1. RBI Cuts Repo Rate, Growth Projection
In a bid to boost sluggish economy before elections, the RBI Thursday cut interest rate by 25 basis points for the second time in as many months, a move that may translate into lower EMIs for home and other loans.
The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, cut the repo rate to one-year low of 6 per cent and reverse repo rate to 5.75 per cent on prospects of benign inflation.
While four of the six members voted in favour of the rate cut, two of them were in favour of status quo.
RBI also said the domestic economy is facing headwinds, especially on the global front, as it lowered its economic growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.2 per cent from 7.4 per cent estimated in February.
(Source: Hindu BusinessLine)
2. Fitch Flags High Joblessness, Rural Distress
Global ratings agency Fitch Thursday said there has been a rise in unemployment in the country, and attributed GDP growth deceleration to domestic factors like weak manufacturing and dip in farmers' income.
The agency, which also affirmed the sovereign rating at BBB- with stable outlook, said the Reserve Bank will be on hold for the remainder of 2019 after Thursday's second consecutive 0.25 percent rate cut.
Commenting on the recent data showing a deceleration in growth, the agency said this is mainly driven by domestic factors, and emanates from weak manufacturing and low food inflation weighing on farmers' incomes.
It further "limited available indicators" also point to a "rise in unemployment".
3. Nirav Modi Moved Rs 89 Crore From Singapore to Zurich After PNB Fraud
Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi allegedly moved Rs 89 crore from Singapore to Zurich after he was accused in the PNB fraud case, officials related to the case said.
Modi transferred money in two tranches from the Singapore bank account of Belvedere Holdings Group Ltd, a firm controlled by him through his sister Purvi Modi to EFG Bank AG, Zurich, allegedly to avoid attachment of assets by probe agencies, said a source.
(Source: The Indian Express)
4. Banks to Invite Bids for Jet Airways Stake Sale on 6 April
Amid uncertainty over future of Jet Airways, the consortium of SBI-led lenders Thursday said bids for selling stake would be invited on April 6 and other options would be explored in case the stake sale efforts does not result in an "acceptable outcome".
After taking stock of the current situation at cash-strapped Jet Airways, which is currently operating less than 30 planes, the lenders said they would pursue resolution plan for the carrier in a time-bound manner under the present legal and regulatory framework.
The expressions of interest for selling stake in the ailing airline would be invited on April 6 and the last date for submission of bids would be April 9, a statement issued by the SBI on behalf of 26 lenders said.
SBI is the lead lender to Jet Airways, which has a debt burden of more than Rs 8,000 crore.
5. US Law Firm Sues HCL for Alleged Bias in Hiring
A US law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against HCL Technologies alleging discrimination in its hiring practices, the latest in a series of such legal action against Indian IT companies and just months after it filed another case on behalf of a former HCL employee.
The suit, filed by Kotchen & Low, alleges the company failed to hire Gregory Handloser due to its ‘systematic and continuous discriminatory scheme’, although he was considered for employment with HCL Tech five times between 2017 and 2018.
(Source: Economic Times)
6. More Than 1 Crore New Taxpayers Added in FY18: CBDT
The Income Tax department said Thursday it added 1.07 crore new taxpayers while the number of ‘dropped filers' came down to 25.22 lakh in 2017-18, showing the positive impact of demonetisation.
In a statement, the Central Board Of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said 6.87 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) were filed during FY 2017-18 as compared to 5.48 crore ITRs filed during FY 2016-17, translating into a growth of 25 per cent.
Also, during FY 2017-18, the number of new ITR filers increased to 1.07 crore as compared to 86.16 lakh new ITR filers added during FY 2016-17, it added.
“Demonetisation had a phenomenal positive impact on the widening of tax base and direct tax collections,” CBDT said.
7. Govt Close to Meeting Fiscal Deficit Target of 3.4%: Fin Secy
Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg Thursday said the government is close to meeting fiscal deficit target of 3.4 per cent for 2018-19.
The government in the interim Budget in February revised upward the fiscal deficit target to 3.4 per cent from 3.3 per cent of GDP estimated earlier for the financial year ended March 31.
"We are very close to meeting (fiscal deficit)," he said when asked whether the government has met fiscal deficit target for 2018-19.
"Some numbers are still to come. So, we will wait for a couple of days. There will always be some shortfall but sum and substance of that is what is the net impact on the deficit," he said.
8. Will Lower Tax Rates If Voted to Power: Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday said the BJP-led NDA will continue with fiscal prudence and lower tax rates if elected back to power.
He further said the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council has cut tax rates on consumption items to 12 or 18 per cent from the highest slab of 28 per cent and lowering rate on cement is next on agenda.
"I speak in terms of taxation policies... I'm quite clear in my mind that on two issues at least we had - a lot of good fiscal prudence and we brought the rates down, these are two areas, if we are in power we will continue the same glide path," Jaitley said while addressing the CII AGM.
The general elections will be held in phases beginning 11 April and counting of votes will take place on 23 May.
Jaitley said India's growth has stabilised between 7-7.5 per cent and irrespective of global trends, domestic consumption is going to increase.
(Source: Hindu BusinessLine)
9. Quashing of RBI Circular Not to Impact Resolution Cases: CEA
Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian said Thursday he expects the government and the RBI to work together to ensure expeditious resolution of bad loans against the backdrop of a recent Supreme Court order on RBI's 12 February 2018, circular.
Subramanian further said that quashing of the RBI's 12 February circular by the Supreme Court does not impact the ongoing cases or resolution or credit culture itself.
"I think RBI and the government will be working together to ensure that whatever needs to be done can be done...it (quashing of RBI's 12 February circular) really doesn't impact the ongoing cases or resolution or credit culture itself," he said at an event organised by industry body CII.
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