QBiz: Import Duty Hiked on 19 Items; Uber Fined for Data Breach

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1. Government Hikes Basic Customs Duty on 19 Items to Curb Imports

India will increase the import duty on 19 items, including air conditioners and washing machines, in an attempt to curb imports that would help in bridging the widening current account deficit and reduce pressure on the rupee.

The increase in rates of basic customs duty will be effective from midnight today, according to a statement by the Finance Ministry. The total value of imports of these items in 2017-18 was about Rs 86,000 crore.

Import duty on air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines under 10-kilogram capacity has been doubled to 20 percent each from 10 percent earlier. The basic customs duty on radial tyres is now 15 percent compared with 10 percent earlier, while the levy has been hiked to 25 percent from 10 percent on footwear. The government also introduced an import levy of 5 percent on the aviation turbine fuel.

(Source: BloombergQuint)


2. Cabinet Approves Telecom Policy to Draw $100 Bn Investment, Create 4 Mn Jobs

The Union cabinet on Wednesday, 26 September, approved the new telecom policy that aims to attract $100 billion in investments into India by 2022 and create 4 million jobs.

“Emerging technologies like 5G and Internet of Things warrant the need for a new consumer-centric and application-centric policy,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters after the cabinet meeting. “We want telecom to become not just a revenue generating sector but also a socio-economic growth sector.”

India’s telecom industry desperately needs to attract capital, especially from outside, to funnel investments into new technologies such as 5G and expand networks, as a bruising price war triggered by the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd in September 2016 has left rival telecom operators bloodied.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

3. Sweet Spot: Sugar Mills Get Transport Subsidy, Production Aid Under Rs 5,500-Crore Package

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, 26 September cleared a finance package of Rs 5,500 crore for the sugar industry, which is reeling under an unprecedented glut in production.The government wants to ensure that the mounting sugarcane dues to farmers do not develop into a political landmine in an important election year.

Under the package, sugar mills would get a transport subsidy on sugar exported up to a maximum of 5 million tonnes and a financial assistance of Rs 13.88 per quintal of cane crushed during the forthcoming sugar season 2018-19, commencing next month, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while briefing the media on the Cabinet decisions.

(Source: Business Line)


4. Uber to Pay $148 Million Over Data Breach It Concealed

Ride hailing service Uber agreed to pay a $148 million penalty over a massive 2016 data breach which the company concealed for a year, the company and state officials announced on Wednesday, 26 September.

The agreement stems from a breach affecting some 57 million Uber riders and drivers disclosed by the California company, prompting litigation that was eventually joined by officials from the 50 US states and the District of Columbia.

“New Yorkers deserve to know that their personal information will be protected -- period,” New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement.

“This record settlement should send a clear message: we have zero tolerance for those who skirt the law and leave consumer and employee information vulnerable to exploitation.”

(Source: Livemint)

5. PNB to Seek Rs 5,431 Crore Capital Infusion From Government

Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Wednesday, 26 September said it plans to seek Rs 5,431 crore capital support from the government a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured state-owned banks of all support from the government.

The meeting of the bank's board will take place on Thursday for considering infusion of Rs 5,431 crore by the government by way of preferential issue of equity share and fixing date of extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) for obtaining shareholders' approval in this regard, PNB said in a filing to stock exchanges.

The finance minister on Tuesday committed capital support to banks after meeting heads of public sector lenders.

(Source: Business Today)


6. Fate of 2.37 Crore Railway Job Seekers Uncertain, TCS Appointment Challenged in Court

The fate of 2.37 crore job aspirants who have applied for 1.6 lakh posts in Indian Railways in 2018 is uncertain as a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Delhi High Court challenging the appointment of TCS iON by the railways for conducting the computer-based test (CBT).

In his plea, petitioner Shailendra Sharma had alleged that the ministry of railways and the Railway Recruitment Control Board (RRCB) had awarded the contract for conducting the computer-based recruitment test to TCS iON on nomination, instead of through a bidding process. By doing this, they had violated the norms and undermined the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the petitioner added.

(Source: Livemint)

7. No Proposal yet From IL&FS for Additional Funds: SBI Chairman

The largest lender State Bank of India on Wednesday said it has not received any concrete proposal for additional funds so far from the crisis-ridden Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) group.

SBI holds 6.42 per cent in the IL&FS group that is facing serious liquidity crisis and has defaulted on interest payment on various debt repayments since August 27. The group has over Rs 91,000 crore in debt.

“There is no concrete proposal as of now. When I receive a concrete proposal then we will decide," chairman Rajnish Kumar told reporters when asked whether IL&FS has asked for any funds from the bank.

(Source: Business Today)


8. Donald Trump Threatens Iran With More Sanctions, Macron Criticises His Strategy

President Donald Trump on Wednesday, 26 September, threatened to impose sanctions that are “stronger than ever” on Iran, while his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, demanded a “long-term strategy” to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme that not only focuses on economic restrictions.

Trump – chairing the UN Security Council session – once again called the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran and other world powers a “horrible, one-sided deal (that) allowed Iran to continue its path toward a (nuclear) bomb and gave the regime a cash lifeline when they needed it the most.”

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