QBiz: Cyrus Mistry Reclaims Tata Top Post; Dunzo to Test Drone Use

Here are the top business stories of the day.

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Business
5 min read
File image of Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry.
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1. NCLAT Puts Cyrus Mistry Back on Tata Sons Saddle

In a major victory for former Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) ordered the Tata Group to reinstate him as executive chairman, a post from which he was ousted following a boardroom coup in 2016.

Tata Sons, however, said it “strongly believes” in the strength of its case and will take appropriate legal recourse.

The appellate tribunal also declared the appointment of former Tata Consultancy Services head N Chandrasekaran as Tata Group Executive Chairman, and the conversion of Tata Sons from a public company to a private company as “illegal”.

(Source: Hindu BusinessLine)

2. GST Council Votes for a Change, Shifts Lotteries to Highest Slab

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Wednesday departed from its practice of consensus-based decision-making, opting the first time for a vote to settle differences among states over the taxation of lotteries.

The council also deliberated upon a presentation made by a committee of officers set up to study revenue augmentation, but refrained from any generalised rate increase or removal of exemptions.

“The council has decided to impose a single rate of 28 percent on state-run and authorised lottery,” union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said after the 38th meeting of the GST Council.

It decided to put the matter to vote following wide divergence over whether there should be a single rate or dual rates.

(Source: Economic Times)

3. Green Shoots Visible, Jury out Over Sustainability: Das

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das believes the green shoots of economic revival seem visible, though the jury is still out whether these early signs are sustainable or transient.

Das added that he expects revival in consumption in the coming quarters, with retail growth showing signs of picking up. He added that the government will find it challenging to find fiscal space and there should be globally coordinated monetary and fiscal policy action to boost the ailing economy.

In an interview to Mint, Das spoke on a wide range of topics spanning the regulatory structure of NBFCs, multilateralism, credit growth and public credit registry.

(Source: Livemint)

4. Gold Price Unchanged at Rs 38,112 per 10 Grams, Silver Down Rs 75 to Rs 44,200 per KG

Gold prices remained unchanged at Rs 38,112 per 10 grams in Mumbai's bullion market as investors await details on the trade deal between the US and China.

The rate of 10 grams, 22-carat gold in Mumbai was Rs 34,911 plus 3 percent GST, while that of 10 grams, 24-carat was Rs 38,112 plus GST. The price of 18-carat gold was quoted at Rs 28,584 plus GST in the retail market.

Silver prices slipped Rs 75 to 44,200 per kg from its closing rate on 17 December.

(Source: Moneycontrol)

5. December Wheat Stocks Hit 7-Year High on Poor Offtake

Wheat stocks in the central pool at the beginning of December stood at 351 lakh tonnes, a seven-year high, on muted demand for the grain sold by the Food Corporation of India due to its high price.

These stocks could add to the storage worries of the government in the days ahead as farmers are seen planting more wheat in the current rabi season, raising the prospects for a bumper harvest.

Anticipating a huge crop, large traders and stockists, including some corporates, have been offloading their stocks in the recent past, sources said. Millers prefer to buy wheat from the open market as the cereal offered by FCI under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) is priced higher.

(Source: Hindu BusinessLine)

6. Dunzo, Throttle Get Nod to Test Long-Range Drones

India’s civil aviation authority has selected the applications of Google-backed hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo and Bengaluru-based drone maker Throttle Aerospace Systems to test long-range and autonomous drone use, according to industry experts and top officials aware of the developments.

The approvals are a part of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) experimental programme, called beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations, which was notified in May.

The BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring (BEAM) Committee will oversee the evidence collected on the use of drones and their safety aspects and submit findings before India frames laws for long-range and autonomous drone use.

“We’re still in the process of approving the BVLOS experiments, but yes these two companies (Dunzo and Throttle Aerospace) have been selected and are awaiting signed letters from us,” said a senior government official on the condition of anonymity.

(Source: Economic Times)

7. Infy Settles Tax Case in California

Infosys has said the California Attorney General’s investigation into allegations related to the payment of state payroll taxes for some employees travelling on B-1 visas, dating back to 2006, has been concluded with an agreement.

The agreement, which notes that Infosys strongly disputes the allegations and in which it admits no wrongdoing, will result in the case being dismissed with prejudice. The deal was reached to avoid the time, expense, and distraction of protracted litigation on allegations dating back more than 13 years, the company stated.

(Source: Hindu BusinessLine)

8. SC Asks Sbicap Ventures to Take Call in 10 Days on Funding Amrapali Projects

The Supreme Court December 18 directed SBICAP Ventures Ltd, which manages government sponsored Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing (SWAMIH) fund, to take a call within 10 days on financing the completion of stalled projects of the now defunct Amrapali Group.

The top court directed court receiver senior advocate R Venkatramani, who has been appointed custodian of properties of Amrapali Group, to make an application to SBICAP Ventures and furnish the requisite information with regard to the projects.

(Source: Moneycontrol)

9. Goyal to Meet 4 State Industry Ministers

In the runup to the budget, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal will meet trade ministers of four states on Thursday to prepare a roadmap to make every district in the country a hub of exports.

The meeting follows Goyal’s consultation with industry captains, including Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal on Wednesday and Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran on Tuesday on their respective groups’ investment plans and the issues they face.

Industry ministers of Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana will put a framework in place to promote industry and exports through their districts, sources said.

While the Tata Group made presentation about its investment plans and the hurdles in being able to meet those, as per sources, Mittal said he discussed the Bharti Group’s matters mainly on the infrastructure side as it has large investment plans for telecom towers, solar and real estate.

(Source: Economic Times)

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