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Govt to review CSR criminal penal provisions: FM Nirmala Sitharaman
Posted on 10th August 2019
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured the industry that the government would review the criminal penal provisions on corporate social responsibility (CSR) contained in the recent amendments to the Companies Act.

Addressing members of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), she said CSR notices with retrospective effect “were unacceptable” and that she would put a stop to them.

Amendments to the Companies Act have empowered the government to put the officers concerned in jail for up to three years, besides imposing monetary fines if they do not adhere to CSR norms.

Amendments to the Companies Act have empowered the government to put the officers concerned in jail for up to three years, besides imposing monetary fines if they do not adhere to CSR norms.

Addressing members of the CII, the finance minister assured India Inc of cutting the corporation tax rate to 25 per cent across the board, once the government was comfortable with its revenue numbers.

Less than 1 per cent of large corporates pays corporation tax at 30 per cent, with the rest at 25 per cent.

“It is our intent to reduce tax on corporates,” said Sitharaman, emphasising that there was “no second thought” on this matter.

The government will consider a uniform 25 per cent rate for all categories of corporates once there was comfort that tax revenues were on the upward trend, she said.

Industry, on the other hand, has asked the government to make timely payments for projects it is executing, and cut the GST rate for the automobile sector.

Sitharaman added that the government will immediately take up for consideration recommendations of the task force on the direct taxes code, once it gives report on August 15. “We are looking at simplification of taxes. The government will immediately take this (DTC report by task force) up," she said.

Sitharaman also informed the CII that she will travel across the country to hear and understand tax harassment issues first-hand. In addition, a technology-driven platform will be set up wherein cases of harassment can be uploaded.

She did not rule out reviewing some milestones in relation to infrastructure. Specifically, projects with a bearing on core sectors and job creation may be brought forward.

“For instance, incentivising affordable housing is likely, given its impact on the core sectors,” she said.

“We have an atmosphere of certainty and cordiality between the RBI and the government,” said Sitharaman, adding that the current high level of synergy between the two is helping incentivise investments.

Recognising that corporates has significant outstanding from government departments and agencies, Sitharaman stated she is in the process of addressing the same.

Delayed payments to MSMEs is estimated at Rs 48,000 crore.

As the first step, the government will, of the Rs 48,000 crore, release the amount that is not under litigation, she said.

Uday Kotak, president-designate of CII, requested the minister to take bold decisions to catalyse growth.

He said: “We would like to see the economy grow faster. The areas where there is need for support across different sectors was discussed frankly and openly. She (Sitharaman) said she would consider various suggestions by CII members."

Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej group, said the auto sector was doing poor and clearly needs something. Ajit Gulabchand, CMD of Hindustan Construction Company, said the government was not paying adequately and on time to various projects.

Rakesh Bharti Mittal, co-vice Chairman and MD of Bharti Enterprises, said the thrust of public expenditure must rise on the infrastructure side. He said private investments are not coming because of low consumption. Most of the banks are not lending, he complained.


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Bharat Gas gets five-year loan from Bank of Baroda for ₹3,100 crore
Posted on 23rd September 2019
Mumbai: Bharat Gas Resources Ltd (BGR) a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), has signed a five-year loan agreement with Bank of Baroda for ₹3100 crore, according to two officials aware of the deal.

The company will use the loan to fund expansion of its city gas distribution business. BGRL has a board approved borrowing limit of ₹4000 crore.


ITC shares up 9% as no cess on cigarettes was increased
Posted on 23rd September 2019
Mumbai: Shares of ITC Ltd on Monday surged over 9%, its biggest jump since March 2016, after the GST Council meeting did not announce any increase in cess on cigarettes.

The stock touched a high of ₹260.30 on the BSE and gained as much as 9.3%, its maximum gain since March 2016. At 9.40 am, the scrip was trading at ₹256.30, up 7.6% from its previous close. The stock’s market cap increased by nearly $3.66 billion.


SBI to adopt repo rate as external benchmark for all floating rate loans from October 1
Posted on 23rd September 2019
State Bank of India on Monday said it will adopt repo rate as the external benchmark for all floating rate loans for MSME, home and retail loans, from October 1, 2019.

On September 4, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had mandated all banks to link all new floating rate personal or retail loans and floating rate loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to an external benchmark from October 1 onwards.


Rupee slips 9 paise to 71.03 against U.S. Dollar in early trade
Posted on 23rd September 2019
The Rupee opened marginally lower by 9 paise to 71.03 against the U.S. Dollar in opening trade on September 23, as rising crude oil prices and concerns regarding U.S.-China trade war kept investors edgy.

Forex traders said reports that the U.S. is likely to ramp up pressure on China by raising existing tariffs if a trade deal is not reached soon between the two countries, weighed on the domestic currency.


Power struggle: RK Singh asks NTPC to buy stressed units
Posted on 23rd September 2019
The power ministry has asked state-run NTPC to bid for potentially viable projects in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and acquire them if the prices are attractive.

Power minister RK Singh told FE that he had asked NTPC to take a look at all the plants undergoing the CIRP process. “I have asked them to identify the ones with good machinery,” Singh said.


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