The government is considering inviting expressions of interest to sell national carrier Air India by the end of next month. The government will conduct road shows as well as be open to meet prospective buyers even before the expressions of interest are sought. The process will likely allow the bidders to look at the accounts of the airline except for some portions that are confidential and make suggestions for changes in the sale terms.
The Modi 2.0 government is planning to take its flagship 'Ujjwala' scheme to 80 million households within the first 100 days of taking office. The scheme has been hugely successful ever since its launch on May 1, 2016. So far, Ujjwala connections have touched the 72-million mark. Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, free gas connections are provided to below poverty line (BPL) families with a support of Rs 1,600 for each connection. The LPG connection is provided in the name of the female member of the family.
In its bid to discourage farmers from excessive use of chemical fertilizers, the government is preparing to move on a long considered proposal for direct cash transfer of the subsidy amount to farmers’ bank accounts. The funds transferred will be used only for buying soil nutrients while two options are being explored to decide the cash subsidy — either by fixing the amount per acre/ hectare or a lumpsum amount for all identified beneficiaries on the lines of PM-Kisan scheme. The annual subsidy outgo for fertilizer was Rs 73,435 crore in the last financial year.
India's receipts from exports of services rose 15.5 per cent to $18.68 billion in May this year, data from the Reserve Bank of India showed Monday. In May 2018, the receipts from services exports by India had stood at $16.17 billion. Compared sequentially, the services exports during the month were up by 3.4 per cent from $18.06 billion in April 2019.
India's merchandise exports fell in June, for the first time in nine months, by 9.71% year-on-year to $25.01 billion, narrowing the trade deficit for the month by 8% to $15.28 billion. India's imports also declined to their lowest level in four months in June to $40.29 billion, down 9% from a year ago, indicating weakening consumption in Asia's third largest economy. India's oil imports during June fell 13.33% to $11.03 billion, partly due to low oil prices, while gold imports surged 13% to $2.70 billion. Imports excluding gold and oil also fell 9% to $26.57 billion in June 2019.
About 30% driving licences in India are fake, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said as he made a strong pitch for passage of the much-delayed Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill. “If there is any place in the world where you can get licences easily, it is here in India. It is the easiest to get a driver’s licence. If you see the photographs on licences, they don’t match. People drive without any fear or respect for law,” he said. The minister said that 150,000 people die in road accidents in the country every year.
The central government plans to ease eligibility criteria for participation in tenders for public procurement to promote local manufacturing and domestic suppliers by dropping conditions such as minimum Rs 1,000-crore turnover and export experience to G8 countries. To promote local manufacturing under Make in India, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has issued an order to various central agencies asking them to ensure their tenders don’t include conditions that are “restrictive and discriminatory against local suppliers”, a department official said.
The bilateral trade between India and China has declined by 3.59% year on year, amounting to $36.87 billion in the first five months of this year. The India-China bilateral trade last year touched a historic high of $95.54 billion, raising hopes that the trade this year could cross the historic $100 billion mark. The trade deficit in 2018, according to Chinese official data, climbed to $57.86 billion from $51.72 billion in 2017.
The expensive gift that you kept for your overseas cousin or friend may attract tax from this year with the Budget 2019-20 proposing to impose withholding tax on all such transfers. The Finance Bill 2019 has imposed tax on any sum of money paid or any property situated in India, transferred by a person resident in India to a person outside India, as it would be deemed to accrue or arise in India. The changes will be applied for all such transfers made on or after July 5, 2019. As a gift to NRIs means that income is accrued abroad, it remained outside the tax net.
China accounted for 67.56% of total imports of bulk drugs and drug intermediates in 2018-19 at $2,405.42 million. The import of bulk drugs and drug intermediates from China stood at $2,055.94 million in 2017-18, accounting for 68.68% of their total import. Share of China in the total bulk drug imported to the country during 2018-19 was around 67%.
There is a divergence in the numbers for FY19 in the budget presented on July 5 and the figures mentioned in the Economic Survey 2018-19 tabled in parliament a day before. This is because the budget uses the revised estimates for FY19 and not the provisional actual numbers released by the Controller General of Accounts, which are included in the Economic Survey. Total expenditure for FY19, according to the budget, was Rs 24.58 lakh crore, which is Rs 1.47 lakh crore more than Rs 23.11 lakh crore stated in the provisional actuals of the Economic Survey.
Tata Motors on July 8 said it has received an order for over 200 units of its sports utility vehicle Hexa from Bangladesh Army. Tata Motors has been selling passenger vehicles in Bangladesh since 2012. It is currently amongst the top two best-selling passenger vehicle brands in Bangladesh with the Tata Indigo, Tata Tiago and Tata Nexon in its portfolio of offerings. The Tata Hexa is being made available exclusively for the use of the Armed Forces and is currently not available for purchase for private customers.
Tata Group has settled dues owed to lenders and the Department of Telecom, estimated to be around Rs 50,000 crore, to complete the sale of consumer mobile business to Bharti Airtel. "All debt obligations of Tata Teleservices have been repaid as per the schedule," a Tata Sons spokesperson said. Earlier this month, a joint statement issued by Airtel and TTSL said that the consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices has now become part of the Sunil Mittal-promoted telecom company. The schemes of arrangement became effective from July 1, 2019.
Airbnb had an estimated direct economic impact of around $150 million (over Rs 1,035 crore) in India in 2018 as per its survey, the online accommodation platform major said. Airbnb hosts collectively earned almost $28 million (over Rs 190 crore) and welcomed approximately 800,000 guests in 2018, the company said. Guests in India, on an average spent $61 on a daily basis with total estimated guest spends for the year at around 120 million. At a global level, Airbnb's host and guest community generated over $100 billion in estimated direct economic impact across 30 countries in 2018, Airbnb said.
India's government aims to raise up to Rs 15,000 crore ($2.18 billion) by reducing its stake in 18 state firms to 75%, a finance ministry official said on July 8, as it looks to boost revenues and rein in the fiscal deficit. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman set an ambitious target of Rs 105 lakh crore ($15.33 billion) from the sale of stakes in state-run companies, compared with Rs 85,000 crore the previous year, in her budget on July 8 for the fiscal year that began on April 1.