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QBiz: GST Collections May Fall; Ex-RBI Guv on IMF’s Advisory Body

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1. IMF MD Ropes in Raghuram Rajan, 11 Others to Key External Advisory Group

IMF MD Kristalina Georgieva on Friday, 10 April, named former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and 11 others to her external advisory group to provide perspectives from around the globe on key developments and policy issues, including responses to the exceptional challenges the world now faces due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rajan, 57, who was the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor for three years until September 2016, is currently working as a professor at the prestigious University of Chicago.

(Source: Livemint)

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2. Non-Food Credit Growth Slips to 6.06%, Deposits Growth Slows

Non-food credit growth in the banking system slipped further to 6.06% year-on-year (y-o-y) for the fortnight ended 27 March 2020, which was the lowest since May 2017. The figure grew 13.3% during the corresponding period last year.

Meanwhile, deposit growth in the banking system slipped to 7.93%, down 116 basis points (bps) from the previous fortnight ended 13 March. Deposits with scheduled commercial banks during the fortnight ended 27 March stood at Rs 135.71 lakh crore, compared with Rs 133.39 lakh crore during the previous fortnight.

(Source: The Financial Express)

3. IndiGo to Gradually Ramp Up Ops Once Lockdown is Over, Says CEO

India’s largest domestic airline IndiGo will gradually ramp up operations and discontinue on-board meal services for a brief period after resuming services, chief executive officer Ronojoy Dutta said. All flights in India have been grounded at least till 14 April as part of the national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a mail to IndiGo employees, Dutta said the airline will “run its coaches at a maximum load of 50% capacity", adding the airline is looking to change many operating procedures to minimise costs. “We will be coming out with the new set of operating procedures soon."

(Source: Livemint)

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4. Vendors Want BSNL Dues Matter to Reach Finance Ministry

Industry body PHD Chamber of Commerce has written to the telecom department to raise the issue of pending BSNL payments worth Rs 20,000 crore to the finance ministry in order to aid the financially stressed sector.

In a letter to telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dated 8 April, PHD telecom committee chairman Sandeep Agarwal said that state-owned operator BSNL owes Rs 6000 crore against capex, Rs 1000 crores for projects and Rs 13,000 crore against opex to vendors. Besides this, BSNL is awaiting Rs 8500 crore sovereign guarantee and other support from GOI as per its rejuvenation package.

(Source: The Economic Times)

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5. EPF Withdrawal: EPFO Says Coronavirus Scheme Open for Those Who Applied for Other Claims

EPFO subscribers who have applied for any other claim, which is not yet settled so far, can still file online for online EPF withdrawal under the coronavirus scheme for faster disbursal, the retirement fund body has said. Applications for EPF (employee provident fund) claims under the special coronavirus withdrawal scheme are being processed on priority, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation or EPFO said.

"Online claims under COVID-19 are processed under auto mode within 72 hours. However, claims which are not fully KYC complaint require manual processing which takes time. We are processing other claims too," EPFO said.

(Source: Livemint)

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6. April GST Collections Seen Down 40%, May Mop-Up Too to Be Hit

With the lockdown hitting transactions as well as tax payments by businesses in the last week of March, the government’s gross GST revenue in April could fall as much as 30-40% of the average monthly revenue collections achieved in FY20, which was around Rs 1 lakh crore, analysts said. Large companies, especially from the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment, are likely to rescue the mop-up to some extent, they added.

The situation could persist in April too, hitting May collections. Currently, collections are only a fifth of normal, a state government functionary told FE.

FMCG firms have seen minimal impact on sales and would also file monthly returns before the original deadline of 20 April, even though firms above Rs 5-crore turnover have been provided with an additional 15-day period for compliance, sources involved with compliance at some of these companies said. Besides, other major conglomerates with group companies that have managed to escape much harm are likely to contribute as well.

(Source: The Financial Express)

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7. Loan Moratorium: Banks Ask Customers to Be Cautious Against Frauds

Several banks have cautioned their customers against possible attempts by fraudsters as they became active to exploit the three-month loan repayment moratorium offer in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Friday, 10 April.

The cyber criminals pretending as officials of banks have been reaching out to borrowers, offering them assistance to avail the loan repayment moratorium scheme for phishing out account details, they said.

(Source: The Economic Times)

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8. Zee Invests Rs 522 Crore in Tech Startup Sugarbox

Media and entertainment company Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) said it has invested Rs 522 crore in Margo Networks Pvt Ltd (SugarBox), a tech startup it bought three years ago.

SugarBox helps users access Internet services in areas of bad or no network, ZEEL said. Users at key places of interest (PoIs) can access its servers over a local wi-fi network. PoIs include public transport, public places, rural areas, hotels, co-living spaces and malls where a large mass of users access a host of digital services. Zee currently holds a 80% stake in SugarBox.

(Source: Livemint)

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9. Muted 2G to 4G Conversions Due to COVID Could Limit Data Revenue Growth for Telcos in FY21: Analysts

With 2G to 4G conversions practically at a standstill owing to COVID-19 restrictions, overall growth in data usage and revenue for the likes of Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea may fall short of expectations in FY21, despite the current phase of higher mobile internet consumption, say analysts.

They added that telcos could partly offset the revenue impact by monetising higher home internet usage during the lockdown. But that too is likely limited as subscribers working from home have loads of unused data that they are carrying forward, and thus are unlikely to upgrade to higher valued plans.

(Source: The Economic Times)

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