QBiz: Retail Inflation Rises; Govt Seeks Suggestions on I-T Rates

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Retail inflation breached RBI’s 4% medium-term target in October. 

1. At 4.62%, Retail Inflation in October Hits a 16-Month High

Retail inflation climbed to a 16-month high of 4.62% in October, driven by food inflation, which hit its highest level since August 2016, official data on Wednesday, 13 November showed.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew sharply in October from 3.99% in September, which itself was the highest reading in 14 months. The inflation level in October breached the 4% benchmark, set by the RBI and the Finance Ministry till 2021.

It, however, still remains within the upper limit of 6%. Within the CPI, inflation in the food and beverages category continued its sharp acceleration, at 6.93%. This figure is the highest since August 2016. Food inflation was at 4.7% in September, the highest in nearly two years.

(Source: The Hindu)

2. In a First, Govt Seeks Suggestions on Income Tax Rates, Other Duties

In perhaps the first instance, the finance ministry has kicked off the exercise to formulate the next budget by seeking suggestions on changes in direct and indirect taxes from industry and trade associations.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had to announce additional measures to stimulate a slowing economy within a month of her maiden budget being approved by Parliament, is due to present the annual budget for the financial year 2020-21 on 1 February.

(Source: Livemint)

3. High Levies, Low Tariffs Double Whammy for Telecom Industry

In levying taxes and in shearing sheep, it is well to stop when you get down to the skin" said American author Austin O’Malley.

The aphorism pithily captures what Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel Ltd, and other top executives of the Indian telecom industry have been trying to convey to the government in many ways. Mittal, in fact, went to the extent of comparing the taxation on the sector to that of the tobacco industry, a target of high taxes because of its harmful impact on society.

(Source: Livemint)

4. Birlas May Let Vodafone Idea Go Insolvent If Govt Doesn’t Help

Aditya Birla Group will not infuse any fresh equity into Vodafone Idea Ltd, its telecom joint venture with Vodafone Group of UK, and let it opt for insolvency if the government does not provide substantial relief, including on the telco’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR)-based dues, which could be over ₹39,000 crore, senior executives aware of the matter said.

“The telecom business seems to be making money for everyone else except the players. It is unviable and unsustainable and will only drag down the group’s profitability. We need to rethink our capital allocation better in a difficult business environment,” said a senior group executive.

(Source: The Economic Times)

5. SpiceJet Loss Widens ‘Due to New Accounting Norms’

SpiceJet on Wednesday, 13 November, said that its losses during the second quarter of the current fiscal has widened to ₹462.6 crore, as against losses of ₹389.4 crore it had incurred during the same period last year. The airline also said that higher losses were due to new accounting norms.

The private carrier’s losses widened despite it posting a 52% increase in second quarter operational revenue to ₹2,845.3 crore as it added more destinations and expanded its fleet of passenger and freighter aircraft.

(Source: The Economic Times)

6. Yes Bank Faces Fresh Audit Into Complaints by Whistleblower

Yes Bank Ltd’s statutory auditor, BSR & Co, has sought a fresh audit into whistleblower complaints levelled against the bank and its founder Rana Kapoor after a special audit done by JLN US & Co turned out to be inconclusive, a person familiar with the matter said.

The audit committee of Yes Bank’s board had ordered the special audit into the whistleblower’s complaints received in September 2018. The whistleblower had raised allegations of irregularities in the bank’s operations, potential conflict of interests in relation to Kapoor and misclassification of bad loans.

(Source: Livemint)

7. Govt Wants Telcos to Clear AGR Dues in 3 Months; Relief Package in Works

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has started the initial process of claiming its dues from telcos, directing them to pay up in accordance with the Supreme Court’s 24 October order, under which they have been given three months to fulfil their obligations.

The letter to the telcos points out that it is the responsibility of the licensees to pay after carrying out their own assessment as prescribed in the licence agreement.

(Source: Business Standard)

8. Chinese Breathe Life Into Local Auto Mart

At a time when mainstream car makers slow down on investments in the country, Chinese companies may save the blushes for the Indian auto industry which, till recently, was considered one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

At least half a dozen Chinese vehicle makers are expected to pump in about $5 billion over the next three-five years along with their vendor-partners to make inroads into the Indian market as their local market staggers. While MG Motor and BYD continue to invest in India, the likes of Great Wall Motors, Changan and Beiqi Foton are slated to commit investments in local manufacturing.

(Source: The Economic Times)

9. Rcom Asset Sale: Deadline for Bids Extended by 10 Days on Jio's Request

Reliance Communications' committee of creditors on Wednesday, 13 November, extended the deadline to submit bids for assets of the debt-ridden firm by another 10 days following a request from Reliance Jio, according to sources.

Bharti Airtel, Bharti Infratel and private equity firm Varde Partners have submitted their bids for assets of Reliance Communications, while Reliance Jio has sought extension of the asset sale deal deadline by another 10 days. Airtel has placed conditional bid to buy spectrum of RCom while Bharti Infratel has submitted bids for mobile towers.

(Source: Business Standard)

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