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GST notification triggers uncertainty over excise duty

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  • Centre still enjoys powers to collect excise duty despite notification – Ministry officials .
  • If you bought a car or any other goods over the weekend, you could legally expect a refund of the component that went to pay the excise duty on it, Finance Ministry officials confirmed after consultations with Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
  • In an unprecedented development, the powers of the Centre to collect central excise duty stood withdrawn from Friday last on all goods other than petroleum and tobacco.

NRI deposits drive up external debt to $486 bn.

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  • India’s external debt at the end of March 2016 stood at $485.6 billion, up 2.2 per cent from over its level at over end-March 2015.
  • Largely driven by the increase in long-term external debt, particularly NRI deposits – Centre government.
  • “At end-March 2016, long-term external debt was $402.2 billion, showing an increase of 3.3 per cent over the level of 2015 (end-March).”
  • “Long-term external debt accounted for 82.8 per cent of total external debt at end-March 2016 as compared to 82.0 per cent at end-March 2015.”
  • Short-term external debt declined by 2.5 per cent from $84.7 billion at end-March 2015 to $83.4 billion at end-March 2016.

Large, listed companies prefer ‘Big Four’ auditors

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  • ‘Big Four’ audit firms  Deloitte, EY, KPMG and Price Waterhouse  have continued their dominance in the Indian market even as new norms related to auditor rotation are set to come into effect next year.
  • Four entities together handled assignments from as many as 401 of the 1,519 companies  26 per cent of the total  listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), as per an analysis by Prime Database.
  • Their dominance was even stronger in the Nifty-500 universe where they handled 234 of the 500 audits or 47 per cent of the total, according to the study.
  • According to the Companies Act 2013, companies have to compulsorily change their auditors after two terms of five years each. The new norms will come into effect from April 1, 2017.
  • Auditor rotation has already picked up momentum with as many as 178 NSE-listed companies changing their auditors in 2015-16 and a further in 152 companies doing so thus far in 2016-17.

Need more data to help small enterprises, says Ministry

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  • Government’s intervention for promoting small enterprises ís plagued by a lack of contemporary data and an overt focus on activity in the manufacturing sector.
  • Top official from the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said on Monday, urging firms to upload their operational data on a newly created data-bank.
  • According to the sixth economic census of enterprises in India, there are 5.8 crore such enterprises in the country, of which about 1.7 crore are manufacturing units and the rest are engaged in services or retail or trading businesses.
  • “That data has just been released, but is of 2013 vintage,” said K.K. Jalan, secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
  • “It doesn’t create that kind of impact on policy-making in late 2016. So, to overcome this, we have created an MSME data-bank and the industry must furnish data on it, as it is now compulsory.”

Mumbai awaits nod for global financial centre

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  • Centre consider Maharashtra Government’s request to ease land norms to facilitate the establishment of an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Mumbai.
  • If approved, the IFSC proposed to be set up at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in the country’s financial capital will be the second such centre in India after the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhi Nagar.
  • On September 22, an inter-ministerial panel, including representatives from the ministries of finance and commerce among others,Will take up the application for relaxing the minimum land norm of 50 hectares of contiguous and vacant land because what could be made available so far for the proposed. IFSC at BKC is only 32 hectares of such land.
  • Proposed IFSC at BKC will also be a multi-services Special Economic Zone (SEZ) like the GIFT City.

Moody’s sees slower pace of new bad loans

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  • India’s banking system is moving past the worst of its asset quality slump.
  • According to Moody’s Investors Service which also said while the number of bad quality loans may still increase, the pace will start slowing.
  • “While the stock of impaired loans may still increase during the horizon of this outlook, the pace of new impaired loan formation should be lower than what it has been over the last few years.”
  • This outlook is based on the company’s analysis of five key factors operating environment, asset risk and capital (stable), funding and liquidity, profitability and government support.
  • “ operating environment for Indian banks is supported by a stabilising economy.”
  • “Asset quality will remain a negative driver of the credit profiles of most rated Indian banks. However, the pace of deterioration in asset quality over the next 12-18 months should be lower than what was seen over the last five years.”

Centre sends BS-V auto emission norms for a ‘six’

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  • Centre has notified the Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission standards for two – wheelers and four wheelers from April 2020 across the country.
  • Government decided to skip the BS – V emission standards and move directly to BS – VI from the BS – IV norms currently being followed in various cities.
  • Automobile makers have urged the government to make available the testing BS – VI compliant fuel a year sooner across the country.
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, through a notification dated September 16, has given the Union Petroleum Ministry four years to make BS – VI fuels available to auto companies.
  • Oil companies will be investing more than Rs.60,000 crores  towards BS – VI fuels. BS – VI is the Indian equivalent of the Euro-VI norms.  At present,  BS – IV norms are being followed in over 30 cities while the rest of the country follow BS – III norms.

Twitter shuts down India engineering centre

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  • Micro-blogging website Twitter is shutting down its engineering centre in Bengaluru. Company did not disclose the number of employees that last populated the centre.
  • Company entered India through the acquisition of city-based mobile marketing and analytics company ZipDial in 2015.
  • ZipDial had 50 employees when Twitter acquired it, marking its engineering foray into the country.
  • In an email reply to queries, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed the development and said the winding down of the operation was part of Twitter’s business review.
  • “We thank the impacted individuals for their valuable contribution and are doing as much as we can to provide them a respectful exit from our company.”