QBiz: Aadhaar Pay To Launch 14 Apr; India Adds 5,400 MW Wind Power
1. PM Narendra Modi to Launch Aadhaar Pay Platform on Ambedkar's Birth Anniversary
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will, next week, launch the government's new digital payments initiative that aims to make banking accessible to people who could not read or write.
The initiative, christened Aadhaar Pay, is a biometric-based payment system that will allow an Aadhaar-linked account holder carry out all his banking transactions just by the use of his thumb impression. Modi will launch the scheme on 14 April to mark the birth anniversary of Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
"This is in line with the government's initiative to popularise digital payments," a senior government official said.
2. Higher Levy Under GST for Demerit Goods, Exchange Offers
Those buying goods at prices lower than prevalent market rates in exchange offers for older items, a practice popular in the consumer durables and electronics sectors, might have to shell out more in the goods and services tax (GST) regime.
For instance, a new phone handset is sold for Rs 20,000 in exchange for an older one. But, the price of the new handset, without the exchange offer, is Rs 24,000. Then, the GST would be levied on the higher amount; at present, value-added tax (VAT) is applicable on the cash component.
Also, traders, dealers and distributors who have transition stock when the GST is rolled out might not get the full refund for central taxes already paid. This is likely to affect dealers of aerated drinks, luxury cars, cigarettes, and pan masala.
(Source: Business Standard)
3. RBI May Focus on Squeezing Excess Liquidity in the System
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will focus on squeezing excess liquidity from the banking system in its monetary policy meeting on 5-6 April while keeping policy rates unchanged and retaining its neutral stance, according to a Mint survey.
The surge in cash deposits following demonetisation resulted in liquidity rising to Rs 4 trillion in March from Rs 2 trillion in January. Announcing the 8 February policy, the central bank said surplus liquidity should decline with progressive remonetisation, but the abundant liquidity with banks is now expected to persist into the early months of fiscal 2017-18.
4. No GST Shock This Year: Healthcare And Education To Be Exempt
Education, healthcare and pilgrimages will continue to be out of the service tax net under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime as the Centre wants to avoid any shock in the first year of the rollout by bringing in new services.
Besides making a strong case to the GST Council for not including services that are out of tax net currently, the Centre will also pitch for keeping concessional rate for services like transport at the current level, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told PTI in an interview.
The GST Council is scheduled to meet in Srinagar on 18-19 May to decide on rates various good and services will be charged in the new indirect tax regime that is being targeted for rollout from 1 July.
5. India Added 5,400 MW of Wind Power in FY17
India added a record 5,400 MW of wind power capacity in 2016-17, a government statement said on Sunday. The previous high was the 3,472-MW added in 2015-16.
Notably, 2,026 MW was added in March, beating the March 2016 record of 1,700 MW. Also, with the addition of 5,400 MW (which appears to be a rounded figure), the country’s wind power capacity stands at 31,177 MW.
Andhra Pradesh topped installations with 2,190 MW; Gujarat stood second at 1,275 MW and Karnataka followed with 882 MW.
Breaching the 5-GW comes at a time when the wind industry prepares to hold an international conference, Windergy 2017, between 25 and 27 April, in New Delhi.
(Source: The Hindi BusinessLine)
6. Liquor Ban Impact Estimated at Rs 65K-Crore in Revenue Foregone by States, Hospitality Industry
India’s highway liquor ban has forced some of the most prominent hotel chains in the country such as the Taj, Oberoi, Hyatt and Accor groups to stop serving alcohol to guests at key locations from 1 April, threatening an estimated toll of Rs 65,000 crore in revenue foregone by state governments and the hospitality industry.
The move could lead to states losing overall tax revenue of Rs 50,000 crore, restaurants and pubs taking a hit of Rs 10,000-15,000 crore and 100,000 people going out of work, said Riyaaz Amlani, president of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).
Apart from the trade having to dispose of stocks, states will lose heavily.
7. Deutsche Bahn, IPRCL May Form Joint Venture in India
Germany’s Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting is in talks with Indian Port Rail Corp Ltd (IPRCL) to from a joint venture (JV) to develop rail connectivity for Indian ports.
Minister for road transport and highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari said in October that India and Germany were working together on projects worth Rs 1 trillion being implemented by IPRCL.
India has envisaged Rs 8 trillion of investment until 2035 under the Sagarmala programme, which involves the construction of new ports to harness the country’s 7,517 km coastline and setting up of as many as 142 cargo terminals at major ports.
8. RNT Capital, Falcon Edge Capital Set to Invest $100 Mn in Ola
Ola is in advanced talks to raise fresh capital of about Rs 650 crore ($100 million) led by RNT Capital Advisers, a venture fund set up by Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, according to two people aware of the deal.
India’s largest ride hailing app is also negotiating further funding of $200 million from other investors, the sources said, as it looks to enhance its lead over San Francisco-based rival Uber, which is battling a series of management and regulatory hurdles in its home market.
RNT Capital is expected to lead the round with an investment of $60 million with the rest coming from New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital.
9. Infosys Promoters, Board Now Disagree over COO Pravin Rao's Pay
Infosys Ltd’s promoters continue to be unhappy with some decisions made by the board of India’s second largest software services company. A majority of the promoters did not vote for a resolution seeking a salary increase for chief operating officer UB Pravin Rao.
According to filings by Infosys with stock exchanges, only 24 percent of promoter votes were cast in favour of the resolution seeking a 35 percent rise in Rao’s compensation to Rs12.5 crore. The remaining abstained. This mirrored the promoters voting 12 months ago on a resolution seeking a two-year extension and a revised compensation of $11 million for chief executive Vishal Sikka.
The latest show of promoter disenchantment, according to people familiar with the development, suggests that the truce reached between the founders and the company’s board after an open confrontation in February may only have resulted in an uneasy and temporary calm.