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Sensex builds on gains after strong global cues

(Mumbai, Jan 4, 2016): The benchmark BSE Sensex advanced over 58 points in early session today on continuous buying by domestic institutional investors amid strong global leads.

The NSE nifty also went past the 8,200mark.

The 30share index was trading higher by 58.55 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 26,701.79, with consumer durables, metal, auto, healthcare and capital goods stocks staying in good shape.

The gauge had gained 47.79 points in the previous session.

The NSE index Nifty too was up 18.20 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 8,210.45.

A firming trend in Asia following overnight gains on the Wall Street driven by optimism about the US economy influenced sentiment here.

Japan's Nikkei gained 2.17 per cent and Shanghai Composite rose 0.20 per cent in early trading today while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.10 per cent.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.60 per cent higher yesterday.

"Budget will strengthen economy from grass roots"

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) India Inc today said the budget builds a positive sentiment that government will take all steps to boost growth with its focus on rural economy and infrastructure but rued no cut in corporate tax for large companies.

"Overall a safe and balanced budget, which could have been bolder. Good allocations for rural development, affordable housing, agriculture and infrastructure sectors.

Some incentives for MSMEs but corporate tax reduction linked to job creation and investments was missing which would have spurred much needed private sector investment.

"Removal of FIPB is a good move which will ease FDI inflow. Sadly no impetus for exports, science & technology, manufacturing sector which would have boosted the Make in India initiative," Biocon CMD Kiran MazumdarShaw said.

However, while welcoming reduction in income tax for smaller firms to 25 per cent, a section of India Inc rued that larger firms did not get relief in the form of lower corporate tax.

"This Budget would tremendously strengthen the economic muscle of the country. It is directionally correct, fiscally prudent and strengthens the governance fabric of the nation," Ficci President Pankaj Patel said.

Softening the demonetisation blow, the Budget for 201718 today halved the tax to 5 per cent on income up to Rs 5 lakh but proposed a new surcharge of 10 per cent on income between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore, and raised duties on cigarettes and pan masala while stepping up allocations for infrastructure, rural, agriculture and social sectors.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented a historic Budget in which the railway budget has been merged. He retained the 15 per cent surcharge on taxable income above Rs 1 crore.

He also slashed the income tax for smaller companies with annual turnover up to Rs 50 crore to 25 per cent, to make MSME companies more viable and also encourage them to migrate to company format.

"While the reduction of corporate tax for the small and medium enterprises with turnover less than Rs 50 crore, is a welcome move, the India Inc was expecting it for large firms as well," Assocham President Sunil Kanoria said.

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra tweeted that he was "elated" by the reforms in political funding, merging of the rail budget, abolition of FIPB and removal of plan/nonplan labels."

CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said, "Overall, the Budget builds positive sentiments among Indian industry and overseas investors that the Government would remain on the path of fiscal prudence while taking all possible measures to boost growth".

PHD Chamber of Commerce President Gopal Jiwarajka said, the government has provided a balanced budget to strengthen the economy from grass roots. tax benefits to small tax payers, MSMEs and infrastructure status to affordable housing are encouraging and would pave the way for a higher growth trajectory. .

Apple iPhones to be made in India: What it means for Cupertino, and you

Bengaluru,Feb 4, 2017: With the Karnataka government saying it welcomes Apple’s move to start ‘initial manufacturing’ from Bengaluru, it is almost certain that the tech major is all set to start production in India.

India is a crucial market for Apple in terms of future growth, especially with the US, Europe and China markets pretty much saturated by now. It would not have been an easy decision for Apple, given that it will have to source about 30 per cent or inputs, locally. How they cross this hurdle will be interesting, especially since the company has sought exemption from this norm. There is a possibility that the government might actually grant a concession given that getting Apple to make in India will be a badge the Modi government can wear proudly on its sleeve.

Actual manufacturing is much easier, given that both Foxconn and Wistron Corp are already in India. In fact, Apple seems to have decided that Wistron Corp will be the first to make the iPhone in India, most probably the iPhone SE if reports are to be believed. The Taiwanese company is known to have manufactured the iPhone SE and the iPhone 5, both of which have similar chassis.

Govt plans oil behemoth to take on global giants

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The government plans to merge some of the 13 state oil firms to create an energy behemoth that can rival global giants like BP and Chevron to help meet the energy needs of the world's third largest oil consumer.

More than 12 years after a proposal to merge oil PSUs was first mooted by the then Oil Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget for 201718 proposed to "create an integrated public sector 'oil major' which will be able to match the performance of international and domestic private sector oil and gas companies."

There are 13 oil PSUs ranging from upstream oil producers like ONGC and Oil India to downstream oil refining and fuel marketing firms IOC, BPCL and HPCL to gas transporter GAIL India Ltd and engineering firm Engineers India Ltd.

An idea was mooted a few months back to merge them to create a behemoth that can not just compete globally but also withstand oil price volatility by using profits the refining business make in low oil prices to make up for losses in upstream and vice versa.

Top eight listed stateowned oil and gas companies have a combined market capitalisation of about USD 80 billion, making it ninth largest globally. The combined entity will be larger than Rosneft of Russia and billionaire Mukesh Ambaniled Reliance Industries.

In 201516, all state oil firms together reported a profit of Rs 45,500 crore on revenues of Rs 9,32,000 crore. They had planned a capital expenditure of Rs 87,600 crore in the current fiscal.

The merged entity could rival the likes of Russia's Rosneft (USD 60 billion in market cap) and UK's BP Plc (USD 92 billion) in market value.

"We seek opportunities to strengthen our central public sector enterprises through consolidation, mergers and acquisitions," Jaitley told Lok Sabha while presenting the budget for the year beginning April 1. "It will give them the capacity to bear high risk, avail economies of scale, take higher investment decision and create more value for stakeholders".

Aiyar had first mooted merger of HPCL and BPCL with ONGC and OIL with IOC to create two oil giants having interests across the energy chain in 2004.

However in September 2015, a highlevel panel on recast of public sector oil firms did not favour mergers to create behemoths and instead suggested greater autonomy by transferring government shareholding in oil PSUs to a professionally managed trust.

The Advisory Committee on Synergy in Energy headed by V Krishnamurthy was of the view that mergers and consolidations worldwide occurred during times of low oil prices and were instruments of eliminating excess workforce and duplicate facilities.

That was the time when oil prices were on the rise but they have in the last two years dipped to multiyear lows.

Aiyar had also wanted subsidiaries of oil PSUs to be merged with the parent firm like merger of Kochi refinery with BPCL and Chennai refinery with IOC.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is India's biggest oil and gas producer and the highest profit making company. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is the country's biggest refinery while GAIL is India's largest gas pipeline operator.

Sinha confident of telcos' recovery, will intervene if needed

(New Delhi, Apr 29, 2017): Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha today exuded confidence that India's growing data consumption will lead to revival of the debtladen industry, but asserted that the government will not hesitate to intervene, if needed.

"There is nothing to worry... The sector has seen ups and downs... in 2000 also, there was a similar situation," Sinha told reporters here.

The minister pointed out that the telecom market in India the world's second largest in terms of the subscriber base has the lowest telecom tariffs.

"We have a huge subscriber base... the way the data requirements are expanding, I am sure that in coming days, the financial health... the telecom service providers will recover... and, if needed, the government will certainly intervene at the right stage," he added.

Noting that the telecom operators were under a heavy debt burden, the minister said his task is to balance the interest of consumers as well as that of the telcos.

"I am not minister of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (the state owned telecom corporation) only. I am the minister of telecom, so I have to take care of telecom operators also. They are under heavy debt," he said.

He expressed satisfaction that the consumers had benefited from cheaper tariffs and the competition in the sector.

"I have to take care of the government revenue and consumer interest also. I cannot stand on one side," he made it clear.

The minister expressed hope that the Cabinet nod for the second phase of the rural broadband project Bharat Net will come soon. The second phase entails broadband connectivity for the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats by December 2018.

Meanwhile, a tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed today between Bharat Broadband Network Limited, Department of Posts and BSNL for providing broadband connectivity to post offices in rural areas.

The MoU, signed in the presence of the minister, will provide broadband connectivity to about 1.3 lakh post offices in rural areas and 25,000 subpost offices, thus taking high speed connectivity to rural masses. (PTI)

Panagariya denies reports of tax on agriculture income

(New Delhi, Apr 29, 2017): NITI Aayog ViceChairman Arvind Panagariya today categorically stated that there is no question of taxing agriculture income at a time when the government is keen on doubling the income of farmers.

"80 per cent of rural areas are connected to agriculture and we are talking about doubling farmers' income. How can we talk about taxing farmers income?" Panagariya told reporters on the sidelines of a CII function.

He was responding to a question on controversial remark on taxing farm income made by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy.

"There is nothing of taxing agriculture income... in the document," Panagariya said, adding that the nearest thing that was mentioned in the 3year action agenda was loopholes should be plugged to prevent nonagriculturists from converting their black money into white by showing it as agriculture income.

On farm loan waiver, the NITI Aayog vicechairman said, "States are empowered to waive farm loan... Besides their priorities, states are bound by the FRBM Act."

A controversy had erupted after Debroy at a press conference said the agricultural income should be taxed.

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley later clarified that there was no such proposal and the Centre has no power to impose tax on agricultural income.

The NITI Aayog too quickly distanced itself from the comment, saying it was the personal view of Debroy and there was no proposal in the 3year action agenda, which was circulated among the chief ministers on Sunday, to tax farm income. New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) NITI Aayog ViceChairman Arvind Panagariya today categorically stated that there is no question of taxing agriculture income at a time when the government is keen on doubling the income of farmers.

"80 per cent of rural areas are connected to agriculture and we are talking about doubling farmers' income. How can we talk about taxing farmers income?" Panagariya told reporters on the sidelines of a CII function.

He was responding to a question on controversial remark on taxing farm income made by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy.

"There is nothing of taxing agriculture income... in the document," Panagariya said, adding that the nearest thing that was mentioned in the 3year action agenda was loopholes should be plugged to prevent nonagriculturists from converting their black money into white by showing it as agriculture income.

On farm loan waiver, the NITI Aayog vicechairman said, "States are empowered to waive farm loan... Besides their priorities, states are bound by the FRBM Act."

A controversy had erupted after Debroy at a press conference said the agricultural income should be taxed.

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley later clarified that there was no such proposal and the Centre has no power to impose tax on agricultural income.

The NITI Aayog too quickly distanced itself from the comment, saying it was the personal view of Debroy and there was no proposal in the 3year action agenda, which was circulated among the chief ministers on Sunday, to tax farm income. (PTI)

Simplifying norms better than looking for new options: Tyagi

(New Delhi, Apr 29, 2017): Many a time simplifying the regulations is better than actually looking for new options, according to Sebi Chairman Ajay Tyagi.

The regulator is working on ways to deepen the securities market by way of attracting more investors and channelising more household investments.

"What is required is procedural simplification that is an ongoing process and many a time, nuts and bolts and procedural simplifications are important than the policy issues. They are being done in Sebi too," Tyagi said at a CII event here today.

Earlier this week, the Sebi board cleared a slew of reforms, including allowing investments in mutual funds through ewallets.

"Many a time simplification (of regulations) is better than actually looking for new options," the Sebi chief said, adding that procedures with respect to various other regulations would be simplified in a timebound manner after consultations with stakeholders.

About surveillance and enforcement actions, Tyagi said efforts are being made to make improvements.

"We are trying to improve and have deterrent enforcement rather than starting new cases... and deal with in a timely manner," he noted. (PTI)
 


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