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Modi govt has major successes in social sector schemes: Panagariya

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New Delhi: Former Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya has said the Modi government has achieved ‘major successes’ in social sector programmes like Ayushman Bharat, PM-Kisan and rural electrification.

Besides, this government has made an ‘unprecedented progress’ in tackling corruption, he added.

In the reforms undertaken by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, he said the three major areas of initiatives were implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and direct benefit transfer (DBT).

 

In an interview to PTI, the eminent economist said “…Ayushman Bharat, PM-Kisan, cooking gas, rural roads and rural electrification represent major successes of the Modi government. Unprecedented progress has also been made in combating corruption.”

Talking about infrastructure sector, he said the government has managed to greatly accelerate outcomes in sectors like roads, railways, waterways, civil aviation and digitisation.

On questioning the credibility of statistical data by over 100 economists and social scientists, Panagariya said unless such critics identify precisely what part of the CSO/MOSPI methodology, described in detail in a 40-page document, they find problematic, their statements only amount to assertions.

“None of the international institutions including the World Bank, IMF and the United Nations, have expressed any doubt in the integrity of our statistical institutions or the numbers these institutions generate. Nor have I seen any objective evidence that the institutions have tried to fudge their data on their own or at the behest of any other government departments,” he asserted.

The Columbia University professor also noted that revision of GDP estimates is nothing new and this has been a well established practice.

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan recently had expressed doubts over Indian economy growing 7 per cent when not enough jobs were created and said the current cloud over the GDP numbers must be cleared by appointing an impartial look at the data.

Besides, expressing concern over political interference in influencing statistical data in India as many as 108 economists and social scientists had called for restoration of institutional independence and integrity to the statistical organisations.

Panagariya served as the first vice chairman of NITI Aayog for two years from 2015 to 2017.


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Maruti, Hyundai skip rural slump, manage to increase sales in FY19

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Chennai: The country’s largest two carmakers, Maruti and Hyundai, managed to increase their rural sales in 2018-19. This took place despite the rural economy being under pressure.

Both companies are optimistic about 2019-20, too, with the raising of rural allocations in the Union Budget and higher Minimum Support Prices. That means more of rural disposable income.

Maruti Suzuki’s (the country’s largest car maker) rural sales in 2018-19 rose to 205,000 units or 39 per cent of sales. A year before, it was around 165,000 units or 37 per cent of sales. This year’s outcome will depend on the monsoon, farm output and how rural sales pick up.

 

Hyundai’s rural sales were 17.3 per cent of its FY19 total, as against 15.6 per cent a year before. In FY20, the contribution is expected to be around 20 per cent.

Both companies — they address most of the spectrum — have said they are optimistic on the future, despite the overall industry having slowed. According to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations, passenger vehicle sales dropped by 4.6 per cent in FY19, to 224,755 units.

Shashank Srivastava, executive director for marketing and sales at Maruti, estimates growth of 4-8 per cent for the current financial year. However, he adds, a good monsoon and a satisfactory (for sales) festival season would be important, he adds.

With car penetration of around 22 per 1,000 population, India continues to be a big opportunity to sell cars, especially in rural areas. Srivastava says the rate of growth in the rural market has invariably been higher in recent years.

“Today, with booming internet users and a strong millennial population, rural markets are emerging as growth engines for sales,” he says.

Further, rural infrastructure has improved significantly. Motorability has seen sharp improvement there, resulting in exponential increase of two-wheeler sales and offering similar potential for cars.

Vikas Jain, national sales head at Hyundai Motor India, says customers of urban and rural markets might have differing needs but similar aspirations. In the latter, owning a car is a big aspiration.

Urban markets are experimenting with mobility solutions such as subscription and leasing. Hyundai has a partnership with self-drive car rental firm Revv and another with mobility solutions firm ALD Automotive India.

The company believes there is huge aspiration among youth in tier-1 and tier-II cities to own a vehicle. Rising disposable income and the expanding presence of financial institutions in rural markets, to offer credit at attractive rates, will enable ownership of cars.

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Rise in govt borrowing can weigh on corporate sector: RBI Dy Governor

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Bengaluru: An increase in government borrowing runs the risk of flooding the debt market, while making it expensive for companies to borrow, according to outgoing Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Viral Acharya.

In a lecture shared by the RBI, Acharya said India`s borrowing relative to its output has ranged from 67% to 85% since 2000 and has outpaced many emerging markets including China.

“As more government debt floods markets, the relative safety and liquidity premium attached by investors to high-rated corporate bonds diminishes, raising the cost of borrowing especially for AAA-rated borrowers and making it relatively less sensitive to policy rate cuts,” Acharya said.

 

Acharya is leaving the central bank on Tuesday, six months before the scheduled end of his term in office, citing personal reasons.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut the repo rate to 5.75% on June 6, its third cut in 2019, while also changing its policy stance to “accommodative,” after data showed the economy growing at its slowest in over four years.

India should cut back on subsidies and programs that are not delivering long-term growth and divest more of its public sector holdings, Acharya said.

“The much-needed land, labour and agricultural reforms could be undertaken, all of which can help crowd-in private sector growth,” Acharya said.

There could be efficiency gains if there are more private investors playing an effective role in the governance of public sector enterprises, he added.

Aiming to attract investments, which are at its lowest level in years, Prime Minister Narendra Modis government has proposed giving foreign investors a bigger role in Indias insurance and aviation sectors, which have been tightly controlled for decades.

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18 pc GST on flat owners paying monthly maintenance of over Rs 7,500

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New Delhi: Flat owners will have to pay GST at 18 per cent if their monthly contribution to resident welfare association (RWA) exceeds Rs 7,500, the Finance Ministry said.

As per the rules, RWAs are required to collect GST on monthly subscription/contribution charged from its members if such payment is more than Rs 7,500 per flat per month and the annual turnover of RWA by way of supply of services and goods exceeds Rs 20 lakhs.

In a circular issued to field offices on how should the RWA calculate GST payable where the maintenance charges exceed Rs 7,500 per month per member, the Finance Ministry said the exemption from GST on maintenance charges charged by an RWA from residents is available only if such charges do not exceed Rs 7,500 per month per member.

 

“In case the charges exceed Rs 7,500 per month per member, the entire amount is taxable. For example, if the maintenance charges are Rs 9,000 per month per member, GST @18 per cent shall be payable on the entire amount of Rs 9,000 and not on (Rs 9,000-Rs 7,500) = Rs 1,500,” it said.

On how the tax liability would be calculated for a person who owns two or more flats in the housing society or residential complex, the Ministry said in such cases the ceiling of Rs 7500 per month per member shall be applied separately for each residential apartment owned by him.

“For example, if a person owns two residential apartments in a residential complex and pays Rs 15,000 per month as maintenance charges towards maintenance of each apartment to the RWA (Rs. 7500/- per month in respect of each residential apartment), the exemption from GST shall be available to each apartment,” it said.

The Ministry further clarified that RWAs are entitled to take input tax credit (ITC) of Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid by them on capital goods (generators, water pumps, lawn furniture etc.), goods (taps, pipes, other sanitary/hardware fillings etc.) and input services such as repair and maintenance services.

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