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QBiz: India Ups Import Duty on 29 US Items; MP Mandis Protest eNAM

Here are the top headlines from the world of business.

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1. India Hits Back at US, Hikes Import Duty on 29 Products

India has decided to raise customs duty on 29 products, including almonds, walnuts and pulses, imported from the US as a retaliatory action against the tariff hike by Washington.

The duty hike will come into effect from 4 August, the finance ministry said in a notification. The ‘tit-for-tat’ duty hike decision by India is similar to that of European Union and China, which decided to levy higher import duties on a variety of US products in retaliation to the protectionist policies adopted by America.

(Source: PTI)

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2. Panama Paper Leaks: Fresh Revelations Being Looked into by MAG

The government started its investigations into the fresh Panama Paper leaks, even as those named denied any wrongdoing. The finance ministry on Thursday, 21 June, said the fresh revelations are being looked into by the Multi Agency Group (MAG), headed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes chairman as its convener and comprising representatives of the income-tax (I-T) department, Enforcement Directorate, Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Reserve Bank of India.

3. Sebi Tweaks Norms to Aid Fund-Raising

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has made major changes in rules governing fund-raising, to provide flexibility to issuers and to boost capital formation.

The regulator tweaked norms governing stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories — known as market infrastructure institutions (MIIs) — capping the tenure of top officials and bringing in more accountability to the board structure.

Going ahead, a company will have to make public the pricing for its initial public offering (IPO) just two days before the opening as distinct from five days earlier. According to experts, this will help issuers handle market volatility better.

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4. Govt Plans Rs 10,000 Crore Tender to Set up More Rural Wi-Fi Hotspots

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will soon issue a revised tender, inviting bidders to set up more public Wi-Fi hotspots in every gram panchayat than it had earlier envisaged, to ensure higher proliferation of high-speed rural broadband across the 250,000 gram panchayats.

“The earlier tender was for Rs 4,000 crore and at that time it was decided to set up two Wi-Fi hotspots per gram panchayat. Now we want to set up five hotspots per gram panchayat. The new tender will now be for Rs 10,000 crore... This should happen in a week,” one person aware of the matter said on the condition of anonymity.

(Source: Livemint)

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5. India Seeing Real Challenge at World Trade Organsation: Suresh Prabhu

India was seeing real challenge at World Trade Organisation and in the global trading system itself, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said at an event organised by FIEO on Thursday, 21 June.

In March, the commerce and industries minister had appealed to WTO members to identify common ground for strengthening the multi-lateral trade body amid challenges being faced by it following the deadlock at the Buenos Aires Ministerial.

(Source: PTI)

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6. Rites IPO Fully Subscribed on Day 2, Issue to Close Today

The initial public offering (IPO) of Railways consultancy firm RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Services Ltd) was fully subscribed on Day 2.

The three-day IPO, which closes on Friday, 22 June, received 5.24 crore bids against the total issue size of 2.52 crore, NSE data shows. RITES is the second railways public sector enterprise that is undergoing disinvestment and plans to raise around Rs 466 crore by divesting 12.6 percent from its stake. The IPO has been fixed at Rs 180-185 per share with lot size of 80 shares and in multiples thereafter.

(Source: Livemint)

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7. Swiggy Enters Unicorn Club with $210 Million Funding from Naspers

Swiggy raised $210 million from a group of investors, catapulting India’s largest food delivery service provider into a select club of startup unicorns with a valuation of $1 billion or more. The latest funding, led by Naspers and billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global, values Swiggy at roughly $1.3 billion, surpassing rival Zomato’s $1.1 billion valuation based on a February fund-raising round. China’s Meituan-Dianping has also invested in the latest funding round, along with new investor Coatue Management.

Swiggy, founded in August 2014, is one of the fastest entrants into the unicorn club.

(Source: Livemint)

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8. Traders in Madhya Pradesh Mandis Begin 3-Day Strike Against Govt’s eNAM

Traders in Madhya Pradesh's agriculture markets on Thursday, 21 June, began a three-day strike to protest against the alleged complications of the Union government's National Agriculture Market (eNAM) platform.

The Union Agriculture Ministry's eNAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

It was launched with the objective of providing competitive and remunerative prices to farmers for their produce through an online competitive bidding process.

(Source: PTI)

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9. Govt to Scrap Subsidy for Private Electric Cars

The Centre plans to scrap cash incentives currently offered to buyers of electric cars despite having incentivised these clean fuel technologies till just a few months back. The move, experts said, will further dampen sales of private electric cars.

Policy-makers justified the move, saying the government has now decided to give cash subsidies to electric vehicles used by shared-mobility operators such as Ola and Uber, "as their vehicles will run much more than private cars".

Currently, the government offers a discount of up to Rs 1.3 lakh on an electric car as part of its clean-energy programme, FAME (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles).

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