QBiz: Bonanza for Babus, Growth in Sugar Production and More

QBiz: Read the top business stories of the day. 

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 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley receiving the Seventh Pay Commission report from the Commission’s chairman, Justice A K Mathur in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

1. A 23.5 Per Cent Jump in Babus’ Salary to Cost Rs 1 Lakh Crore

The Seventh Central Pay Commission’s recommendations, if implemented, could inflate the Centre’s salary and pension bill by close to a quarter, or slightly over Rs 1 lakh crore in FY17, in what could be a big consumption stimulus but one that could undermine the government’s ability to step up public spending given the stiff fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent of GDP for the year.

The commission proposed a new pay matrix, replacing the existing pay bands and grade pay, for the Centre’s 50 lakh employees and 54 lakh pensioners, with a monthly starting pay, inclusive of dearness allowance, of Rs 18,000 a month and apex pay of Rs 2.5 lakh.

Read more here.

2. Delhi HC Asks Govt to Probe All E-Commerce Sites

On a petition filed by the country’s brick-and-mortar retailers through the All-India Footwear Manufacturers and Retailers Association, the Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the government not to pick and choose but to probe all 21 e-commerce players.

Justice Rajiv Endlaw, after brief arguments, gave further four weeks time to the ministries of finance and commerce to file their reply.

Read more here.

3. Markets Rebound on Fed Minutes, Reforms Push

The Indian markets rallied on Thursday, along with other global markets, on bets that the US Federal Reserve would raise rates in December but further increases would be gradual. A slew of policy announcements by the government after Wednesday’s market close also boosted investor sentiment.

Recovering from a two-month low, the benchmark BSE Sensex ended at 25,841.92, up 359.4 points or 1.4 per cent, the biggest advance since October 5.

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4. Sugar Production Rises 33 Per Cent at 7.61 Lakh tn So Far This Season

The crushing operations of the current sugar season (SS 2015-16), which began late October/early November, have seen an encouraging beginning.

As of November 15, nearly 175 mills have started crushing operations as against 155 during the same period in SS 2014-15. Till November 15, sugar mills produced 7.61 lakh tonne as against 5.74 lakh tonne in the corresponding period last year, a 33 per cent rise.

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5. US Opposes India’s Latest Round of Incentives to Boost Textile Exports

The United States has opposed India’s latest round of incentives to provide a fillip to exports, alleging violation of a global trade rule for export competitiveness in textiles.

Commerce department officials said the US raised this issue more than a week ago, after India increased support for exports of several products including textiles while expanding the scope of the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme on October 30.

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6. Two US Law Firms Threaten Class Action Law Suit Against Dr Reddy’s

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories on Thursday denied allegations by a couple of US law firms of misrepresenting facts regarding its financial performance.

The company’s stock fell as much as 7.5 per cent in the morning trade, over concerns of a possible class action suit. The shares recovered from the day’s low of Rs 3,140 to Rs 3,286.80, down 2.6 per cent from their previous close by the end of the trading session.

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7. Norms Relaxed as Only 400 gm Gold Deposited

In the fortnight since the gold monetisation scheme was launched, only 400 gm gold has been deposited and with only one bank, as no other bank had tripartite agreements with hallmarking centres and gold refiners. Now, the finance ministry and the Bureau of Indian Standards are simplifying the administration of the scheme to get it moving.

In contrast, the response to gold bonds and coins has been much better.

Read more here.

8. General Motors India 2014-15 Losses Down 73 Per Cent at Rs 1,033 Crore

While it continues to struggle to sell its vehicles in India, General Motors India managed to narrow its losses to Rs 1033.39 crore during the financial year 2014-15 against a net loss of Rs 3812.46 crore in 2013-14 on the back of cutting expenditure, lower input cost and interest payment.

Though the company’s total income declined 33.2 per cent to Rs 2,262.79 crore during the period, its interest outgo decreased 68 per cent to Rs 37.04 crore, data from the Registrar of Companies showed. Input costs declined 27 per cent to Rs 2,245.24 crore while total expenditure was down 29.43 per cent at Rs 3,316.15 crore.

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9. Artisans See Fortunes Improving

Four years ago, about 500 Banka silk handlooms of the total 600 operational in Katoria village of Bihar had shut shop amid a demand slump and dwindling profits.

Today the otherwise beleaguered Banka silk weavers have received a new lease of life, thanks to the booming e-commerce market.

Currently hundreds of Katoria residents are migrating back to village amid a revival in the traditional industry that is now providing better business and employment prospects.

Read more here.

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