1. ED Looks to Seize Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi Assets; Seeks Fugitive Offenders TagThe Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sought a special court’s permission to seize and sell assets of absconding jewellers Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance.The agency filed an application under Section 12 of the ordinance at the Prevention of Money Laundering court in Mumbai on Wednesday, to confiscate their properties in India, the UK and the United Arab Emirates. ED has also asked the court to declare Modi and Choksi as fugitives.The duo is being probed by various agencies after a ₹14,356-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank came to light in February. Modi, whose celebrity clients included actors Kate Winslet and Priyanka Chopra, raised loans from the overseas branches of Indian banks by fraudulently obtaining guarantees from a Mumbai PNB branch over several years.(Source: Livemint)2. Trump Wants NATO Countries to pay 2 percent of GDP ImmediatelyUS President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, 11 July, that NATO countries must immediately pay 2 percent of their country's economic output for defense, tying the issue to trade and energy in a Twitter post as he attended the alliance's summit in Brussels.Trump earlier told alliance leaders they should raise their defense spending to 4 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP)."What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?" Trump wrote. "The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on trade. Must pay 2 percent of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025," he added.(Source: The Economic Times)3. Telecom Commission Approves Net NeutralityThe Telecom Commission on Wednesday, 11 July, approved net neutrality rules which bar service providers from discriminating against Internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access.Some mission critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will, however, be kept out of the purview of net neutrality framework.“The Telecom Commission today approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI except some critical services which will be kept out of its purview,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters.(Source: BloombergQuint)4. GST Council Mulls Rate-Cut On Items with ‘Low Revenue Implication’The Goods and Services Tax Council may consider a reduction in tax rates for a host of items with low revenue implications as part of the tax rationalisation exercise in its next meeting on 21 July.The items that could be considered for cutting of tax rates may include sanitary napkins, handicrafts and handloom goods, besides certain services. This comes after several industry bodies and stakeholders have been demanding a duty cut on items, especially those linked to general health and employment generation in unorganised sector.The Council will take up the issue of rationalisation of taxes on various commodities in view of demands raised by stakeholders, a government official said. It would focus mainly on those items which are of general consumption and have low revenue implication, the official added.(Source: BloombergQuint)5. Aadhaar-based DBT Savings Exceed Rs 900 Billion as on 31 Mar: UIDAIThe estimated savings and gains since the inception of Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) stood at over Rs 900 billion as on 31 March this year, a top official of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said on Wednesday, 11 July."We have not spent even Rs 100 billion on Aadhaar cards and related systems so far. But the savings are enormous. We were able to save Rs 900.12 billion as on March 31 this year by using Aadhaar in some of the schemes such as PDS. We were able to weed out bogus and duplicate beneficiaries by using Aadhaar," said J Satyanarayana, Chairman of UIDAI said in a programme at India School of Business (ISB).(Source: Business Standard)6. LIC-IDBI Bank Deal Likely to Conclude By SeptemberAfter getting a go-ahead from regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is preparing to complete the 51 percent acquisition of debt-ridden IDBI Bank Ltd by the end of September, people familiar with the matter said. LIC is conducting due diligence on IDBI Bank, its assets, debt position and fixed assets, they added.Besides, LIC also intends to make an open offer to minority shareholders of IDBI Bank. According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s takeover code, an acquirer has to make an open offer to shareholders of the target company on acquiring shares or voting rights of 25 percent or more.(Source: Livemint)7. India Scores Over France In GDPIndia emerged as the world’s sixth largest economy in 2017 surpassing France and likely to go past the United Kingdom, which is at the fifth position, according to an analysis of data compiled by the World Bank.In 2017, India became the sixth largest economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 2.59 trillion, relegating France to the seventh position.As per the data, the GDP of France stood at USD 2.58 trillion.The United Kingdom, which is facing Brexit blues, had a GDP of USD 2.62 trillion, which is about USD 25 billion more than that of India, the data showed.(Source: Business Line)8. Start Reducing Oil Prices: India Warns OPECThe world’s fastest growing crude consumer has a warning for OPEC: Start reducing prices, or waning demand will mean a curb in purchases from the crude cartel.At least that’s the suggestion from Sanjiv Singh, Chairman of Indian Oil Corp., the country’s biggest refiner. If prices continue rising at the pace they’ve been gaining in the past month and a half, the South Asian nation’s consumers will likely see alternatives such as electric vehicles and gas as more cost-effective, replacing one million barrels of the country’s daily oil use by 2025, he said.“Demand cannot be seen in isolation to prices, especially for a price sensitive market like India,” Singh said. “You may not see an impact on demand in the short term, but in the long term, definitely it will have implications.”(Source: Business Standard)9. Petrol, Diesel Cars May Be Taxed More to Push Electric Vehicle SalesIn an effort to incentivise electric vehicle buyers through cross subsidies, the government is considering a proposal to impose a marginally higher tax on conventional petrol and diesel cars. The finance ministry thinks the proposal should be considered to avoid the additional financial burden that the government incurs as it incentivises buyers under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.The move will also act as a catalyst for the promotion of electric vehicles, the finance ministry has said in a memorandum to the executive finance committee for phase two of the FAME scheme. Mint has reviewed a copy of the memorandum.Industry experts say the move could impact car sales as it will discourage customers from buying petrol and diesel vehicles in a price-sensitive market like India.(Source: Livemint) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.