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Showing posts from May 11, 2017

India to say no to WTO trade facilitation deal

To seek speedy & immediate talks on public food stock holding issue

India is preparing to veto the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) trade facilitation agreement, in a stubborn effort to seek a negotiating space for public  stockholding in food grain and food subsidies.

If it does, it will be the only country in the entire WTO membership to stop the deal from getting implemented.

“The way things are moving, there is no way we can agree to the trade facilitation agreement being pushed by the developed nations at WTO within the prescribed  deadline. Food security has always been India’s main concern and this time we are not going to concede,” a topranking official involved in the negotiations, who did not wish to be named, told Business Standard.

The issue of public stockholding and food security has domestic compulsions here as the issue is largely political. And, for a new government that came to power after winning a landslide victory, the issue of livelihood of its poor and marginal…

RBI REERs flag an overvalued rupee

The rupee has gained more than 4.5% in the last three months on the back of dollar inflows into domestic equity and debt markets. While a strong rupee should sit well with a net importer like India, a fast appreciation of the exchange rate is not desired.One of the measures of overvaluation of the rupee is the real effective exchange rate (REER) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). There are two REERs that RBI details in its data releases.One is derived from a basket of six currencies, while the other is from a basket of 36 currencies belonging to trading partner.Both REERs show that the rupee is overvalued by a huge margin. The six currencies-based REER puts the rupee's pvervaluation at 8% while the 36-currency one puts it at a massive 21% as of April.RBI too has raised its interventions in the exchange rate market as evident from its latest bulletin.

Mint New Delhi, 11th May 2017.

Onus on States to Push Labour Reforms

Lacking majority in RS, the Centre relies on states to bring in changes in labour laws

The onus of driving big-bang labour reforms, which could bring India's hiring norms in kilter with flexible global practices, rests with the states now as the Centre lacks the required Upper House majority to push such a bill, and isn't keen on an encore of the experience on the land acquisition law.

Furthermore, with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in power in a number of big states, the New Delhi believes it will be easier to drive legislative changes in labour laws at the state level to enhance the ease of doing business.

A senior government official told ET that the Centre is not immediately keen on bringing labour law amendments to Parliament. “Some work has been done on codifying labour laws and reducing 44 legislations into four codes. However, in terms of progress on legislative action, it is still an issue whether it will pass the muster in Rajya Sabha, because NDA by itself do…

I-T to probe 300 cases under benami act

PMO asked income-tax department to submit report on action taken against identified benami owners
The income-tax (I-T) department has begun a multi-city crack down against owners of benami assets who parked their ill-gotten wealth in the name of other individuals. According to sources, the tax department has identified over 300 cases which could face action under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act. The Act empowers the taxman to confiscate and prosecute both the depositor and the person whose illegal money was parked in bank accounts. The move came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent meeting directed the tax department to take stringent action against benami owners who were identified during Operation Clean Money. Operation Clean Money is the government’s ongoing exercise, aimed to detect black money generation in the system, after demonetisation. Acting on the directive, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has constituted 30 special units in 16 jurisdictions. The speci…