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QBiz: IMF Lowers India’s Growth; Telcos Move SC Over AGR Dues

1. IMF Blames India for Global Slowdown, Lowers 2019 Growth Forecast to 4.8%

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered India’s economic growth forecast to 4.8 percent for this fiscal year owing to the crisis in the non-banking financial sector and weak rural demand. It also cut the world’s growth estimate and blamed the slowdown in India for its move.

The IMF projection, 1.3 percentage points lower than its earlier estimates, is less than the 5 per cent projected by the official advance estimates. The IMF projected India’s economy to grow by 5.8 percent next year, which is 1.2 percentage points less than its earlier forecast. It also forecast the economy to grow by 6.5 percent in 2021-22 which is 0.9 percentage point lower than earlier projections.

(Source: Business Standard)

2. Vodafone Idea, Airtel, Tata File Joint Plea in SC for More Time to Pay AGR Dues

Vodafone Idea Ltd, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Tata Teleservices Ltd have jointly filed a modification application in the Supreme Court on Monday, seeking more time to pay the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government.

“The application has been filed and the matter is likely to be heard on Tuesday," said Shally Bhasin, partner, Agarwal Law Associates, representing Vodafone Idea.

This is the final attempt by the debt-laden operators to negotiate for an easier payment schedule with the department of telecommunications (DoT) and get an extension to the 23 January deadline.

(Source: Livemint)

3. India Among Top 10 FDI Recipients, Attracts USD 49 Bn Inflows in 2019: UN

India was among the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in 2019, attracting USD 49 billion in inflows, a 16 percent increase from the previous year, driving the FDI growth in South Asia, according to a UN report released on Monday, 20 January.

The Global Investment Trend Monitor report compiled by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that the global foreign direct investment remained flat in 2019 at USD 1.39 trillion, a 1 percent decline from a revised USD 1.41 trillion in 2018.

This is against the backdrop of weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors, including trade tensions, it said.

(Source: PTI)

4. Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and Canara Bank Get New MD & CEOs

The government on Monday, 20 January, appointed heads of three large public sector banks - Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and Canara bank for a period of three years.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed Sanjiv Chadha as the managing director and chief executive of Bank of Baroda, Lingam Venkat Prabhakar as MD & CEO of Canara Bank and Atanu Kumar Das as MD & CEO of Bank of India.

Chadha was the deputy managing director at State bank of India in charge of SBI Capital Markets. He will replace P.S. Jayakumar whose term came to end after his one-year extension ended in October last year.

(Source: Livemint)

5. For First Time, RBI Releases Minutes of its Board Meeting

The Reserve Bank of India has taken a step in improving transparency of its business at the board meetings by releasing the minutes of the meeting, for the first time.

While the nature of the board is that of advisory in nature, its deliberations have evinced much interest when Urjit Patel was governor during which time the board was divided on its role and functions.

The minutes disclosed that the 579th central board meeting held on 11 October had deliberated upon, among several other routine things, the issues related to the financial sector and the regulatory and supervisory architecture of commercial and cooperative bank as well as non-bank lenders. Board members, including finance secretary Rajiv Kumar, were apprised of the steps taken to strengthen supervision, which has been put on questions following the failures of IL&FS and PMC Bank.

(Source: The Economic Times)

6. Budget 2020: Govt to Announce Rs 10,000-Crore 5-Year Plan for FPOs

The government will likely announce a five-year scheme in the upcoming Budget, entailing a total support, both budgetary and indirect, of Rs 7,000-10,000 crore to honour its pledge of creating 10,000 farmer producers’ organisations (FPOs) and help boost their agricultural income.

The direct budgetary aid would be in the form of a grant equivalent to the equity capital of each FPO. The indirect support would be in the form of a guarantee for facilitating loans to these FPOs. But in case some of them default, the burden will, of course, fall on the government and will be borne from budgetary allocation.

(Source: Financial Express)

7. Govt Could Be Losing Rs 5 Tn in GST Revenue Over Defaults, Evasion

The government may be losing Rs 5 trillion in indirect tax revenue a year, amounting to 40 percent of its goods and services tax (GST) collection target, because of defaults and evasion, according to the Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC), confirming policymakers’ fears that businesses are not paying their fair share of taxes.

In a recent presentation made to the GST Council, FFC has assessed that the revenue loss was equivalent to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). This works out to Rs 5 trillion if one goes by the first advance estimate of nominal GDP for FY20 released earlier this month. This is as much as 40 percent of the GST revenue Centre and states together may collect this year, going by the trend of an average Rs 1 trillion a month GST revenue in the first nine months of this fiscal.

(Source: Livemint)

8. Telecom Dept Seeks Rs 48,000 Cr From Oil India in Dues, Firm to Move TDSAT

The telecom department has slapped a Rs 48,000 crore demand notice on Oil India in past statutory dues, an order which the country's second-biggest state oil producer plans to challenge in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

Following a Supreme Court ruling that non-telecom revenues should be included for considering payments of government dues, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked Oil India to pay Rs 48,000 crore in principal dues together with interest and penalty for using optic fibre network for internal communication. The dues sought are double the net worth of Oil India.

(Source: PTI)

9. DHFL Lenders Ease Bidding Criteria for Prospective Buyers

Lenders to Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd have eased the eligibility criteria for those seeking to purchase the assets of the insolvent home financier, fearing the strict norms proposed by the administrator would deter potential buyers, said a person aware of the development.

While the minimum net worth requirement of bidders was slashed to Rs 3,500 crore from the Rs 5,000 crore proposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)-appointed administrator, the criteria for assets under management (AUM) and committed funds were lowered to Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 3,500 crore, respectively, from Rs 12,000 crore and Rs 5,000 crore, the person cited above said on condition of anonymity.

(Source: Livemint)

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