QBiz: Retail Inflation at 7-Month High, Further Rejig to GST Rates
1. Retail Inflation Rises to Seven-Month High of 3.58% in Oct
Costlier food items, particularly vegetables, pushed up retail inflation in October to 7-month high of 3.58 percent.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation was 3.28 percent in September.
It was 4.2 percent in October 2016. The previous high was 3.89 percent in March 2017.
2. Arun Jaitley Hints at Further Rejig of GST
Finance minister Arun Jaitley hinted at further “rationalisation” of the Goods and Services Tax, depending on revenue buoyancy, and hit out at critics who linked rate cuts on about 200 items on Friday to the Gujarat elections. He said it was “juvenile politics” to link the reduction in rates to the state assembly polls.
“There is obviously scope for rationalisation of rates. In four months, we have rationalised the 28% slab,” he said at a select media interaction.
(Source: Economic Times)
3. Vodafone, Idea to Sell Telecom Tower Assets to ATC For $1.2 Billion
Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd on Monday said that they have separately agreed to sell their standalone telecom tower businesses to ATC Telecom Infrastructure Pvt Ltd for about $1.2 billion.
The standalone tower businesses of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are pan-Indian passive telecom infrastructure businesses, comprising a combined portfolio of approximately 20,000 towers, with a combined tenancy ratio of 1.65x as of 30 June 2017, the companies said in a joint statement.
4. Railways to Issue Tenders of up to 1,500km For Electrification
Indian Railways plans to bid out large tenders as high as 1,500 km under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model for railway electrification, to achieve its target of full electrification by 2021.
The move will bring electrification costs substantially down for the national carrier, which at present pays around Rs1-2 crore per km for electrification.
“We plan to make large packages ranging from 400 km to 1,500 km under EPC contracts. The deal will bring good value and expedite process. Besides, from now on, all electrification contracts would be on EPC mode,” a senior railway ministry official said.
5. Govt Seeks Hefty Dividends From State Firms as Revenues Falter
The demand has been made following a finance ministry assessment on 25 October of the financial health of 14 state companies, including top miner NMDC Ltd and trading firm MMTC Ltd, according to a government document reviewed by Reuters.
India is demanding millions of dollars in dividends from 12 reluctant state companies to make up for an expected tax revenue shortfall this fiscal year, as a slump in economic growth risks New Delhi overshooting its fiscal deficit target.
6. Uber's South Asia Policy Chief Quits
Uber’s [UBER.UL] chief of policy for India and South Asia has quit, two sources familiar with the matter said on 13 November, Monday, in the latest high-level departure at the online taxi company.
Shweta Rajpal Kohli, a former Indian journalist who joined Uber in 2016, would join cloud-based software maker Salesforce.com Inc next month, the sources told Reuters.
Uber said it did not have an immediate comment. Kohli did not respond to an email seeking comment.
7. Mahindra To Make Electric Vehicle Components In-House
Mahindra & Mahindra group will manufacture all key components that go into an electric vehicle itself as India’s largest utility vehicle maker prepares for the next transition in the automobile industry amid the government’s push to cut dependence on fossil fuels.
The $13-billion group will set up joint ventures through Mahindra Electric Mobility Ltd, 98.8 percent owned by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, to make electric car parts, Pawan Goenka, managing director at M&M, said in an investor call after its second-quarter earnings. “We will make the battery, motor, electronics and transmission in-house and supply to M&M,” Goenka said.
8. Make in India Revamp to Meet Jobs, GDP Growth Demands
In a complete rethink of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the government will come up with policy interventions in key sectors that can help create jobs and sustainable economic development in the country.
From 25 focus sectors presently, the government is selecting four or five to ‘nurture’ them, with emphasis likely on labour-intensive and high-potential sectors such as leather, textiles and garments, engineering, pharmaceuticals and automobiles.
(Source: Economic Times)
9. Sebi Bans Ambitious Diversified Projects, 16 Others From Markets
Sebi on 13 November, Monday banned Ambitious Diversified Projects and 16 other entities, including company directors, from the securities market for at least two years for illegally raising more than Rs 1 crore from the public.
The regulator in an order directed the company and its 11 former directors to refund the money collected through the issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) with an annual interest of 15 percent.