Ministry of Civil Aviation wants GST rollout to be delayed
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked the Ministry of Finance to postpone the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1 to September 1 as some domestic airlines, including national carrier Air India, have expressed their inability to switch to a new tax regime soon.
The Aviation Ministry told the Finance Ministry that full-service airlines, Jet Airways and Air India, rely on global distribution systems (GDS) software for booking tickets through travel agents and it would require key changes in the system to include GST.
The Finance Ministry had scotched all speculation about any shift in the GST implementation date and had asserted that the new indirect tax system would indeed be implemented from July 1.
In its letter to Mr. Adhia, the Aviation Ministry has recommended four changes in the GST regime that impact the industry.
It has voiced concerns that the new GST framework would benefit foreign carriers more than the domestic ones on two counts — input tax credits and international travel.
On economy class travel, input tax credit can only be claimed on input services and not on procurement of goods, import of aircraft and its spares whereas on premium travel, full input tax credits can be reclaimed on both input goods and services, under the present GST regime.
Cabinet has approved the extension of the interest subvention scheme for farmers to 2017-18
Amid growing protests over farm sector distress, the Cabinet has approved the extension of the interest subvention scheme for farmers to 2017-18. Short-term crop loans up to Rs. 3 lakh will receive a subvention of 5%, effectively reducing the rate for farmers to 4%.
The government has earmarked a sum of Rs. 20,339 crore for this. The interest subvention scheme will continue for one year and will be implemented by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the Reserve Bank of India.
The Central government will provide interest subvention of 5% per annum to all prompt payee farmers for short-term crop loan up to one year for loan up to Rs. 3 lakh borrowed by them during the year 2017-18.
Farmers unable to repay the short-term crop loans on time will receive an interest subvention of 2%. The scheme has been running since 2006-07, under which farmers are eligible for interest subvention of 2% for crop loans of up to Rs. 3 lakh.
A sudden change in the colour of the Bosphorus Strait
A sudden change in the colour of the Bosphorus Strait that divides the continents of Europe and Asia in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul has surprised residents, with scientists putting it down to a surge in a species of plankton across the Black Sea.
The sudden transformation of the usually blue waters of the Bosphorus to a milky turquoise since the weekend had alarmed some residents.
“Across the Black Sea there is an explosion of Emiliania huxleyi . This is a blessing for the Black Sea,” he said.
One of the most successful life-forms on the planet, Emiliania huxleyi is a single-celled organism visible only under a microscope. Its astonishing adaptability enables it to thrive in waters from the equator to the sub-Arctic.
The changing colour across the Black Sea was also captured in an image taken from NASA’s Terra satellite. NASA said the milky colouration is “likely due to the growth of a particular phytoplankton called a coccolithophore”. Emiliania huxleyi is a species of coccolithophore.
“This particular organism is plated with white calcium carbonate and, when present in large numbers, tend to turn the water a milky sheen,” NASA said.
::Business and Economy::
Wholesale inflation slowed sharply in May
Wholesale inflation slowed sharply in May to 2.17% from 3.85% in April, as food prices eased — an indication that farm incomes continue to be depressed.
Growth in the Consumer Price Index in May, data for which was released on Monday, slowed to the lowest level since its introduction in 2012, also driven by the food category.
The overall primary goods category in the WPI saw a contraction of 1.79% in May compared with a growth of 1.82% in April, with the food articles sub-group contracting 2.27%, compared with a growth of 1.16% in April.
The recently-introduced composite food index, combining the food sub-group in the primary articles category and the food sub-group in the manufactured products category, saw inflation slowing to 0.15% in May from 2.9% in April.
India is banking on major reforms to improve ease of doing business index
India is banking on major reforms it carried out in areas such as ‘starting a business’ and ‘dealing with construction permits’ to significantly improve its ranking in the next edition of the World Bank’s (ease of) Doing Business report, which is likely to be released in October.
In the report released last year, India was ranked 130 out of 190 countries — where the country was placed 155 in ‘starting a business’, and 185 in ‘dealing with construction permits.’
A World Bank team is slated to start a three-week visit to India from June 26 to assess the country’s performance, official sources said.
However, a higher ranking will depend on factors including the World Bank accepting these measures, the response from firms on whether these reforms have helped them as well as the performance of other countries, the official added.
The “mandatory” SPICe form combines five procedures — incorporation of a company, obtaining Director Identification Number, reservation of company name, application for Permanent Account Number as well as an application for Tax deduction and collection Account Number (TAN) — into one procedure, it added.
Besides, procedures associated with Employee State Insurance Corporation and Employee Provident Fund Organization have been made electronic and are now provided in real time. Inspection procedures associated with both have also been dispensed with.
Union Cabinet approved the introduction of a new Bill to resolve bankruptcy cases
The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of a new Bill to resolve bankruptcy cases affecting financial sector entities, including banks and insurance companies.
The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2017, when enacted, will have a provision for the setting up of a Resolution Corporation, and would also see the repealing or amendment of several resolution-related provisions in Acts pertaining to the particular sectors.
The passage of the Act will also lead to the repealing of the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961 in order to transfer the deposit insurance powers and responsibilities to the Resolution Corporation.
The Bill seeks to decrease the time and costs involved in resolving distressed financial entities and complements the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 for the insolvency resolution of non-financial entities, according to an official statement.
It aims to limit the use of public money to bail out distressed firms during a financial crisis.