QBiz: GST Anti-Profiteering Form Issued; RBI Warns of Bitcoin Risk
1. Five Months on, Farm Loan Waivers for Only 1.7 Million Maharashtra Farmers
Maharashtra State Minister for Co-operation Subhash Deshmukh said on Tuesday, 5 December, that the state government has released Rs 10,332 crore to banks for more than 1.7 million farmers.
The Minister, whose Department of Co-operation is the main government agency implementing the loan waiver, admitted to delays and problems in reaching the benefits to eligible farmers. “But we have been able to sort out most of the problems that cropped up at the initial stages, and now the implementation has gathered pace,” Deshmukh said.
He heads a ministerial sub-committee formed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to implement the loan waiver. Announced on 24 June by Fadnavis after an unprecedented farmers’ strike in Ahmednagar, Nashik, and Western Maharashtra, the Rs 34,022 crore farm loan waiver has had a bumpy ride.
2. Govt Issues Form to Complain Against Firms As Part of GST Anti-Profiteering
Consumers looking to file complaints against businesses for not passing on benefits of lower taxes in the GST regime will have to furnish details of the price of the product and the applicable tax rates both in the pre and post-GST era.
As per the anti-profiteering form released by the government on Wednesday, 6 December, the complainant will have to file the application form before the standing committee on anti-profiteering for pan-India complaints, or before the state screening committees if the profiteering is of a local nature.
The complainant will have to file separate forms for each good and service wherein there is a suspicion of profiteering.
Also, the complainant will have to back the complaint with documentary evidence like invoice, price list, and detailed working sheet.
3. Concerned RBI Leaves Key Rate Unchanged; Retains Growth Forecast at 6.7%
The RBI on Wednesday, 6 December, kept interest rates unchanged on concerns of a possible price rise, but left the door ajar for a rate cut in future.
It also retained the economic growth estimates for the current fiscal at 6.7 percent, while raising inflation target marginally at the upper end to 4.7 percent by March.
With five of its six members voting for the status quo, the Monetary Policy Committee, headed by Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, for the second straight meeting, kept the benchmark repurchase or repo rate at 6 percent, its lowest since November 2010.
With inflation accelerating to a seven-month high of 3.58 per cent in October, driven by higher food and oil prices, the status quo decision reflected RBI's concern about price pressures that are nearing its medium-term target.
4. Industry Pushes Lower Corporate Tax in Pre-Budget Meet With Finance Minister
Corporate India sought lower tax and more incentives for investments while exporters called for quicker GST refunds, at a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the run-up to the last full-year Budget of the NDA government before the 2019 general elections, on Wednesday, 6 December.
The industry bodies suggested lowering the corporate tax to 18-25 percent, from up to 30 percent at present. The exporters, who are grappling with blockage of working capital, pressed for exemption from tax on export income or lower levies on forex earnings and faster clearance of GST refunds.
"The Finance Minister has promised 25 percent corporate tax rate long back and we expect that the Finance Minister will fulfil his promise in this Budget," FICCI president Pankaj Patel told PTI on Wednesday, after the meet.
5. RBI Warns Users About Risks of Bitcoin Trading Again
Even as Bitcoin touches new highs fuelling investor interest, the Reserve Bank on Tuesday, 5 December, warned the public of the risks of virtual currencies (VC).
In the wake of significant spurt in the valuation of many VCs and rapid growth in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), RBI reiterates its concerns, the Central Bank said on Wednesday, 6 December.
It can be noted that the price of a single Bitcoin, which is not regulated by any monetary authority, had skyrocketed to up to US $11,000 last week in a rally which puzzled watchers.
In September this year, media reports had said the Finance Ministry is mulling over launching a cryptocurrency called ‘Lakshmi’ and has set up a committee for the same, but with little news of the same so far.
Read the full story here.
6. Ikea to Employ 15,000 Co-Workers in India by 2025
Swedish home furnishing retailer Ikea said on Wednesday, 6 December, that it will have 15,000 co-workers in India by 2025, of which half would be women.
IKEA Group also announced an increase of Rs 1.50 lakh in pension fundings for its Indian co-workers as part of TACK programme, the furniture major said in a statement.
Tack is a group's 'Loyalty Programme' to show appreciation for co-workers who continue working for the success of the business.
"IKEA currently has close to 400 co-workers in India and plans to have 15,000 co-workers by 2025, of which 50 percent will be women. The company is hiring 500-700 co-workers for each of its four stores that will open in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi/NCR cities," said Ikea.
7. GlaxoSmithKline Healthcare Appoints Navneet Saluja as MD
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on Wednesday, 6 December, announced the appointment of Navneet Saluja as managing director with effect from 1 January 2018.
He replaces Manoj Kumar, "who ceases to be the managing director from the close of business of 31 December 2017," the company said in a BSE filing.
It added that Subodh Bhargava will step down as director and non-executive chairman of the board on completion of his tenure on 31 March 2018.
Zubair Ahmed has been nominated as the 'non-executive chairman designate' and will take charge with effect from 1 April 2018.
GSK Consumer Healthcare, which operates in the health food and drinks industry, has brands such as Horlicks, Boost, Eno, Crocin, Iodex, and Sensodyne under it.
8. Wipro to Expand Operations in London, to Set up 3rd Office
Tech giant Wipro Limited is going to expand its operations in London by setting up its third office in the UK capital.
Announcing this at a press conference on Wednesday, 6 December, Rajan Kohli, senior vice-president and global head of Wipro Digital, said, "Our latest Wipro Digital pod in London is a significant milestone in our continued growth journey, helping attract great design and engineering talent to serve clients in the United Kingdom and Europe."
David Slater, director of international trade and investment at L&P, said Wipro is among a host of Indian tech firms to make significant investments in London.
He said the Indian tech businesses are expected to create over 400 new jobs in London this year.
9. EU Regulatory Body Accepts Mumbai-Based USV’s Chemotherapy Drug for Review
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has accepted for review of Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company USV Pvt Ltd’s marketing application for biosimilar pegfilgrastim. The product is a biosimilar to Amgen Inc’s chemotherapy drug Neulasta.
The development comes after the EMA accepted for review of Biocon Ltd and Mylan NV’s applications for biosimilars pegfilgrastim and trastuzumab on 30 November.
“Pegfilgrastim is the key product in the biosimilars portfolio that we are developing and acceptance of marketing authorisation application by EMA is a significant milestone. We are also planning to file application for pegfilgrastim with the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” Prashant Tewari, managing director of USV, said.