New Delhi: Government think tank Niti Aayog is working on a proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy in order to extend the benefits to people using piped natural gas and biofuels for cooking purposes, a top official said today.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said subsidy should be applicable for all fuels that are used for cooking.
At present, the government extends subsidy to users of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
“Niti Aayog is working on a proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy. LPG is a specific product, a subsidy should be for larger set of all products/ fuels which are used for cooking.
“(For) all fuels which are used for cooking, subsidy should be applicable. Because if there are some cities where PNG (Piped Natural Gas) is used, then it is only logical that the subsidy be extended to them also,” Kumar told PTI in an interview.
Kumar’s comments also come against the backdrop of apprehensions in certain quarters that subsidy only for LPG users is inhibiting the adoption of clean and cheap fuels such as biofuels in rural areas and PNG in urban areas.
The changes pertaining to cooking subsidy are likely to be incorporated in the draft National Energy Policy 2030. The draft was made public last year.
After inter-ministerial consultations, the policy would be taken up by the Cabinet.
All LPG consumers have to buy fuel at market price. However, the government subsidises 12 cylinders of 14.2 kilogram each per household in a year by directly transferring the subsidy amount to the users’ bank accounts.
Replying to queries about rising trade tensions, Kumar said the whole economy has got used to open economy framework and that the trade war, which was started by the US, would add to the turbulence.
“We are watching the situation very carefully but to say that we are worried at this time, I think will not be correct.
“We are not worried simply because there is enough space for our exports to be increases. Because trade war is not directed against India not so far,” Kumar said.
However, the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman that if the trade war between the US and China leads to greater turbulence, then India should be prepared for that.
There is looming threat of intensified trade war with the US imposing tariffs on products from various countries, including China, Russia and India. Some of the nations have responded back by slapping tariffs on American products.
Noting that India’s macro conditions are very good very strong, Kumar said,
“I think, despite some sluggishness in private investments, we will surely grow at 7-7.5 per cent this fiscal year”.
He said oil prices have risen but now are stable and are not rising anymore. “… when you look at six months future, prices have slightly declined, not rising that’s a big comfort,” he added.
“I think the worst is over. Also inflation, we have seen that core inflation is higher than headline inflation. Fuel and food are not contributing to inflation, so this will also tend to weaken as supplies improve,” he said.
Kumar, who himself is a noted economist, admitted that a little cause of worry was that out merchandise trade exports were not rising and that invisible trade exports have not performed well.
“So, I think it is on external account that we need to do much better and there we will have a focused approach,” he said.
India’s trade deficit narrows by 7.98% to $15.28 billion in June, exports falls by 9.71%
New Delhi: India’s trade deficit for June 2019 narrowed by 7.98 percent to USD 15.28 billion as against the deficit of USD 16.60 billion in June 2018, government data showed.
The country’s exports registered a negative growth of 9.71 percent during June 2019 to USD 25.01 billion as compared to USD 27.70 billion in June 2018. Non-POL exports for June 2019 declined by 5.73 percent; non-POL and non-gems and jewelry exports declined by 4.86 percent.
India’s imports in June 2019 too fell 9.06 percent to USD 40.29 billion in June 2019 as compared to USD 44.30 billion in June 2018, data further showed.
The major commodities which contributed towards decline exports in June 2019 have been Petroleum products (-32.85 percent), Rice (-28.05 percent), Cotton yarn/Fabrics/made-ups (-19.73 percent), Gems and Jewellery (-10.67 percent), Readymade garments (-9.18 percent), Organic & inorganic chemicals (-8.17 percent), and Engineering goods (-2.65 percent), data showed.
Import of petroleum crude & products in June 2019 (USD 11.03billion) has recorded a negative growth of 13.33 percent as compared to June 2018 (USD 12.73billion). In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has decreased by 15.81 percent in June 2019 vis-à-vis June 2018 as per data available from World Bank, official data said.
It will take 2-3 days for scheduling to use Pakistani airspace: AI
New Delhi: Hours after the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority ordered its airspace to be opened to all civilian traffic for flights between India and Pakistan, Air India official said that it will take 2 to 3 days for scheduling to use Pakistani airspace.
Indian airlines resumed flight operations over the Pakistan airspace, after the latter removed access restrictions, following Balakot airstrikes by the Indian Air Force in February. Air India was saddled with heavy financial losses following this.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation wrote on Twitter, “After cancellation of NOTAMS by Pakistan and India in the early hours of Tuesday, there are no restrictions on airspaces of both countries, flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines”.
In March, Pakistan partially opened its airspace but did not allow Indian flight to fly over its airspace.
Since then, foreign carriers had been using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan. The closure mainly affects flights from Europe to Southeast Asia.
RBI slaps Rs 7 cr penalty on SBI for violating various norms
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India said it has slapped a penalty of Rs 7 crore on the country’s largest bank SBI for non-compliance with norms related to NPA identification and fraud risk management, among others.
The penalty has been imposed on the bank for non-compliance of income recognition and asset classification (IRAC) norms, code of conduct for opening and operating current accounts and reporting of data on Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), and fraud risk management and classification and reporting of frauds.
Giving details of the case, it said the statutory inspection of SBI with reference to its financial position as on March 31, 2017, revealed, non-compliance with IRAC norms, sharing of information about customers with other banks, reporting of data on CRILC, fraud risk management, and classification and reporting of frauds.
Based on the inspection report and other relevant documents, a notice was issued to the bank advising it to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on it for non-compliance with directions issued by the RBI.
“After considering the bank’s reply and oral submissions made in the personal hearing, RBI came to the conclusion that the aforesaid charges of non-compliance with RBI directions were substantiated and warranted imposition of monetary penalty,” the RBI said.
The penalty, RBI said, is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.
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