QBiz: Petrol, Diesel Prices Surge; FM Looks to Break GST Deadlock

The Quint brings you the top business news from dailies across the country.

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Petrol will now cost Rs 71.14/litre in Delhi and diesel will cost Rs  59.02/litre in the city. Representational Image. (Photo: iStock)

1. Petrol Price up by 42 Paisa Per Litre, Diesel by Rs 1.03 a Litre

India’s oil marketing companies on Sunday raised petrol price by Rs 0.42/litre and diesel by Rs 1.03/litre, effective from midnight, in line with rising global crude oil prices in trailing few weeks.

Petrol will now cost Rs 71.14/litre in Delhi and diesel will cost Rs  59.02/litre taking into account additional impact of state taxes, Indian Oil Corporation said in a statement.

The current level of international product prices of Petrol and Diesel and INR-USD exchange rate warrant increase in selling price of Petrol and Diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision.
Indian Oil Corporation Statement

2. Warburg Aims for $8 Billion Investments in 10 Years in India

Private equity group Warburg Pincus may invest $8 billion in India over the next 10 years – twice of what it did in two decades – as the New York-headquartered firm extends its long-term bet on one of its “most important markets in the world”.

Warburg, which has deployed $3.8 billion in 51companies as diverse as Kotak Mahindra Bank, Alliance Tire, Ambuja Cement and Laurus Labs in India since 1997, is looking to deepen its involvement, Co-Chief Executives Charles R Kaye and Joseph P told The Economic Times in an interview.

We never believe in numerical targets and do not set investment allocations by region. But frankly, if we couldn’t deploy more than double that amount within half the time, I would say, all of us will be disappointed.
Charles R Kaye

3. Govt Planning to Overhaul Rs 10,000 Crore Start-Up Fund

The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) is set to overhaul its Rs 10,000 crore start-up funding scheme by allowing venture capital (VC) funds to invest half of the corpus in start-ups and the rest of it in firms at a more mature stage to reduce capital risk.

The VC funds that manage the corpus on behalf of the government are currently mandated to invest the money only in start-ups.

The Union cabinet cleared the Fund of Funds for Start-ups under the Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) in June for contribution to various VC funds registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India as part of the Start-up India Action Plan unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2016.

(Source: Livemint)

4. Finance Ministry Finalising Fund Infusion For PSU Banks; May Exceed Rs 25,000 Crore

The Finance Ministry is likely to finalise capital infusion plan for public sector banks (PSBs) this week based on the request of various lenders, which have been impacted by demonetisation amid rising bad loans. Final touches are being given based on the feedback from all banks and the plan should be ready by this week, people familiar with the development said.

The capital infusion would be more than Rs 25,000 crore announced in the earlier Budget and the additional requirement would reflect in the final batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants to be presented in the upcoming Budget session, they added.

Saddled with rising bad loans, banks have already made a case for higher capital infusion and it is reflected in their demand sent to the ministry, sources added. Besides, their normal business has hit during the demonetisation period.

The government has already announced fund infusion of Rs 22,915 crore, out of the Rs 25,000 crore earmarked for 13 PSBs for the current fiscal.

(Source: Bloomberg Quint)

5. Reliance Jio Drives Incumbents to Go for Virtualisation of Networks

Telecom operators, including Bharti AirtelBSE -0.50 %, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, have begun discussions with technology providers for virtualisation of networks, which will help launch new products and services faster.

This will help incumbent operators counter 4G entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm and over-the-top service providers, analysts said. Idea Cellular’s chief technology officer Anil Tandan said the company, India’s No 3 telco, is closely studying the development and implementation of network virtualisation techniques such as SDN (software defined network) and NFV (network functions virtualisation) in networks in India and across the world.

“We are in the process of evaluating the technical offers for these technologies and expect to deploy SDN and NFV on a limited scale by late 2017,” Tandan said.

6. Arun Jaitley Looks to Break Deadlock at GST Meeting on Monday

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will on Monday look to break the deadlock over distribution of powers between the Centre and states to administer Goods and Services Tax (GST), an issue that is holding up launch of the new national sales tax from April.

The all-powerful GST council, headed by Jaitley, will meet for the ninth time on Monday with the issue of who gets to administer the GST being the single biggest issue on agenda.

The council has been deadlocked in the last four meetings, the last one being on 4 January, with states seeking sole powers to control assessee with annual turnover of up to Rs1.5 crore. The Centre, however, is not in favour of a horizontal split as it feels states do not have the expertise to administer levies like service tax.

(Source: Livemint)

7. 2.4 Million New Demat Accounts Opened Last Year, Highest Since 2008

The number of dematerialised (demat) accounts opened in India last year was the highest since 2008, as more retail investors opted to invest in stocks in a country where people traditionally prefer gold, real estate and bank deposits.

As many as 2.4 million new accounts were opened in 2016, according to data from depositories National Securities Depository Ltd, and Central Depository Services Ltd. That compares with nearly 3 million accounts opened in 2008.

A demat account is opened by an investor with a depository participant to invest in securities such as stocks and bonds. The securities are held in a digital format.

“Whenever we see robust IPO openings, we often see a surge in opening of new accounts for trade in secondary market,” said R. Kalyanaraman, senior vice-president of sales at retail-focused brokerage Sharekhan, a unit of BNP Paribas.

(Source: Livemint)

8. Government Considers Raising FDI Limit In Print Media To 49%

The government is considering a proposal to increase the limit for foreign direct investment (FDI) in print media sector to 49 percent. Currently, the FDI policy permits 26 percent foreign direct investment in the publishing of newspapers and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs through government approval route.

The government has started a consultation process on the matter with an aim to attract more foreign funds in the sector, people familiar with the matter.

Last year, the government relaxed FDI norms in several sectors, including civil aviation, defence, private security agencies, pharmaceuticals and food processing industry.

During 2015-16, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country increased by 29 percent to $40 billion, from $30.93 billion in the previous fiscal.

(Source: Bloomberg Quint)

9. Budget 2017: Govt May Accord Infrastructure Status to Low-Cost Housing

The government may tweak the definition of the infrastructure sector in the upcoming budget to include low-cost or affordable housing, a move that would reduce costs for developers and attract investors, two people with the knowledge of the matter told The Economic Times.

The change is being proposed about a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced concessions on interest rates for low-cost housing loans under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana. “If we want housing for all by 2020, re-categorising affordable housing as infrastructure is essential. The government had sought feedback about this about a week ago,” a person familiar with the development said. “I see this happening in the upcoming budget.”

The government has been pushing Modi’s pet project of providing about 20 million houses across India by 2020. IT has reached out to senior finance ministry officials and the Reserve Bank of India for feedback on the proposed change and how to prevent it from being misused.

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