QBiz: FPIs Buy India Debt, CBDT Mulls Taxpayer-Friendly Regime

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing media. (Photo: PTI)

1. FPIs Bullish on Indian Debt Markets; Put in Rs 3,700 Crore in New Year: FE

Overseas investors continued to show good appetite for Indian bonds and pumped in a little over Rs 3,700 crore in such markets in the new year, according to a Financial Express report.

The latest inflow comes following a net investment of Rs 45,856 crore ($7.4 billion) by them in the debt markets in 2015. According to data available with depositories, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) infused a net amount of Rs 3,706 crore ($554 million) into the debt markets during 1-8 January.

2. CBDT to Review New Taxpayer-Centric Measures, Tax Collection: ET

The CBDT will hold a high-level meeting with top Income Tax department officials this week to review the on-ground implementation of some recent initiatives announced by the government for a taxpayer-friendly regime and to widen the base of taxpaying people.

According to an Economic Times report, the meeting, scheduled for 13 January, will be chaired by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman AK Jain and will be attended by other members of the board who will interact with all the regional IT department heads.

3. Budget Goodies for GIFT, Markets Likely: BS

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his team are believed to be considering steps to attract big names in investment banks and global brokerage and trading firms to the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, known as GIFT City, according to a Business Standard report. GIFT, located on the banks of Sabarmati in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, the city has been positioned as a “global financial centre”.

Conceived in 2007 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then Gujarat’s chief minister, the city has had a slow start. The coming Budget could offer substantial tax breaks and possibly a 10-year tax holiday.

4. Anil Ambani Announces Rs 5,000-Crore Naval Facility Investment: ET

Reliance has declared its intention of setting up a new shipyard on the eastern coast to build nuclear vessels and aircraft carriers, with Anil Ambani, announcing an initial investment of Rs 5,000 crore for the ambitious project in Andhra Pradesh according to an Economic Times report.

The greenfield facility – planned to be set up adjacent to a strategic Naval base at Rambilli that will house Indian Navy nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers in the future – will be set up by Reliance Defence Limited.

5. Birla Corp Frontrunner to Buy Anil Amani’s Cement Business in Rs 5,000-Crore Deal: ET

Birla Corp has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire Anil Ambani’s cement business, a wholly-owned arm of flagship Reliance Infrastructure, following a competitive sale process that also saw rival offers from leading private equity buyout funds.

According to an Economic Times report, the Kolkata-headquartered group is currently the only potential buyer engaged in advanced commercial negotiations with Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Group.

6. SEBI Mulls Steps to Reduce MFs’ Exposure in Corp Bonds: HBL

SEBI is considering urgent steps to safeguard investors’ interest against any over-exposure of mutual funds to riskier corporate bonds, while measures are also under way to allow sale of funds on e-commerce platforms to provide an easy and cost-effective channel.

According to a Hindu Business Line report, the proposed move to allow fund houses and their distributors to sell mutual fund schemes through e-commerce platforms is expected to benefit all stakeholders including the investors.

At the same time, SEBI is considering reducing the sector exposure limits for debt schemes to address concerns over the risks associated with their investments in distressed corporate bonds, which recently came to fore after the Amtek Auto crisis. Currently, the exposure limit is 30 percent.

7. New Crop Insurance Scheme to Cover 50 Percent of Farmers: BS

The Union government’s ambitious crop insurance scheme for farmers will be named ‘Bhartiya Krishi Bima Yojana’ and will aim to cover about 50 percent of farmers in the next two-three years, reports Business Standard.

At present, around 23 percent of total cropped area of 194 million hectares is under insurance. According to the final draft of the Cabinet note on the scheme, banks have to play a big role in ensuring its success, officials were quoted saying in the report.

8. IIFCL Plans to Raise Rs 2,000 Crore from Bonds This Quarter: Livemint

State-owned India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL) is planning to raise about Rs 2,000 crore from taxable bonds this quarter for project lending according to the Livemint report.

“Our board has given approval for raising Rs 10,000 crore over the next few months in tranches. In the first tranche we will do Rs 1,500-2,000 crore through bonds issuance,” IIFCL deputy managing director Sanjeev Kaushik was quoted saying.

Besides, the infrastructure debt fund (IDF), promoted by IIFCL, is in the process of raising Rs 1,000 crore from the second tranche to finance renewal energy projects.

9. Volkswagen Reports 4th Consecutive Decline in India Sales: BS

German carmaker Volkswagen’s India unit has seen its domestic sales decline for the fourth consecutive year in 2015, with its market share slipping to 1.5 percent. The company has had a steady start to the year and clocked a 17 percent jump in sales in the eight months ended August 2015, reports Business Standard.

Volkswagen saw four consecutive monthly declines beginning September and its September-December 2015 domestic sales slipped by a steep 34 percent, while most of its peers continued to see volume growth.

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