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QBiz: FM Promises More Reforms; SC to Hear PIL in PMC Scam Today

1. FM Promises More Reforms Before the End of the Fiscal

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said more reforms are on the anvil this fiscal to boost growth as fresh economic data and subdued corporate earnings point to a deeper economic downturn.

“We have just entered the second half of 2019-20 and already implemented a series of reforms with more on the anvil before the close of year. The reforms were and will be guided by close scrutiny of growth evidence in the economy," she said at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs on Tuesday.

Sitharaman has already announced a series of measures, including a deep cut in corporate tax, to counter a severe demand slowdown and slump in private investment that have left economic growth stuttering at a six-year low of 5% in the quarter ended June.

(Source: Mint)

Also Read: Economic Slowdown: Govt Needs Better, Long-Term Reforms

2. PMC Bank Crisis: SC to Hear Today PIL Seeking Protection for Depositors

The Supreme Court will on Thursday, 17 October, hear a PIL seeking laying down of “comprehensive and exhaustive guideline” to save people from “disastrous consequences” and also full protection of savings of over 15 lakh depositors and 100% insurance cover to those whose money is blocked in the Rs 4,355-crore Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC Bank) scam.

A Bench led by Justice NV Ramana posted the matter for hearing after social activist Bijon Mishra, the petitioner, sought urgent hearing on the issue.

The PIL has sought “exhaustive and comprehensive guideline” to safeguard the banking and co-operative deposits in the eventuality of emergency financial crisis where common man is financially stranded by the acts of a few “unscrupulous persons.”

(Source: Financial Express)

Also Read: PMC Victims: Rs 1 Lakh Insurance in 1993 Should be Rs 1 Cr Today

3. Reliance Jio Alleges Fraud by Incumbent Telcos to Earn IUC Revenue

Reliance Jio has alleged that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd are masquerading fixed landline numbers as mobile numbers to earn undue revenue through the interconnect usage charge.

In a letter to the telecom regulator, Jio has alleged this is a fraudulent attempt by incumbent telecom operators for which they must be penalised.

“The incumbent operators have implemented a process under which various enterprises are offered mobile numbers as their customer care or helpline numbers. In these cases, the mobile number is used just as a virtual number for routing all such calls to call centres," Jio said in a letter dated 14 October.

(Source: Mint)

Also Read: Airtel & Vodafone Troll Jio Over 6 Paise Per Minute Call Charges

4. HDIL Promoters Seek Nod to Sell Assets to Repay PMC Bank Loans

Promoters of bankrupt real estate firm HDIL Ltd have urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other agencies to sell their assets and repay the loans owed to Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC).

The father-son duo of HDIL promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan were arrested on 3 October by the economic offences wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police for their alleged involvement in the ₹4,355.43 crore financial scam at PMC Bank.

The Wadhawans, in a letter to the enforcement directorate (ED), the EOW, and the RBI on Wednesday, denied allegations of fraud and money laundering and asked the agencies and the central bank to “immediately take steps to sell the assets at a fair market value" and start repaying the loans.

(Source: Mint)

5. Uber to Deactivate Surge Pricing During Odd-Even Scheme in Delhi

Cab aggregator Uber will deactivate surge pricing during 4-15 November, when the odd-even scheme will be rolled out in Delhi.

"...we want to do our part in ensuring movement around the city is easy during the odd-even phase and have decided to deactivate dynamic pricing for the duration. We whole heartedly support Delhi government's move and wish it success," an Uber spokesperson told PTI.

The odd-even scheme is a much needed step to reduce pollution and help reduce congestion in the capital, the spokesperson added.

(Source: PTI)

6. Rs 75,000-Crore Minimum Alternate Tax Credit Dilemma Grips India INC

Vast swathes of Corporate India may not be in a hurry to shift to the new corporation tax regime. Ninety-nine companies, which also include some unlisted ones, have more than Rs 100 crore each of minimum alternate tax (MAT) credit on their books, cumulatively adding up to Rs 75,000 crore. Of these, 15 heavyweights such as NTPC, Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, Vedanta, and TCS have MAT credit in excess of Rs 1,000 crore each.

“By utilising MAT credit, many companies will be able to bring down their effective tax cost to 17.47 percent from 25.17 percent (under the new regime), leading to substantial tax savings of about 8 percent,” said Saumil Shah, partner, Dhruva Advisors. “Only those companies whose effective tax cost is higher than 25.17 percent will shift to the new regime.”

(Source: Business Standard)

7. Govt to Bring Back FRDI Bill, May Hike Insurance Cover of Customers

The finance ministry has started work on reviving the contentious Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, a year after the proposed law for ushering insolvency of financial institutions was withdrawn by the Union government.

“The Department of Economic Affairs is redrafting the FRDI Bill and will soon circulate it for inter-ministerial consultation,” said a top finance ministry official.

Another finance ministry official said the government would be ironing out issues related to the controversial ‘bail-in’ clause in the earlier Bill, would explore hiking the deposit insurance cover of customers, and would decide whether the resolution framework should apply to public sector banks.

(Source: Business Standard)

Also Read: Rumours Being Spread on FRDI Bill, Bank Deposits Are Safe: Modi

8. Indian Overseas Bank to E-Auction Over 500 Properties Worth Rs 800 Crore

Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has signed up with Magicbricks to e-auction 500 plus re-possessed properties worth more than Rs 800 crore. The e-auction will be carried out in two phases in October.

The properties are spread across 7 centres - Chennai, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Out of the 500 plus properties, the majority are located in Chennai and Coimbatore and the rest are spread across 12 major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Meerut, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Hyderabad and Bhopal.

(Source: Business Standard)

9. Nitin Gadkari Pitches for Rs 10,000 Crore Fund to Buy Shares of MSMEs Listing on Bourses

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said the MSME Ministry has sought a fund of Rs 10,000 crore to buy equity in small businesses wanting to list on the stock exchanges.

“We have requested the Finance Ministry to sanction us Rs 10,000 crore and whichever MSE (micro and small enterprises) wants to list their equity on the stock exchanges, we will buy 10 percent in them. I believe this 10 percent of our equity will increase by two to three times in 3-4 years. So this will increase value of our capital so that we can keep rolling this fund as the government alone cannot do all the things in this age and time,” the minister for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) said at the ‘India MSE Awards 2019’.

Gadkari, who is also the union minister for road transport and highways, said he wants to increase the revenue of the ministry to Rs 1 lakh crore in next five years without seeking any help from the government by monetising road assets.

(Source: Financial Express)

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