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Going extra lengths to find substitute for Iranian oil for countries like India: White House

Press Trust of India

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Washington:The US is going extra lengths to find substitute for Iranian oil for countries like India and Iraq, the White House has said, as the Trump administration prepares to impose sanctions on nations defying its directive to bring their oil imports from the Gulf nation to zero by November 4.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton who last month met his Indian counterpart Ajit K Doval here, a week after the 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi, said the Trump Administration has made its views clear to the Indian side on oil imports from Iran.
The White House said Thursday as it reiterated its warning to all purchasers of Iranian oil to bring it down to zero by November 4 or face imminent sanctions from the United States.
President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear accord, saying it had “failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb” and did not deal with Tehran’s “malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism”.
“I’ve had conversations (with Indian officials on purchase of Iranian oil). Others in the administration have had conversations with senior Indian officials,” Bolton told reporters at a White House news conference.
“One of the things I think that’s important, whether it’s for Iraq or India or anyone else — particularly that’s been a purchaser of Iranian oil — we’ve gone to really extra lengths to try and find substitute sellers of oil so that there would be alternative supplies at market rates,” Bolton said.
“That will help. This is something, obviously, the Obama administration wasn’t doing at all. And I think this will help toward our effort of persuading companies and governments, particularly in Asia, that there are alternatives to Iran that they can pursue,” he said in response to a question.
According to Bolton, as the second wave of sanctions come back onto Iran on November 4, the objective of the Trump administration is to put maximum pressure on the government in Tehran.
In an attempt to compel Iran to agree to a new accord, Trump reinstated sanctions that targeted the Iranian government’s purchase of US dollars, Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals, and its automotive sector.
In November, a second batch of potentially more damaging sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran’s oil and shipping sectors as well as its central bank.
“It’s our objective that there be no waivers from the sanctions, that exports of Iranian oil and gas drop to zero,” he said.
“I’m not saying we’re necessarily going to achieve that, but nobody should be operating under any illusions, what the objective is. You can look at the possibility of reductions leading to zero. It doesn’t have to happen immediately, perhaps,” he said in a tacit acknowledgement that countries like India might not be able to bring down their oil purchase from Iran to zero.
“But ‘this is not the Obama administration,’ would be my message not just to Iraq but to everybody else. And the frequency and the ease of getting waivers and exemptions is not going to be our policy,” he warned in a message to the international community not to take the American threat not seriously.
“I might say, also, that we’re not going to stop with the resumption of the sanctions that existed pre-2015. We’re looking at others that we can impose as well,” Bolton said. Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and Saudi Arabia.


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Income Tax return processing time to reduce from 63 days to just 1 day

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Mumbai:The Union Cabinet approved an integrated income-tax e-filing and centralised processing centre (CPC) portal, which will reduce the return processing time from 63 days to just one day. The new portal is also expected to process the refunds within one day of filing of tax returns, in huge relief for taxpayers. However, one will have to wait for 18 months to see its launch.

“Earlier, taxpayers would face troubles because of delay in refund processing and the CBDT used to spend a lot of money every year as interest on pending refunds, which will be history now,” Union minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here.

Last month, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra had said a simplified return form and process would be put in place soon in which the department would process the self-declaration made by the taxpayer. The new Rs 4,241-crore project will incorporate these changes.

 

“This is a laudable initiative and will go a long way to ease tax compliance, and enhanced experience for taxpayers. However, the real success of this will be measured when it brings ease to a common man and is accompanied by changes in the culture of the tax authorities at the operational level,” said Neeru Ahuja, partner, Deloitte India.

Currently, the e-filing portal and the CPC work separately. While e-filing is being managed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the CPC is run by Infosys.

In the bids invited by the government, Infosys emerged as the lowest bidder and it would develop the ITR-CPC 2.0 project in 18 months from now, Goyal said.

Under the new system, Infosys will handle end-to-end solution — from e-filing to return assessment to refund processing. The CBDT and Infosys would work in a revenue-sharing model, sources in the know said.

Goyal said ramping up scrutiny was not the mandate of the new portal. Currently, about 0.3 per cent of the I-T returns are scrutinised, he said. The system intends to resolve taxpayer grievances as well as tax demands from the CBDT faster and equitably, he said.

“The decision will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner. This will assure fairness in tax treatment to every taxpayer irrespective of their status,” a government release said.

But even under the new ecosystem, only those applications which are clean would have the chance of getting processed in a day, sources said.

About 23 crore I-T returns have been processed, along with Rs 2.62 trillion worth of refunds, till September 2018 cumulatively. Of this, refunds worth Rs 1.83 trillion have been processed in 2018-19, said Goyal.

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Lenders considering resolution plan for Jet Airways: SBI

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Mumbai: State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said lenders are considering a resolution plan for Jet Airways to ensure long-term viability of the debt-laden company.

The SBI statement comes a day after the crisis-hit airline said discussions were “progressing well” with stakeholders on a comprehensive resolution plan that also contemplates equity infusion and consequent changes in its board of directors.

There are rising concerns over financial health of Jet Airways, whose shares have also taken a beating at stock exchanges.

 

“We would like to state that lenders are considering a restructuring plan under the RBI framework for resolution of stressed assets that would ensure a long-term viability of the company,” SBI said in a statement.

It said the restructuring plan for the cash-strapped airline would need approval from boards of lenders.

“Any such plan would be subject to approval of boards of the lenders and subject to adherence and clearance, if required, from the RBI and/or Sebi (takeover code, ICDR regulations.) and Ministry of Civil Aviation and in compliance with all regulatory prescriptions,” the statement said.

Shares of the airline are trading 4.24 per cent lower at Rs 259.50 apiece on BSE.

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NGT slams Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore as per its 2018 order

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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed German auto major Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore in accordance with its November 16, 2018 order and directed it to submit the amount within 24 hours.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel took strong exception to the non-compliance of its order by the automobile giant and asked it to give an undertaking that it will submit the amount by 5 PM Friday.

“Why have you not complied with our order when there is no stay. We will not give you any further time,” the bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi, said while asking Volkswagen to submit an affidavit of compliance after deposit.

 

The tribunal deferred the matter for hearing after it was informed that the Supreme Court is also seized of the issue.

On November 16 last year, the tribunal had said that the use of ”cheat device” by Volkswagen in diesel cars in India leads to inference of environmental damage and had asked the German auto major to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

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