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Freeze on fuel prices coincidental, not linked to Karnataka elections, says IOC chief

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Chennai :Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chairman Sanjiv Singh said the decision of oil PSUs not to hike petrol and diesel prices since April 24 was aimed at stabilising them and it ‘incidentally’ coincided with the Karnataka elections.

He said before prices were stabilised, there were daily spikes varying from 25 paise to 35 paise, resulting in change in fuel prices by Rs 2 or Rs 3 every 15 days.

“We strongly believe this was unrealistic. So, we thought of stabilising that, tapering it down to a certain extent. Now incidentally it has coincided with some of the state elections. It was not the intention (of oil marketing companies),” he told reporters here.

 

Singh, who was here to review the financial performance of group company Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd, said today’s oil prices in international markets were not supported by fundamentals. There were other factors also.

Noting that the oil firms had freedom to vary the prices in line with international prices, he said, “now, some more development has taken place in the international market recently. Lets see how prices stabilise”.

Responding to a question on the US decision to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal and its impact, he said India was buying about 15 per cent Iranian crude.

“So, lets see. I am sure we will be able to find a solution which will be good for the company and for the country”, he added.

He also noted that the US had given some window. Other countries are still discussing… I am sure we will find a solution”, he said.

“India buys about 15% Iranian crude. So, lets see. I am sure we will be able to find a solution which will be good for the company and for the country”, he said.

There have been apprehensions that the US decision may adversely impact India’s oil imports from the Persian Gulf nation as well as Chabahar port project.

Iran is the third largest supplier of crude oil to India after Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

On bringing petroleum products under the Goods and Service Tax, Singh it would be welcome measure as there would be a uniform pricing policy.

Oil companies were unable to take input tax credit while they pay GST for input components for the raw material, he said.

“This impact we are not passing on to the consumer. We support very strongly that these products should be brought under GST so that there is uniformity and there is lot of simplicity between all those who are not only buying but also who are trading these products”, he said.


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Cabinet clears setting up of centralised GST appellate authority

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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of a centralised Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) under the goods and services tax that would decide on cases where there are divergent orders at the state level.

The setting up of a centralised AAAR would require amendments to the GST Acts. The centralised authority as an appellate body will only take up cases wherein the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) of two states have passed divergent orders.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and comprising state counterparts, in December decided to establish the centralised AAAR.

 

“The Cabinet has cleared the GST appellate authority,” a source said after the meeting of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In view of the confusion created by contradictory rulings given by different AARs on the same or similar issues, the industry had been demanding a centralised appellate authority that could reconcile the contradictory verdicts of different AARs.

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Urbanisation to be big driver of Indian economic growth: Kant

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Davos: Urbanisation will be a big driver of economic growth in India going forward, supported by favourable macroeconomic factors, accelerated infrastructure building and continuing reforms, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

Speaking here at an event on sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, he also said the Indian economy may even exceed the IMF growth forecast of 7.5 per cent for the country.

Kant said IMF has forecast 7.5 per cent growth for India despite a gloomy outlook for the global economy and this itself is good, though there are expectations that this estimate would be surpassed. He said India is giving a big push to urbanisation with more than 100 smart cities being developed.

 

The country is also using technology in a big way to change the way business and governance is done, he added. Besides a massive infrastructure building is happening, bank credit flow has rebounded and macroeconomic factors like inflation and fiscal deficit are also being supportive, Kant said.

DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek noted that states are competing with each other to attract investments and all political parties have adopted the economic reform process. He listed various reform initiatives undertaken in India, including on areas like ease of doing business, FDI, manufacturing and taxation.

They were speaking at Institutional investors’ breakfast roundtable, organised by the industry chamber CII and Kotak Mahindra Bank. Other participants included CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee and leaders from Indian and foreign companies.

On questions about some persisting issues in doing business including on tax and insolvency related issues, Abhishek said a lot of efforts have been put in to remove all bottlenecks and starting a business doesn’t take more than a day. Besides, special provisions have been made for startups and angel investors, he added.

Kant said efforts are also being made to remove all physical intervention and digitise the entire process of inter-ministerial and inter-department consultations to fast-track the decisions.

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India will surpass China, says Raghuram Rajan

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Davos: India will eventually surpass China in economic size and will be in a better position to create the infrastructure being promised by the Chinese side in South Asian countries, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said.

Addressing a session on Strategic Outlook for South Asia, Dr Rajan said that the Indian economy would continue to grow while growth rate is slowing down in China.

“Historically, India had a bigger role in the region but China has now grown much bigger than India and has presented itself as a counter-balance to India in the region,” Dr Rajan said at the WEF Annual Meeting 2019.

 

“India will become bigger than China eventually as China would slow down and India would continue to grow. So India will be in a better position to create the infrastructure in the region which China is promising today. But this competition is good for the region and it will benefit for sure,” he said.

The comments assume significance with China working on a lot of infrastructure projects across the region. In 2017, India became the sixth largest economy with a GDP of $2.59 trillion while China was the second large with a GDP of $12.23 trillion.

At the same session, Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli cited collaboration with China as well as India as reasons for the economic growth.

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