And there are certain duplicate PANs… If it is not linked, we may cancel the PAN also,” Chandra said, while addressing an Assocham event.

Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act says that every person having PAN as on July 1, 2017, and eligible to obtain Aadhaar, must intimate his Aadhaar number to the tax authorities.

Chandra said, so far this year, 6.31 crore returns have been filed, which is much more than 5.44 crore persons who had filed last year. So far, 95 lakh new taxpayers have been added by department.

No-deal Brexit will shut Jaguar Land Rover plant in UK

Tata Motors on Thursday said in case of a “no deal Brexit”, JLR will have two to three weeks of plants shutdown in the UK, while its British arm’s profitability will be adversely impacted in the long term.

As part of its preparations for a ‘no deal Brexit’, JLR said in an investor presentation that in the long term the company will have to reassess its manufacturing and sourcing strategy to overcome hurdles. In the short term, Tata Motors said delays at ports could disrupt import of components into the UK for manufacturing as well as the export of finished vehicles.

In order to overcome such a scenario, JLR has “factory downtime” under which it will pull forward five scheduled Easter Holiday beginning April 15 with an additional five days of additional plant downtime from April 8-12.

The company further said it plans to have sufficient buffer stock to minimise potential disruption due to plant shutdown expected in the first week of April. JLR has also put in place a comprehensive cross-functional Brexit governance programme to minimise the impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, wherever possible, the presentation said.


RBI act provides for interim dividend and govt free to use it

Governor Shaktikanta Das Thursday said it is legitimate for the government to demand an interim dividend from the Reserve Bank as it’s part of the statutes and use it the way it wants.

Das, who joined the central bank after the surprise resignation of Urjit Patel following differences with the government, was replying to a question on the impact of the impact of the Rs 6000-per annum cash payout to around 120 million farmer households on the fiscal numbers and how serious is the farmers’ distress according to the central bank’s assessment.

Government to provide more funds for Ayushman Bharat next year: Goyal

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal Friday said the government may provide more funds for the world’s biggest health care scheme — Ayushman Bharat — next year.

In the last four months of its launch, the scheme has already benefited over 10 lakh people, he said while speaking at the sixth Global Fund Replenishment organised by Ministry of Health.

“The government has already provided half a billion dollar funding for the programme. We expect to provide much more funds in the next year,” he said.

The interim Budget presented last week has raised the allocation for Ayushman Bharat scheme to Rs 6,400 crore for 2019-2020.

“Unless we create a distress free health care system for 1.3 billion people in India, unless we look at health in a very holistic fashion right from preventive health care…we will not be able to take people out of distress that health care can cause particularly to lesser privileged,” he said.

Improvement of infrastructure of health care also opens up huge opportunities for companies around the world to participate in effort to expand the health care system, he said.

Chandra says more relief on way for start-ups on angel tax

There’s more relief on way for start-ups as the income-tax department will soon decide on the kind of start-ups that can be exempted from angel tax.

“Very shortly, we will find out a solution on the basis of the suggestions we have received. We will have to decide which start-ups are real start-ups and how they can be exempted from Section 56(2) of Income Tax Act,” Central Board of Direct Taxes chairman Sushil Chandra said. He was speaking at an event organised by Assocham.

Last week, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), along with tax officials, met start-up industry representatives to hear their suggestions.The meeting comes after various start-ups raised concerns on notices sent to them under Section 56(2) of the I-T Act to pay taxes on angel funds.

The section states that the amount raised by a start-up in excess of its fair market value would be deemed as income from other sources and would be taxed at 30 per cent.

According to sources, the exemption is being mulled for angel investors who are co-investing with venture capitalists.Last month, the government had eased the procedure for seeking income-tax exemption by start-ups on investments from angel funds and prescribed a 45-day deadline for a decision on such applications.


Over Rs 2,400 crore-worth dues to AAI owed by domestic airlines

Domestic airlines owed dues worth Rs 2,448 crore to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) as on January 15, the civil aviation ministry said on Thursday. Dues against foreign scheduled and non-scheduled airline operators stood at Rs 312.27 crore, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

However, specific date regarding the dues to be paid to the AAI was not disclosed. “Dues, excluding penal interest, claim against domestic scheduled and non-scheduled airlines’ operators as on January 15, 2019 is Rs 2,448.41 crore,” Sinha said about the dues owed to the AAI.

According to him, SpiceJet’s dues stood at Rs 105.71 crore against security deposit of Rs 124.22 crore, while that of GoAir was Rs 19.35 crore against security deposit of Rs 73.12 crore.

Details about the date regarding the dues were not provided. Sinha said that Kingfisher Airlines’ dues amounted to Rs 294.69 crore, including penal interest of Rs 119.39 crore. “AAI has already filed a court case on March 14, 2014 for recovery of dues from Kingfisher Airlines and has taken up the matter with SpiceJet for clearing the dues. The dues against GoAir are regular dues,” the minister said. Kingfisher Airlines was grounded in 2012.

India makes substantial progress in international IP index

India has climbed eight places to rank 36th in the latest annual International IP Index released by the US Chambers of Commerce which said the improvement is a “real accomplishment” but substantial challenges persist, particularly regarding the country’s patenting and IP enforcement environments. In 2018 International Intellectual Property Index, India was ranked 44 out of 50 countries. The increase in India’s ranking is a result of specific reforms that better align India’s IP environment with the international IP system, including its accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties, the agreement to initiate a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with Japan, a dedicated set of IP incentives for small business, and administrative reforms to address the patent backlog, said the report.

In the first edition of the report in 2014, which is prepared by Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the US Chambers of Commerce, India had ranked last in the ranking of 25 countries. In 2017, India ranked 43 out of 45 countries. In the last two years, US Chambers of Commerce has increased its comparative study to 50 economies, contributing over 90 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product. The US tops the list of 50 global economies with 42.66 points out of 45, followed by the United Kingdom (42.22), Sweden (41.03) and Germany (41.00). China is ranked 25th with 21.45 points and India has jumped eight position to be ranked 36 with 16.22 points.

No sector of the economy will face funds crunch: RBI governor

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, who in his maiden monetary policy review announced a surprise 25 bps rate cut on Thursday, said the Reserve Bank is continuously monitoring liquidity situation and assured that there will be no scarcity of funds for any needy sector of the economy. He said the assessment of the system-wide liquidity is made on a regular basis and a sufficient amount of funds will be infused whenever needed. “The RBI has been constantly and continuously monitoring the liquidity situation and based on requirement, we will ensure that there is no liquidity scarcity,” Das told reporters in the customary post-policy interaction. Deputy governor Viral Acharya said the RBI has been injecting system-wide liquidity through open market operations (OMOs) and so this fiscal year, it has injected Rs 2.36 lakh crore of fresh liquidity into the system and for February, it has already announced Rs 37,500 crore worth of OMOs. “At present, the liquidity is in surplus. There is enough liquidity for those who are able to get it from lenders,” Acharya noted. When asked if RBI may taper its OMOs since the liquidity situation has become surplus, Das said it will depend on the evolving situations. “There is an assessment on liquidity that’s regularly made, not just monthly or fortnightly but every week or every day. Whenever there is a requirement, we will infuse the necessary liquidity into the market,” said Das.

RBI raises collateral-free farm loan

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Thursday raised the limit of collateral-free agricultural loans to Rs 1.6 lakh from the current Rs 1 lakh with a view to help small and marginal farmers.

The central bank also decided to set up an internal working group (IWG) to review agricultural credit and arrive at a workable policy solution.

The Union Budget had also announced measures to farming sector in addition annual payment of Rs 6,000 to small and marginal farmers.

Currently, the banks are mandated to extend collateral-free agricultural loans up to Rs 1 lakh.

This limit was fixed in the year 2010.

“Keeping in view the overall inflation and rise in agriculture input costs since then, it has been decided to raise the limit for collateral, free agriculture loans from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.6 lakh.

“This will enhance coverage of small and marginal farmers in the formal credit system,” said the central bank’s ‘Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies’.

A circular in this regard will be issued shortly, it added.

It further said agricultural credit growth has been significant over the years.

In spite of this, there remain issues related to agricultural credit such as regional disparity and the extent of coverage, among others.

“There is also the issue of deepening long-term agricultural credit for capital formation,” the RBI said while announcing setting up of the IWG.

The IWG will examine issues related to agricultural credit and arrive at workable solutions and policy initiatives.

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