WPI inflation slips to 3.07% in April

WPI inflation slips to 3.07% in April

Wholesale price-based inflation slipped to 3.07% in April on cheaper fuel and manufactured items, even as prices of food articles remained high, according to an official data released on May 14. The Wholesale Price Index- (WPI-) based inflation was at 3.18% in March. It was 3.62% in April 2018. Inflation in food articles hardened with steep rise in prices of vegetables during April. Vegetables inflation was at 40.65% in April, up from 28.13% in the previous month.Related image

Inflation in food articles basket was 7.37%, up from 5.68% in the previous month. Inflation in ‘fuel and power’ category cooled to 3.84%, from 5.41% in March. Manufactured items too saw easing of prices with inflation at 1.72% in April, against 2.16% in March.

The Wholesale Price Index-based inflation was at 3.18% in March. It was 3.62% in April 2018.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which mainly factors in retail inflation for monetary policy decision, had last month cut interest rate by 0.25 percentage points.

Retail inflation inched up to a six-month high of 2.92% in April due to a spike in food prices, including vegetables, meat, fish and eggs, data released on Monday showed.

For April-September period, the RBI has projected retail inflation at 2.9-3%, mainly due to lower food and fuel prices as well as expectation of a normal monsoon.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which mainly factors in retail inflation for monetary policy decision, had last month cut interest rate by 0.25 percentage points. Retail inflation inched up to a six-month high of 2.92% in April due to a spike in food prices, including vegetables, meat, fish and eggs, data released on Monday showed. For April-September period, the RBI has projected retail inflation at 2.9-3%, mainly due to lower food and fuel prices as well as expectation of a normal monsoon.

The Monetary Policy Committee headed by the RBI Governor would be meeting early June for second monetary policy review for the fiscal.

NEW DELHI, MAY 14, 2019

Ujjwala boosts India’s LPG consumption to a record high

Ujjwala scheme boosts India’s LPG consumption to a record high in FY19

India’s demand for (LPG) rose to a record in the fiscal year ended in March amid government measures to provide cleaner to rural households, and analysts expect consumption to keep rising. About two-thirds of India’s population live in rural areas, typically using firewood, coal or dried dung cakes for cooking. India consumed a record 24.9 million tonnes of LPG in the financial year 2018-19, 53 per cent higher than five years ago, and 6.9 per cent higher than the previous year. The boost follows a social welfare programme, known as the Ujjwala scheme, launched by the government in 2016 that has provided about 72 million new LPG connections to households in 714 districts, according to official data. “Supported by government policies, mainly through the ‘Ujjwala Scheme’ and a rising middle class population, LPG penetration in Indian rural areas has been extremely robust,”

Amid the Ujjwala programme, close to 80 per cent of Indian households have access to LPG as of the end of 2018, up from 56 per cent in 2016, according to FGE. Growing LPG consumption has kindled a surge in India’s imports of the fuel, and analysts expect this trend to intensify.

The boost follows a social welfare programme, known as the Ujjwala scheme, launched by the government in 2016 that has provided about 72 million new LPG connections

India imported 13.2 million tonnes of LPG in the year to March 2019, a record high and more than double the import volumes in the 2013/14 financial year.

  • Imports were 15.9 per cent higher than the previous year. The phenomenal growth in LPG usage will reduce India’s self-sufficiency of LPG to 42 per cent in 2025 from about 70 per cent in 2013.
  • An additional 5 million tonnes per annum of import terminal capacity is being built and supposed to be completed by FY 2020-21 in order to meet the demand.
  • Indian consumers have used the LPG to erode kerosene’s role as a in the country.
  • India’s kerosene sales plunged 10 per cent during 2018/19 to 3.5 million tonnes, less than half of the 7.2 million tonnes sold in 2013-14.
  • Kerosene is sold in India via public distribution shops operated by the government at subsidised rates.
  • “While we expect the downtrend to continue, kerosene demand should not fall off the cliff hereafter, as it should stabilize at 50,000-60,000 barrels per day baseload levels.
  • That is equal to between 2.3 million to 2.8 million tonnes per year, according to Reuters calculations.

Reuters  |  Singapore | May 3, 2019

Under PMAY (U) over ₹12,000 crore subsidy disbursed

Under PMAY (U) over 12,000 crore subsidy disbursed to home-buyers 

  1. Under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), the Centre provides interest subsidy of up to around 2.67 lakh on home loans
  2. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) aims to ensure “housing for all by 2022”
  3. PMAY (U) has four components — CLSS, In Situ Slum Redevelopment, Affordable Housing in Partnership and Beneficiary Led Construction — under which the ministry provides central assistance   
Under PMAY (U) subsidy of over 12,000 crore has been disbursed to home buyers till March under the government’s Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme, the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has said in reply to an RTI query on 01 May, 2019.

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015, aims to ensure “housing for all by 2022” by providing financial assistance to beneficiaries.

Image result for pm urban housing

Under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), the Centre provides interest subsidy of up to around 2.67 lakh on home loans to individuals, which reduces the principal outstanding amount of the loan.

“Under the CLSS component of PMAY (U), as on March 31, 2019, interest subsidy of 12,717 crore has been released across the country”.

PMAY (U) has four components — CLSS, In Situ Slum Redevelopment, Affordable Housing in Partnership and Beneficiary Led Construction — under which the ministry provides central assistance to beneficiaries to construct their own houses.

Under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), the Centre provides interest subsidy of up to around 2.67 lakh on home loans to individuals, which reduces the principal outstanding amount of the loan.

“Under the CLSS component of PMAY (U), as on March 31, 2019, interest subsidy of 12,717 crore has been released across the country”. PMAY (U) has four components — CLSS, In Situ Slum Redevelopment, Affordable Housing in Partnership and Beneficiary Led Construction — under which the ministry provides central assistance to beneficiaries to construct their own houses.

-01 May, 2019/New Delhi

GST collection scales all-time high of 1.13 trillion in April

GST collection scales all-time high of1.13 trillion in April, 2019

GST revenue mop-up scaled a monthly record high of over Rs 1.13 trillion in April, an increase of 10 per cent over the collection in the year-ago period, on the back of anti-evasion steps taken by tax officers.

Total number of summary sales return GSTR-3B filed for the month of March up to April 30 stood at 72.13 lakh. April 2019 is the second consecutive month when Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection exceeded Rs 1 trillion. In March, the mop-up was Rs 1.06 trillion. “The total gross revenue collecGSTted in April 2019 is Rs 1,13,865 crore. The revenue in April 2018 was Rs 1,03,459 crore and the revenue during April 2019 is a growth of 10.05 per cent over the revenue in the same month last year,” a finance ministry statement said.

The government has settled Rs 20,370 crore to Central and Rs 15,975 crore to State GST from Integrated GST as regular settlement. Further, Rs 12,000 crore has been settled from the balance available with the Centre on provisional basis in the ratio of 50:50 between Centre and States. “The total revenue earned by the central government and state governments after regular and provisional settlement in April 2019 is Rs 47,533 crore for and Rs 50,776 crore for SGST,” the statement added.

Also, collection in April 2019, which is the first month of the current fiscal, has been the highest since introduction of GST on July 1, 2017. Year-on-year comparison of tax collection data gives a better picture of economic activity. When GST was introduced in July 2017, the monthly collection data was released in the third week of the subsequent month.

However, the government streamlined the process beginning 2018-19 fiscal, following which for a month is released on the first day of the subsequent month. AMRG & Associates Partner Rajat Mohan said the steep rise in tax collections could be assigned to multiple reasons.

These include tightening of tax compliance using the mechanism of e-way bills, change in taxation for real estate sector which pushed numerous companies to reverse ineligible ITC in April to save on interest cost, and higher spending decisions taken by the government ahead of general elections.

The GST Council in March gave the option to real estate companies to either opt for old rates of 12 per cent (for residential) and 8 per cent (affordable housing) with input tax credit (ITC) benefits.

Or, they could opt for new tax rates of 5 per cent for residential units and 1 per cent for affordable housing without the benefit of adjusting the credit on inputs used during construction.

The CBIC had then asked the realtors that will be migrating to the new rates to prepare their books of accounts with regard to ITC and repay the over-used credit, if any, to the government in 24 instalments.

PwC India Partner and Leader (Indirect Tax) Pratik Jain said increase in tax collection indicates that tax base is increasing gradually with GST getting stabilized, measures such as e-way bills and effective data mining.

“One of the reasons for this increase was a push from businesses to their vendors for reporting sales of 2017-18, for which the last date of claiming credit coincides with GST filings for March,” Jain said.

For 2019-20, the government proposes to collect Rs 6.10 trillion from and Rs 1.01 trillion as compensation cess. The balance has been pegged at Rs 50,000 crore. The collection in 2018-19 was Rs 4.25 trillion, while compensation cess was over Rs 97,000 crore. The GST mop-up last month is 16.05 per cent higher than the monthly average of Rs 98,114 crore GST revenue in 2018-19.

Deloitte India Partner M S Mani said if this trend in tax collection continues then the GST targets for 2019-20 would be achieved without resorting to other measures. “The collections reported relate to transactions in March, which would typically be higher being the last month of the fiscal where all businesses would be keen to achieve sales targets for the year,” he added. EY India Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said “one reason for the growth could be the year-end adjustments”.

-01 May, 2019/New Delhi/Microstat

ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025

ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025: Upendra Tripathy

Image result for upendra tripathyInternational Solar Alliance (ISA) is aiming to become self sustainable soon. Launched in 2015 on the sidelines of COP21, the alliance is implementing demand aggregation model to make large scale solar projects economically viable. Upendra Tripathy, Director General, ISA in an exclusive interaction with Ankush Kumar (ET Energy World) talks about the group’s key initiatives and long term plans. Edited excerpts.. 

Could you give us a break-up of the funds that you have raised so far? 
We have got a working budget of up to $4.5 million to be utilized until December this year. This money has come from the interest of the donations made by our partners. The government of India has given around $16 million to ISA which has been deposited in State Bank of India (SBI) and is giving around 7 per cent interest. Chinese solar company CLP has given us $1 million. SoftBank has given us $2 million. Indian PSUs and government organisations like SECIIREDA, NTPC, REC, PGCIL, CIL, PFC, ITPO have given us $1 million each. All of this works out to around $11 million. Therefore, with contribution from India which is 16 million and this $11 million we have a total of around $27 million. On all these donations we are getting an interest of around 7 per cent.

What is the future outlook on funding arrangements? 
The Government of India gave us $16 million in 2016 and it is giving $2.5 million every year for five years. The government has been giving us money for the past three years and that will stop after two years. As a host country, the government of India had initially promised up to Rs 400 crore. There are other global institutions we are able to attract investment from. The World Bank has given us $0.5 million and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to give us $2 million. The European Union has given $300,000 to build Infopedia. It is an information platform which will have three parts. First, it will have 1,000 solar videos, then there will be a country counter where each country will showcase what best it has to offer for the industry. The third aspect is a communication platform where ministers, scientists, experts from 121 member countries can interact.

How much corpus do you think will be sufficient for ISA to become financially stable? What is the return on investment for the companies who donates to ISA? Do they have decision-making power too? 
Our long-term plan is to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025 with contributions which will give us an interest of up to $40million. So, once we have a corpus like this we will not need a membership fee. Once an organisation donates the money they can not take part in any decision on how ISA is utilizing it. As far as benefits to the companies for donating to ISA are concerned, we are open to provide the platform for engagements with our member countries which can be beneficial to them in many ways. Recently, the minister of Cuba wanted to meet all our corporate partners and we have facilitated that. Suppose the corporate partners have any issue with any country we can directly communicate to the minister in a particular country. We have a dedicated desk for the corporate partners. If they have any legal issues in any part of the world, we forward it to our national focal contact in that country.

You had earlier talked about an aggregation model for pitching large scale projects in other nations. How does this model work and what could be the core benefits? 
Beginning next month, we are going to organise a meeting of our partners. The idea is to actively engage and promote the ISA agenda which talks about pitching for large scale projects like home lighting systems and solar cookers by using the demand aggregation model. Through this, we aim to bring the cost of a home lighting system close to what a family pays for kerosene oil. Otherwise they will not buy. Through this aggregation model of demand, risk and capital, we can achieve universal energy access. We also need to establish institutions like a world solar bank which can be dedicated to providing financial assistance for solar projects.

Solid waste management is a critical area for sustainability. Do you think ISA, being a large and global organisation, can help in building a universal procedure for waste management?
We are trying to recommend to every member country that for every solar unit they generate, they should levy 0.001 per cent of that cost as cess and this should be accumulated as a solar fund. This fund should be used to treat solar waste as it gets generated. In 25 years, all these solar panels will be waste. So, the best thing is to prepare it for now. We will recommend to all these solar countries to create a solar waste fund and levy a sub-charge on solar electricity. We believe that the present generation, which is using solar energy, should make the future generations ready for this solar revolution.

Courtesy – ETEnergyWorld |By-Ankush Kumar | New Delhi | April 19, 2019

‘Nyay’ money to come from Choksi, Nirav & Mallya: Rahul

‘Nyay’ money to come from Choksi, Nirav, Mallya pockets: Rahul

Congress president Rahul Gandhi Monday said funds for his party’s ‘Nyay’ minimum income guarantee scheme will come from the pockets of fugitives like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

Congress, in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, has said Nyay assures up to Rs 72,000 a year or Rs 6,000 a month income to 20 per cent of India’s poorest families if the party is voted to power'Nyay' money to come from Choksi, Nirav, Mallya pockets: Rahul

The Congress, in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, has said Nyay assures up to Rs 72,000 a year or Rs 6,000 a month income to 20 per cent of India’s poorest families if the party is voted to power.

The three businessmen mentioned by Gandhi, are wanted in India for fraud and money laundering. “I was inspired by Narendra Modi’s false promise of giving Rs 15 lakh to every Indian,” Gandhi said at a poll rally here, while speaking about the scheme, which the Congress has described as a “surgical strike” on poverty.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi Monday said funds for his party’s ‘Nyay’ minimum income guarantee scheme will come from the pockets of fugitives like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. The Congress, in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, has said Nyay assures up to Rs 72,000 a year or Rs 6,000 a month income to 20 per cent of India’s poorest families if the party is voted to power. The three businessmen mentioned by Gandhi, are wanted in India for fraud and money laundering. “I was inspired by Narendra Modi’s false promise of giving Rs 15 lakh to every Indian,” Gandhi said at a poll rally here, while speaking about the scheme, which the Congress has described as a “surgical strike” on poverty.

-PTI | 15 April 2019 | Mahuva (Guj)

Jet Airways cancels all international flights

Jet Airways cancels all international flights for April 11-12, 2019, domestic flights affected too

Cash-strapped Jet Airways has cancelled all international flights for Thursday, sources in the airline said. The move comes in the midst of the airline grounding more than three-fourth of its 119-aircraft fleet. All international flights of Jet Airways have been cancelled for Thursday, the sources said.

Jet Airways, the cash-strapped domestic airlines, on April 11, 2019, said that it has cancelled all the international flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday, April 12, 2019, citing “operating reasons”. Further, three domestic flights scheduled for tomorrow, April 12, 2019, have also been cancelled. Jet Airways has said that guests have been duly informed with regard to the cancellations and the refunds are being processed. Jet Airways sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests, Jet Airways spokesperson said.

Jet Airways cancels all international flights for April 11-12, 2019, several domestic flights affected too

The move comes in the midst of the airline grounding more than three-fourth of its 119-aircraft fleet. “Jet Airways’ flight 9W 615 Mumbai to Kolkata and 9W 675 Kolkata to Guwahati of tomorrow April 12, 2019, has been cancelled due to operational reasons,” Jet Airways said, adding, “9W 676 Dehradun to Kolkata via Guwahati has been cancelled on the same date until further notice.” “An additional 10 aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of amounts outstanding to lessors under their respective lease agreements,” ANI said.

“JetAirways cancels all international flights for today & tomorrow,” ET Now said in a tweet. According to an ET Now reporting, Jet Airways has pulled out operations from many domestic airports with effect from today. Flights from Kolkata, Guwahati, Patna have been suspended till further notice. Jet Airways has been operating only 14 aircraft today from the 119 aircraft fleet.

Amid the international operations of Jet Airways, flights to Amsterdam, Paris, London has been cancelled for two days, ET Now reported citing unnamed sources. The flights have been cancelled due to the scarcity of funds by the airline.

NEW DELHI, APRIL 11, 2019

‘One mission, one direction’ is our mantra: Modi

‘One mission, one direction’ is our mantra: PM Modi at BJP manifesto release for Lok Sabha polls

Releasing the BJP Sankalp Patra, or manifesto, for Lok Sabha elections 2019 on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government was moving ahead with ‘one mission and one direction. He said the development had to be flexible to suit the country’s diversity, it had to be multi-layered and multi-directional.

The party manifesto charted 75 milestones India @75 had to achieve, chief focus being on the farm sector, education, health and infrastructure.

Sankalp patra,BJP,manifesto

Party chief Amit Shah said, “In five years, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken 50 major decisions for the betterment of the country. From 2014-19, our government has transformed the country… these have been the golden years”

BJP released its party manifesto for Lok Sabha elections 2019. The party manifesto promises zero tolerance policy towards terrorism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government was moving ahead with ‘one mission and one direction.
 Others present at the function were ministers Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders.

The ruling party promised pension for small and medium farmers and shopkeepers, days after the Congress vowed to bring about several welfare measures, including a grant of Rs 72,000 to the poorest 20% households in the country, if voted to power.

Members of the BJP’s parliamentary board, its apex body, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its chief Amit Shah were present at the launch of the manifesto in New Delhi.

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had on Sunday unveiled campaign themes and other materials of the party’s election campaign. The party has chosen the slogan “Phir ek baar Modi sarkar” as its election tagline and its campaign will revolve around the Narendra Modi-led government’s achievements in the past five years.

And the Congress, on its part, has adopted the official campaign tagline of “Ab Hoga NYAY”, centred around its minimum income guarantee scheme and party president Rahul Gandhi.

The BJP crowdsourced its manifesto and held events across the country to get inputs from different sets of voters like farmers, youths, women, businessmen and others.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh-led manifesto committee of the BJP had decided to form 15 sub-panels to reach out to the different group of voters in January this year.

The 20-member Manifesto Committee includes Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Thaawarchand Gehlot, Piyush Goyal, and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. It also has former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Bihar’s deputy chief minister Sushil Modi, his Uttar Pradesh counterpart, Keshav Prasad Maurya, among its members.

Polling will be held in seven phases across the country from April 11 to May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.

– April 08, 2019 

Rafale: SC allows use of leaked documents, dismisses Centre’s objections

Rafale: SC allows use of leaked documents, dismisses Centre’s objections

In a setback to the Centre, the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed leaked documents to be relied upon by petitioners seeking review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government’s preliminary objections claiming “privilege” over them. The Centre had submitted that privilege documents were procured by petitioners in an illegal way and used to support their review petitions against the December 14, 2018 judgement of the apex court dismissing all pleas challenging procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.Rafale

“We dismiss the preliminary objection raised by Union of India questioning the maintainability of the review petition,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said.

The apex court said it will go ahead with the hearing on the review petition on the basis of new documents referred by petitioners.

The CJI pronounced the verdict on his behalf and for Justice S K Kaul. The second concurrent judgment was pronounced by Justice K M Joseph, who said he agreed with the conclusion of the judgment written by the CJI. The chief justice said Justice Joseph agreed with the judgment delivered by him but gave different reasoning.

The judgment makes it clear that during the hearing of the review petition the bench will look into not only the question of pricing of the jet but also selection of Indian offset partner of Dassault which manufactures Rafale.

The top court said review petitions against its December 14 verdict dismissing all petitions against procurement of Rafale jets will be decided on merits. The apex court said it will fix a date for hearing review petitions.

Former union minister Arun Shourie, who is one of the review petitioners, said he was delighted by the unanimous verdict. “We are delighted it is an unanimous verdict dismissing Central government’s peculiar argument on admissibility of documents. Centre’s argument meant that no wrong can be done in the defence deal,” Shourie said. The other two petitioners are former union minister Yashwant Sinha and activist advocate Prashant Bhushan.

On March 14, the apex court had reserved verdict on the preliminary objections raised by the Centre on admissibility of privileged documents annexed by Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan in their review petition.

Classified documents were sourced by the media over the Rafale deal. Citing internal reports of the Defence Ministry, the Hindu had reported that the Defence Ministry had objected to parallel negotiations by the government.

The Centre had claimed privilege over documents pertaining to the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and said those documents cannot be considered in evidence as per Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act.

The Centre had contended that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned as those documents are also protected under the Official Secrets Act and their disclosure is exempted under the Right to Information Act as per Section 8(1)(a).

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on December 14 dismissed all Public Interest Litigations (PILs) against the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets, saying there was no occasion to “really doubt the decision making process” warranting setting aside of the contract. The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

-PTI | 10 April 2019 | New Delhi

RBI reduces key lending rate by 25 bps

RBI reduces key lending rate by 25 bps

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday once again reduced the benchmark lending rate by 0.25 percentage points to 6 per cent. Four members of the monetary policy committee (MPC) voted in favour of the rate cut, while Deputy Governor Viral Acharya and Chetan Ghate voted for maintaining the status quo.

Image result for rbi

The central bank has maintained ‘Neutral’ stance on the monetary policy. The MPC noted that the output gap remained negative and domestic economy was facing headwinds, especially on the global front.  “There is need to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring private investment which remained sluggish,” the RBI said.

While projecting the gross domestic project (GDP) growth for 2019-20 at 7.2 per cent, the RBI revised downward retail inflation estimate to 2.4 per cent in Q4 FY-19.

The central bank has maintained ‘Neutral’ stance on the monetary policy. The MPC noted that the output gap remained negative and domestic economy was facing headwinds, especially on the global front.  “There is need to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring private investment which remained sluggish”. While projecting the gross domestic project (GDP) growth for 2019-20 at 7.2 per cent, the RBI revised downward retail inflation estimate to 2.4 per cent in Q4 FY-19.

Highlights

* Short-term lending rate (repo) reduced by 25 basis points to 6 per cent

* This is second back-to-back rate cut

* RBI maintains Neutral stance on the monetary policy

* Four out of six MPC members voted in favour of rate cut

* GDP growth projection lowered to 7.2 per cent for 2019-20

* RBI revises downward retail inflation estimate to 2.4 per cent in Q4 FY19.

* MPC notes output gap remains negative and domestic economy facing headwinds

* Next monetary policy statement on June 6.

The central bank has maintained ‘Neutral’ stance on the monetary policy

-MUMBAI, APRIL 04, 2019