Top headlines: Modi quits Chinese social media, GVK chairman booked & more

In a breather of sorts for industry, customs officials have been instructed to clear all shipments from China held up at airports and seaports where bills of entry (BoE) have been filed till the midnight of June 30
PM Narendra Modi quits Chinese social media Weibo as India bans 59 apps

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's profile and account on Weibo, a popular Chinese company where he had more than 200,000 followers, has been taken down. The account was launched amid much fanfare in 2015 prior to his first China visit as PM. Read More...

Customs told to clear all Chinese shipments with entry bills till June 30

In a breather of sorts for industry, customs officials have been instructed to clear all shipments from China held up at airports and seaports where bills of entry (BoE) have been filed till the midnight of June 30. However, they were told, through informal directives, to hold up consignments coming July 1 onwards for 100 per cent physical checks until further orders. The latest diktat does not apply to import of active pharma ingredients (APIs). Even 11 top-ranked importers such as Samsung, LG, Honda and Toyota have been exempted from the 100 per cent physical inspection, in line with instructions issued earlier this week. Read More...

Railways fast-tracks proposal to let private players operate 151 trains

Fast-tracking the proposal to run private trains in the country, the Railways has initiated the process to rope in players to operate 151 passenger trains, which are expected to see investments to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore. Requests for qualification (RFQs) have been invited from private firms for operating train services over 109 origin destination (OD) pairs of routes. The routes have been formed into 12 clusters across the Indian Railways network. “This is the first initiative of private investment for running passenger trains over the Indian Railways network. Majority of the trains will be manufactured in India. The private entity shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains,” the Railways said in a statement. Read More...

Chinese tech giants may move writ petition against India's ban on apps

A handful of Chinese companies whose apps have been banned by the government are considering moving court, as they believe the decision was arbitrary and discriminatory and was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. Law firms representing these companies feel that if the government does not reconsider the move, despite these companies providing assurances over concerns such as data localisation and modification of their set up, they might move a high court. Read More...

Green shoots of recovery? GST mop-up improves in June, crosses Rs 90,000 cr

Goods and services tax (GST) collections got a leg-up in June with the mop-up of Rs 90,917 crore, as against Rs 62,009 crore in May and just Rs 32,294 crore in April. Returns for previous months were filed in June, following a relaxation in the deadline, which led to the surge in collections. The June figure — 46 per cent higher than May and 181 per cent over April — also signalled some green shoots appearing in the economy after the partial lifting of the lockdown. It came on a day when the GST regime entered its fourth year. The government had not released the figures for April and May earlier as return filing dates were extended. Read More...

JSW Steel-Bhushan Power buy may hit Enforcement Directorate hurdle

The JSW Steel-Bhushan Power & Steel acquisition may run into a roadblock with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claiming that the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) does not have the jurisdiction to release property attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, ED mentioned that the PMLA is a special/specific law governing money laundering in the country and no exceptions can be made to it unless specifically provided for by Parliament. Read More...

Display of country of origin on products sold online: HC seeks govt's stand

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea seeking directions to it to ensure that the name of the manufacturing country is displayed on products being sold on e-commerce sites. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Centre and e-commerce platforms Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal seeking their stand on the plea byJuly 22. The Central government's standing counsel Ajay Digpaul accepted notice on behalf of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. The plea by a lawyer has sought implementation of the Legal Metrology Act 2009 and the rules framed under it which mandate that country of origin has to be displayed on products being sold on e-commerce websites. Read More...

Govt approves scheme to improve liquidity position of NBFCs, says RBI

The government has approved a scheme under which the eligible non-bank lenders will be provided short-term liquidity through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by the SBICAP securities, a subsidiary of the State Bank of India, the RBI said on Wednesday. Under the special liquidity scheme, the SPV will purchase the short-term papers from eligible non-banking financial companies (NBFCs)/housing finance companies (HFCs), which will utilise the proceeds under this scheme solely for the purpose of extinguishing existing liabilities. "The Government of India has approved a scheme to improve the liquidity position of NBFCs/HFCs through a SPV to avoid any potential systemic risks to the financial sector," the Reserve Bank said. Read More...

CBI books GVK Group chairman, son for siphoning off Rs 705 cr from MIAL

The CBI has booked Venkata Krishna Reddy Gunupati, the chairman of the GVK Group of Companies and his son G V Sanjay Reddy, Managing Director of Mumbai International Airport Ltd among others for alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 705 crore in running of the airport, officials said on Wednesday. Airport Authority of India Ltd had formed a Joint venture with GVK Airports Holdings Limited, promoted by GVK group under public private partnership firm Mumbai International Airport Ltd for upgradation and maintenance of Mumbai Airport. On April 4, 2006 AAI entered into an agreement with MIAL for modernisation, upkeep, operation and maintenance of Mumbai airport with MIAL. Read More...

Political tensions have not hindered the entry of Nepalese tea into India

Political tensions with Nepal have not hindered the entry of Nepalese teas into India, alleged industry executives. They said Nepalese teas, which are not food safety compliant, are entering India through Raxaul, Jogbani and Panitanki without any quality checks. The movement of trucks with consignments of Nepalese teas started sometime last week, they said. Darjeeling tea planters have written to the customs department, Tea Board as well as the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to stop entry of Nepalese teas into India without quality checks, alleging that these teas are being sold in the country as Darjeeling tea at lower prices. “It has come to our knowledge that some trucks carrying consignments of teas from Nepal are entering India at night on a regular basis. These consignments are reaching warehouses in Kolkata and Siliguri. They do not comply with the FSSAI standards,” Sanjay Bansal, chairman of the core committee of Darjeeling Tea Association, told the Economic Times.

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