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Govt abolishes FIPB; more FDI policy easing on anvil

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced the abolition of FIPB, a body that clears proposals envisaging foreign investment up to Rs 5,000 crore.

The minister also announced that further liberalisation of the FDI policy is under consideration.

"FIPB has successfully implemented e-filing and online processing of FDI applications. We have now reached a stage where FIPB can be phased out. We have, therefore, decided to abolish the FIPB in the year 2017-18. Our roadmap for the same will be announced in the next few months.

Centre raises CLSS loan tenure to 20 years

The Centre today approved extension of tenure of loans under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) to 20 years from 15 years and introduction of a new CLSS for middle income group with a provision of Rs 1,000 crore in 2017-18.

"The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given ex-post facto approval to the proposals for extension of tenure of loans under the CLSS vertical of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Mission from 15 to 20 years," said an official statement.

Agri credit raised to record Rs 10 lakh cr in FY18

In a major thrust to agriculture, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced a whopping Rs 1 lakh crore hike in the credit target for the next fiscal to Rs 10 lakh crore as part of the government's efforts to double farm incomes in the next five years.

"The target for agricultural credit in 2017-18 has been fixed at a record level of Rs 10 lakh crore," Jaitley said in his Budget speech.

The government will take special efforts to ensure adequate credit flow to underserved areas -- the eastern states and J&K, he added.

Demonetisation bold, decisive step; to boost economy: Jaitley

Terming demonetisation as "bold and decisive" measure, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said it will have a multiplier effect on the economy and will create bigger, cleaner and real GDP.

"We are moving from informal to formal economy and the government is now seen as a trusted custodian of public money," he said while delivering the Union Budget 2017-18.

Budget focuses on 10 sectors to ensure TECIndia: Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the focus of his Budget for 2017-18 will be on 10 important sectors, including farmers, infrastructure, digital economy and tax administration to transform, energise and clean India.

The other areas of focus include rural India, the youth, poor and under-privileged, the financial sector, public service and prudent fiscal management.

Manufacturing PMI rebounds from demonetisation downturn

Manufacturing sector rebounded from demonetisation downturn in January amid rising order books, production as well as buying levels and the expansion in the sector is likely to pick up pace in coming months, says a monthly survey.

The Nikkei Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) -- an indicator of manufacturing activity -- increased to 50.4 in January from 49.6 in December.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion while any score below the mark denotes contraction.

Policy rationalisation needed to push exports

While the Economic Survey sought to make Indian apparel, leather and footwear globally competitive, it acknowledged that the labour laws, taxes and tariffs and limited availability of cattle for slaughter are creating barriers for the sectors. The survey suggested the need to undertake rationalisation of domestic policies, which are inconsistent with global demand patterns.

Universal Basic Income: A Conversation With and Within the Mahatma

If the Economic Survey gives any indication of the direction of the next year’s budget could be, it is the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) stipulating certain income for the poor.
The Survey invoked Mahatma Gandhi's vision of “wiping every tear from every eye” and said: “UBI is a powerful idea whose time, even if not ripe for implementation, is ripe for serious discussion.”

Iran slashes import duty on rice

Iran has cut import duty on rice to 26 per cent from 40 per cent, which is likely to boost Indian basmati rice exports. The duty on brown rice (unprocessed) has been sharply cut to 5 per cent. Earlier, the duty rate was same for the two categories.
“This is a good development. We hope they resume the import permits at the earliest so that shipments can go,” said a government official, who was a part of a delegation that visited Iran to promote Indian basmati rice. Indian exporters will start contracting once permits are issued by Iran, said the official who returned on Tuesday.