QBiz: Govt Circular on Tax Evaders, Amazon Mulls Buying Uber Eats

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1. Centre Issues New Circular to Deal ‘Firmly’ With Tax Evaders

Even though Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asked taxmen to firmly deal with tax evaders, a detailed strategy advisory was circulated on 11 July for handling demonetisation cases, which has even spelt out the first set of questions to be asked to assessees.

A senior I-T officer told BusinessLine that the advisory is a technique to micromanage tax collection from North Block (New Delhi) in demonetisation cases. It has pointed out that I-T returns of fiscal 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 could be scrutinised in demonetisation cases.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

2. Amazon in Talks to Buy Uber Eats India, Plans to Add Food Delivery to Prime

The India business of American e-commerce major Amazon is learnt to be in talks on a possible buyout of the local unit of Uber Eats, the food order and delivery platform hosted by the San Francisco-based travel aggregator.

The talks for a buyout are in initial stages and a possible strategic alliance could also be explored, sources in the know said.

Uber declined to comment on the subject. According to sources, Amazon India is interested in entering the food delivery business so that it can add it to the list of services it provides, especially through its Prime membership.

(Source: Business Standard)

3. Reliance Jio Pips Vodafone Idea to Become Top Telecom Service Provider

Reliance Jio Infocomm won more subscribers to become India’s biggest telecom operator, as companies prepare for the planned rollout of a 5G network next year.

Reliance Jio’s subscriber base grew to 331.3 million in the quarter ended June, the company reported last week. That’s higher than nearest rival Vodafone Idea Ltd., which on Friday, 26 July, said its users fell to 320 million from 334.1 million last quarter.

Reliance Jio ranked second in May, when its market share increased to 27.8 percent, according to data released by the industry regulator TRAI. Vodafone Ideas market share was 33.4 percent and Bharti Airtel Ltd. had 27.6 percent of the wireless market.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

4. Govt Plans E-Commerce Boost for 200 Rural Products

Rural artisans may soon be able to sell their products through e-commerce platforms as part of a facilitation plan envisaged by the government that includes setting up of producer companies in select clusters.

The rural development ministry has drawn up a list of 200 products that will be sold on e-commerce platforms, including the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), said officials. The ministry has joined hands with Tata Trusts to set up a not-for-profit company under Section 25 of Companies Act to provide professional support to rural artisans to sell their products globally, they said.

“We are in the process of setting up clusters or producer companies by bringing in people making similar products,” a senior government official told ET.

(Source: The Economic Times)

5. IL&FS Securities Issue Could Precipitate Today as Brokers Seek Return of Collateral

There could be more pain for IL&FS Securities Services Ltd (ISSL) and its trading members on Monday, 29 July. Some of the members, who are seeking a return of their collateral from ISSL following the Allied Financial payment fiasco, let their derivative positions expire on 25 July. They will now want the delivery of shares against payment due to them.

ISSL won’t be able to return these shares as it is not in a position to pay for delivery, which may precipitate the crisis, sources told BusinessLine.

Per broker estimates, 50-150 trading members of ISSL have around Rs 300 crore stuck with the beleaguered clearing member, which is their collateral for derivative positions. ISSL had an obligation of nearly Rs 400 crore to NSE Clearing Corporation, for which it allegedly used its members’ collateral apart from its own Rs 100 crore.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

6. Tesla Cars May Soon Stream Netflix, Youtube When Not Moving, Says Musk

The ability to stream YouTube and Netflix when a Tesla vehicle is not moving is coming soon, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter.

The change may come in August but wouldn’t take “more than a few months,” Musk said while responding to a Twitter user.

Tesla owners will be able to stream while the car is moving once regulators approve full self-driving, Musk said in a second tweet. The CEO described the experience as having a “cinematic feel due to the comfy seats and surround sound audio.”

Tesla tweeted on Friday it was beginning its global roll-out of chess for the Tesla Arcade.

(Source: Business Standard)

7. Alteria Capital Closes Its Maiden Venture Debt Fund at Rs 960 Crore

Alteria Capital, which provides loans to startups, has closed its maiden venture debt fund at a corpus of $140 million ( Rs 960 crore), signalling a sharp rise in appetite for debt financing from startups, said a senior executive of the firm.

The fund has raised more than the Rs 800 crore it had set out to raise, with the final close including a greenshoe option, which gives the fund an option to raise more than it had originally planned.

The limited partners (investors in the fund) include several large domestic banks, family offices, and development financial institutions such as IndusInd Bank, Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi), Azim Premji Foundation, and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal.

(Source: LiveMint)

8. Govt Weighs $1 Billion Concessional Loans for Battery Storage Plans

In an effort to boost India’s battery storage plans, the government is exploring a nearly $1 billion concessional loan facility to be drawn from multilateral lenders such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Investment Bank, New Development Bank (NDB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

According to information reviewed by Mint, while about $400 million of this corpus is being explored for making electricity transmission and distribution-level investments in battery storage, another $250 million may be earmarked for making battery storage investments to support wheeling of electricity from green energy sources such as solar and wind across the national grid.

In addition, an additional $335 million may be allocated to offer concessional financing to catalyse investment into the battery market in India.

(Source: LiveMint)

9. ‘UP's Role to Be Critical in Making India USD 5-Trillion Economy’

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran on Sunday, 28 July, said that there are immense business opportunities in Uttar Pradesh and the state will play a critical role in making India a USD 5-trillion economy.

He said the Tata Group sees a huge potential in sectors such as renewable energy, tourism, airlines and electric mobility, among others.

Speaking on the occasion of the second ground breaking ceremony in Lucknow, Chandrasekaran said, "I think UP, needless to say is inarguably the most important state in the country, and UP's success is very critical to realise the dream of the nation to become USD 5-trillion economy.

(Source: The Economic Times)

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