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Showing posts from April 7, 2017

LS passes Bill to make excise Acts compliant with GST

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a Bill that would ensure continuance of levy of excise on petroleum products and abolition of cess on some other items following goods and services tax rollout from July 1. The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017, seeks to amend the Customs Act, 1962, the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Finance Act, 2001 and the Finance Act, 2005. The Business Standard New Delhi, 07th April 2017

Parliament passes Bills to pave way for GST

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday cleared four goods and services tax (GST) Bills. Now, the President´s consent and approval of the Assemblies are required for clearing all legislative hurdles, before the unified indirect tax regime is rolled out. Before passage of the Bills, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to allay the Opposition´s apprehension over the requirement of multiple registrations for companies and powers to arrest given to officials under the proposed GST rules. Even as states clear their Bills, the GST Council will take up fitment of items in five slabs of GST rates and the four pending rules at its meeting on May 18 and 19 in Jammu and Kashmir. The Bills passed by Parliament, however, do not come into effect in the states because of special Constitutional rights. The Lok Sabha also passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to ensure continuance of levy of excise on petroleum products and abolition of cess on some other items following the GST rollout, the target date fo…

NEFT transfer to get quicker as RBI cuts clearance time

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to slash clearance time for National Electronic Funds Transfers (NEFT), in an attempt to enhance efficiency of the electronic payments system and add to customer convenience. In line with the document on Vision 2018 for Payment and Settlement Systems, the NEFT settlement cycle will be reduced from hourly batches to halfhourly batches, the RBI said in the first bimonthly monetary policy for 2017- 18. “Consequently, 11 additional settlement batches will be introduced at 8.30 am onwards, taking the total number of half hourly settlement  batches during the day to 23,” newlyappointed Deputy GovernorBPKanungo said. This will enhance the efficiency of the NEFT system and add to customer convenience, he said. On promoting financial inclusion and literacy, it said the RBI is initiatingapilot project on financial literacy at the block level to explore innovative and participatory approaches to financial literacy. The Business Standard New Delhi, 07th Ap…

Banks may not rush to invest in REITs, InvITs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)´smove to allow banks to invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Funds (InvITs) might not find many takers, if experts are to be believed. Currently, banks can invest in instruments such as mutual fund schemes, venture capital funds and equities to the extent of 20 per cent of their net owned funds. This limit will now include REITs and InvITs. REITs and InvITs typically offer higher yields but carry higher risks as well. This is because money raised through these instruments is invested in projects in the real estate and infrastructure sectors, which can be impacted due to cyclicality. A bank which would have already lent to these companies can now also take an equity interest in these companies´ projects via REITs and InvITs. Analysts sayabank which has lent toareal estate developer, for instance, would typically know all the intricacies about the projects and may consider investing in these instruments. This extra knowle…

RBI promises more effective steps to tackle NPA pain

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday said even though there had beenafew positives on the bad loans front, the current level of dud loan resolution was untenable as there had been a deterioration in non performing assets (NPA), and promised new measures to tackle the pain. “The present level of NPA resolution is  untenable,” Governor Urjit Patel said while addressing the media after announcing the first bimonthly policy for financial year 201718. Deputy Governor S S Mundra, who heads the banking department, chipped in saying “we are yet to get the final result of Q4 which has just ended. But based on the figures that were available for the December quarter, the various indicators of the stressed assets have further deteriorated during this period.” He  said the positives achieved by the banks includeaslowdown in the accretion of fresh NPAs and stable provision coverage ratios. The former commercial banker cautioned that the current situation will put pressure on capital for the ba…

RBI to issue final guidelines on MDR charges

Aimed at encouraging digital transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would soon come out with final guidelines on merchant discount rate (MDR) charges on debit card payments. Pending the final guidelines, the existing norms for MDR charges would continue beyond March 31, RBI Governor Urjit Patel said while announcing the first bimonthly monetary policy for 2017- 18. According to the existing guidelines, MDR for debit card payments, including for payments made to the government, is capped at 0.25 per cent for transactions up to Rs 1,000 and 0.5 per cent for amounts between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000. The existing MDR cap is 0.75 per cent for transactions up to Rs 2,000 and one per cent for those over Rs 2,000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments. RBI issued a draft circular on Rationalisation of Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for Debit Card Transactions´ on February 16. “The extensive feedback received, including from the government, banks, card networks, th…