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 can’t achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without agri-revolution: Kant
New Delhi: India cannot achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without revolution in the farm sector, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.
Addressing Mahindra Samriddhi Agri awards, he said there is a need to boost investment in the agriculture sector as well as to introduce new technology and market reforms.
Kant also stressed on scrapping Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee and some old laws like Essential Commodites Act, which restrict movement of farm produces.
However, he said agriculture is a state subject and the central government has limited role in it.
“In India 50 per cent of our population is dependent on agriculture. If India’s GDP has to grow at 9-10 per cent for the next 30 years, then it cannot be without bringing revolution in the agri sector,” Kant said.
He also emphasised on eliminating middlemen in marketing of farm produces to boost farmers’ income.
Kant expressed confidence that farmer income will be doubled by 2022.
He said there is a need to spread good agriculture practice and success stories of farmers across the country.
“The second revolution in agriculture will come from technology and marketing,” Kant said.
Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd,, said: “The contribution made by our farming community is a manifestation of this new age of farming which we celebrate through our annual awards”.
As part of Mahindra Agri Village (MAV) programme, he said the company has worked closely with more than 50 villages.
“Our Prerna initative has empowered nearly 2,000 women farmers over 40 villages, through the introduction of gender-neutral farm tools for reducing farm drudgery, and dissemination of knowledge and essential capabilities,” Goenka said.
Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiromani Samman (Lifetime Achievement Award) 2019 was conferred upon E A Siddiq for his immense contribution to Indian agriculture. The award was handed over to recognise his contribution of enhancing productivity of paddy (Both Basmati & Non Basmati).
The group gave awards in total 11 categories.
Mukesh Ambani bails out Anil in Ericsson payout case day before SC deadline
Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani stepped in to bail out younger brother Anil Ambani by helping him repay Reliance Communications’ (RCom’s) dues to Ericsson. The last-minute rescue spares the younger Ambani a three-month jail term for contempt of court.
RCom cleared the entire dues to Ericsson India to purge the contempt of a Supreme Court order. The debt-ridden company had already paid Rs 118 crore of the Rs 550-crore dues. In addition, the company had paid around Rs 3 crore in penalties to Ericsson.
“My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita for standing by me during these trying times and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” said Anil Ambani in a media statement. RCom had time until Tuesday to make the payment, failing which Anil Ambani, its chairman, would have had to serve a three-month jail term, according to the court’s order.
Probing Amazon, Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law: ED
New Delhi : Investigation has been initiated against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday informed the Delhi High Court.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani noted the submissions of the ED that a case has been registered under provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against the two companies and disposed of a PIL which has alleged that the e-commerce giants were violating foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.
The court had earlier sought response of the central government, Amazon and Flipkart to the plea which has sought a probe into the alleged FDI violations.
The ED, in its reply filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, has said the “department has already registered and initiated investigation under the provisions of FEMA against the two companies to ascertain whether they have been contravening any provisions of FEMA or contravening any rule, regulations, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under FEMA….”
The agency also sought dismissal of the petition.
The petition by an NGO, Telecom Watchdog, also asked for initiation of legal proceedings against the two e-commerce companies under the FEMA for alleged violation and circumvention of FDI norms.
The plea, filed through advocate Pranav Sachdeva, has claimed that Amazon and Flipkart have created multiple entities to circumvent the FDI norms and route the hot-selling stock at cheaper rates.
The petition has contended that according to Press Note 3 of 2016, which regulates FDI in e-commerce, entities like Amazon and Flipkart are not to exercise ownership over stock, nor directly or indirectly influence price of goods and services sold on their marketplace.
It claimed that by creating name lending companies, Amazon and Flipkart buy branded goods in bulk at discounts from manufacturers and render small sellers uncompetitive by a wide margin, thus influencing the prices in violation of the FDI norms.
“As a consequence of this FDI norms violation, smaller sellers are unable to participate in the fast growing e-commerce sector,” the plea has contended, adding that due to subsidised prices on such platforms, small sellers are unable to sell in the brick-n-mortar world too.
Besides, the plea has also claimed that the two e-commerce firms have created several other group companies in the chain to divide discounts and losses.
“Exchange offers, EMI costs and bank offers are funded completely or substantially by Amazon and Flipkart and constitute a clear influence on price in violation of FDI norms,” it has alleged.
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