Mumbai: Confederation of Indian Industry president Shobana Kamineni urged the Reserve Bank to reintroduce the letters of understanding (LoUs) as an instrument of trade credit to businesses facing liquidity crunch. During her meeting with RBI Governor Urjit Patel here, she also made a case for maintaining status quo in the key policy rate (repo rate).
Following the scam in PNB, allegedly committed by jewellery designer Nirav Modi and associates through fraudulent LoUs, the RBI had stopped banks from issuing the instrument for trade credit for imports into India.
“The decision of the RBI to ban LoUs is impacting genuine importers by squeezing their liquidity, raising their borrowing cost and in turn putting pressure on the rupee. The traders who have been conducting business through these instruments will now have to necessarily shift their transactions to letters of credit and bank guarantees,” a CII release said quoting her.
She said that due to stopping LoUs, the cost of credit may go up, especially for the small and medium enterprises. The small players, she added, are already under pressure owing to slow GST refund and therefore, stopping of LoUs is like a double whammy.
“The reintroduction of LoUs and Letters of Comfort would help manufacturers in undertaking cost-effective production for both the domestic and export markets,” said the CII head.
Kamineni said the central bank should continue to provide the requisite policy support which would enable industry to raise capital at affordable cost and support the turnaround in the economy.
“There are enough indications that the green shoots of recovery are gathering traction in the economy and a policy action by the RBI which would refurbish business sentiment, support domestic demand and trigger the turn of the investment cycle is very much required,” she said.
The CII chief was of the view that the RBI should continue to maintain a status quo on the policy rate as indicators of inflation have started coming down. She said that with CPI inflation hovering at around 4.5 per cent, there is scope for the cost of credit to moderate.
Under the circumstances, a status quo in rates would address the upside risks to inflation while meeting the collective aspirations of growth.
The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by Patel would meet on April 4 and 5 here to decide the first bi-monthly monetary policy review.
Income Tax return processing time to reduce from 63 days to just 1 day
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.
Lenders considering resolution plan for Jet Airways: SBI
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.
NGT slams Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore as per its 2018 order
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).