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QBiz: August Auto Sales Lowest in 22 Yrs; SEBI Ban on PwC Quashed

1. India’s Auto Sales Fall the Most in 22 Years

Sales of cars and utility vehicles witnessed the biggest monthly decline, as the worst slump in the sector in two decades shows no signs of letting up amid a broader slowdown in the Indian economy.

Domestic sales of passenger vehicles fell 31.6 percent year-on-year to 196,524 units in August, according to data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. That’s the worst decline since 1997-98 when SIAM started recording data.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

2. Satyam Fraud: SAT Quashes SEBI’s Two-Year Ban on PwC India

The Securities Appellate Tribunal quashed the market regulator’s order that barred PwC’s India network from conducting audit of listed companies after finding one of its firms guilty of lapses in the accounting fraud at the erstwhile Satyam Computers Services Ltd.

The order of Securities and Exchange Board of India is not sustainable, the tribunal said in an oral order today.

In January 2018, SEBI had barred Price Waterhouse entities from, among other things, directly or indirectly issuing audit certificates to listed companies for two years. That followed a probe into the role of the auditors in India’s biggest accounting fraud after Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju admitted to cooking up books in 2009.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

Also Read: 2 Days Off at Maruti’s Manesar Plant – But Workers Far From Happy

3. India Ratings Cuts Outlook for NBFC Sector to ‘Negative’

With non-bank lenders continuing to face higher borrowing costs and tighter availability of funding, rating agency India Ratings and Research has cut its growth forecast and outlook for the sector.

In a report released on Monday, the rating agency said that it expects the NBFC sector to grow by 10-12 percent in FY20 from 15 percent earlier. India Ratings has also cut its outlook on the sector from ‘Stable’ to ‘Negative’.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

4. Finance Ministry Clears NITI Aayog's Artificial Intelligence Proposal

The Narendra Modi government will soon launch a national artificial intelligence (AI) programme, which will see the formation of a task force under Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan to identify projects and initiatives in which to implement the AI technology.

The policy will also include a national artificial intelligence centre, which has been delayed because of a long-standing tiff between NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on which will be the department that will anchor the project. The proposed policy and the centre could finally see the light of day as the finance ministry has cleared the NITI Aayog’s Rs 7,000-crore plan.

(Source: Business Standard)

Also Read: SIAM seeks bigger stimulus package to revive auto sector

5. Government to Tweak Income Tax Act, Won’t Replace It With Direct Tax Code

The government is unlikely to replace the Income Tax Act with the direct tax code, and will only incorporate select suggestions from the draft law to avoid creating more uncertainty for businesses amid an economic slowdown.

Some suggestions in the draft legislation, submitted to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 19 August, will find their way into the Income Tax Act, 1961 through amendments in the next budget session of Parliament, said a person privy to the discussions in the government.

(Source: Livemint)

6. Paytm’s Losses Almost Triple to Rs 4,217 Cr in FY19 as Expenses Rise

One97 Communications Ltd, the parent of Paytm, nearly tripled its losses in the year ended 31 March as it spent more on building its brand and expanding its business.

On a consolidated basis, the company’s loss widened to Rs 4,217.20 crore in the year ended 31 March from Rs 1,604.34 crore in the year-ago period, according to the Noida-based firm’s annual report, a copy of which was reviewed by Mint.

According to a confidential report prepared by investment bank Corporate Professionals Capital Pvt. Ltd for Paytm earlier this year, One97 was expected to report its first profit of Rs 207.61 crore in fiscal year 2021. “One97 Communications may report a profit of around Rs 8,512.69 crore by fiscal 2026," Mint reported in February this year.

(Source: Livemint)

7. Jet Airways’ Future up in the Air With Russian Bidder Set to Be Disqualified

Chances of a late-stage revival of Jet Airways (India) Ltd have faded further, with Russian fund Treasury RA Creator on the verge of being disqualified, leaving South America’s Synergy Group as the sole suitor for the grounded airline.

Treasury RA Creator did not provide enough information about itself to Jet Airways’ insolvency resolution professional nor did it deposit the mandatory amount required to seek access to the airline’s data, making it ineligible to bid, the person cited above said on condition of anonymity.

(Source: Livemint)

Also Read: OMCs resume jet fuel supply to Air India at 6 airports

8. RBI Panel Suggests New Intermediary Under NHB

A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) panel, which was tasked with reviewing the existing state of housing finance securitization, and suggest measures to make the market more attractive, has recommended that an intermediary be set up under the National Housing Bank (NHB), wherein the government will have a 51 percent ownership.

The six-member committee, which was set up on 29 May under the chairmanship of Harsh Vardhan, senior advisor, Bain and Co., has submitted its report to RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, the central bank said on Monday, 9 September.

(Source: Livemint)

9. Commercial Vehicle Sector Continues to See Production Cuts

Commercial-vehicle makers continue to plan production halts at their factories as the demand for trucks remain depressed.

September will be another month characterised by production cuts as truck makers see no visible green shoots despite the start of the festival season in many parts of the country.

The second-largest medium and heavy commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland has planned massive production cuts across its factories for this month.

The company said that non-working days are being planned across Ennore, Hosur, Alwar, Bhandara and Pantnagar for this month due to continued weak demand. Factories in Ennore and Pantnagar will have production holidays of 16 and 18 days respectively for this month.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

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