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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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Indias natural gas production falls 1.4% in October 2016
Nov 28,2016

Indias natural gas production declined 1.4% to 2.76 billion cubic meters (bcm) in October 2016 over a year ago. Natural gas output of ONGC rose 5.7% to 1.94 bcm, but that of private and JV companies dipped 19.4% to 0.57 bcm. Meanwhile, the natural gas production of Oil India also fell 3.4% to 0.25 bcm in October 2016.

Natural gas output declined 4.0% to 18.48 bcm in April-October 2016 over April-October 2015.

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Modi Government released Rs. 118 crore for the year 2016-17 for farm mechanization: Shri Radha Mohan Singh
Nov 28,2016

Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has said that it is essential to use maximum and best technology available resources in fast changing world and growing world economic competition so that domestic requirement of food grains can be met and export may be promoted.

Agriculture Minister said that farm mechanization has become an important part of crop production, processing and transport but it is facing double challenges in the whole world. The first challenge is to increase the supply of food for growing population and the second is the protection of environment. He said that the challenge of farm mechanization still exists in India. Most of our land holding is a small, therefore, commercial use is not proving beneficial but government ensuring the availability of farm machine- rota vator, blow sprayer, cotton cultivator, cutter and shredder through the establishment of custom hiring centre for those farmers who cannot buy costly farm machines. Four regional farm machinery training and testing institutes have been established in the country which cater to the needs of standard and quality farm machinery and equipments.

Shri Singh informed that farm mechanization sub-mission has been started from 2014-15 for the purpose of promoting farm mechanization in the country by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The aim of the sub-mission is to promote farm mechanization for small and marginal farmers and to promote farm mechanization where there is less availability of farm machines.

The Minister further said that the Modi government released Rs. 340 crore for this sector in last two years i.e. 2014-16 whereas the previous government released only Rs. 62 crore between 2012-14. Shri Singh said that Centre Government has released Rs. 118 crore for this purpose.

Shri Singh said that food safety, rural employment and soil conservation, sustainable natural resource management and bio-diversity production are essential for sustainable technology and total rural development. Sustainable development of agriculture is required for increase in rural income, doubling the income of farmers and catering to the needs of food and nutrition and farm mechanization plays an important role in it. He said that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Five BRICS countries) along with Japan and Turkey are in the category of the markets of modern farm machines.

On the occasion, Agriculture Minister said that the book is good and readers will like it. He said that the officers of Ministry of Agriculture and Officials of FICCI have provided qualitative material for it. He praised social liability council for the publication of this book.

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Indias crude oil refinery output jumps 13% in October 2016
Nov 28,2016

Indias crude oil refinery output increased 13.0% to 20.45 mt in October 2016 over October 2015. The output of public sector refineries improved 20.6% to 11.28 mt, while the output of private refineries also moved up 6.5% to 7.78 mt. However, the refinery output of public-private JV refiners declined 3.7% to 1.38 mt in October 2016.

Among public refineries, the output of Mangalore Refineries jumped 55.4% to 1.30 mt, while the output of Chennai Petroleum Corporation moved up 54.4% to 0.94 mt, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation 24.9% to 2.13 mt in October 2016 over October 2015. The output of Indian Oil Corporation also inched up 17.6% to 5.31 mt, but that of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation declined 3.8% to 1.40 mt, and Numaligarh Refineries plunged 13.5% to 0.20 mt in October 2016.

Among private refiners, the output of Reliance Petroleum fell 8.5% to 6.12 mt, while that of Essar Oil zoomed 166.7% to 1.67 mt in October 2016 over October 2015.

Among JV refineries, the output of Bharat Oman moved up 2.6% to 0.57 mt, but the output of HPCL Mittal fell 7.7% to 0.81 mt in October 2015.

The cumulative refinery output increased 8.1% to 138.49 mt in April-October 2016. The output of public refineries increased 11.3% to 74.10 mt, while that of private refineries moved up 5.3% to 54.92 mt. The refinery output of JV refineries rose 0.5% to 9.47 mt in April-October 2016. Among public refineries, the output of Indian Oil Corporation improved 13.8%, Bharat Petroleum Corporation 7.4%, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation 5.6%, Chennai Petroleum Corporation 19.3%, Numaligarh Refineries 3.2% and Mangalore Refineries 9.8% .

The overall capacity utilization was higher at 107.6% in October 2016 compared with 100.3% in October 2015, while it was also higher at 105.7% in April-October 2016 compared with 104.1% in April-October 2015.

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Draft Model GST Law, Draft IGST Law and Draft Compensation Law placed in the public domain for information of trade, industry and other stake holders
Nov 28,2016

The Draft Model GST Law, Draft IGST Law and Draft Compensation Law which would be considered by the GST Council for approval are placed in the public domain for information of trade, industry and other stake holders. The Draft Model Laws can be accessed at the following websites: www.cbec.gov.in, www.dor.gov.in and www.gst.gov.in

Earlier, the Draft Model GST Law was put in public domain in the month of June, 2016 for comments. A large number of comments were received on the Draft Model GST Law from various stake holders including the trade and industry associations and public.

A Technical Committee of officers from some of the States and the Central Government was constituted to examine the inputs from the stake holders and make suitable amendments in the Draft Model GST Law. The Revised Draft submitted by this Technical Committee on law was further discussed in a meeting held on 21st and 22nd of November, 2016 in Delhi where officers from all States and Central Government were present. The revised and improved version of this Model GST laws shall now be considered by the GST Council for approval on 2nd and 3rd of December, 2016.

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Indias crude oil production declines 3.2% in October 2016
Nov 28,2016

Indias crude oil production declined 3.2% to 3.05 million tonnes (mt) in October 2016 over October 2015. Crude oil output of ONGC fell 1.9% to 1.87 mt, while that of private and joint venture (JV) companies dipped 7.5% to 0.90 mt. However, the crude oil production of Oil India improved 3.6% to 0.28 mt in October 2016. ONGCs offshore output declined 3.2% to 1.37 mt, while onshore production rose 1.7% to 0.50 mt.

Crude oil output fell 3.3% to 21.11 mt in April-October period of the fiscal year ending March 2017 (April-October 2016), snapping marginal 0.1% rise recorded in the corresponding period of last year. Output of ONGC eased 1.9% to 12.90 mt, while that of Oil India declined 1.8% to 1.88 mt and private companies fell 6.4% to 6.33 mt in April-October 2016 over April-October 2015.

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All 4,041 cities/towns asked to shift to cashless transactions; Madhya Pradesh to do so by March next year
Nov 28,2016

As a part of the ongoing efforts to move towards cashless transactions of all kind, the Ministry of Urban Development has asked all the statutory 4,041 Urban Local Bodies to shift to e-payments at the earliest. These cities and towns account for about 75% of the total 40 crore urban population in the country.

Central Governments message to the officials of these 4,041 urban local bodies was conveyed by Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary(Urban Development) through interactive video-conferencing. Senior officials of concerned States also participated during the half day long interaction on various aspects of ensuring cashless transactions.

State and city level officials were asked to promote internet banking (RTGS/NEFT), online banking using credit and debit cards for cashless transactions besides using Public Finance Management Systems(PFMS) developed by the Ministry of Financing for fund transfer, accounting and reconciliation up to the level of cities and towns.

Shri Gauba emphasized that all transactions relating to both income and expenditure of urban local bodies needs to be shifted to e-payment mode. These include payment of Property Tax, Professional Tax, all user charges like water and power bills, all kinds of fee and license charges, online booking of community halls, issue and renewal of birth and death certificates, registration of shops and other establishments, enrollment of library membership etc.

Expenditure to be made cashless include payment of salaries and wages to all regular and contractual employees, all contract and work relate payments, procurements, beneficiary payments like social security etc.

City governments were asked to take up necessary infrastructure and capacity building, awareness campaigns for opening of accounts for employees of all categories and their family members.

States have been asked to adopt Public Finance Management systems (PFMS) up to city level to enable transfer, accounting, reconciliation and monitoring of transfer of funds under various government schemes.

To illustrate the transaction volumes, 59 cities have collected tax revenues of Rs.1,722 cr during November so far including dues payable. These include; Ahmedabad-Rs.187 cr, Bhopal-Rs.27 cr, Chennai-Rs.80 cr, Faridabad- Rs.17 cr, Guwahaty-R.s. 14 cr, Hyderabad-Rs.208 cr, Indore-Rs.32 cr, Kakinada (AP)-Rs.20 cr, Kalyan(Maharashtra)-Rs.170 cr, Lucknow-Rs.23 cr, Raipur-Rs.17 cr, Visakhapatnam-Rs.16 cr, Amritsar-Rs.12 cr, Kanpur-Rs.30 cr, Mumbai-Rs.167 cr and New Delhi Municipal Council-Rs.84 cr.

Officials from Madhya Pradesh informed that the major 7 cities have already enabled cashless transactions and all the 378 cities and towns would do so by March next year. Uttar Pradesh and Goa have reported using PFMS up to city level and found it to be very useful.

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RBI announces an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) as a purely temporary measure to absorb surplus liquidity
Nov 28,2016

RBI Announces Measures to Manage Liquidity Conditions With the withdrawal of the legal tender status of ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 denomination bank notes (hereafter referred to as Specified Bank Notes - SBNs) beginning November 9, 2016, there has been a surge in deposits relative to the expansion in bank credit, leading to large excess liquidity in the system. The magnitude of surplus liquidity available with the banking system is expected to increase further in the fortnights ahead. In view of this, it has been decided to absorb a part of this surplus liquidity by applying an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) as a purely temporary measure, as under:

a. The CRR remains unchanged at 4 per cent of outstanding net demand and time liabilities (NDTL);

b. On the increase in NDTL between September 16, 2016 and November 11, 2016, scheduled banks shall maintain an incremental CRR of 100 per cent, effective the fortnight beginning November 26, 2016. This is intended to absorb a part of the surplus liquidity arising from the return of SBNs to the banking system, while leaving adequate liquidity with banks to meet the credit needs of the productive sectors of the economy. As the incremental CRR is intended to be a temporary measure within the Reserve Banks liquidity management framework to drain excess liquidity in the system, it shall be reviewed on December 9, 2016 or even earlier.

c. The Reserve Bank has separately revived the Guarantee Scheme to enable deposit of SBN balances at the Reserve Bank or at currency chests and get immediate value. This measure should also facilitate banks compliance with the incremental CRR.

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