Plan and Policy

Plan & Policy

Khalistan-wary India cold-shoulders Trudeau on 1st visit

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family, who arrived in India on Saturday, are on their first state visit. On Monday, Trudeau was in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, Gujarat. But Modi was markedly absent from receiving his Canadian counterpart unlike the visits of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani found time to meet Trudeau at the airport, but only as he departed.

Cabinet may take up telecom relief package in March

The cabinet is likely to decide next month on the relief package for the telecom sector, based on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial group (IMG), including giving more time to telecom operators to make payment for spectrum and increasing the holding limit of radio waves.

“The cabinet is likely to take up the issue of IMG recommendations in March,” an official source told PTI.

The DoT’s apex decision making body, the telecom commission, has cleared some of the key recommendations made by IMG formed to chalk out relief measures for the debt-ridden sector.

China’s OBOR may get competition

Australia, the United States, India and Japan are talking about establishing a joint regional infrastructure scheme as an alternative to China’s multibillion-dollar ‘one belt and one road initiative’ (OBOR) in an attempt to counter Beijing’s spreading influence, the Australian Financial Review reported on Monday, citing a senior US official.

Govt to ease e-way bill provision, cut threshold distance to 20km

Courier companies like Blue Dart and First Flight are set to get relief under the goods and services tax (GST) with the government planning to relax the e-way bill provision and double the distance threshold to 20 km for generating the digital pass for transporting goods worth more than Rs 50,000.

The requirement for movement of goods using multi-modal transport may also be eased as part of the government’s effort to reduce compliance burden.

Branson’s Hyperloop promises Mumbai to Pune in 25 minutes

British tycoon Richard Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop One is proposing to build a super-fast transportation system in India that would connect Pune with the planned new airport in Mumbai in 25 minutes, saving about three hours.

The founder of Virgin Group signed a preliminary agreement on Sunday in Mumbai for a broad hyperloop framework, the company said in a statement. A demonstration track will be built in two to three years from the signing of the final agreement, while the second phase will aim to complete construction of the full Pune-Mumbai route in five to seven years.

PNB disclosure jeopardised our ability to repay: Nirav

Nirav Modi, the kingpin behind the banking scam, has said that PNB's overzealousness has shut the doors on his ability to clear the dues, which he claimed is much lower than the bank has gone public with. In a letter Modi wrote on February 15/16 to the PNB management, a copy of which PTI has seen, he pegged the amount his companies owe to the bank at under Rs 5,000 crore.

Trend of filing nil returns sees steep fall under GST regime

Though the GST collections have come in below expectation, the government can take comfort from the fact that the number of trade and businesses filing nil return has steadily fallen over the past six months in the new indirect tax regime.

Latest finance ministry data shows the number of assessees filing nil tax return has come down to 16.31 lakh in December 2017 from 27.14 lakh in July. This means just 28 per cent GST-registered firms claimed zero return in their monthly filings in December compared to nearly 44 per cent in the inaugural month of the GST.

Govt mulls allowing foreign vessels in coastal waters

The government is considering a proposal to permit foreign vessels to operate in Indian coastal waters with a view to reduce logistics cost, enhance port efficiency and boost domestic shipping industry, an official said. The move would facilitate transportation of cargo between different ports alo­ng the country’s coastline.

Currently, the Cabotage rule, which governs this activity, makes it difficult for foreign flagged vessels to handle cargo between two domestic ports.

GST starts generating good vibes

The construction industry has started witnessing shift towards forma­l­isation of labo­ur force with top GST-compliant companies insisting on engaging with GST-registered contractors and vendors. To secure input tax credit, GST-compliant construction companies have to work with GST-registered contractors, sub-contractors and local vendors supplying labourers for their projects.

GST quirks: No tax on patient’s food but attendant not exempt

The GST continues to throw up awkward anomalies, despite the government claim that it has softened the rough edges in the new tax regime. Take this one, for instance, which pinches people in their most trying moments: the food consumed by a patient admitted in hospital has been exempted from GST. But if the patient’s attendant orders the same meal, GST will be added in the bill.