Top Headlines: PM Modi woos US investors, relief for Voda Idea and more

Inviting US investors to tap opportunities in the technology sector, the prime minister cited a report that said that for the first time ever, there were more rural internet users than urban.
Direct tax refunds down 10% amid Covid-19 pandemic, says CBDT

Direct tax refunds are down 10 per cent, compared to the same period last year, despite the central government’s efforts to expedite these amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Refunds, or cash outflow from the income-tax (I-T) department, stood at Rs 74,000 crore up to July 18 this fiscal, against Rs 82,000 crore worth of refunds disbursed in the same period last year. According to a senior Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) official, refunds have been held up in only cases where response is awaited from assessees and/or where cases have been picked up for scrutiny. Read More...

Energy pricing: Centre may allow Chinese miners to bid in coal auctions

India will not block Chinese coal miners from bidding in the auction of coal mines for commercial mining. “Coal is not a strategic sector, so blocking them makes no sense,” said M Nagaraju, the nominated authority in the ministry of coal for administering the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, under which the government plans to auction 41 coal mines for commercial mining next month. The government has allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the sector. Chinese firms like China Shenhua or China Coal Energy occupy four of the top 10 positions in the league of the largest coal miners of the world. India’s Coal India (CIL) also figures in that list. Read More...

Spectrum auction: DoT circulates Cabinet note for comments, keeps 5G out

The Department of Telecommunications has circulated a Cabinet note seeking comments for conducting spectrum auctions, keeping aside the coveted 5G airwaves from the offering. The department feels the industry does not have the appetite to bid for the high technology airwaves as it is reeling from the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) issue. “We have not included 5G spectrum in the proposal. The companies are going through financial crisis and, therefore, we may not get the desired response for the 5G spectrum,” an official said, adding this was the reason the department had skipped that in the note. Read More...

NFRA bans former Deloitte India partner for 7 years due to IL&FS case

The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) imposed a penalty of Rs 25 lakh on former Deloitte partner Udayan Sen in the matter of statutory audit of IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN) and also barred him for seven years from being appointed as an auditor or internal auditor of any company on Wednesday. The financial reporting authority has also barred Sen from taking any audit in respect of financial statements or internal audit of the functions and activities of any company for professional misconduct. Read More...

Voda-Idea to get Rs 833 cr refund as SC rejects govt plea against HC order

In a relief to Vodafone Idea, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by the finance ministry against the Bombay high court order that had directed the revenue department to refund Rs 833 crore to the cash-strapped telecom company. The refund was held by the income tax (I-T) department citing possible future demands. Earlier this month, the high court had ruled that such a power did not exist at the time of the assessment year 2014-15, to which the case pertained. The revenue department filed a special leave petition against the high court order in the apex court. Read More...

Covid-19: Testing times for plasma banks as demand goes through the roof

As his mother-in-law, a Covid-19 patient, started developing breathlessness, Gurugram-based management professional Sumit Singh (name changed) sent out an SOS on social media to find a plasma donor. It took him two days to find an eligible donor to get two units of plasma, one from Delhi Plasma Bank and the other from a Pitampura blood bank. While one asked for a replacement donation, the other charged Rs 18,000 for a single unit of plasma. Read More...

Next fiscal step likely after vaccine to cure Covid-19 comes: CEA

Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian hinted on Wednesday that the next set of fiscal measures could be announced after a vaccine was developed against Covid-19. The vaccine, he said, would end uncertainty, prompting people to spend money on discretionary consumption. Subramanian also said the goal to become the third-largest economy in the world could not be achieved with the current health of banks. He urged banks to use technology and data analytics for large corporate borrowings to reduce defaults. “It (fiscal support) is not a matter of 'if' but 'when'," he said at a Ficci event, replying to a question on further measures from the government. Read More...

PM Modi sells reforms story to US biz

Enthused by the foreign direct investment inflows of $20 billion into India during the first four months of the current financial despite the outbreak of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday invited US businesses to invest in a variety of sectors ranging from health, technology to defence and space. Read More...

Oil marketing companies invite start-ups to deliver diesel at doorstep

In what might be the Uber-Ola moment for fuel retail in India, oil marketing companies (OMCs) are planning to rope in start-ups or FuelEnts (fuel entrepreneurs) for doorstep delivery of high-speed diesel (HSD) through mobile petrol pumps. This move is expected to help garner around Rs 9,000 crore of investments, according to industry experts. The OMCs — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation — have invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from start-ups that wish to be enrolled as FuelEnts. Read More...

BSNL plans to raise Rs 8,500 crore via local bonds

Bharat Sanchar Nigam will tap the local bond market for the first time, planning to raise up to Rs 8,500 crore. The state-owned telecom company’s proposed bonds will be sovereign-guaranteed paper with up to 10-year maturities, said people with direct knowledge of the matter. BSNL will use the proceeds to repay debt and fund expansion as it aims to regain market share in a sector that’s consolidated and now has only three private operators. “We are planning to issue the bonds by September, depending on market conditions,” chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar told The Economic Times, confirming the matter. 



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