QBiz: Rupee Hits 11-Month Low; Railways Proposes Safety Cess 

Your roundup of important business stories. 

5 min read
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1. GST Council Meeting: Consensus Builds for 1 July Rollout

The goods and services tax (GST) Council on Thursday backed the 1 July deadline for rolling out the unified indirect tax that will help create a single national market, and ensured that items of mass consumption bear the least tax burden.

Apart from clearing the air on the government’s ability to meet its deadline for implementing the biggest tax reform since independence, this also ensures greater political acceptability for the new tax regime, given that policymakers have gone the extra mile to protect consumers.

“There is no increase in overall tax in any of the items, while there is a reduction of tax on many of the items,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference.

(Source: Livemint)


2. Rupee Plunges Most in 11 Months as Risk Off Hits Indian Markets

India’s rupee tumbled the most since June last year as local shares joined a global selloff triggered by concern over political turmoil in the US and Brazil.

The currency weakened 1.1 percent to close at 64.8450 per dollar, prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg show. It fell as much as 1.2 percent earlier, with some traders also citing dollar demand by oil importers and offshore arbitrage-related selling as the reason for its slide. The S&P BSE Sensex index extended losses in the last hour of trade to close 0.7 percent lower, its first decline in four days and the biggest since May 5.

“There’s general risk aversion that’s caught the markets following weak opening in European shares,” said Rohan Lasrado, head of foreign-exchange trading at RBL Bank Ltd. in Mumbai. Indian equities, which were weaker since the morning, extended losses and that further weighed on the rupee, he said.

(Source: BloombergQuint)


3. 250 Resignations at ShopClues in 4 Months, Firm Calls It Natural Attrition

ShopClues has seen exits of more than 250 employees, nearly 20 percent of its 1,200-odd workforce, since February. These were not voluntary departures, sources told Business Standard, though none of the employees had been issued a termination letter.

At the time of leaving, most of them submitted resignation letters citing personal reasons, another source said. Some of the exits were linked to performance appraisals as well.

The company called it a process of ''natural attrition''. Cost rationalisation could have been the reason behind the departures, said sources. The employees who left were given a month’s salary as severance, it is learnt.


4. Railway Ministry Considers Imposing Safety Cess on Tickets

Plagued by repeated derailments, the Railways is considering imposing safety cess on train tickets to be utilised for strengthening accident prevention measures.

The Railways will have to generate additional revenue of Rs 5,000 crore in the current fiscal as its contribution to the safety fund created in the budget. The government had announced the creation of a special safety fund of Rs 1 lakh crore over the next five years that will cover the upgradation of tracks and signalling, besides elimination of unmanned level crossings.

The special safety fund envisages spending of Rs 20,000 crore on safety upgradation every year.

(Source: PTI)


5. Paytm Raises $1.4 Billion From SoftBank to Expand User Bas

Paytm, India’s largest digital payments startup, raised $1.4 billion from SoftBank Group Corp in the largest funding round from a single investor for the country’s technology sector.

The funding into One97 Communications, which operates the Paytm brand, will help the startup expand its user base of 220 million and build a large offering of financial services products, the company said in a emailed statement. SoftBank will join its long-time partner Alibaba Group Holding Ltd as a major shareholder and will take a seat on the Paytm board.

Paytm is at an inflection point and the investment by SoftBank and its chairman Masayoshi Son is an endorsement, said One97 founder and chief executive officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

(Source: BloombergQuint)


6. Facebook Fined $122 Mn by EU Anti-Trust Officials

Europe’s love affair with Facebook may be coming to an end. On Thursday, the European Union’s powerful antitrust officials fined the social network 110 million euros, or about $122 million, for giving misleading statements during the company’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, the internet messaging service, in 2014.

The fine — one of the largest regulatory penalties against Facebook — comes days after French and Dutch privacy watchdogs also ruled that the company broke strict data protection rules.

Other European countries, notably Germany, also are clamping down on social media companies, including issuing potentially hefty penalties for failing to police hate speech and misinformation.


7. Zomato Hacked, 17 Million Users’ Data up For Sale on Dark Web

Zomato users were in for a shock on 18 May after the food delivery app announced that the data of over 17 million users on its network had been compromised.

Hackread, a security blog, has now claimed that a vendor going by the name “nclay” is said to be behind the hack and is selling the data on the Dark Web. Email-address and hashed password were stolen, Zomato revealed, adding that they had reset passwords of the users who have lost data to the hack. The company was quick to inform users that all payment details attached to Zomato accounts are safe.

Read more on The Quint.


8. General Motors Stops Car Sales in India After Years of Non-Performancee

After losing over $1 billion in its bumpy 20-year ride in India, General Motors Co (GM) has finally decided to halt sales in the country by the year’s end to focus on exports.

The decision, announced on Thursday, is part of a larger restructuring plan that will see the American carmaker exit South Africa and concentrate on its operations in Brazil and China.

At least 400 direct workers of General Motors India Pvt Ltd and hundreds of employees at GM dealership risk being left in the lurch. In 2016-17, GM sold 25,823 units in India, down 21 percent year-on-year.

(Source: Livemint)


9. HUL Carves out 15 Teams to Buck Slowdown Trend

Hindustan Unilever has carved out 15 teams within the organisation for each category with separate targets in sales and innovations in an effort to be more agile as it looks to fight nimbler rivals and mop up higher sales in a fast changing consumer environment.

Each team called Country Category Business Teams or CCBTs have representatives from all functions including R&D, sales and marketing, supply chain and finance and run as independent groups with an entrepreneurial mindset, something that attributes as one of the key reason for bucking the slowdown trend last quarter.

(Source: Economic Times)

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Topics:  Rupee   Resignation   General Motors 

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