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2.5 Crore Free Electricity Connections Provided to BPL Households
Nov 29,2016

Under DeenDayalUpadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Government of India is providing free electricity connections to BPL households. Out of total 4.27 crore connections sanctioned, free electricity connections to 2.5 crore BPL households have been provided as on 31.10.2016 under the scheme.

State-wise Coverage and Achievement of BPL Households under DDUGJY (including RE component)

Sl. No.Name of the StateCoverageAchievement                                     
(As on 31.10.2016)
1Andhra Pradesh245728724145552Arunachal Pradesh74679516213Assam179460412102244Bihar1066085237670195Chhattisgarh144899711433436Gujarat8480058429457Haryana2579021985808Himachal Pradesh19578162909Jammu & Kashmir1428856914810Jharkhand2367897127517011Karnataka103696695009812Kerala19291915030513Madhya Pradesh3209701166840714Maharashtra1621836122135015Manipur1375257030716Meghalaya12175810438317Mizoram306432971018Nagaland986165455919Odisha4499998277672320Punjab929889298821Rajasthan1791657116642622Sikkim136011360123Tamil Nadu52646850209424Telangana112530670886525Tripura20873213796226Uttar Pradesh5212392191094827Uttarakhand23840423792128West Bengal24800342204398Grand Total4271244624989940

In order to provide access to electricity to all rural households and also ensure quality and reliability of power supply in rural areas, Government of India has launched DeenDayalUpadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) with an outlay of Rs.43033 crore and Budgetary support of Rs.33453 crore consisting of separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders, strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution network, metering at all level and rural electrification.  In addition to this, rural electrification component projects with total outlay of Rs.32860 crore including budgetary support from Government of India of Rs.29574 crore have been subsumed in DDUGJY.  Under the scheme, adequate infrastructure would be created in all the villages to provide access to electricity to all households.  Release of service connections to households is the responsibility of concerned State DISCOM / Power Department. Projects under the scheme are to be completed in 24 months from the date of award.

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LPG coverage to increase by 75% by 2019
Nov 29,2016

The Government with a view to increase LPG coverage to 75% by 2019 and to provide LPG connections to poor household, has launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). Under PMUY, 5 crore new LPG connections over a period of three years starting from 2016-17 to BPL households identified through SECC data, are to be released. In order to ensure availability and accessibility of LPG, Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) appoint new LPG distributors based on market feasibility. Currently selection and commissioning of new distributors is underway in more than 2300 locations. Further advertisement for 400 locations each in the States of UP and Odisha has been released by OMCs.

Release of LPG connections is a continuous process. LPG distributors are under instruction to release new connections on demand and, if any waiting list arises, liquidate the same within seven days.

Assessment of requirement of LPG (domestic/commercial) in the country including state of Madhya Pradesh is made by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) on annual basis for planning the imports as indigenous production of LPG is less than the demand. The projected demand is monitored on a regular basis and necessary changes in the projections are made based on the prevailing sales trend, change in policies or any other factor which may influence the demand. Action is taken accordingly to meet any fluctuation in demand of LPG due to such factors.

OMCs carry out regular surprise inspections at distributors premises, conduct refill audits, surprise checks at customers premises, en-route checking of delivery vehicles etc., to check black-marketing and pilferage of cylinders.

During 2015-16, the established cases of malpractice/irregularities including overcharging, underweight/pilferage of LPG cylinders were 2633.

Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) take punitive action under the prevailing Marketing Discipline Guidelines (MDG) and the Distributorship Agreement against LPG distributors in all established cases of irregularities.

SMSs are sent to the LPG consumers at the time of booking, cash memo generation and delivery of cylinders.

Further, HPCL had launched Smart Refill Delivery Management on Pilot basis through Mobile application n++zy Gas. The advantages/features of the application are:

1. Delivery of Refill Cylinder to right consumer

2. Delivery of Refill Cylinder at right place at right time.

3. Options to the consumers to pay for the refill using cash or credit Card/Debit Card at the time of delivery at their door step. (E-Wallets to be integrated)

4. On the spot Delivery confirmation in the central system of HPCL as delivery happens

5. Near real time display of all delivery related information at the distributorship through a dashboard, providing much needed control of distributors on delivery process.

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Coal Stock with Thermal Power Plant Increased to 38.9 MT
Nov 29,2016

The coal stock with Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) has increased to 38.9 MT (equivalent to 27 days requirement) as on 31.03.2016 from 26.1 MT (equivalent to 18 days requirement as on 31 March 2015).

The subsidiary-wise production of coal and offtake by CIL for the last three years and current year are:

( in MT )

Com.2016-17
(APR-OCT) Prov.)
2015-162014-152013-14Prod.OfftakeProd.OfftakeProd.OfftakeProd.OfftakeECL19.58623.31640.20938.60740.00838.47036.05436.255BCCL19.49419.12635.86136.14134.51433.67232.61434.200CCL28.11930.36461.32459.58255.65255.33850.02252.122NCL42.97144.68580.22478.53272.48473.69368.63972.111WCL17.47819.44844.81542.31041.14741.24639.72939.945SECL71.11373.801137.934138.748128.275123.223124.261122.027 MCL74.68081.011137.901140.234121.379123.003110.439114.344NEC0.1270.4050.4860.3420.7790.7320.6640.577CIL273.568292.156538.754534.496494.238489.377462.422471.581

 State- wise coal production of CIL for the last three years and the current year is as below:

( in MT )

STATE2016-17
(APR-OCT)
(Prov.)
2015-162014-152013-14West Bengal11.69123.71821.65220.430Jharkhand55.508113.675108.52198.260Chhattisgarh65.334124.206115.192110.143Orissa74.680137.901121.379110.439Madhya Pradesh43.41287.89276.40373.590Maharashtra14.94038.18735.35434.175Uttar Pradesh7.87612.68914.95714.721Assam0.1270.4860.7790.664CIL273.568538.754494.238462.422

As regards import by CIL, under the provisions of new Fuel Supply Agreements in accordance to the Presidential Directives issued to CIL, option is given to Power Utility sector consumers to opt for supply of a part of the Annual Contracted Quantity (ACQ) from imported coal through CIL (viz. 15% of ACQ up to 2014-15, 13% of ACQ in 2015-16 and 5% of ACQ from 2016-17 onwards).

The scheme of supply of imported coal arranged by CIL to willing Thermal Power Plants (TPP) on cost plus basis was started only in 2014-15.  3 TPPs in 2014-15 and 3 TPPs in   2015-16 had opted for supply of imported coal arranged by CIL on cost plus basis.  Accordingly, CIL had imported 4.83 lakh tonnes of coal with sales value of Rs.333.31 Crores in 2014-15 and 3.57 lakh tonnes with sales value of Rs. 163.81 Crores in 2015-16.  For 2016-17, none of the TPPs have opted for supply of imported coal through CIL.

Till now, 83 coal mines have been allocated to private and public sector under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015.  So far, a revenue of Rs. 2779.36 crores (approx.) has already been generated from these allocated

ASSOCHAM collaborates with Tally Solutions to simplify GST for the Retail Community
Nov 29,2016

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Tally Solutions, the premier Indian software product company, today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to demystify, educate and train the retail community for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law in India.

ASSOCHAM & Tally Solutions plan to conduct a series of conferences for the retail community across the nation, over the next few months. Tax experts from government bodies will be participating in these conferences to help clear the air about GST, by discussing the law and its implementation in these events. The conferences are designed to help the businesses shift from the existing taxation method and adapt to the new technology led law with ease.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Sathya Pramod, Chief Financial Officer of Tally Solutions Private Limited, said, n++Since the inception of GST discussion, Tally has been making constant efforts to demystify the new taxation policies for businesses and help with its smooth transition. This association with ASSOCHAM gives us a wider platform to reach out to the retail community and acquaint them with the technological changes that they need to adopt in the next few months. A thorough understanding of GST will allow these businesses to continue their functions comfortably post the roll out as well.n++

Mr. D.S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, said, n++GST has created a lot of clamour in the business community given the technological changes required to comply with the law. The lack of clear knowledge at the grassroots level about the draft Bill is another reason for resistance by the smaller businesses in the Nation. We are happy to partner with Tally on this, as this provides our members a platform to understand the significance of this new taxation policy and make an easy transition towards itn++

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MoPNG & MSDE sign MoU to boost to skill initiatives in the Hydrocarbon sector
Nov 29,2016

The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) and Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to scale up skill development initiatives in the Hydrocarbon and allied sectors among other areas of cooperation.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pradhan said as his ministry is gearing up for new avenues that Petroleum and Natural Gas sector will open up for the country, there is tremendous focus on sourcing skilled workforce to make all plans successful. The partnership with MSDE through this MoU signing will help MoPNG to develop the ready workforce for Exploration and Production, Pipeline & Transportation, Refinery & Marketing and Service providers going forward. He said, in this way, we are investing back into our sectors and the countrys brighter future.

Welcoming contribution from the hydrocarbon sector, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, the hydrocarbon sector has tremendous potential for employment generation, and hence it is vital to develop a skilled workforce to meet both current and future needs. The setting up of the Hydrocarbons SSC is the first step in that direction. He said, with todays partnership, both Ministries commit to develop globally benchmarked workforce for the sector so that lakhs of youth can aspire for better economic opportunities through skill development programs.

MoPNG has now formally joined hands with MSDE to:

n++ Develop comprehensive skill development plans for existing and potential workforce in alignment with National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF)

n++ Certify existing workforce in the hydrocarbon sector for Recognition of Prior Learning under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

n++ Promote and scale-up apprenticeship training under National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

n++ Facilitate the setting-up of Skill Development Institutes/Centres of Excellence for vocational training to meet sectoral needs

MoPNG has setup the Hydrocarbons Sector Skill Council (HSSC) with representatives from the Government, PSUs and private sector to address the skill development needs across the value chain of the sector.

Under the MoU, MoPNG will continue to support the growth of the Hydrocarbon Sector Skill Council and align with the NSQF for skill development programs. Additionally, MoPNG will encourage Oil & Gas Companies and related contractors to hire skilled personnel, incentivize skill training & certification, promote apprenticeship programs, undertake Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programs in the sector and setup institutes focused on various sub-sectors and allied trades. MoPNG will catalyse these initiatives in the Hydrocarbon sector, through its various agencies and PSUs, and develop a plan in close alignment with the Skill India mission.

MSDE would primarily discharge its responsibilities through Directorate General of Training (DGT) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

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The global economy has the prospect of modestly higher growth
Nov 28,2016

n++The global economy has the prospect of modestly higher growth, after five years of disappointingly weak outcomes,n++ OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurrn++a said while launching the Global Economic Outlook. n++In light of the current context of low interest rates, policymakers have a unique window of opportunity to make more active use of fiscal levers to boost growth and reduce inequality without compromising debt levels. We urge them to do so,n++ Mr Gurrn++a said.

The Outlook projects that well targeted public spending initiatives could catalyse private economic activity and help to get the global economy out of the low-growth trap. The ongoing or projected shift in the fiscal stance in a number of major economies accounts for much of the modest increase in global growth to 3.3% in 2017 and 3.6% in 2018.

Among the major advanced economies, activity is expected to accelerate in the United States, due to an assumed easing of fiscal policy, with the economy projected to grow by 2.3% in 2017 and 3% in 2018. The euro area will grow at a 1.6% rate in 2017 and by 1.7% in 2018. In Japan, growth is projected at 1% in 2017 and 0.8% in 2018. The 35-country OECD area is projected to grow by 2% in 2017 and 2.3% in 2018, according to the Outlook.

With rebalancing continuing in China, growth is expected to continue drifting lower, to 6.4% in 2017 and 6.1% in 2018. Indias growth rates are expected to hover above 7.5% over the 2017-18 period, but many emerging market economies will continue to grow at a more sluggish pace. The deep recession in Brazil is expected to end in 2017, after which the economy will grow at a 1.2% rate in 2018.

The Outlook draws attention to conditions that create a n++window of opportunityn++ for new fiscal initiatives, as extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy has led to very low interest rates and created fiscal space. A targeted annual increase in public spending of n++ percent of GDP could be financed for several years in most countries without increasing the debt-to-GDP ratio in the medium term. Combining this initiative with structural reforms, and acting collectively across countries, would boost the impact, according to the Outlook.

n++This is not a blank cheque for governments,n++ Mr Gurrn++a said. n++The OECD is calling for fiscal policy to be used more wisely, with spending targeted at areas that boost growth, like high-quality infrastructure investment, innovation, education and skills, which also make growth more inclusive.n++

The Outlook identifies a number of financial risks where exchange rate and capital flow volatility coupled with pricing distortions are exposing the vulnerability of corporate balance sheets, particularly in emerging markets, and challenging bank profitability and the long-term stability of pension schemes in advanced economies.

An increase in protectionism could risk impairing already weak growth in global trade.

n++Protectionism and the inevitable trade retaliation would offset much of the positive effects of proposed fiscal initiatives on domestic and global growth,n++ said OECD Chief Economist Catherine L. Mann. n++It would also likely raise prices, harm living standards and leave countries in a worsened fiscal position. Trade protectionism may shelter some jobs, but it will worsen prospects and lower well-being for many others.n++

The Outlook calls on governments to avoid protectionist policies and encourages them instead to implement structural policy packages that create more job opportunities, increase business dynamism and promote successful reallocation, ensuring that the gains from trade are better shared by all.

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Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 introduced in Lok Sabha
Nov 28,2016

Evasion of taxes deprives the nation of critical resources which could enable the Government to undertake anti-poverty and development programmes. It also puts a disproportionate burden on the honest taxpayers who have to bear the brunt of higher taxes to make up for the revenue leakage. As a step forward to curb black money, bank notes of existing series of denomination of the value of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 [Specified Bank Notes(SBN)] have been recently withdrawn the Reserve Bank of India.

Concerns have been raised that some of the existing provisions of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (the Act) can possibly be used for concealing black money. The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 (the Bill) has been introduced in the Parliament to amend the provisions of the Act to ensure that defaulting assessees are subjected to tax at a higher rate and stringent penalty provision.

Further, in the wake of declaring specified bank notes as not legal tender, there have been suggestions from experts that instead of allowing people to find illegal ways of converting their black money into black again, the Government should give them an opportunity to pay taxes with heavy penalty and allow them to come clean so that not only the Government gets additional revenue for undertaking activities for the welfare of the poor but also the remaining part of the declared income legitimately comes into the formal economy.

In this backdrop, an alternative Scheme namely, Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY) has been proposed in the Bill. The declarant under this regime shall be required to pay tax @ 30% of the undisclosed income, and penalty @10% of the undisclosed income. Further, a surcharge to be called Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Cess @33% of tax is also proposed to be levied. In addition to tax, surcharge and penalty (totaling to approximately 50%), the declarant shall have to deposit 25% of undisclosed income in a Deposit Scheme to be notified by the RBI under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016. This amount is proposed to be utilised for the schemes of irrigation, housing, toilets, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, livelihood, etc., so that there is justice and equality.

An overview of the amendments proposed in the Bill are placed below:

Overview of Amendments Proposed                                                        

PARTICULARS

EXISTING PROVISIONS

PROPOSED PROVISIONS

 

 

 

General provision for penalty

PENALTY (Section 270A)
Under-reporting - @50% of tax
Misreporting - @200% of tax

(Under-reporting/ Misreporting income is normally difference between returned income and assessed income)

No changes proposed

Provisions for taxation & penalty of unexplained credit, investment, cash and other assets

TAX  (Section 115BBE)

Flat rate of tax @30% + surcharge + cess
(No expense, deductions, set-off is allowed)

 

TAX  (Section 115BBE)

Flat rate of tax @60% + surcharge @25% of tax (i.e. 15% of such income). So total incidence of tax is 75% approx.
 (No expense, deductions, set-off is allowed)

PENALTY (Section 271AAC)

If Assessing Officer determines income referred to in section 115BBE, penalty @10% of tax payable in addition to tax (including surcharge) of 75%.

Penalty for search  seizure cases

Penalty (271AAB)

(i) 10% of income, if admitted, returned and taxes are paid

(ii) 20% of income, if not admitted but returned and taxes are paid

(iii) 60% of income in any other case

Penalty (271AAB)

(i) 30% of income, if admitted, returned and taxes are paid

(ii) 60% of income in any other case

Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY)

New Taxation and Investment Regime

Undisclosed income in the form of cash & bank deposit can be declared:

(A) Tax, Surcharge, Penalty payable

       Tax                   @30% of income declared

       Surcharge          @33% of tax

       Penalty              @10% of income declared

       Total                  @50% of income (approx.)

(B)  Deposit

     25% of declared income to be deposited in interest    

     free Deposit Scheme for four years. 

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Six Rivers of Goa to be developed as National Waterways
Nov 28,2016

Total 106 new waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs) under the National Waterways Act, 2016, in addition to the five existing NWs notified earlier. Specific stretches of six rivers of Goa viz. Chapora (NW-25), Cumberjua Canal (NW-27), Mandovi (NW-68), Mapusa (NW-71), Sal (NW-88) and Zuari (NW-111) have been included in the declared NWs.

Detailed Project Reports have been prepared for the rivers Mandovi, Zuari and Cumberjua. For the remaining three NWs, two-stage DPR studies (Stage-I - Feasibility study) and (Stage-II-DPR) have been awarded. The requirement of land and civil structural interventions and the requirement of funds for the development of the six NWs in Goa would be known after the finalization of the DPRs.

For development of NWs in Goa, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) with Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). Expenditure to develop these waterways will be met from Government Budgetary Support (GBS), extra budgetary resources such as bonds, MPT and Government of Goa.

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During Q2 of FY17, the Government issued dated securities worth Rs. 176,000 crore taking the gross borrowings during H1 FY17 to Rs. 341,000 crore
Nov 28,2016

During Q2 of FY17, the Government issued dated securities worth Rs. 176,000 crore taking the gross borrowings during H1 FY17 to Rs. 341,000 crore or 56.8 per cent of BE, vis-a-vis 58.5 per cent of BE in H1 FY 16. Net market borrowings during H1 FY 17 was at Rs.124,777crore, 55.1 per cent of BE. Auctions, both Government dated Securities and Treasury Bills, during Q2 of FY17 were held in accordance with the pre-announced issuance calendar.

Since April-June (Q1) 2010-11, Public Debt Management Office (PDMC) (earlier Middle Office), Budget Division, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, is bringing-out a Quarterly Report on Debt Management on regular basis. The Current Report pertains to the Quarter July-Sept. 2016 (Q2 FY 17).

In the 12 tranches of G-securities auction, two new securities, namely 6.97% GS 2026 and 6.84% GS 2022 were issued during the quarter on Sep 6 and Sep 12, 2016, respectively. The weighted average maturity (WAM) and weighted average yield (WAY) issued during Q2 FY17 was 14.26 years and 7.24 per cent. Liquidity conditions in the economy remained comfortable and in surplus mode during the quarter. It continued to improve in Q2 with RBI front-loading the liquidity required to manage FCNR (B) redemptions. The cash position of the Government during Q2 of FY17 was comfortable and remained mostly in surplus mode.

The Public Debt (excluding liabilities under the Public Account) of the Central Government provisionally increased by 3.0 per cent in Q2 of FY 17 on Q-o-Q basis. Internal debt constituted 92.3 per cent of Public Debt as at end-September 2016, while marketable securities accounted for 83.4 per cent of Public Debt. About 26.2 per cent of outstanding stock has a residual maturity of up to 5 years at end - September 2016, which implies that over the next five years, on an average, around 5.6 per cent of outstanding stock needs to be rolled over every year. Thus, the rollover risk in the debt portfolio continues to be low. The implementation of budgeted buy back/ switches in coming period is expected to reduce roll over risk further.

G-sec yields declined sharply across the curve during the quarter, with 10 yr segment gaining the most, on the back of softening of crude prices, increase in risk appetite globally after sharp correction post Brexit, passage of GST Bill by Upper House of Parliament, liquidity easing measures of RBI, expectation of rate cut from RBI, etc.The trading volume of Government securities on an outright basis during Q2 FY 17 increase by 78.45 per cent over the previous quarter.

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Modern RFID Access Control System Introduced at Paradip Port
Nov 28,2016

Paradip Port has taken a step forward with introduction of the modern RFID Access Control System (RFID) for controlling and tracking the entry and exit of vehicular as well as human traffic into and out of its prohibited area. The implementation of the system was done as per the directives of the Ministry of Shipping. With introduction of the RFID System w.e.f. 26th September, 2016, the earlier. Paper Pass system for vehicles and the port users has been scrapped.

The implementation of the RFID system has contributed to improvement in productivity of Paradip Port due to smooth movement of traffic across the gates. Paradip Port is the first among all Major Ports to have successfully implemented the RFID Access Control System adding yet another distinction to its string of achievements.

The new RFID system is inherently accompanied with enhanced Maritime Security features. Faster and efficient movement of traffic across the gates leading to reduction in congestion, simplified online payment procedure, availability of real-time information on number of different types of vehicles, equipment, port user personnel inside the prohibited area, availability of entry and exit details of a particular person, vehicle inclusive of the gate no. instantly through which the traffic moved, are some of the added advantages of the new system. Retrieval of data pertaining to the entire period of time is also another advantage of the system.

The new RFID system is beneficial to the port users in that they can avail data related to their cargo inflow and outflow over any desired period of time. Besides, the system also keeps a record of the details of the vehicles along with the credentials of drivers & helpers which can be retrieved from the system at a later date for verification, reconciliation or investigation if required. Port users are facilitated with additional convenience of one more HEP (Harbour Entry Permit) Issue Section and more counters compared to the earlier system of two HEP Issue Sections.

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Moodys: Indian, Korean and Singapore securitization markets will remain stable in 2017
Nov 28,2016

Moodys Investors Service says that the performance of the securitization markets of India (Baa3 positive), Korea (Aa2 stable) and Singapore (Aaa stable) will be stable in 2017, with good credit quality across most asset classes.

In India, robust growth and low oil prices will underpin stable auto ABS performance, despite the economic disruption from the countrys demonetization, says Yian Ning Loh, a Moodys Senior Vice President.

In Korea, low unemployment and interest rates will keep credit card ABS delinquencies low, while covered bond credit quality will also remain strong in both Korea and Singapore, adds Loh.

Moodys expects the performance of Indian commercial vehicle (CV) loans backing auto asset-backed securities (ABS) transactions to remain stable. Delinquency rates will increase somewhat in the very short term owing to the Indian governments decision to withdraw INR500 and 1,000 notes. However, delinquencies should return to their current levels over the course of 2017, owing to robust economic growth and low oil prices.

Moodys also expects new Indian auto ABS issued in 2017 will have good credit characteristics.

Residential mortgage performance should also remain strong in 2017, with low delinquencies reflecting low interest rates, steady house prices and stable prepayment rates.

In Korea, delinquency rates for credit card receivables were low in 2016, and should remain low in 2017. The credit quality of new credit card ABS deals issued in 2017 will also be good, says Moodys.

The credit quality of new and outstanding Korean covered bonds will also be strong and stable in 2017, supported by the high credit quality of the issuers and the countrys sovereign strength. The credit quality of the collateral will also be good.

Finally, the credit quality of new and outstanding Singaporean covered bonds will be strong and stable in 2017, supported by the credit quality of the bank issues, which remains high despite our negative outlooks on the major Singaporean banks, and the countrys sovereign strength. The credit quality of the collateral will also be good.

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Ease of Doing Business further enhanced for Importers & Exporters by reducing/eliminating physical print-outs/paper documents for customs clearance
Nov 28,2016

The n++Ease of Doing Businessn++ will be further enhanced for the Importers and Exporters by reducing/eliminating physical printouts for customs clearance. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) issued a Circular No. 55/2016- Customs dated 23rd November, 2016, wherein Importers and Exporters will henceforth not be required to submit paper documents such as GAR 7 forms / TR 6 Challans, Trans-shipment Permit (TP), Shipping Bill (Exchange Control copy and Export Promotion copy) & Bill of Entry (Exchange Control Copy) to Banks/ DGFT / Customs Ports etc.

As 95% of the importers are now paying duty through e-payment and these documents can be viewed on the ICEGATE e-payment Gateway, the need for print-out of GAR 7 Forms /TR6 Challans is not required. Similarly, Trans-shipment Permit information is sent electronically to the carrier, the transporter undertaking the transshipment, the custodian of the gateway port and the ICES system at the destination ICD or port, the requirement for submission of manual printouts of TP copy has been done away with.

The ICES generates documents such as the Shipping Bill and the Bill of Entry electronically. The CBEC provides copies of the digitally signed Shipping Bill to DGFT and also the data of Shipping Bill is integrated with the EDPMS (Export Data Processing and Monitoring System) of RBI. Therefore, printing of the Exchange Control copy and Export Promotion copy of the Shipping Bill for manual submission by the exporter is not required. Similarly, with the operationalisation of the IDPMS (Import Data Processing and Monitoring System) banks are not required to obtain a physical copy of Bill of Entry from the importer as an evidence of import because data can be transferred in secured manner from the system of Customs department to IDPMS. It has been, therefore, decided to discontinue the printing of Exchange control copy of Bill of Entry.

The above instructions are to be made operational from 1.12.16. All Customs Houses at Ports, Air Cargo Complex, ICDs and CFCs have been asked to issue Public Notice. The above step will help the Importers and Exporters to move towards electronic messaging and paper-free environment.

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Rabi Crops Sowing Crosess 327 Lakh Hactare
Nov 28,2016

As per preliminary reports received from the States, the total area sown under Rabi crops as on 25th November, 2016 stands at 327.62 lakh hectares as compared to 313.17 lakh hectare this time in 2015.

Wheat has been sown/transplanted in 127.15 lakh hectares, rice in 6.82 lakh hectares, pulses in 95.09 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 34.35 lakh hectares and area sown under oilseeds is 64.21 lakh hectares.

The area sown so far and that sown during last year this time is as follows:

 Lakh hectare 

CropArea sown in 2016-17Area sown in 2015-16Wheat127.15117.32Rice6.829.10Pulses95.0988.12Coarse Cereals34.3542.37Oilseeds64.2156.26Total327.62313.17

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ASSOCHAM urges Govt to ease cash limits for logistic fleet operators
Nov 28,2016

As India Inc supports Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modis battle against black money, the ASSOCHAM has urged the government to consider among other relief measures, increasing the cash withdrawal limits for logistic and transport fleet owners since they need hard cash for meeting expenses for crew members including truck drivers and cleaners.

Drawing inputs from various sources, a latest ASSOCHAM study on Transport and Logistics has noted that close to 10 per cent of the en route expenses of trucks on trunk routes are accounted for by drivers and other support crew for the journeys which take 7-8 days on a single trip.

n++The entire expenses of the drivers and other crew are to be met by cash. In the wake of the demonetisation of high value notes, the fleet owners are facing problems of operations,n++ said the chamber.

While the fuel accounts for 52-66 per cent of the total trip expenses, another 25-40 per cent are to be accounted for sub heads like tolls, octroi, speedy clearance at check posts etc. n++Traditionally, all this money was required in cash. The driver also acts as a petty cashier. The note ban has come as a bottleneck to the transport business.n++

The chamber has urged the government to review the cash withdrawal limit of Rs 50,000 from the current account per week and raise to minimum Rs 4-5 lakh, which is bare minimum.

Besides, the fleet owners face other problems which need to be resolved for improving the overall efficiency of the fleet owners and ease of doing business. Faster turnaround of trucks alone in the absence of check posts may improve the operational efficiency of the road transport sector.

Presently, there are 177 inter-state check posts and 268 toll barriers on national highways. The ASSOCHAM study suggested that to promote seamless inter-state freight flows; green channel should be adopted for transit of secure/sealed containerized cargo.

About 75 per cent of trucking firms own small fleets of less than five trucks. The industry has largely been operating in an unorganised sector and has not really taken to the main stream.

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FM: Present Government to make an extensive social welfare system which will focus primarily on better education system and effective healthcare
Nov 28,2016

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that one of the major priorities of the present Government is to make an extensive social welfare system which will focus primarily on better education system and effective healthcare especially for the children, women and senior citizens of the country. He said that as the allocation of resources to the Social Sector by the Government is increasing with time, therefore, the need of the hour is to bring substantial changes in Social sector through better policies and their timely implementation. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley was speaking during his Third Pre -Budget Consultative Meeting for the Union Budget 2017-18 with the representatives of different Social Sector Groups.

The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley further said that the inclusive growth is high on the priority of the present Government and the Government will take adequate measures to ensure social security for all especially for the vulnerable section of society including the children, women and senior citizens of the country.

Most of the Social Sector representatives gave different suggestions to the Finance Minister for the forthcoming Union Budget 2017-18. Major suggestions include that in the next Budget, allocation to social sector schemes must be increased and a mechanism be established to monitor proper implementation of all such schemes. It was suggested to monitor to ensure that the schools have access to safe drinking water & sanitation. Other suggestions include more focus in the Budget on healthcare for the workers especially those working in mining sector etc. It was also suggested that vacancies of Doctors, nurses and teachers must be filled so that these public services remain unaffected. There is strong need to strengthen DIETS and quality of primary and secondary education in the country. Various suggestions came about increasing allocation on education and healthcare sectors in the upcoming General Budget 2017-18. It was also suggested that all the tobacco products should be highly taxed primarily because of health concerns.

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