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The political message from RBI’s consumer confidence survey

Over 50% of respondents believe that job prospects will improve, while 29% say they won’t The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) consumer confidence survey is important because confident consumers buy more goods and services, providing a boost to the economy. But it’s also a barometer of how happy people are with the government’s management of the economy. With the general elections so near, could the consumer confidence survey provide some clues to the political future? Let’s take people’s perception about their employment prospects first. In December 2013, a few months before the last general elections and soon after the taper tantrum that unsettled India’s economy, only 29.1% of those surveyed said their economic condition had improved from what it was a year ago, while 34.4% said it had worsened. The rest said there had been no change in their job prospects. The net response, or those who thought their job prospects were brighter than what they were a year ago minus those who thought the…

Festive season likely to drive GST collections past Rs 1 trillion in Nov

The finance ministry expects the GST collections to cross Rs 1 trillion in November and December on account of festive season demand and the anti-evasion measures initiated by the revenue department. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue rose to Rs 944.42 billion in September and officials feel it could surpass the landmark 1 trillion on increased demand during festival season. "With the current trend for GST mop-up, it is expected that the monthly collections could again touch Rs 1 trillion around November and December," an official said. The collections during November and December 2018 would reflect the sales and purchases made during the months of October and November 2018. According to the official, people usually hold back their purchases till Ganesh Chaturthi, which marks the onset of festive season and fell in September this year. Besides, the revenue department's initiative to plug loopholes in the system to curb evasion too would help in raising revenue. "…

Govt mulls 100% FDI in insurance broking; insurers' cap to stay at 49%

The government is mulling permitting 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance broking to give a boost to the sector, sources said. The FDI policy, at present, allows 49 per cent foreign investment in the insurance sector that encompasses insurance broking, insurance companies, third party administrators, surveyors and loss assessors as defined by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The DIPP is an arm of the commerce and industry ministry which deals with FDI related matters and promoting ease of doing business in the country. Representations have been made to the government time and again on the issue that insurance brokers should be treated at par with other financial services intermediaries, where 100 per cent FDI is permitted. "Insurance broking is like any other financial or commodity broking services. The issue was recently discussed in a high level inter-ministerial meeting. The government is positively looking at the matter," sourc…

Sebi Tells Rating Agencies to Track Bond Spreads

The capital market regulator has told credit rating agencies — some of which were blindsided by the aura and size of IL&FS — to review borrowers as soon as their bond prices crash, and even place such securities on ‘rating watch’ if prices continue to languish. Baffled by the rapid downgrades of IL&FS debt paper — from triple-A to ‘D’ (or, default) in less than two months — Sebi wants rating agencies to take cues from the market in evaluating bond issuers. The strategy to track widening bond spreads — the difference between a corporate bond yield and that of a government bond of similar maturity — was emphasised by Sebi officials at a recent meeting with large rating agencies, two persons familiar with the development told ET. The move assumes significance with the financial market currently displaying a sudden risk aversion to debt securities of businesses like non-banking finance companies whose importance and valuation had risen in the last two years as banks shirked lending…

Sebi examines market slump for irregularities

Market regulator Securities and exchanges board of India (Sebi) is examining Friday’s sharp moves in shares of Dewan Housing Finance Corp., Yes Bank Ltd and other lenders for possible trading irregularities, people with knowledge of the matter said. Sebi is looking into whether brokers and investors colluded during the sharp selloff and subsequent recovery in financial shares, the people said, asking not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter. The rout, which deepened Monday, has erased about $13 billion from the value of a gauge of financials. The regulator is examining data from India’s two stock exchanges on which parties were buying and selling financial shares, and on the sequencing of the trades, the people said. The market regulator may launch a full investigation if it uncovers evidence of wrongdoing, the people added. A Sebi spokesman didn’t respond to a message and phone calls seeking comment. The move comes after Indian authorities and the central bank vowed t…

Govt extends deadline for filing I-T returns, audit report till October 15

The government Monday extended by a fortnight till October 15 the deadline for filing Income Tax Return (ITR) and audit report for financial year 2017-18. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had received representations from stakeholders seeking extension of the last date for filing of returns by taxpayers whose accounts have to be audited. The CBDT extends the due date' for filing of ITRs as well as reports of Audit (which were required to be filed by the said specified date) from September 30, 2018 to October 15, 2018 in respect of the said categories of taxpayers, the CBDT said in a statement. However, there shall be no extension of the due date for the purpose of section 234A (Explanation 1) of the I-T Act, 1961 pertaining to interest for defaults in furnishing return, and the assessee shall remain liable for payment of interest as per provisions of section 234A of the Act, it added.
The Business Standard, 25th September 2018

Overseas investors buying rupee bonds will get tax exemption on interest income: CBDT

Overseas investors buying rupee bonds issued by Indian entities will not need to pay tax on their interest income, the government said on Monday, as it attempts to encourage capital inflows and support the rupee. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex direct tax body, said in a statement that interest payable to a nonresident or a foreign company regarding offshore rupee bonds issued from Monday till 31 March 2019 will be exempt from tax, and hence, no tax will be deducted on interest payment at source. The CBDT statement said legislative changes will be proposed in due course. NTPC Ltd and Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd have sold rupee bonds to raise funds from abroad. It helps the borrower avoid currency risks which are borne by the investor. The ongoing rupee depreciation has hurt industries using high quantities of imported raw materials. The domestic price of auto fuel, which is linked to international dollar price of the commodity, has also risen in recent month…