Image of cars lined up for sale in a Kochi stock yard (Source: The Hindu)
India GDP Growth to be 7-7.5% in 2018-19
The Economic Survey 2017-18 tabled in Parliament today by the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley predicts India’s GDP to grow 7 – 7.5 percent in 2018-19. It is an increase from its prediction of 6.75 percent growth this fiscal. The survey underlines the role of the newly introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST), the new Indian Bankruptcy Code and the implementation of the recapitalization package to strengthen the public sector banks. Further liberalization of FDI and the export uplift from the global recovery contributed to economic growth this year (2017).
Stressed loans shrink from record peak to 9.46 crore
India’s stock of soured bank loans shrank slightly in the quarter to September last year,. It is the first pullback since a drive to clean up record levels of bad debt began in 2015. It signals that tighter rules and a new bankruptcy code may be starting to show results. Stressed loans, which include non-performing as well as restructured or rolled-over loans, eased 0.4% from three months earlier to 9.46 trillion rupees ($148.3 billion) at the end of September, as per unpublished central bank data reviewed by Reuters. The last data seen by Reuters showed soured loans hit a record 9.5 trillion rupees as of end-June last year, accounting for 12.6 percent of total loans.
Commerce Ministry for Single GST rate on multi-modal transport of vehicles
Multi-modal transportation includes a combination of more than one mode of movement, such as rail, road or sea, for end-to-end delivery of goods. In the present scenario, manufacturers and their logistics service providers have to deal with the issue of variable GST rates, applicable on various sectors of the entire multi-modal transportation process, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM). Taking account of the problems, The Commerce Ministry has pitched for single GST rate for multi-modal transportation of vehicles to improve logistic services and reduce compliance burden on automobile manufacturers, an official said.
GST stabilized in a very short time in India
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Goods and Service Tax (GST) has stabilized in a very short time that provides an opportunity to widen its base and further rationalize the rates in the future. Also, he said the GST has brought about an entire change in the indirect tax system in the country.
NITI Aayog says Government saved Rs. 65,000 Crore through DBT Schemes
On Saturday, January 27, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that direct benefit transfer (DBT) mechanism in various government schemes have helped the government save around Rs 65,000 crore (over $10 billion). “All government schemes should be linked to DBT, or else corruption cannot be eliminated.
Currently around 300 schemes are implemented through DBT, benefiting around 41 crore people,” Kanth said at the launch of the book “On the Trail of the Black”, edited by Bibek Debroy and Kishore Arun Desai.
US Plans to end Visa lottery system, favour skilled workers
U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed to end the visa lottery system in favour of reducing backlogs of highly-skilled workers, a plan which may benefit thousands of Indian IT professionals. If passed signed into law, such a move is expected to significantly reduce the green card backlogs.
‘No Aadhar breach in 7 years’
On 28 January, marked as ‘World Data Privacy Day’, the CEO of UIDAI Ajay Bhushan Pandey answered questions posed to the Aadhaar authority about the controversial bio-metric database and its safety. In the “one-hour live Q&A,” the UIDAI’s CEO answered specific questions posed to the authority. Bhushan assures that the world’s “best technologies from different companies” have been used to protect Aadhaar data.
Philippine President showed interest in adopting Aadhar model
During bilateral meetings with PM Modi, ASEAN leaders appreciated India’s growth story, steps to contain graft, efforts to move towards a cashless economy, and for ‘Aadhar. Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
Saran, while briefing reporters about bilateral meetings Modi had with leaders of six ASEAN countries since Wednesday, January 24, said Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte expressed interest in learning from India’s ‘Aadhaar’ project to which Modi expressed readiness to offer help.
Govt honors unsung heroes for this year’s Padma Shri
Keeping its promise of honoring “unsung heroes”, the Padma Shri awards celebrate many who served the poor, set up free schools and popularized tribal arts.
- Lakshmikutty, a tribal woman from Kerala, who prepares 500 herbal medicines from memory and has helped several people bitten by snakes and insects, is among the awardees.
- Arvind Gupta, an IIT Kanpur alumnus who inspired generations of students to learn science from trash
- Murlikant Petkar, India’s first para-Olympic gold medalist, who lost his arm in the 1965 Indo-Pak war has been honoured with a Padma Shri.
- Tamil Nadu’s Rajagopalan Vasudevan, known as the plastic road-maker of India, developed a patented and innovative method to reuse plastic waste to construct roads
- M R Rajagopal, Kerala’s medical messiah for the terminally ill, is also among the awardees.
Other well-known awardees include music composer Ilaiyaraja, cricketer MS Dhoni, and Gond artist Bhajju Shyam, Malaysian dancer-choreographer Ramli Bin Ibrahim, and doctor couple Abhay Bang and Rani Bang.
From a total of 73 awards, one person from each of the 10 ASEAN countries was also honored with Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award.