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Rupee at 65-66 against dollar reflects ‘fair valuation’: Garg

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Manila: The Indian rupee at 65-66 per US dollar is its “fair” value and does not require any intervention, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said, allaying concerns of the impact of a dropping currency on the economy.

With oil stabilising around USD 75 per barrel and India allowing foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to invest in treasury bills, the rupee would be around 66-67 to a dollar for some time, Garg, who is here to attend a meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said.

“My sense is that there is stability now and this level of (rupee at) about 66-67 (to a dollar) should be the level that should prevail for some time,” he told PTI here.

 

He said the rupee at 64 to a dollar “hurt exports” and was not justified by the real exchange rates.

“Rupee appreciated to 64 or something. That is where it hurt our exports. 64 was not at the level which was justified by the real exchange rates. So coming back to 65-66 is a fair valuation. I don’t think we have a concern there,” he said.

The rupee has been the second-worst performing Asian currency this year, dropping 2.4 per cent against the dollar, after strengthening 6.4 per cent in 2017, according to Bloomberg data.

A drop in rupee can potentially impact the current account deficit as India relies on imports to meet over 80 per cent of its oil needs. After dropping from over USD 100 per barrel to near USD 40 a barrel just after the BJP-led government came to power in 2014, oil prices are back to USD 75 a barrel, raising concerns about inflation and current account deficit.

India was categorised as one of the “fragile five” economies when crude oil prices were at their peak that led to a current account deficit (CAD) of 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2013-14. Oil price crash brought down the CAD to 0.7 per cent of GDP in 2016-17. At current rate, CAD during 2018-19 may be in the range of 2.5 to 2.9 per cent of GDP, brokerages said.

Asked at what level could the RBI intervene in the currency market, Garg said, “I don’t think there is any move to intervene… there is depreciation and therefore RBI should sell dollars to support. I don’t think there is any such need.

I don’t believe anything is likely to happen”.


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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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