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Loans to rural entrepreneurs
Aug 06,2016

Loans to rural entrepreneurs are provided by banks and Financial Institutions (FIs). Government have several schemes for assisting rural entrepreneurs through interest subvention or capital subsidy to effectively reduce the extent of repayments. These inter-alia include, Prime Ministers Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS), Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS), etc.

Government have also taken several measures to increase lending to rural entrepreneurs which inter-alia include, priority sector lending targets to banks for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and weaker sections, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) Scheme, Stand up India Scheme, Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro & Small Enterprises (CGTMSE), Differential Rate of Interest (DRI) Scheme, etc

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Implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana approved
Aug 06,2016

To provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events, a new scheme namely, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has been approved for implementation in all States and Union Territories from Kharif 2016 season in place of National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS). PMFBY is a marked improvement over the earlier schemes on several counts and comprehensive risk coverage from pre-sowing to post-harvest losses has been provided under it. A budget provision of Rs.5501.15 crore has been made for the scheme during 2016-17.

The PMFBY is compulsory for loanee farmers availing crop loans for notified crops in notified areas and voluntary for non-loanee farmers.

Scale of Finance declared by the District Level Technical Committee has been taken as Sum Insured of the crops under the Scheme. There is no capping in premium, however, premium payable by farmers has been substantially reduced and simplified and there is one premium rate on pan-India basis for farmers which would be maximum 1.5%, 2% and 5% for all Rabi, Kharif and annual horticultural/commercial crops, respectively.

Salient Features of PMFBY

i) Provide comprehensive insurance coverage against crop loss on account of non-preventable natural risks, thus helping in stabilising the income of the farmers and encourage them for adoption of innovative practices.

ii) Increase the risk coverage of Crop cycle - pre-sowing to post-harvest losses.

iii) Area approach for settlement of claims for widespread damage. Notified Insurance unit has been reduced to Village/Village Panchayat for major crops

iv) Uniform maximum premium of only 2%, 1.5% and 5% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops, Rabi Crops and Commercial/ horticultural crops respectively.

v) The difference between premium and the rate of Insurance charges payable by farmers shall be provided as subsidy and shared equally by the Centre and State.

vi) Uniform seasonality discipline & Sum Insured for both loanee & non-loanee farmers

vii) Removal of the provision of capping on premium and reduction of sum insured to facilitate farmers to get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.

viii) Inundation has been incorporated as a localized calamity in addition to hailstorm and landslide for individual farm level assessment.

ix) Provision of individual farm level assessment for Post harvest losses against the cyclonic & unseasonal rains for the crops kept in the field for drying upto a period of 14 days, throughout the country.

x) Provision of claims upto 25% of sum insured for prevented sowing.

xi) n++On-Account paymentn++ upto 25% of sum insured for mid season adversity, if the crop damage is reported more than 50% in the insurance unit. Remaining claims based on Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) data.

xii) For more effective implementation, a cluster approach will be adopted under which a group of districts with variable risk profile will be allotted to an insurance company through bidding for a longer duration upto 3 years.

xiii) Use of Remote Sensing Technology, Smartphones & Drones for quick estimation of crop losses to ensure early settlement of claims.

xiv) Crop Insurance Portal has been launched. This will be used extensively for ensuring better administration, co-ordination, transparency and dissemination of information.

xv) Focused attention on increasing awareness about the schemes among all stakeholders and appropriate provisioning of resources for the same.

xvi) The claim amount will be credited electronically to the individual farmers Bank Account.

xvii) Adequate publicity in all the villages of the notified districts/ areas

xviii) Premium rates under Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) have also been reduced and brought at par with new scheme. Further, capping on Actuarial premium and reduction in sum insured has been removed in this scheme also.

xix) In addition, a Unified Package Insurance Scheme (UPIS) has also been approved for implementation on pilot basis in 45 districts of the country from Kharif 2016 season to cover the other assets/activities like machinery, life, accident, house and student-safety for farmers along- with their notified crops (under PMFBY/ Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme - WBCIS).

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Kharif Crop Sowing Crosses 885 Lakh Hectare Area
Aug 05,2016

The total sown area as on 5th August, 2016 as per reports received from States, stands at 885.29 lakh hectare as compared to 841.65 lakh hectare at this time last year.

It is reported that rice has been sown/transplanted in 281.95 lakh ha, pulses in 121.10 lakh ha, coarse cereals in 163.77 lakh ha, oilseeds in 167.58 lakh ha, sugarcane in 46.87 lakh hectare and cotton in 96.48 lakh ha.

The details of the area covered so far and that covered during this time last year are given below:

Lakh hectare 

CropArea sown in 2016-17Area sown in 2015-16Rice281.95276.10Pulses121.1089.72Coarse Cereals163.77158.66Oilseeds167.58157.65Sugarcane46.8746.11Jute & Mesta7.557.73Cotton96.48105.68Total885.29841.65

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3.50 Crore children attend Pre-School Education at 13.50 lakhs Anganwadis across the country
Aug 05,2016

Pre-School Education (PSE)/ Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) services in India are delivered through public, private and non-governmental service providers. The public channel, ICDS is the largest service provider of ECCE. 3.50 crore children (3-6years) are attending PSE at 13.50 lakh Anganwadi Centers as per information received from the States/UTs under ICDS Scheme as on 31.03.2016.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) which came into effect from April1, 2010, has addressed ECCE under Section 11 of the Act which states, with a view to prepare children above the age of three years for elementary education and to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years, the appropriate Government may make necessary arrangement for providing free pre-school education for such children.

The Government of India formulated and notified the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy on 12.10.2013. The National ECCE Policy recognizes the unregulated private channel across the country although with varied quality. The policy also recognizes the need to harmonize the activities of all these service providers, in accordance with service delivery norms, standards and regulations. To standardize the quality of PSE/ECCE in the country, basic quality standards and specifications have been laid down in National ECCE Policy. Further, guidelines have also been issued for National ECCE curriculum framework and Quality standards for ECCE on 23.01.14 to be implemented by States/UTs in the country. The guidelines adhere to the philosophy of integrated approach for holistic child development. The quality standards focus on the use of developmentally appropriate toys and learning materials for play, exploration, experimentation and problem solving.

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Storage status of 91 major reservoirs of the country is 45% of total storage capacity as on August 04, 2016
Aug 05,2016

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on August 04, 2016 was 71.556 BCM, which is 45% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This was 96% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 96% of storage of average of last ten years.

The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM which is about 62% of the total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. 37 Reservoirs out of these 91 have hydropower benefit with installed capacity of more than 60 MW.

REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS:-

NORTHERN REGION

The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are 6 reservoirs under Central Water Commission (CWC) monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.01 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 8.41 BCM which is 47% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 80% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 54% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

EASTERN REGION

The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 7.43 BCM which is 39% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 48% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 37% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year but is better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

WESTERN REGION

The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 27 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 27.07 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 13.34 BCM which is 49% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 42% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 50% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year but is less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

CENTRAL REGION

The Central region includes States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. There are 12 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 42.30 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 25.24 BCM which is 60% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 55% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 41% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the storage of last year and is also better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

SOUTHERN REGION

The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states) Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 31 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 17.14 BCM which is 33% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 32% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 53% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is better than the corresponding period of last year and is less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

States having better storage than last year for corresponding period are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, AP&TG (Two combined projects in both states), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. States having equal storage than last year for corresponding period are Karnataka and Kerala. States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tripura, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.

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Attracting FDI and Formulating Special Schemes for FPIs
Aug 05,2016

The Foreign Direct Investment in food processing sector has increased from USD 170.21 Million in 2011-12 to USD 505.88 Million in 2015-16.

Foreign Direct Investment inflows into the food processing industries has been one of the reasons for 5.78 % growth of gross value added in food processing industries in 2014-15 at 2011-12 prices. Further, as per the Annual Survey of Industries the number of food processing industries in the registered sector has also grown from 36880 in 2011-12 to 37450 in 2013-14.

To promote food processing units in the country, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing schemes of Mega Food Parks, Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure, Setting up/Modernization of Abattoirs and Strengthening of Institutions. Under these schemes, grant-in-aid is given for setting up projects. In addition to permitting 100% foreign direct investment in food processing sector through automatic route, Government has also allowed 100% FDI in retail marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India through approval route. To encourage the development of food processing industries Government has reduced excise duty on food processing and packaging machinery from 10% to 6%, allowed food processing units 100% income tax exemption on profits for the first five years of operation and after that at the rate of 25% income tax exemption on the profits for the next five years, etc.

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Framework for computation of book profit for purposes of levy of MAT under section 115JB of the Income-tax Act, 1961 for Ind AS compliant companies
Aug 05,2016

A Committee had been constituted, with the approval of the Finance Minister, to suggest the framework for computation of book profit for the purposes of levy of MAT under section 115JB of the Income-tax Act, 1961 for Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) compliant companies in the year of adoption and thereafter. The Committee submitted its report dated 18th March, 2016 regarding the said framework.

The above report of the Committee was placed on public domain for inviting comments from general public and stakeholders. Subsequently, the comments received from the stakeholders were forwarded to the Committee for examination. The Committee submitted its recommendations/suggestions vide report dated 23rd July, 2016 on the certain issues raised by stakeholders which are now placed on www.incometaxindia.gov.in

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Union Cabinet has approved proposals for the Revival of closed fertilizer plants
Aug 05,2016

The Union Cabinet has approved proposals for the revival of closed fertilizer units at Talcher, Ramagundam, Barauni, Gorakhpur and Sindri. Details about Cabinet approvals and present status of revival at these locations are as under:

Talcher and Ramagundam:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in its meeting held on 4.11.2011 approved the revival of these units on n++nomination routen++ through PSUs. Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Limited, Gail (India), Coal India and Fertilizer Corporation India (FCIL) have been nominated to revive the Talcher unit while National Fertilizers Limited, Engineers India Limited and FCIL have been nominated to revive the Ramagundam unit. In order to facilitate the revival of closed units of FCIL, the CCEA on 9.05.2013 approved waiver of Government of India loan and interest on FCIL to make the net worth of FCIL positive and to seek its de-registration from Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction and paves way for revival of closed units of FCIL. Pre-Project activities to revive these two units are currently in progress.

Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni:

The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 13.07.2016 has approved to revive these closed fertilizer units by means of a Special Purpose Vehicle of Public Sector Units namely, National Thermal Power Corporation, Coal India Limited, Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Fertilizer Corporation India Limited/Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited, through n++nomination routen++ instead of bidding route as approved earlier.

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Export of Oilmeals down by 47% April - July 2016 -17
Aug 05,2016

The Solvent Extractors Association of India has compiled the export data for export of oilmeals for the month of July 2016. The export of oilmeals during July 2016 is reported at 87,944 tons compared to 44,238 tons i.e. up by 99%. The overall export of oilmeals during April to July 2016 is reported at 274,237 tons compared to 517,914 tons during the same period of last year i.e. down by 47% due to lesser availability of oilseeds for crushing and continuous disparity in exporting oilmeals in International Market.

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The digital content economy is poised to see the exponential growth in next 3-4 years
Aug 05,2016

Senior executives from the Indias motion picture and digital industries concluded that accessibility; affordability, quality content and online content protection will be the key drivers to sustain growth in Indias digital economy.

Fast Track India: Bolstering Growth in the Digital Content Economy, a Knowledge Series forum by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) in association with the Los Angeles India Film Council (LAIFC), assessed the extent to which screen content acts as a key driver of the digital economy in India. Creative industry executives assessed the current regulatory and infrastructural challenges, reviewed future growth trends and underlined innovative ways of monetizing digital content to stimulate growth in Indias digital economy.

At the opening of the forum, noted filmmaker and Co-chair, FICCI, Entertainment division, Mr. Ramesh Sippy highlighted that increased connectivity, technological innovation and new content delivery platforms all combine to spur growth. The role of the Government is pivotal to enabling legitimate content delivery platforms to protect and monetize their content in order to achieve their full potential in a rapidly changing marketplace, Mr Sippy said.

India is the second largest Internet user market in the world with an accelerating 40% Internet growth rate. Further; Digital India has the potential to create opportunities for businesses, promote innovation and create jobs. Currently, the Indian M&E sector is at the tipping point for online businesses to provide for a multitude of options to consumers. However online content theft, varying levels of broadband access and affordability in terms of data tariffs continue to present challenges for providers to deliver value to consumers. These factors will have a significant impact on how digital media evolves in the future. The first panel Making Sense of the Economics of Digital Media featured a keynote presentation by KPMG Indias Mr. Girish Menon, Director- Transaction Services said, n++The advent of the OTT services and on-the-go content aided with competitive tariffs and falling average retail price of smartphones has helped to drive video consumption in India. However, profitability still continues to be a major challenge coupled with infrastructure and affordability of data tariffs and payments models. It is imperative for the OTT players to address these concerns through innovative means to achieve the mediums full potential.n++

Speaking about the future of OTT content services, Mr. Ajay Chako Co-Founder & CEO, Arre said, n++As in the case of broadcast TV in India, the relatively infant digital content economy is showing signs of secular, organic growth driven by an increasingly young India. We already have more than 120 million consumers of digital content. As with every paradigm shift, audience shifts will be followed by a shift in advertiser preferences and finally consumer monetization. So I am quite hopeful that the digital content economy will see the exponential growth that has been witnessed in the 2000-2010 decade in TV, in the next 3-5 years. I am happy that FICCI and the LA India Film Council have identified this important shift in paradigm in the new content economy.n++

At the second panel on Regulatory and Infrastructural Challenges for Digital Media, Mr. Abhishek Joshi, Head - Marketing & Analytics, Digital Business, Set India said, n++The OTT industry has graduated from the innovators stage to the early adopters stage within the innovation diffusion curve, based on distinguished product strategies by players in the market. However to cross the chasm to gain the majority market, policy makers will have to play a very big role. Infrastructure and regulatory policies are going to be the biggest differentiators for industry growth for the next 18 months.n++

Ms. Archana Anand, Business Head, dittoTV said, n++In light of the accelerated digital media consumption across the country, it is wonderful that FICCI and the LA India Film Council provides this much needed platform to discuss the market potential of this space and the innovations and challenges thereof.n++

At the third panel on Building a Robust Enforcement Model to Protect Content In a Digital Economy, Mr. Oliver Walsh, Regional Director, Online Content Protection, Motion Picture Association (MPA) said, n++The Indian film and TV industry supports 1.8 million jobs which are at risk because of rising online content theft. The future of legitimate content delivery platforms depends on effective enforcement measures supported by Indian State Governments. The Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU) is a great example of a dedicated law enforcement unit to tackle organized online film piracy and will set a gold standard approach to significantly reduce online infringement of films and television shows. I hope it is the first of many such enforcement units across India.n++

Mr. Rajkumar Akella, Honorary Chairman, Governing Council, Anti Video Piracy Cell, Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce said, n++As we have seen innovation diffusion curve, based on distinguished product strategies by players in the market. However to cross the chasm to gain the majority market, policy makers will have to play a very big role. Infrastructure and regulatory policies are going to be the biggest differentiators for industry growth for the next 18 months.n++

Ms. Archana Anand, Business Head, dittoTV said, n++In light of the accelerated digital media consumption across the country, it is wonderful that FICCI and the LA India Film Council provides this much needed platform to discuss the market potential of this space and the innovations and challenges thereof.n++

At the third panel on Building a Robust Enforcement Model to Protect Content In a Digital Economy, Oliver Walsh, Regional Director, Online Content Protection, Motion Picture Association (MPA) said, n++The Indian film and TV industry supports 1.8 million jobs which are at risk because of rising online content theft. The future of legitimate content delivery platforms depends on effective enforcement measures supported by Indian State Governments. The Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU) is a great example of a dedicated law enforcement unit to tackle organized online film piracy and will set a gold standard approach to significantly reduce online infringement of films and television shows. I hope it is the first of many such enforcement units across India.n++ Mr. Rajkumar Akella, Honorary Chairman, Governing Council, Anti Video Piracy Cell, Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce said, n++As we have been witnessing in recent days, the problem of online piracy is most urgent. The greatest threat now has become the pre - movie release leakages. Without real time interventions from the Government and Industry, it will go out of control. In this scenario, the latest initiative - TIPCU (Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit) by the Government of Telangana, the Telugu Film Industry & the Motion Picture Association, India office, is a very significant step in tackling Movie Piracy, particularly Online Piracy. It is a collaborative, dynamic model, where the Government works seamlessly with the Industry and all stakeholders. The unit will bemaking optimum use of Technology besides policy, enforcement and outreach. This is a step in the right direction to root out piracy in India.n++ Sharing his thoughts on the future of Indias burgeoning digital market, Mr. Biren Ghose, in his valedictory remarks, said, n++Content is assuming new life in the emerging digital economy. Technology enables innovations in imagery that could hitherto neither be produced nor consumed. FICCI and LA India Film Council need to be complimented on encouraging the conversation for the Indian agenda in this space.n++ Panelists concluded that a combination of government and private initiatives would need to be rolled out to achieve th

CSIR-CFTRI Develops Nutrice Cream
Aug 05,2016

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) constituent Laboratory, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI) Mysuru, in association with M/s Oleome Biosolutions, Bengaluru and M/s Dairy Classic Ice Creams, has developed Nutrice.

Nutrice cream is an Omega-3 and Vitamin-E enriched frozen nutritional dessert from vegetarian source. Dietary supplementation of Omega-3 (n++-3) fats, which are the Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA), have been reported to have beneficial health functions including brain development in children and good health in elderly population. This product will provide the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of omega-3 for children in one serving.

Largely, peoples food habits revolve around diverse food sources and preparations to address the different nutritional requirements. Using the knowledge of traditional Indian food habits, CSIR-CFTRI has developed a diverse array of food products such as Nutri-chikki incorporated with spirulina, Rice mix, high protein rusk, energy food, nutri sprinkle, sesame paste, and fortified mango bar etc., so as to address the varying nutritional requirements of people. The products are analyzed for their Nutritional Composition and other parameters such as sensory, shelf-life, packaging, microbial safety, etc.

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The cooperation extended by opposition to this crucial legislation is the cornerstone of democracy
Aug 05,2016

n++GST is one of the most awaited reform measures by the industry. It is heartening to see that there is consensus emerging in passage of crucial GST bill. It is noteworthy that the Principal opposition party has played a constructive role by articulating some of the concerns which have been noted by the government and would help form base of a robust GST framework for Indian++, said Mr Harshvardhan Neotia, President, FICCI.

n++The cooperation extended by opposition to this crucial legislation is the cornerstone of democracy and gives industry a lot of hope on progress of reforms in the countryn++, added Mr. Neotia.

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Govt. obtain return of 12% on equities than G-Secs: Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment
Aug 05,2016

As on July 31, 2016, we got a return of over 12 percent on investments in equities as compared to 8 or 7.5 percent on government securities (G-Secs) within a year, said Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++If you are going to invest wisely in a pool of equity then surely there is not much of a riskn++, said Mr. Shankar Aggarwal. He also said that as on July 31, 2016, we got a return of over 12 percent on equity as compared to 8 or 7.5 percent on G-Secs, , said Mr Aggarwal while inaugurating National Conference on Social Security & Role of Equity Market, organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) started investing in exchange traded funds (ETFs) in August last year and has invested Rs 7,465 crore till June 30, 016, said Mr. Aggarwal

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation can invest up to 15 percent of its investible deposits in equity or equity related scheme, the body had decided to park 5 percent of its available funds in ETFs to start with.

n++We cannot evaluate the performance of equity on the basis of one, two or three months. When we invest in equity, we invest for 20 or 30 years, said Mr. Aggarwal while addressing the meeting.

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) started investing in exchange traded funds (ETFs) in August last year and has invested Rs 7,465 crore till June 30, 2016. EPFO can invest up to 15 percent of its investible deposits in equity or equity related scheme, the body had decided to park 5 percent of its available funds in ETFs to start with.

Mr. Aggarwal said, social security is very important tool to improve the productivity, to improve the level of motivation, passion and commitment. When they grow old and unable to perform any productive work, at that point of time we have to take care of them.

We will enable to create one seamless platform which will enable every citizen from organized sector or un-organized sector to get on board and to get advantage or benefits of social security, said Mr. Shankar.

Mr. Aggarwal further said, we are also going to adopt central architecture which will be from 30th September and am sure thereafter everything will be transparent, all certificates will be delivered online and decision to invest in equity will be more transparent.

Dr V.P. Joy, Central Provident Fund Commissioner (EPFO) said, the labour and employment ministry is trying to achieve the social security objective. The mission of social security cannot be archived by one group, its a team work. I am happy that ASSOCHAM joined today in focusing on the equity markets and request ASSOCHAM to come up with other aspects.

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Online platform soon for SEZs to raise issues & concerns: Commerce Ministry official
Aug 05,2016

The union government will soon roll out a web-based platform for special economic zones (SEZs) to raise their concerns and action taken may be provided by the concerned authority, a top Union Commerce Ministry official said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++This will provide a platform for constant dialogue and transparency in resolution of issues. I intend to roll it out as soon as possible,n++ said Mr Alok V. Chaturvedi, additional secretary, Department of Commerce while inaugurating 10th SEZ Convention organized by ASSOCHAM.

n++The software is already in place, we need to adopt it for our requirement, efforts have already been made in this direction,n++ said Mr Chaturvedi.

He added that the online platform would be on the lines of a Project Monitoring Group system in the Cabinet Secretariat.

Highlighting the issue of lifting of Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) concerning the SEZ sector, Mr Chaturvedi said, n++MAT appears to be unfair for SEZ units and it is not in tune with the Government philosophy of stable tax regime, we have taken up the issue with Finance Ministry.n++

n++According to Finance Ministry, MAT has been imposed to partly recoup the loss of revenue due to profit-linked exemptions. They are bringing down average rate of corporate tax. However, we have taken it up again in view of adverse export conditions and the stellar role played by SEZ in the export growth and the employment generation,n++ he said.

n++Alternative suggestions regarding reduction of MAT from 20.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent or extension of period of ten years till the entire MAT credit is adjusted against the tax liability of SEZ will also be taken up with Finance Department,n++ he added.

Talking about the issue of permitting SEZ units, to perform job work for units in Domestic Tariff Area, which at present is not permissible, Mr Chaturvedi said, n++In order to facilitate integration of SEZs with domestic economy, the procedure for job work and domestic clearances from SEZs need to be streamlined by amending SEZ Rules. There is an issue there as SEZs are primarily for exports and they have taken the benefit of concessions.n++

He however, said that it is nobodys case, that there should be an idle capacity within or outside SEZs. n++We need to resolve these issues. This is all the more important since it is becoming increasing difficult to have land for setting up industries elsewhere. The issue is being examined in consultation with Finance Ministry.n++

On the issue of permitting exports from SEZs to the domestic tariff area, at the most favourable tariff rates as given to Indias Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, he said, n++This would give a boost to the Make in India, campaign and our import requirement can be met through manufacturing in SEZs rather than through import of the same goods from FTA partners such as Japan, South Korea, ASEAN, etc. We have taken up this issue also with the Finance Ministry.n++

He also said that there is a need to have a relook at the Free Trade Warehousing Zone Policy.

n++Proposals regarding permission for keeping goods on behalf of foreign buyer, DTA buyer and DTA supplier in addition to foreign supplier, allowing drawback on export of goods from DTA supplier to FTWZ unit, on account of the foreign buyer, and Net Foreign Exchange calculation criteria, all these proposals have been sent to the Department of Revenue and are under active consideration of the Government,n++ said Mr Chaturvedi.

On the issue of phasing out of exemptions, he said that CBDT has proposed to provide a sunset date of March 31, 2017 for tax exemption in respect of SEZ projects having non-operational by then. n++This matter has also been taken up with CBDT and we are following up with them.n++

Talking about the contribution of SEZs in growth of Indias economy, he said that over 200 SEZs are operational while over 400 SEZs have been formally approved. Total investment in SEZs is over $50 billion and they are providing direct employment to over 1.5 million persons. Exports from SEZs have increased from about $3.5 billion in 2005-06 to over $65 billion in 2014-15 that is about 20 times in the last ten years and nearly 16% of countrys exports are from SEZs.

He also sought industrys views and suggestions on how to further improve the business environment for the units in SEZ.

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Interest Free Loans to IIT Students
Aug 04,2016

It has been decided to provide interest subvention on the education loans, for all students admitted for undergraduate and the 5-year integrated degree programmes in IITs, covering the period of the study plus one year of moratorium under the Vidyalaxmi Scheme, subject to the following guidelines:

(i) The facility shall be made available to all the students whose household income does not exceed Rs. 9 lakh per annum.

(ii) The education loan, for this purpose, shall cover only the tuition fee payable by the student as per his eligibility. The portion of the tuition fee paid by the student from his own sources at the time of securing admission could be reimbursed from the overall loan.

(iii) The terms of the loan shall be in accordance with the broad contours of the Educational loan Scheme of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) for pursuing Technical/Professional Education studies in India.

(iv) The term of the loans sanctioned under this dispensation shall be 10 years.

(v) There shall be no collateral for sanction of the loan except the personal guarantee of the student (applicant) and the parent/guardian (co-applicant).

(vi) The subvention of interest (on equated basis) shall be applicable for a maximum period of 5 years (which may include a one year moratorium).

(vii) After the expiry of the above period, the interest on the outstanding loan amount shall be paid by the student, in accordance with the provisions of the existing educational loan scheme of the Banks and as may be amended from time to time.

(viii) This facility is applicable only to the loans taken by the students who secured admission into the undergraduate courses of IITs (including the integrated courses) starting from the academic year 2016-17.

(ix) The interest subvention is subject to the satisfactory performance of the student in the institution.

(x) Payment of the interest subvention shall be from the internal accruals of the IIT.

However a Central Sector Scheme to provide interest subsidy on educational loan (CSSIS) is presently operational which provides full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium (course period + one year) on loans taken by students belonging to EWS from Scheduled banks under the Model Educational loan Scheme of the IBA for pursuing any of the approved courses of studies in technical & professional streams, from recognized institutes in India.

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